Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I ♥ EPCOT. Honest.

The photograph above is a perfect example of why. I’ve traveled to many points of the globe, and there are few memories more lovely to me than standing on the edge of World Showcase Lagoon at night, after Illuminations has ended and the crowds are leaving. The view is magnificent, there is blessed isolation (even amid many people) – it’s serene and beautiful. Click on the picture for a larger-sized version.

It’s just one of the many reasons I love EPCOT Center (yes, I know that’s no longer the official name).

Several people have subtly accused me recently of concurrently bashing EPCOT and caring too much. For the record, I don’t want to do the former and I could never do the latter.

What I don’t like is that the people in charge of EPCOT and of Disney’s Theme Parks & Resorts division don’t seem to care very much at all. They want EPCOT – all of the parks, really – to be easily marketable, to be almost interchangeable. That’s why you’ll now find Nemo at Disneyland, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and EPCOT. It’s why Mickey Mouse is at every park … lest anyone forget that they’re at a “Disney park.”

In this way of thinking, “Disney Parks” are all the same. The joyful individuality they used to have is stripped away; walking through Disney-MGM Studios you’re reminded less and less of the glamour of Hollywood and more and more of the ubiquity of Disney. Likewise, EPCOT has lost its grand themes and has become about buying more Mickey merchandise (even the shops of World Showcase have taken on a sameness).

That’s what I don’t like.

What I do like? Ahhhhhh … that list is almost too long to detail, though I did take a stab at it several months back.

I love that EPCOT was designed to celebrate the best in mankind’s nature, and still does that to a certain degree. The ingenuity of humans is on display, and that makes me happy.

I love wandering around EPCOT and just … looking. At nothing in particular, just taking in the feeling of being there, the festive environment of World Showcase and the implicit majesty of Spaceship Earth hovering above everything, almost everywhere you go.

I love Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, which is still perhaps the single best attraction of any sort Disney has ever created (and, yes, I know that’s saying a lot, but I love it that much).

I love the moment the curtain rises in the Universe of Energy and you begin moving forward into the world of the dinosaurs; no matter how cheesy and silly the attraction has become, that moment still holds power.

I love rising into Spaceship Earth, despite the jerky, lurching feel that the attraction has taken on. I love hearing Jeremy Irons’ voice intoning, “Like a grand and miraculous spaceship, our planet has sailed through the universe of time.” Wow. Gets me every time!

I love staring at the artificial reef in the Living Seas (oops, the Seas) pavilion; yeah, Sea World is great, but there’s something about this place, about watching the silent little oceanic dramas playing out in front of you, that is really spectacular.

I love Ice Station Cool, though I love it a little less without the igloo (which is strange, because that comment absolutely contradicts everything I generally say and feel about what Disney has done to the old Communicore); it’s one of the most unexpected, meaningless little throwaway, commercially driven attractions, but I still get a sense of discovery about the way other people live when I go in there – oddly, it kind of (as Foxxfur commented) conveys the spirit of EPCOT.

I love the Fountain of Nations, whether it’s performing or not; it’s a bold visual feature, and it just “works.”

I love the “upside-down” and leaping fountains in front of the Imagination pavilion; how fun are they? They’re one of the few holdovers from 1982 that haven’t changed at all, and they don’t need to.

I love Listen to the Land. I imagined that I would hate it when they took away the cast members, but I have to admit it works well now, and it’s genuinely compelling and insightful. Even the interior films and limited-motion animatronic figures seem to have thought and care put into their creation.

I love the “splashdown” moment in Maelstrom, when you suddenly feel as if you’ve been transported to the North Sea. That one moment and the entry into the Norwegian fishing village are two perfect little “show” moments that absolutely transport you to another time and place. (For that matter, I still love the Norway travelogue that plays after the ride, no matter how impossibly and unbelievably dated it has become; Norway seems like a fascinating place.)

I love that EPCOT is there to discover at your own pace. If you’re in the vast majority of guests who just care about getting a ride fix and moving on, you’ll get your fill at EPCOT. If, however, you like to move at your own pace, you could (even still) spend three or four days solely at EPCOT and not discover everything there is to see and learn.

Much of EPCOT still works. It’s the parts of EPCOT that are so clearly “malfunctioning” that get me angry and agitated, simply because so much of EPCOT works so well, these problem areas seem that much worse.

EPCOT is still a wonderful place. It has a spirit, and try as they might, they can never quite take that away. The planning, design and execution of EPCOT Center was so strong, a lot of it still shines through, even 25 years later. Try as they might, they can’t take it away completely.

I wish they would quit trying.


What do you love about EPCOT? I'd really like to know! I hope you'll post a comment and share your thoughts, especially you Disney folks (and I know you're out there). Don't worry, when you choose "Anonymous," you really do remain anonymous ... no one will know it's you. (Even me!)


FoxxFur said...

Bravo! And Bravo on your previous post too. - John at The Disney Blog recently posted something similar (on us so-called 'Traditionalists'). I came close to posting a reply when I realized I actually had nothing to add.

EPCOT is astonishingly enriching expirence once you slow down and look and feel and think. I love the interior marketplace courtyard in Morocco, the one with the beautiful false wood slat roof. I love Mexico, and I hope I still love it once they put Caballeros in. I love the France theatre and the film they show there - it's brilliant film, it's smart, it's restrained, and it still moves audiences.

I think it's still nice to get a salad in The Land and sit in the courtyard, even if it hasn't got a fountain anymore and now it's a mob scene - the quality of the food being put out there with the new kitchen is worth the hassle.

I love Mitsukoshi's department store and restraunts - Yakitori House, the tea house up on the hill, is the nicest takeout stuff in World Showcase. I love the Matsu Lounge, overlooking the lagoon, which is a wonderful place to get some tempura chicken, tea and ice cream on a rainy day.

I love Norway, even if now you're being forced the walk the "Gift Shop Gauntlet" just to get out. Malestrom is still charming in a strange, incoherent way.

I love the music they play in Future World - it's silly and it's synth but for me and many people my age, that loop says "EPCOT" like nothing else ever can.

There's thousands of reasons I love EPCOT beyond those, but those are things that come to mind - simple pleasures. When you've been there as often as I have, it's the simple pleasures I look for now in places like Magic Kingdom and EPCOT. And that's what seperates those from MGM, Animal Kingdom, California Adventure, and more. And I simply don't go back to those parks.

Anonymous said...

I too love the music - that cheesy, fake, futuristic music that plays in Future World. In fact, I remember it used to be cheesier and I still love it!

I love the music on all the rides and pavilions - except for the MExican boat ride, which grates. Having said that, I used to work on the boat ride so it's easy to see why I got sick of the music, after listening to it 8 hours a day, 5 days a week!

I love the architecture and the way it honestly tries to recreate countries, down to the cast members that populate each pavilion. I particularly love Mitsukoshi - when I went to Japan (really for real Japan) I felt like I already knew this store!

I love Illuminations as this is the best fireworks show I have ever seen, anywhere.

I absolutely adore Spaceship Earth - both as a ride and as a building (sans wand of course!). I just love Jeremy Irons whispering in my ear and telling me all about communications.

I loved Horizons but of course that now is gone. THat ride had the best music of any ride anywhere!

I love that I can just sit and watch the Fountain of Nations do its "thing" and it kind of gives me a sense of peace. I love that Epcot always feels more airy and spacious than other parks and that I truly feel that I'm somewhere special.

Finally, I love that I met my husband while working in Epcot. I would have never met him otherwise, as we come from very different countries! I love all the friends I made from all over the world during my time in Epcot and I love that, when we return, it feels like home.

Anonymous said...

I haven't been to Epcot in too many years, but I still love it and always will.

I love the grace and power of the Spaceship Earth globe. I love the travelling street show in the UK. I love Figment. I love the topiary sculptures and I love that I still get teary-eyed when I hear "Golden Dreams" from the American Experience.

All that said, I really miss Horizons.

Even so, I still can't wait till I can save some money and bring my little girls there.

Digital Jedi said...

>>>I love the moment the curtain rises in the Universe of Energy and you begin moving forward into the world of the dinosaurs; no matter how cheesy and silly the attraction has become, that moment still holds power.<<<

You know, your right. I got it again the last time I went to Epcot. The rising curtain reminded me of the first time all over again.

I love Mexico. It is the one and only pavilion of Epcot that I can literally spend hours in. I'm 32 years old, and I still can't stop starring at the volcano. When I first rode El Rio del Tiempo as a child, I was mildly disappointed. I ride it now and remember the simple charm of a basic Dark Ride. I then lament that it's one of the few left.

I love Spaceship Earth at night. The hues that reflect from it's surface are both beautiful and frightening at the same time. The monolith welcomes you to the park in one manner. Then bids you adieu in another. It's Epcot Center's face, and it feels alive.

I love Illuminations. And I love how it's never quite the same twice.

I love to eat at The Land. I feel fed there, as opposed to the IHOP we stop at for breakfast, which just makes me feel full. Not fed. There's a difference.

I love the French Bakery. It's usually where I stop for dinner, even though it’s just pastries. It's wonderful pastries.

I love the statues in The American Adventure. They stir me every time.

I love EPCOT Center too. And I'll call it whatever I damn well please. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I'm in love with illuminations too, I make sure to head to Epcot to watch two or three times a week.

And as for Disney-MGM, that's why I like to go at night. The glitz and glam are still there, it's one of the only places at Disneyworld I can go and really forget that I'm in central Florida.

Rough and Tumble Boy said...

I love that EPCOT has a message, one that is heartfelt and honest, even if it's a bit saccharine at times, or even unrealistically hopeful. But it's that hope that drives a true sense of wonder through every vein in my body. It is a marvel. It inspires.

I love that it leaves me feeling creative and energized simply through its majesty. Not that I leave thinking, "I'm gonna conserve more energy" or "I'm gonna learn more about the seas" or "I'm gonna be more daring in my soda choices." I just mean that it always gives me a sense of "Wow! Look what we can do!" when it comes to architecture, technology, and design. And in turn, I've chosen careers and hobbies that ultimately have the same goals as EPCOT. And, yes, it impacted me that much during my first visit in 1989.

And, gosh darn it, I love Figment. That little guy makes me smile.

Anonymous said...

As I mentioned in the comments for the previous article, I love how Epcot provides, here and there, the equivalent of a playground -- a place for unstructured play with specially-designed features of the landscape -- without making it look like a playground, and without excluding anyone of any age:

The swirling fiber-optic lights in the sidewalk in the northwest corner of Innoventions Plaza. (The color cycles are in disrepair; I dearly hope they receive some proper upkeep by October 1.)

The jumping fountains by Imagination. You're right, they never need to change.

The fountains that pop up from the sidewalk, seemingly with a mind of their own.

These are places that play and that openly invite you to play, without getting in your face. You can take the invitation or just watch them as art. You can enjoy them alone or with others, even strangers. They have no "themes" or tie-ins or time limits or goals or rules; they're just beautiful and fun.

And they're part, I think, of another thing you mentioned: Exploration at your own pace. I can just wander if I want to; I can approach a great many things (like those "play" areas) at my own speed. That's what I most deeply love about Epcot.

Anonymous said...

It's been mentioned before, but the Matsunoma Lounge in Japan has to be one of my favorite things in all of EPCOT. Sitting there in the afternoon enjoying sushi and tempura while watching people wander around the World Showcase is just magical. It's so calm and quiet there - it's like you're not even at a theme park anymore. And the views of World Showcase and Spaceship Earth from up there can't be beat.

Here's hoping the upcoming refurb doesn't change that wonderful atmosphere...

Anonymous said...

there's so much to love at epcot. it's hard to believe as a child i didn't fully enjoy the epcot experience. i couldn't appreciate it more now.

i think the one thing that epcot has, that is only really rivaled at mgm, is space. lots and lots of space to wander and to enjoy simply just being a part of something bigger than yourself. whether people watching around the fountain of nations or wandering the world showcase for shopping, eating or simply just being. there's nowhere on disney property to simply wander and see what you find. the hidden paths of the world showcase and linked together shops only add to this feeling. it really is all about the discovery and never knowing where you might end up.

Anonymous said...

You're absolutely right, Anonymous. This wasn't always the case, of course. I used to enjoy wandering the Disney Village Marketplace, before it became Downtown Disney, because it was relatively quiet and calm and allowed for exploration. Likewise, many of the resorts used to present an experience like this, one that allowed for relaxation and enjoyment. It seems these days that everything has become about SELLING you something and creating a feeling of hyperactivity and disquiet. So many of those places at Walt Disney World and Disneyland are gone now, and more's the pity.

Anonymous said...


All these responses are pretty good. You're one sharp group in here.

Me? I love strolling World Showcase in a moderate rain. It's like nothing else.

Anonymous said...

I TOO LOVE IllumiNations -- the current incarnation is by far and away my favorite Disney attraction. We always linger for at least an hour after the show, and have never been herdered out of the park.

Also, just strolling around World Showcase after sunset, sampling drinks from around the world, making conversation with people from all around the world, where else can you do that? I find the Cast Members in World Showcase are the friendliest in all of WDW!!

I think the public has caught-up with Epcot, as more and more people tell me after their vacations that it was their favorite park.

Anonymous said...

I love the architecture of Future World (World Showcase is not too shabby in this regard either). I love how it is so big and inviting and optimistic. It shows a benign future where human and technology live in harmony with one another. It also feels almost retro (I know this wasn't the intent, but it was built in the 80's) which, to me, almost connects it to the idealized World Showcase areas. It is because of Epcot that I am going to study architecture in college.
I love the shot of the Golden Gate Bridge in Soarin, the wild intensity of Body Wars and the great Cranium Command show. I love the Mission: Space courtyard and the Big Blue World segment of The Seas With Nemo and Friends. I love the Chinese soda at Club Cool. I love the volcano scene of El Rio, the hokey song in Oh Canada, the Chinese Acrobats, the American Adventure show, and the hidden little museum in Morocco. I like the holiday ending of Illuminations and the lasers projected on Spaceship Earth. Heck, I love the entire fiber optic portion at the end of Spaceship Earth. There is too much awesome stuff at Epcot to see in one day.

Epcot82 said...

These comments and feedback are great. Of course, the danger, Dale, is that Disney would hear a comment like yours (that more people are telling you it's their favorite park) and reason, "Well, all of those changes must be working -- let's put in MORE cartoon characters and take out the old crappy stuff no one likes!" I hope that's not what they would glean from this, but worry it is.

Anonymous said...

I think the things that people appreciate in the "new" Epcot are very interesting. I also hear people remark that they love it, but the things they like actually are highly reminiscent of EPCOT Center. Attractions like Soarin', I:ROE, M:S and TT, SSE, etc. all fit the old mold to a large extent. They are meant to be fun, inspiring, and showcase what we can do as a species. They use music (sometimes more, sometimes less) to create this sense of wonder. They challenge people of all ages to hope, dream, and ask questions. That was what EPCOT Center did best. I find it interesting that the attractions that are not doing so well, especially after rehab, are those that look to cheap forms of entertainment (IMAG, the new Seas, etc.). These are not bad attractions; they just miss the mark (especially the Seas where the use of Nemo as the catalyst for sea exploration could have been so easily done with just some dialogue change to the ride narration/end and Turtle Talk). However, I hope for a day when this uber marketing trend releases. As someone said above, Disney is pushing excitement. It is overwhelming. I remember being very excited as a child, but it was more in hopes of experiencing everything. It was more constrained so the excitement came from within. Now, it feel forcefed. It is certainly exciting, but it is not simultaneously relaxing. I feel worn out, not worn out but very satisfied.

Klark Kent 007 said...

My attraction to EPCOT center (I can't call it otherwise either) is the World's Fair experience.

I have grown up in Orlando, and I went to EPCOT center when it opened, and was enamored at once. So much wonder that it was hard to handle.

Then in 1984 I was surprised by my mother for my birthday with a trip to the World's Fair in New Orleans. The pavillions of the different countries, technology demonstrations, the performances, it was genius. When we returned I have realized that we had our own World's Fair here in EPCOT center.

The difference was, that EPCOT center was far better than the World's Fair... It was there all the time, and they could add more to it. This made me want to go every day and see what new things were added.

I have finally purchased an Annual Pass (this is my second year of having one, and I don't know what I did without one) so I can go whenever I want. So when I go I usually wander around the World Showcase, stop into some of the Future World pavillions, or just stop in for lunch.

Anonymous said...

On second thought, what I love most about Epcot is the feeling it gives me: Hope for the future.

I think that's my singular litmus test for whether any attraction "is Epcot" or not.

BTW, when I visited in December, the ubiquitous Christmas music stripped that from most of the outdoor spaces. The feeling went from "Hope for the future" to "HEY! IT'S CHRISTMAS!"

I want my Epcot music back.

Dr Scott said...

My wife and I went to EPCOT 7 years ago and loved it, easily our favorite park. Loved the discovery and exploration all around; like a cross between the best parts of a museum and an amusement park.

Went back 2 years ago, now with kids in tow, hoping they would have as great an experience. A bit over their heads, but it was great to see them smile and run all over. At the World Showcase they had masks on sticks and went country to country having the mask "stamped" and decorated. Great (and *gasp* affordable) family dinners at the Moroccan and Japanese cafes, fireworks at Illuminations, the beautiful gardening around Canada, lots of wonderful memories. And when they'd get tired we'd sit them in the stroller and enjoy just walking around the park.
I want to take them back in a few more years and see what they think at that point. Hopefully it will still be just as exciting for them--and for us.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for creating this blog. I too am a fan of EPCOT and deep down, I hope that EPCOT becomes what it really should be. It should be appreciated for its uniqueness and I being the same age as it, I feel like it would be wonderful to see EPCOT as an adult that helps tell people of innovation and what may be in the future for all of us.

EPCOT Center is my favorite theme park while growing up because of Spaceship Earth. It is beautiful and even though the ride inside the sphere is old and run-downish, I still find myself amazed, learning of how life has changed in the centuries and that part when you are in the heart of the sphere and it is dark and you see stars (from what I recall), it gets to me.

I love walking around the countries and my family would always stop at each country, taking a picture. Like when we were at the United Kingdom, my sisters and I would always get a photograph at the tradional red telephone booth.

EPCOT Center has grown with me and the last time I went there, in 2005, I was disappointed with the entrance. The legacy walls should be moved. That area was wide open and was a great photograph location.

Hopefully everything that is a pet peeve of mine for EPCOT can be fixed. And hopefully the business folks in control of theme parks, will listen to the Disney fans, the people who care the most for the company, care for what Walt Disney had dreamed of and created.

Thanks again for creating this blog. You rock! ^_^

Epcot82 said...

YOU rock for caring so much about EPCOT! :-)

Unknown said...

I love:

1. International Gateway and each country's individual music loops;
2. The hopefulness of the World Showcase cast members;
3. The subtle changes in architecture between Future World East and West;
4. The Innoventions music loop;
5. The rose garden;
6. Standing in Future World, looking at Spaceship Earth and hearing/seeing the monorail 'whush' by;
7. The sheer audacity of the concept;
8. Did I mention the music?

Anonymous said...

I remember going to EPCOT Center back in 1984 with my family. I was 7 years old at the time. I remember playing the Imagination area with the pin needles and all the other interactive games. My grandparents even let me get a plush Figment stuffed toy that was pretty big! I remember watching the Presidents and even dressing up in nice clothes to eat dinner at the Japanese area. I remember being in awe as we came around the corner and saw the brontosaurus area of the Universe of Energy ride. The room was so large and swampy feeling! It was so cool! I love EPCOT. i was just there this past weekened but only very briefly. My first time back there since 1984. I am now obsessed with it and reading everything about it online. I want to go back before they tear down all the old attractions!

Epcot82 said...

Ah, remember the days when people used to dress up, even at Walt Disney World? But that's a different story altogether. Thanks for sharing some nice memories!

Anonymous said...

7. The sheer audacity of the concept;


Epcot's a grownup's park. Kids want to come, they have to play grownup.

What a great bunch of posts here. Epcot is one of the most beautiful parks in the world's history. My favorite: the rock-fusion bagpiper in England, I forget the band's name. They were superb.

Anonymous said...

This video along with the incredible clips and awe-inspiring music embodies what you talk about on your blog. Enjoy.


Anonymous said...

The Epcot you loved? After the first five years, people stayed away in droves. Nobody wanted to go to the "educational park." The bottom line -- the park is too big and too expensive to run. If it does not appeal to the masses, Disney cannot afford to run it. Don't forget that this is a business, and stockholders expect a profit... not praise from superfans.

Epcot82 said...

I don't even know where to begin, Tomorrow's Child.

If you know anything about the history of Disney theme parks (which, strangely, most Disney theme park executives don't), you'd know that the attendance slump isn't just normal -- at this point, it can be predicted. Disney did a brilliant, unprecedented job marketing EPCOT Center at the time; one executive said the goal was to "make sure every person in the United States has heard of EPCOT Center," and they came close.

There was never a perception at the time, either in the media or from guests, that this was an "educational" park. That was never the aim of EPCOT, either. It was not focused on cute and cuddly Disney characters, nor was it centered on thrilling roller coasters. It was a new breed of theme park, and what Disney did so incredibly well was communicate that to guests.

It would be hard to argue that EPCOT "does not appeal to the masses" when it remains what it has been from Day One: The second most-attended park at Walt Disney World and one of the five most visited theme parks in the world.

"Nobody" wanted to go? Even at its lowest ebb, EPCOT Center still attracted more people than any theme park in the United States except Disneyland and The Magic Kingdom. Hardly a disaster, I'd say.

Nor would I say "Disney cannot afford to run it." That's just silly. I don't know what the park's operating budget is annually, but my guess is that it's substantially lower than the amount of money Disney will lose on Apocalypto.

I never forget that this is a business. How could that be forgotten?

But I believe it's a business whose owners (the shareholders) expect and are entitled to a different definition of "success." Anyone who invests in Disney, whether at the institutional or individual level, understands that it is inherently a creative business. Creative ventures come with more risks than traditional business initiatives. The folly, I believe, is trying to manage a creative business to traditional corporate expectations. The only way truly revolutionary success comes in a creative business is by "betting the farm," something Wall Street is loathe to see happen.

When you try to manage a creative business on a quarter-to-quarter, FY-to-FY model, you end up with mediocrity. Open the movie section of your local paper and you'll see what I mean: It's filled with movies that make a profit (and thereby satisfy investors), but that have no shelf life, do not succeed creatively and really are not much more than time-fillers.

Again, if that's ALL you expect out of your business, then fine. I believe Disney used to expect more.

They used to dream of building a place like EPCOT Center. Today, they're content to half-heartedly manage a park called Epcot.

This investor/owner wants more than that.

(All that said, if you're so down on the "educational park," why did you choose the name "Tomorrow's Child"?)

Captain Schnemo said...

I have to agree that the best thing about Epcot is the atmosphere (even moreso since Disney seems intent on ruining the individual elements). The music, the architecture, the sense that there is more at work than a simple collection of interesting and fun things to see and do.

More than any other Disney park, Epcot is great just for wandering around, absorbing everything. How many families never even see the little Japanese museum tucked in the back or learn the about the acoustics in the dome in China? How many people have actually seen all the live entertainment? Gone backstage at the Land or the Seas?

No one can claim Epcot is a "one day park" and seeing something you've never noticed before, even after you've been there dozens of times, is it's own sort of magic.

I think the public has caught-up with Epcot, as more and more people tell me after their vacations that it was their favorite park.

I think this might have more to do with us than the park itself. Epcot has always been the park with the most adult appeal and I've found that the older I get, the more my peers enjoy it. Reliving your childhood in the MK is one thing, but you can't really appreciate Epcot to its fullest without a sense a perspective.

As for dropping attendance...I'd really like to see some numbers, but the one obvious necessity of a park like Epcot is the continual need for progress. Not the backwards-looking toonification that's going on now, but the constant advancement of ideas and exhibitions to keep ahead of the times. You can't build something called "Future World" and then let all the tech become outdated. When Innovations is less interesting than the local Circuit City, the solution is to look forward, not back.

kim said...

You nailed everything I also find gloriously endearing about EPCOT. I'm returning to WDW for Spring Break to celebrate MY 25th B-day AND EPCOT's!!!

You and I love the same things about this place. I can hardly keep from running through the park just to get to everything I love about it that much quicker. I keep the Illuminations music & We Go On at hand on my iPod at all times!

That's all. =)

Epcot82 said...

Have a great time, Kim!

I have to admit, I am a tad embarrassed at how often I play both of those songs myself!

Anonymous said...

I appreciated the comment that someone made about the physical size of Epcot, and particularly about Future World. That aspect of size also relates to the pavilions/attractions, especially in the initial versions. In many of the pavilions... SSE, Energy, the (Living) Seas... there was so much space for each attraction that you couldn't help but have an immersive experience. And with a large amount of space, you had a lot of time to experience the attractions in the pavilion... even if it was just a long ride like SSE.

Contrast that with Mission:Space, and you see how the elements of an immersive experience are abandoned. Most of the interior seems to be the queue; then you have a four-or-five minute ride and that's it. Even the post-show area seems like it was the victim of budget cuts... smallish and dominated by a big video game. The comparison is all the more obvious when you compare M:S to the completely immersive experience that was Horizons. The same could be said (although they did a much better job with it) for Test Track.

I have heard rumors that UOE is not long for this world; I can only hope that the replacement (for this 45 minute experience!) is more than just a quickie thrill ride, and with something for the guests to take away from the experience, even if it's just a few thoughts on energy conservation. About the only thing that most guests take away from M:S is a headache.

One of the nice things about Soarin' is that the large, airy queue seems to be appropriate for the ride experience. For that ride, the music, the atmosphere seems to be about right, although I do think the ride could be a few minutes longer.

Anonymous said...

all I can say is "on the money" i am glad to see that other people feel the same way i do about EPCOT. EPCOT is by far my favorite park in the world, and i remember what it was like when it first opened in 82. i miss communicore terribly, and there are things about the park that drive me up the wall because they are so dated. overall, WDW truly is the best place in the world - that is why we had our honeymoon there, and we joined the DVC, so the memories that i had growing up at disney can be shared by my children.

Anonymous said...

I love a number of things at EPCOT center (I to will never let the name go). Spaceship Earth this is my favourite disney ride still operating. To me it is everything great about the future, that hopefully we'll live to see. The land it still works despite the changes brought on by soarin' I was expecting to hate it now (even though I lost intrest in that corner of the land after kitchen cabaret left) but
I was pleasently surprised. This is the one area of EPCOT center that has not lost it's resolve of 1982 one bit. I haven't been in the living seas since it's changed, It was under construction last time I was there and I didn't go in. I dislike going to half open Pavilions. Journey into imagination, I loved the original and try as I might to hate this one I can't, plus the fountains are beyond rad. I also greatly enjoy Universe of energy. This is the only update that I feel didn't lose any education value. And world showcase is still perfect.

my only concern is with the new pavilions test track and space though great rides I find thaey fall short fo EPCOT. but they shouldn't in concept they are perfectly adequite perhaps some more pavilion instead of shop. and don't get me started on innoventions.

I do have to agree that EPCOT is still a place you can spend days in as I do without relying on nostalgia.