Saturday, November 04, 2006

16 Suggestions for Fixing EPCOT


I had thought that many of the signs of Epcot’s continued decline that I witnessed during my recent vacation were temporary. Sadly, they appear not to be, based on a report over at Miceage.com.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Disney does not need to invest tens of millions of dollars into whipping Epcot back into shape. As EPCOT Center (and the lower-cased Epcot) prepares to celebrate its 25th anniversary, there are some ways Disney could show good faith in what used to be its crowning theme-park achievement.

Below are 16 suggestions I have that don’t require massive capital-intensive investment … or, frankly, even a whole heck of a lot of work, for the most part. No doubt, you can think of more!

1) Leave the Legacy
First impressions count, and the first impression guests get at Epcot these days is one of blank granite walls. It makes for a great kitchen-counter showroom or government-designed war memorial, but the whole concept of “Leave a Legacy” has been, let’s face facts, a failure. There’s supposedly room for 750,000 images, but only a small fraction of that have been installed six years after the concept was introduced. Disney’s own website has essentially given up on the “Legacy” idea, and it’s time Epcot did the same. My suggestion: remove the image plaques and create beautiful etched images that tell the story of man. Make this a sculpture people want to look at and admire. Add some additional water or flower elements to the area. It may be too costly and impractical to remove the “gravestones,” but they certainly could be improved visually, and bravely admitting that the “Leave a Legacy” idea was a failure would mean that the incredibly ugly kiosk at the base of Spaceship Earth could also be removed.

2) Vacate the Vacation Club
The hideous purple kiosk that touts the Disney Vacation Club is just one of scores of sales-pitch stops that guests encounter throughout the parks, resorts and recreation sites at Walt Disney World. Enough is enough, particularly in Epcot’s Future World and World Showcase. Open a permanent Vacation Club information center in one or two of the old, never-used ticket booths at Epcot’s main gate if this timeshare sales pitch is absolutely imperative … but, please, you’ve already taken several hundred of my hard-saved vacation dollars from me when I entered, do you really need to keep insisting I spend more? And does such a sales pitch belong inside the park? Imagine sitting in a movie theater and having the show interrupted with an ad to buy snacks. If the parks are living movies, then that’s exactly what these blatant sales come-ons feel like. They seem out of place at all of the parks, but particularly at Epcot.

3) Off the Outdoor
A few well-placed outdoor-vending carts are always going to be welcome sites, whether a guest is in the mood for a cold drink, some ice cream or a quick roll of film. But outdoor vending has gone haywire throughout Epcot; on my most recent visit, World Showcase was lined with carts. Epcot is beginning to resemble a flea market, and that’s just not necessary. I don’t need to buy tacky necklaces made of “light,” knock-off lightsabers or bizarre machines that make string do weird things under black light. These items and the way they’re sold make me feel like I’m at a cheap state fair, and selling them is one of the ultimate signs that Disney will do anything to turn a buck, even have cast members stand around like sideshow barkers. One of the real joys of Epcot is shopping in World Showcase and discovering items you’d never find back home. Keep the outdoor vending to a minimum (really, what more is needed besides a few key snacks and some beverages?) and let us go inside to buy our souvenirs.

4) Ban the Ball
While we’re on the subject of outdoor vending, you know those “Ballzac” things that take up space in the breezeways between Innovations Plaza and Future World’s east and west sides? Get rid of them. In all my years of visiting Epcot, I’ve never seen a single guest actually purchase one of these (though, I reckon, they must, since they’re still sold), but I have seen guests play an unwelcome game of dodgeball when a bored cast member banished to the lowly post of selling these “fun” items decides to have a little fun. They’re obnoxious; they have nothing to do with Epcot’s sense of fun, futurism or discovery; and they just clutter the place up. I have strong doubts that Epcot’s per-guest spending rate would drop dramatically with the elimination of the utterly incongruous “Ballzac” junk.

5) Fix the Films
It’s a travesty to see a beautifully produced (if awfully outdated) film attraction like Impressions de France look like a travelogue that’s been touring the country for decades. Scratched, dirty, out of focus and out of alignment, it’s just one of the movies that Epcot’s management really needs to fix. That doesn’t mean that WDI needs to go out and spend millions to produce all-new movies (though it can’t cost that much, relatively speaking, to re-do these every five years or so – certainly less than the $250 million or more that the company will spend on Pirates of the Caribbean 3). Strike new prints, install them correctly, update the projection equipment and show off these still astonishingly gorgeous and beautifully produced movies properly. They’re classy; the way Disney has treated them is anything but.
Fix #7: Save the Signage


Fix #6: Shine Up the Shops

6) Shine Up the Shops
MouseGear was filled with broken fixtures and endcaps on my last visit. Top shelves in some stores actually showed dust. Particularly in Future World, the retail locations look tired and unappealing. Frankly, some of the stores are beginning to get a creepy Six Flags vibe, and that’s just not good. Bring some showmanship back to the stores. If Disney’s “centralized” merchandising group doesn’t see fit any longer to create fun, unique items for individual theme parks (much less Resorts, based on the Disneyland/Walt Disney World merchandise that is increasingly common), at least show off the wares with some flair. Pay particular attention to the stores in Future World, which are increasingly threadbare and look more and more like the Woolworth’s down the street … just before it closed.

7) Save the Signage
Throughout Future World, particularly, the directional signs look sad and neglected. Instead of really showing us the way or imparting information, they just sit there with names of attractions blanked out looking dirty and kind of gross. The signage throughout Epcot is another example of how exactly the thing Walt Disney wanted to avoid – cheap, vaguely dirty carnival-style parks – is exactly the outcome of the management techniques Disney has put in place in the past decade or so. In my collection of old Disney News magazines is an article from the early 1980s describing the meticulous care Disney’s designers put into the signage. These days at Epcot, fonts and colors don’t always match, the signs barely point us in the right direction, and some of them look like they haven’t been touched in almost the entire 25 years Epcot has been in existence. Pay attention to little details like this … and guests will notice! (Frankly, the old signs, with the stylized circular logos for each pavilion and the names of countries in script that recalled their cultures, were a lot better looking.)


Fix #16: Whack the Wand

Fix #8: Deep-Six the Sales

8) Deep Six the Sales
In the area originally called “World Showcase Plaza,” one of the two large retail buildings is being used for … a fire sale. Tacky signs with Mickey Mouse hands and a crappy cartoon font script scream out, “We couldn’t get rid of this stuff anywhere else, so come get it cheap!” That’s not really what they say, of course, but it might as well be. To use prime real estate for what is essentially an outlet store is horrible show and a terrible management decision. If I can get stuff here for less than 10 bucks, why should I pay full price somewhere else? In today’s Wal-Mart world, that’s bound to be the message guests take away from this retail reduction. It’s just a lousy idea, and should be axed.

9) Adjust the AAs
As a recently posted old video montage of EPCOT Center shows, the Audio-Animatronic figures in Spaceship Earth, Universe of Energy and The American Adventure used to look so much more animated. Give these guys some TLC, show us what makes AA figures so cool. Lube ’em up, or whatever you call it, but put some life back into them. Give us more of what makes Disney so uniquely Disney … and that does not mean recordings of Stitch and appearances by Mickey and Minnie – it means the technology and creativity that sets Disney apart from any other theme-park operator in the world. AA figures are a huge part of that, and EPCOT Center had more of them than any other park. They made EPCOT special, and can do it again.

10) Acknowledge the American Diet
Now, I love hamburgers, hot dogs and French fries as much as the next guy, but they do not define my diet – not by a long shot. In my extensive travels throughout the U.S., I’ve had extraordinary local cuisine, from Seattle to Miami, from Boston to Kansas City. Certainly there must be a more creative and honest way to represent American food than a fast-food joint? Show some flair when it comes to showing off the dining options in the “home country” by offering something more than fast food at the American pavilion.

11) Nurture the Norway Pavilion
I’ve already written about my extreme disappointment in the way the Norway pavilion has been treated, and I don’t need to go into more detail here. But, come on! Show Norway a little respect. It’s one of the few countries represented in World Showcase (along with China and Morocco) that are out of reach for most American tourists. Though its customs and culture may seem familiar, they’re quite unique, and deserve much more than they’re getting. At the very least, bring back a non-Princess Akershus for the dinner meal, if nothing else.

12) Enliven the Exits
Guests who experience the epic (in length, at least) Universe of Energy and immersive Spaceship Earth deserve much more upon exiting than empty rooms. Granted, it seems that Siemens will be upgrading the old Earth Station/Global Neighborhood in the near future, but when Exxon dropped its sponsorship of Energy, was it necessary to just shutter up the exit area? Inexpensive displays that explain some of the concepts we’ve just seen would be a welcome addition, a way for guests to feel they’re not being unceremoniously dumped into a far corner of Future World upon the ride’s completion. Likewise, the exit of Mission: Space is nothing but a series of blank hallways. Couldn’t Imagineers at least add some nice wall displays to enlighten us a bit more on space travel? After experiencing (and surviving!) a hugely expensive attraction, designers could have done a bit more than give us a very long hallway to walk before the admittedly well done (and sparsely attended) space-themed interactive area. At the very least, these centerpiece attractions deserve exits that are as good as the entrances.

13) Clean the ’Core
No matter what you call it, it will always be Communicore to diehard EPCOTers – the “core,” the physical heart of Epcot. It doesn’t need to look like a dizzy-headed relic from 1988. If designers refuse to get rid of the non-shade-providing sunshades and the bizarre whirlygigs, at least remove some of the actual clutter from this area – the carts, the booths, the needless tip board. (Given how few attractions Epcot actually has – though, admittedly, they’re large ones – is a tip board necessary at this park?) Clean it up a bit, give it a sense of place, make it look less like a techno junkyard.

14) Sell the Story
You know that park map everyone (theoretically, at least) receives on entering? Use it to tell the Epcot story. Explain the park a bit, tell newbie guests why it’s unlike any theme park in the world. Prepare them to find a little less “Disney” but a whole lot more to engage their senses. Tell a bit of the back story of Walt Disney’s original plan, explain the “permanent World’s Fair” concept, and proactively combat the “where’s Mickey” syndrome by telling the Epcot story. The map might be well-served by reprinting the EPCOT Center dedication. If guests don’t “get” Epcot, help them … and telling the story on a brochure everyone receives would help them understand and appreciate the park that much more.

15) Serve up the Center
A bold move: Rename the place EPCOT Center. Admit that, despite all efforts to the contrary, that’s what everyone calls it – at least, that’s still the name most guidebooks and even a few lingering Disney items (like that dedication plaque) use. There’s nothing wrong with the name, and, in fact, it has a great history and heritage. It’s EPCOT Center. Does it mean anything? No more than “Disney-MGM Studios” (which are neither studios nor contain much MGM) or, over at the competition, “Islands of Adventure” (they’re not islands!). What’s in a name? A sense of place, a sense of style, a sense of substance. EPCOT Center is a great name; it’s the “center” of a concept that brings our world closer together, moves us toward a day when that “Experimental Prototype” might be possible. And, if you want to get really literal, you could go back to the old way of thinking – that Walt Disney World as a whole was the concept of EPCOT brought to life (as it is, virtually, a city unto itself), and the theme park was the Center of that place. But in the end, admit that “EPCOT Center” says a whole lot more than just “Epcot” – and if it served the park so well for 20 years (prior to construction even being complete), it must have been pretty OK to begin with.

16) Whack the Wand
I’ve yet to receive a single e-mail, even from Imagineers themselves, defending the wand. No one likes it. It’s an eyesore. I once read that an Imagineer claimed the wand and sign helped “better identify” Epcot. Ummm … a 180-foot-tall, unique-in-the-world geosphere doesn’t do that? If recent rumors are true, the wand might actually be on its way out. A move like that … well, the thought alone leaves you thinking that maybe, just maybe, there is a little imagination left in the world!

23 comments:

EpcotRob said...

Those are such easy fixes that would be great for the park.

I really like the guide map with an explanation of the concept of the park. That would solve alot of problems.
I would love to see the wand removed.
For the life of me I cant remember what was in the exit of UOE besides a bunch of racks for the Comic books and the little exxon wallet cards with the tiger on them.
One thing that would make Mission Space better for me would be if they would play "space" from horizons in the area or queue somewhere. Seems a perfect fit to me.

Anyway Great list I hope at least one of these things happens.

dean said...

Hi. What a great approach -- coming up with some ideas to improve Epcot that can be effective, yet within a reasonable budget. While I agree with almost all of the suggestions here, I think that a focus of money on certain items and a coordination of certain upgrades that will be noticeable by guests would really drive these ideas home.

The return of EPCOT Center would basically be a return to quality and a return to the original forward-looking theme of the park. To break from the current confused identity of the park, and to establish that it has taken a fresh new turn, some money is going to have to be put up front....literally. Leave A Legacy has serious sightline issues that are a detriment to the entry plaza. I would put my money into removing the monoliths and improving the plaza with new planters and establighing water fountains to give the plaza a natural kinetic energy to it. Perhaps even comission a new, grander EPCOT sculpture. The second major "up-front" item would be to remove the giant wand and restore the geosphere to it's rightful command over the park. These changes would be instantly noticed by visiting guests.

The other big capital improvement would be to revamp the signs with a new design that is once again futuristic for Future World, and appropriate to the World Showcase pavilions. Included in this would be updating the landscape elements such as lighting, benches, and other "street furniture" to tie everything together into one cohesive theme. (This includes "cleaning up the core".)

Add to all this the excellent idea of putting together a fantastic park map that actually educates guests about the park and you have the beginnings of a unifying strategy to bring new life to the park. All the other items you mention will only reinforce the notion that a revitalized EPCOT Center is worthy of carrying onwards through the 21st Century.

As for the concept of what the acronym EPCOT would stand for...it could go beyond it's original meaning. The "community of tomorrow" is no longer tied to a geographical location. It no longer has to be a city envisioned by Walt Disney, or even the eventual contrived notion that Walt Disney World is EPCOT. In essence, this Blog is part of the community of tomorrow. It is a "place" where we can discuss our ideas and thoughts and enlighten each other. Expanding the scope of what "EPCOT" represents will make it more relavant in today's age and allow a multitude of opportunities for what Disney can do with the EPCOT concept.

dean said...

Hi. What a great approach -- coming up with some ideas to improve Epcot that can be effective, yet within a reasonable budget. While I agree with almost all of the suggestions here, I think that a focus of money on certain items and a coordination of certain upgrades that will be noticeable by guests would really drive these ideas home.

The return of EPCOT Center would basically be a return to quality and a return to the original forward-looking theme of the park. To break from the current confused identity of the park, and to establish that it has taken a fresh new turn, some money is going to have to be put up front....literally. Leave A Legacy has serious sightline issues that are a detriment to the entry plaza. I would put my money into removing the monoliths and improving the plaza with new planters and establighing water fountains to give the plaza a natural kinetic energy to it. Perhaps even comission a new, grander EPCOT sculpture. The second major "up-front" item would be to remove the giant wand and restore the geosphere to it's rightful command over the park. These changes would be instantly noticed by visiting guests.

The other big capital improvement would be to revamp the signs with a new design that is once again futuristic for Future World, and appropriate to the World Showcase pavilions. Included in this would be updating the landscape elements such as lighting, benches, and other "street furniture" to tie everything together into one cohesive theme. (This includes "cleaning up the core".)

Add to all this the excellent idea of putting together a fantastic park map that actually educates guests about the park and you have the beginnings of a unifying strategy to bring new life to the park. All the other items you mention will only reinforce the notion that a revitalized EPCOT Center is worthy of carrying onwards through the 21st Century.

As for the concept of what the acronym EPCOT would stand for...it could go beyond it's original meaning. The "community of tomorrow" is no longer tied to a geographical location. It no longer has to be a city envisioned by Walt Disney, or even the eventual contrived notion that Walt Disney World is EPCOT. In essence, this Blog is part of the community of tomorrow. It is a "place" where we can discuss our ideas and thoughts and enlighten each other. Expanding the scope of what "EPCOT" represents will make it more relavant in today's age and allow a multitude of opportunities for what Disney can do with the EPCOT concept.

Epcot82 said...

Thanks for the comments! I love the idea of playing the "Space" theme in Mission: Space. Great suggestion!

Also, you're absolutely right ... the Internet has accomplished many of the things Walt Disney imagined would one day come to pass, like instant global communication. Wonder what he'd make of "The Google"? ;-)

FoxxFur said...

Although you mention it in part, I think a better way to fix Communicore would be to return the two pools of water by Stargate / Electric Umbrella and Innoventions. If they're concerned about people finding their way into Innoventions, build small but attractive bridges into these areas. As the original Communicore entrances have been filled in with shops and Guest Relations, WDI needs to find a way to bring back the simple but powerful appeal of water without compromising their current banalities / goals. This would be a real feather in Epcot's hat. If they did that I could live with pins, sun shades and "kinetic" stuff.

Mak said...

I agree with everything but your tipboard removal proposal. FW is a huge place, and that tipboard is probably the most useful in all of WDW. I don't want to haul all the way over into The Land and down to the lower level only to find out Soarin' has a 120 minute wait and all fastpasses are out for the day! If this information were communicated to me in the center of CommuniCore, I would have headed over to the other half of FW for Test Track and Mission:Space.

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything.

Balzac
These are not 'true' cast members. They work for another party and just work those carts. I hate them too and if the balzac gets tossed in my direction, I throw or kick it in the direction of the nearest body of water. If no water is present, I kick it in the total opposite direction of the cart. To hell with them.

$10 and under
This is purely marketing. Marketing on the cheap, but still pure marketing. Items sold at these areas aren't discounted. That is their retail price at other locations too. The signage generates sales because it implies that these items are at a bargain. I hate these stores too and will not purchase anything from them. To hell with them.

kcnole said...

I love all of these suggestions and would whole heartedly support all of them being implemented. I'd like to comment on a few of them however.

1) Leave the Legacy

I too would love to see this removed and bring back the beautiful entrance that Epcot once had instead of the cold, graveyard of ideas that it now represents to me. It's as if Disney knew they were killing Epcot so what better way to show it than to put a graveyard at the entrance.

I read an article not too long ago, and if I can find it again I'll link it here, from one of the designers of the leave a legacy area. He stated that he hated the idea from the get go, but he did the best he could to make them flow into the visage of SSE with the supports. He still stated he wasn't too proud of it but he had to work under certain constraints. His biggest complaint however was that they worked hard to subtlely link them to the view of SSE, then someone figured no one would get it and painted replicas of them on the legs of SSE. He was ticked.

I'd love to see this whole area bulldozed and bring back the nice garden theme and view that casually drew the eyes up and towards SSE. The only problem is that people paid to have their images here, so what happens to their purchase. I'd be a little ticked if I spent all that money to have my face there and then Disney just ripped it out.

14) Sell the Story

This is a great suggestion. I'd love to see a small theatre somewhere near the entrance to the park called "The E.P.C.O.T Center Story" that would be a short (maybe 10 minute) movie and display about the history of Epcot from Walt's original ideas to what we now have and how it fits into what Walt originally wanted. It would be a wonderful tribute to the man. I know we have that a bit over at MGM, but I'd like to see something in Epcot as well.

16) Whack the Wand

Do I even need to comment on this one? It's ugly, tacky, and ruins the whole view of SSE, at least what is left after leave a legacy. I just happened to catch an old episode of Boy Meets World today that was filmed in Epcot and I was once again reminded how beautiful that geosphere is, especially at night, framed by the fountain with no wand. Please bring it back. If nothing else gets changed, that's the one thing I ask.

Sadly, I've heard of several people defend the wand. I believe in my heart of hearts that they're people who just don't get the deep concept and work behind Epcot. They don't understand what the place is supposed to represent and what it once was. They just see a bit of wimsy, and some Mickey that they claim is missing from the parks and it makes them happy. They just don't get it.

Anonymous said...

Love the ideas. My recent trip, I didn't find all the carts to be all that "flea market" like. Then again, it is the F&W Festival, so maybe they just blended in a bit more. The "clearance store" didn't bother me, as the signage is at least kept to a minimum and inside for the most part.

I noticed the poor signae and was missed the old ones with the emblems. I thought each emblem tied each attraction to FW as a whole. It gave FW a distinction.

After I went into the Land I was appalled at the changes, where was the fountain? The balloons weren't moving and the small farmer's market feel was gone. After we wandered around, I was impressed. Traffic move much freer through the pavilion and there wasn't a seating shortage. The overall food choices were much better.

I still can't stand the wand. So much so, I wandered up to the trees and bushes to take a gander and see if dismantling the beast was even managable. It'd be an incredible undertaking, but it would bring back the magnificence of SSE.

Epcot82 said...

I'm glad the clearance store didn't bother you -- honestly! But to me, it's like having a "bargain table" inside Tiffany's. It just looks tacky and completely out of place.

FoxxFur said...

Leave A Legacy could be effectivley dismantled, the tiles which were actually sold could be consolidated onto a handful of the existing "marble blobs", and those blobs could be spread evenly around Future World East & West, landscaped niceley, and given little signs telling you what these people's faces are doing here. that'd be the nicest way, I think, to get rid of the graveyard without ticking off the people who actually paid for it.

Alternatley, I once said that if Disney werte utterly adamant, the entrance area with the monoliths could be redone as something of a "hanging gardens".

It's pretty amazing just how much Disney fucked up Epcot in only five short years, when you really consider it.

Epcot82 said...

I've tried hard not to say exactly that quite so bluntly, but I'm glad you did. Those who say, "Oh, they've just made it more Disney and made it more accessible" forget that it was a truly unique place up until the mid-1990s. The good news is: It hasn't all been ruined. I just hope someone at Disney is listening ... and cares. Whether the ideas presented here are the "right" ones or not, at least they show that people have passion for this park, and the true fans are in agreement that the changes have been for the worse. You'd think they'd care what we had to say. Maybe I'm just giving Disney too much credit?

EpcotRob said...

OK just a thought. How about taking the tiles from Leave a Legacy and put them onto a mini GeoSphere. They could put the Mini SSE on top of the existing fountain in the entry plaza.(After they smooth it out again)

Hell mabye they could arange some of them in a PhotoMosaic outside of each Pavilion. Have the mosaic be of all the old pavilion Logos. New idea with a tribute to the past.

Just thinking.....

kcnole said...

I don't think they've totally ruined Epcot. It's still my favorite park at WDW. I absolutely love Test Track. I do wish Horizons were still there instead of Mission Space however. The changes to Figment are horrible, but other than that it's not ruined. The aesthetics are nowhere near as beautiful as they once were, but those can be fixed at some point at least.

Those who say it's completely ruined are stretching a bit. It's not the beauty it once was, but it's still a great park. Most of the changes you've listed would be fairly easy to fix if someone wanted to do so and not cost a bundle either. It's just a matter of getting someone in there who realizes it and has the power to do it.

The interesting thing about the miceage article you linked is this. Even though Al has a complete and ridiculous bias towards Disneyland over WDW, he did make some interesting points. The main one was the political makeup of WDW and the lack of power that imagineers have there. That situation needs to be fixed long before anything else can be. The only imagineer who seems to hold any sway over there is Joe Rhode. If only each park could get a head imagineer with the power that Joe has then we might see some good work come out.

Epcot82 said...

Totally ruined? No. But your support of it seems pretty half-hearted. It would be nice to hear someone acknowledge, simply, "We made a mistake."

Jeff said...

EPCOT Center....Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow Center...

Somehow I believe that we are better off without the "Center" portion of the name since it does not flow nicely when using the entire name. I'll give it to you that it sounds better when simply stating EPCOT Center.

I guess that's small potatos though when you consider the other problems facing the park which has not aged gracefully.

kcnole said...

Totally ruined? No. But your support of it seems pretty half-hearted. It would be nice to hear someone acknowledge, simply, "We made a mistake."

I can agree with that statement.

captain schnemo said...

My favorite idea is the simplest...adding extra info to the maps. I also like kcnole's idea of a little area that explains the park. They used to have a little something like that, hidden away behind the pizza joint in Communicore West. I can't remember much in the way of details, except for the huge aerial photo of WDW on the wall. Maybe it was just about the construction of the park itself.

Anyway, one problem with this would be the issue of explaining all the garbage that doesn't really fit. It would sort of highlight their errors. I'm sure there's a way they could spin it, though.

I know it was only an aside, but I did want to speak up for IOA's "islands". They made an effort to put a bridge over water to connect each "island", and also did some pretty wonderful stuff with transitional music. The energy level takes a huge jump when you cross from the Port of Entry on to the Marvel island, for example. They also do a good job of keeping the lake's edge accessible in each island and disguising the landlocked side. And you can't really say that they don't stick to the theme in each area.

As for the wand, I don't like it at all, but I also wouldn't put too much emphasis on it. They're going to remove it eventually, and I wouldn't want them patting themselves too hard on the back just for removing something. Given Epcot's current state, I think even the small amount of money it would take to eliminate the eyesore could be better spent...perhaps, as you pointed out, for better signage. If they don't bring back the classic icons, they could at least design new ones. Who would have imagined that they'd overlook a marketing opportunity like that?

Well, of course, that would mean that they'd have to provide interesting unique products instead of the same crap available at every Disney Store in America.

St. Chris said...

I don't think the wand-demolition money could be better spent. Spaceship Earth is a "classic icon" -- the singularly most iconic and unique structure in all of Disney -- and the wand diminishes it. Removing the wand sends the message that Epcot is, in itself, worthwhile, without the towering presence of the dominating hand of Disney Marketing.

St. Chris said...

(The wand is, after all, the most prominent signage in the whole damn park. "Better signage" does sometimes mean "less signage.")

SilentSpectre said...

Since I'm doing a lot of Disneyland research for my upcoming trip, I noticed there's an Innoventions in DL's Tomorrowland. I also read that they do demonstrations of Honda's ASIMO robot. Could it be that an export of EPCOT's core area is more interesting than the original? I can't compare yet, but was wondering if anyone else could.

dean said...

I didn't bother visiting Innoventions on my last trip to Disneyland so I can't say for sure what they have in there now. For me it started out as a thrill as I once again got to ride the rotating carousel ring, and the new Tom Morrow animatronic is pretty wild to see, (think Robin Williams). After that it was quickly downhill as we were subjected to a hard-sell presentation on the latest gadgets. It was perhaps more in your face than Epcot's Innoventions. After escaping the onslaught, we found ourselves in Video Game Land. Upstairs is Corporate Display Land.

I'd only go in there again to ride the ring, and see Tom Morrow. Then run upstairs, step out on the balcony and pretend I have just emerged from Carousel of Progress. With all the great stuff there is to do at Disneyland, Innoventions is not worth the time.

Sabrina said...

The Legacy Wall,

I for won love the legacy wall and here is why. I start and end every trip to Disney in Epcot. When I enter EPCOT I walk over to the legacy wall and say hello to my father. My father who died in 9/11. My father whom rarely took photos of himself. In the legacy wall there is captured a picture of a younger me, with my father. I am sure there are many other photos on those walls of those who have passed on, and I am sure that the family members of those people are grateful for that. That was the whole point of leave a legacy, wasn't it? So that years from now someone like me can walk into EPCOT with my children and go "those panels there, that is me grandma, and that person he was your grandfather".

So I am so sorry if they ruined your ideal aesthetic, but I for one will be eternally grateful that they are up.