The pace of innovation is moving at an ever multiplying rate and it’s touching every field, every science, every one of us in our daily lives. EPCOT or Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow was Walter Elias Disney’s most fantastic dream. It aimed to deliver the future ahead of schedule for the world to enjoy, to witness and to replicate. But Walt’s dream was never truly realized, his passing left a gaping void that could never be filled on this earth even as many attempted to carry on his wishes in the time that followed. When EPCOT Center opened on October 1, 1982 there was no mistaking it for Progress City but it symbolized the ideals of humanity, invention, progress and the belief in the power of what lies at the bleeding edges of tomorrow.
Today Epcot is struggling as a theme park to keep up with the torrid pace of innovation. But one area where it has recently kept pace with fairly well is with the automotive industry. In December of 2012, a reimagined Test Track emerged showing off some of the latest advances in car technology and design and guests were thrust into the the virtual world to see if their car’s design could handle the rigors of the future. Now Epcot is taking yet another step to be at the forefront of automotive technology by bringing electric vehicle chargers to its guests for the first time at a Walt Disney World theme park. It follows in the footsteps of the Disneyland Resort where twenty charging ports were installed on the first floor of the Mickey & Friends parking structure with another ten ports made available to cast members. The Disneyland Resort situated in Anaheim, California is near the epicenter of electric vehicle adoption in the United States but with initiatives such as Drive Electric Orlando and with continued improvement of electric vehicle offerings, a growing number of guests arriving at Disney Parks around the world may not be using combustion engines or gasoline to do so.
A growing number of guests arriving at Disney Parks around the world will not be using combustion engines or gasoline.
Whether you drive the
Tesla Model S,
the Chevy Volt
or the Nissan Leaf
there is no doubt they represent the wave of the future.
It is part of the future here today and guests can take part in it by bringing their own electric or hybrid vehicle to Epcot or even by renting an electric vehicle for use during their Disney/Orlando vacation. As part of the Drive Electric Orlando initiative, nearly 30 hotels in the area have chargers installed for their guests. But for guests arriving to Epcot with a need to recharge their car’s batteries the process is quite simple. After passing through the park’s entrance toll, you will need to make your way to the very front of the Journey parking lot (you can be sure to ask a cast member for assistance if you need directions). Once there you will park in any of the four designated parking spots assigned for EV Charging Only, that are serviced by two Chargepoint Level 2 chargers.
Paying for the charge is as easy as using a MagicBand.
Chargepoint is the provider of the world’s largest electric vehicle charger network and as such will be right at home with most EV drivers. Paying for the charge is as easy as using a MagicBand, you can either sign up for a Chargepoint Card or just use an RFID enabled credit card and tap to pay. The current rate is $0.35 per kilowatt hour with a minimum service charge of $1.50 (the same as it is for the Disneyland Resort for those wondering). Through the use of the Chargepoint app for iOS and Android guests can check whether the chargers are currently in use or even get notified once you car’s charge is complete, so that you can show some of that EV driver etiquette and allow the next driver a chance to charge. It is expected that this will be just the first couple of EV charging stations to roll out across the property with the Disney Springs parking garages a likely candidate for the next installment.
EPCOT was to be at the forefront of society and urban life.
EPCOT was to be at the forefront of society and urban life. It was to shape it, to mold it, to continuously reinvent it. Although the Epcot of today is far from those lofty goals it continues to stand as a symbol for many of those goals and continues to educate millions of guests each year on the wonders and possibilities that come with helping to build a better future. These chargers are a small but significant step in that direction as society learns to cope with the realities of pollution in a modern world where we have the knowledge and capabilities to make a difference through technology, innovation and policy. Epcot in its own small way is asking you to take the lead, to take charge.