At 11 a.m. on Oct. 24, 1982, EPCOT Center officially opened to the public.
Huh? What about Oct. 1, you say? Well, that was indeed opening day, but "The Grand Opening Dedication Ceremony," as Disney called it, came two weeks, two days later. Participants received a lovely souvenir booklet commemorating the ceremony.
It contained the words below. I find these fascinating to consider in light of many discussions I've had with readers about whether Disney "gets it" when it comes to EPCOT and its theme parks. Those debates will not be settled by remembering these words. However, the following inarguably reflects what Disney publicly said about why EPCOT was built, what it means and how it reflected on the entire Disney company.
At a time when Disney's public comments tend to be focused on things like on EBITDA, return on shareholder investment and analyst opinions, it doesn't hurt to remember how Disney used to approach their theme parks: with a sense of excitement, enthusiasm and a little bit of mystery:
Some twenty years ago, long before the opening of Walt Disney World, Walt Disney envisioned a place where the greatest feats of human imagination and invention could be communicated to the benefit of all people. He called his idea "EPCOT" -- the Experimental Protoype Community of Tomorrow -- for he wanted to present alternatives and possibilities for a better life ahead.
From the beginning, Walt Disney World has been planned, constructed and developed with Epcot concepts in mind. Futuristic designs and technologies have been put into action as a matter of policy -- monorail and linear induction power transportation systems, a solar-powered office building, state-of-the-art waste treatment processes, the first all-electronic, fiber-optics telephone system, and much more. Then, too, since 1971 Walt Disney World has been host to the world -- 130 million people from 100 nations have visited this community.
Now we have a way to bring real focus to the importance of creative and futuristic processes and the value of friendship among nations. EPCOT Center is a permanent World's Fair of imagination, discovery, education, and exploration built with the help of leading American and international industries and with the cooperation of a number of governments. The Grand Opening and Dedication of EPCOT Center is a milestone. Walt's greatest dream is now a reality.
Walt Disney Productions