Of course, these are just opinions, and your voice is welcome!
Also, a note to Disney's legal eagles: This blog is written anyonymously. Therefore, all suggestions and "creative" ideas are yours for the taking. There's no ownership here; if Imagineers or theme-park management likes what's written, by all means -- take the ideas as if they were your own!
These suggestions are written in absolutely no particular order. Step 10 is no more or less important than step 1; they're just ideas, observations and suggestions made in the spirit of optimism and global community that EPCOT Center used to embody.
With that ...
Step No. 1: Clean Up the Clutter
It's springtime, time for a thorough cleaning ... and EPCOT could use one the same way everyone else could!
Most notably are the open spaces throughout Future World. These spaces were designed to be open, to be large, to be easily navigable. The intention wasn't to line them with outdoor-vending carts, particularly those that serve no purpose than to sell random junk. So, we're not talking about getting rid of ice-cream and refreshment carts, though, frankly, those could be better themed and better located.
The most glaring offender here is that stupid Ballzac stand in the Future World East breezeway. In dozens upon dozens of trips to EPCOT, I've never seen anyone purchase one of these silly things. But lest any guest not understand exactly what a "Ballzac" is (am I the only one who finds the name vaguely sexual and a tad offensive?), the poor cast member staffing this location spends his or her shift bouncing the thing around. That can't be very fun, particularly when no one's buying your wares, so the cast member throws the ball around, tossing it to and fro, often losing control and hitting some unwitting guest in the head. Of course, it's not as if these are exactly lethal weapons, but this particular piece of clutter isn't just thematically irrelevant ... it's downright obnoxious. Pay off the Ballzac vendor and let this walkway just be. If you gotta sell Ballzacs, do it at a water park or a location like the Boardwalk or Pleasure Island, where at least the "zany fun" of the Ballzac can be appreciated.
There's also the issue of those early 1990s-era purple "carnival tent" structures. True, from some distance away, they frame the bottom of Spaceship Earth nicely. But even as that sort of visual framing device, the look can only be appreciated from a particular vantage point, and isn't necessary. Spaceship Earth doesn't need that sort of visual "enhancement."
Worse, from anywhere in Innoventions Plaza, it becomes impossible to actually see Spaceship Earth. And isn't that sort of the point?
One of the many visual splendors of EPCOT is to be able to see Spaceship Earth from virtually anywhere in the park. Whether in Future World or World Showcase, it's always there, visually linking the two halves of the park thematically -- depending on where you are, either symbolizing our future opportunities with its giant, silver sphere, or reminding you that we're all passengers together aboard Spaceship Earth.
So, it's ironic that the only place you can't actually make out Spaceship Earth anymore is right there in Innoventions Plaza, when it should be looming over you like a majestic reminder of everything EPCOT is about.
Lastly, there are the twin travesties of Test Track and Imagination. The latter is less offensive, but, still, are those banners and "temporary" signs really necessary to instill a sense of "fun"? Guests don't need all manner of signs outside an attraction to serve as a reminder to check out what's inside ... and if they're the kind of guests who do need those visual aids, well, maybe they just need to be a little more curious. The beauty of EPCOT has always been that inside each pavilion there are many different sorts of things to see and do. Imagination doesn't need garishly colored signs reminding us to check out the various attractions; it's too lovely and unique a place on its own.
But poor, poor Test Track. The World of Motion building used to be one of the most visually impressive structures at EPCOT, outside of Spaceship Earth. It gleamed in the Florida sun, it seemed massive; its sleek lines were simple and pure, and even for those who think "futurism" was overrated, it was impressive. From certain angles it still is -- when you're far away from it, looking at it from the side, crossing the promenade between Future World and World Showcase. But as you near Test Track, it becomes a horrendous visual clutter, looking for all the world like a construction site for a project that has never been finished, with scaffolding and temporary signs. (It always seems to me like those banners should say, "Open during construction!")
The best visual "sales tool" for Test Track are the cars zooming past the front of the building. Why is the rest of the "visual noise" necessary?
A cleaned-up EPCOT could return the park to some of its former glory, while still retaining all that is new (relatively speaking), different and exciting about its attractions.
Sometimes, simple is the best way to go.