Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Mom's Thoughts On EPCOT

For a while now, EPCOT Central has been meaning to share this letter from a reader. If Disney executives don't trust ardent Disney lovers who maintain blogs to give them some real perspective on EPCOT, perhaps they'll trust a new mom from the South, who offers some lovely and valuable perspective on how "real" guests respond to EPCOT.

Her name is Khrystie, and here's what she wrote:

I found your site after a family trip to EPCOT in June of 08. I hadn't been to the park since the late nineties, shortly after I graduated from high school. As a Central Florida native, I had grown up in the Disney parks and had an annual pass from about age 6 until I moved to South Florida for my undergrad degree. A self-proclaimed dorky kid, EPCOT was always my favorite park, by far. I loved learning, science and innovation.

I loved the longer rides, the information and music around the park. I loved that we could easily spend a whole day in Future World. My dad and I would recite the narratives to the films for Universe of Energy and The Living Seas. I still remember the big spiral ramp around the records display in the Communicore. The rainbow tunnel, the pin tables and the Makin' Memories pre-show at Imagination. I loved EPCOT dearly and had many, many fond memories.

I went to EPCOT that June with my three month old daughter, and selected that park specifically because I remember be able to ride almost every ride in the park as a child with my grandparents (including) my grandfather who was handicapped. I was fairly certain that my daughter would be able to ride everything as well. I left absolutely heartbroken and nostalgic for what felt like a great part of me that had been lost - a favorite pastime that I would never be able to share with my own children. Of the slower rides, Energy was set at such a decibel level that she was terrified. We went back in October, and at six months I thought the colors and songs in Imagination would captivate her, as we hadn't ridden it in June. The pitch-black and blast of air led to hysterics.

I went home and started searching for anything that showed a glimmer of what had been. This is how I found your site.

We were back at the park over the weekend. This time with my now 19-month old daughter and 10-week old son. As my daughter is a huge PIXAR fan, I at least thought she'd love The (now called) Seas. She got nothing from the ride. Her favorite part? The aquarium. The fish, the turtles, the sharks (all of which she knew by name). Her favorite part was the only part they haven't changed. Despite the fact that she watches Finding Nemo at least four times a week.

Although we were there a good part of the day, we only saw The Seas, a walk around the World Showcase, and a ride on Spaceship Earth. Apart from Listen to the Land, that's largely the extent of what is available for entire families with groups of varying age to do. I can't take my kids on Test Track, and I myself will not get on Mission Space.

I guess the point of this is simply (or not so simply, given the length of the letter) say "Thank You" for your site. There were smart kids out there, who even at six found time, heat and pressure, hydroponics and hydrolators profoundly interesting. I wish that my children would have been given the chance to experience it, and share the hope that one day they will.

In your site, I found a whole community of people who are willing to fight the dumbing down of society, rather than drifting along like sheep. Your opinion is shared - thank you so much for sharing it.