When EPCOT Center opened in 1982, it wasn’t exactly what Walter Elias Disney had in mind for EPCOT (or Walt Disney World) but it was an incredible new theme park that tied many of the revolutionary concepts and ideas that Walt and others had envisioned for the Florida Project. As such it majestically symbolized some of the best of humanity and what we had already achieved while projecting out into the new frontiers of innovation at a time when history had seemingly begun to show us that there was nothing we couldn’t achieve. EPCOT was a wonder, even if not the grandiose original vision and because of that today it stands as some of the Walt Disney Company’s greatest work and this is evidenced by just how passionate many Disney fans are for the park they grew up knowing.
The reality today though is very different. EPCOT Center didn’t just lose its name when it became lowercase Epcot, it lost its soul. The Epcot of today, through mismanagement, is not a projection of the thinking of tomorrow, there is little pushing the stratosphere of the future in Future World. The sobering reality is that Epcot is a theme park that three decades from its opening has few redeeming qualities that weren’t part of its opening years. It’s a park that is stagnant, with whole pavilions closed, others forgotten and still others showing 3D films from an era gone by in order to capitalize on the popularity of a famous singer’s passing. It’s disgraceful to Walt, to those who helped create the vision for EPCOT Center, to those who executed that vision and to those families who save their hard-earned money so that they can take a once-in-a-lifetime trip to see the park. Luckily many of them, not knowing what they are missing will enjoy their time at the theme park but for those of us who do know what EPCOT was supposed to be, who know what EPCOT Center was, what Epcot could and should be today, it is a much more somber experience.
While taking the pictures that are featured in this photo essay, I noticed that I had never ever felt so dejected before taking pictures of Disney for our site. Sure the color scheme changes are hideous (though I love opinions you can pencil that one in as fact) that alone wasn’t the reason for my sadness. I started this website because I believe in Walt, what he stood for, what those that worked alongside him stood for. But if you do, you can’t take a walk through Future World without seeing the cold hard truth. That Epcot is on a sad path, much like Disney’s Hollywood Studios has been on for so many years (the reason why even the half-day park Animal Kingdom has edged it in attendance). A path that could be reversed in a near instant by the Walt Disney Company and its continual Billions in profits. Yet I couldn’t feel more humbled and more dead inside to know that the company has been so negligent with Walt’s vision according to the evidence before me as I stood in front of an abandoned Wonders of Life Pavilion, a corded-off Universe of Energy and made my rounds along a supposed Future World that has long lost the magic of EPCOT Center that once made it an unmatched experience in the world. Today, Epcot is a relic, and the misguided paint scheme just an expression of the onset of decay of the wonder that used to carry this park beyond imagination.[/column]