The second park of four to open at Disney World in Orlando, Florida turns 30 today and will be holding celebrations starting at 3:00 pm and will have extended fireworks and light show tonight.
When Disney built Epcot, it cost between $800 million to $1.4 billion and was the largest construction project on earth at that time. Epcot’s parking lot is 141 acres, and Epcot itself is double the size of the Magic Kingdom, just a few miles away on the Walt Disney World Resort which spans 42 square miles, or larger than the state of Rhode Island.
To all who come to this place of joy, hope, and friendship—welcome. EPCOT is inspired by Walt Disney’s creative vision. Here, human achievements are celebrated through imagination, wonders of enterprise and concepts of a future that promises new and exciting benefits for all. May EPCOT Center entertain, inform and inspire and above all, may it instill a new sense of belief and pride in man’s ability to shape a world that offers hope to people everywhere in the world. —E. Cardon Walker, March 1, 1982
Epcot, Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow, is highlighted with a 16 million pound geodesic dome at the entrance and was featured on Disney’s family night on ABC television with Cinderella flying overhead. The Dome, called ‘Spaceship Earth’ is actually a ride, where guest gets on a vehicle that takes you on a journey to the early days of communications before the written languages became widespread and then forward through all the various stages and into the future.
Though I do remember riding ‘Spaceship Earth’ a while back and didn’t see anything about texting or apps for smartphones.
The park is dedicated to human advancement and technology with the first part offering various rides, some at high speeds, on subjects ranging from energy, communication, transportation, and imagination.
The second half of the park, called the ‘World Showcase’ featuring 11 micro-communities themed after a foreign country. Their guests can eat, shop, enjoy more rides, watch shows and interact with cast members actually from those countries which include; Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, The American Adventure, Japan, Morocco, France, United Kingdom and Canada.
Only Norway and Morocco are additions and not part of the original nine countries.
Some of the park’s best-known things to do include ‘Drinking Around The World’, Epcot’s ‘Food & Wine Festival’, Flower & Garden Festival and Holiday Around The World, which is Epcot’s Christmas event…
March 27, 1966: Walt Disney produced his final film, a promotional where he tells Florida residents the plans for Walt Disney World and EPCOT the city.
March 1, 1978: Walt Disney Productions CEO Card Walker reveals plans for the theme park EPCOT Center.
March 1, 1979: Groundbreaking and construction begin.
October 1, 1982: EPCOT Center opens to the public along with Spaceship Earth, Universe of Energy, World of Motion, Journey Into Imagination (Magic Journeys and ImageWorks only), The Land, CommuniCore, and nine of the eleven current World Showcase countries.
October 1, 1983: Horizons opens (later replaced with ‘Mission: Space’ after GE ends sponsorship)
October 1, 1984: Morocco opens.
January 15, 1986: The Living Seas opens.
July 1, 1988: Norway opens.
July 5, 1988: Maelstrom at Norway opens (a theatric boat ride set in the North Sea).
1993: First annual Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival.
1994: Name changes from EPCOT Center to Epcot ’94.
1995: First annual Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.
September 15, 1996: Universe of Energy reopens, now starring Ellen DeGeneres and Bill Nye.
March 17, 1999: Test Track opens (high-speed ride sponsored by GM).
September 29, 1999: The Mickey Mouse arm holding a wand is dedicated with “2000” (later changed to “Epcot”) over Spaceship Earth.
May 22, 2003: Reflections of China replaces the former Wonders of China.
October 9, 2003: Mission: Space opens.
May 5, 2005: Soarin’ opens at The Land.
October 2006: The Living Seas is redeveloped and becomes The Seas with Nemo & Friends.
July 9, 2007: Spaceship Earth closes for major renovation; Mickey Mouse wand is removed.
February 15, 2008: Spaceship Earth reopens with new sets, narration by Judi Dench, soundtrack, and interactive ending.