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DEMISE OF AN EPCOT ICON
Of all the Disney parks, Epcot is my favourite, not only because of its variety, but also because it is one of the most attractive. But sadly, one of the Epcot icons is soon to disappear. I am sure all of us will have been drawn to the sight of the huge silver sphere which greets us as we arrive at the gates of Epcot. This shimmering 180 ft globe contains one of my favourite rides, Spaceship Earth, and it can be seen from all over the park.
But since 2000, the globe has had the addition of Mickey Mouse’s arm, with its sparkling wand reaching up into the sky, celebrating Walt Disney World’s 2000 millennium celebrations. The whole structure, including the arm, is 257 ft tall, and is the tallest in all of the four parks. With its removal, the Epcot dome will become only the third tallest structure, with Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom, and the Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios overtaking it. Both of these structures are an estimated 199 ft tall. However, it will still be the tallest iconic park centrepiece, together with the 180 ft tall Cinderella’s Castle at Magic Kingdom. The Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom is 145 ft tall, and is the next tallest park centrepiece, leaving the sorcerer’s hat at Hollywood Studios the shortest at 100 ft tall.
Sadly, the decision has been made to remove this colourful illuminated glove and wand logo, which has also served as a lightning conductor. If you do not visit Epcot before July 9th, 2007 then this wonderful icon will be no more. Alongside the removal of the arm and wand will come the demise of the 36 ft high ‘Epcot’ letters, plus the coloured stars that shimmered across the top of the globe.
Spaceship Earth, itself is due for refurbishment, and will close on July 9th, too. This attraction, which once offered a glimpse of the future, but which now has been overtaken by the speed of technology today, is undergoing extensive renovations, sponsored by Siemans AG. It is expected that all the work will be completed by November, 2007, when it will re-open.
But for me, Epcot will not be the same without the sight of Mickey Mouse’s arm lighting up the skies as we walk slowly out of the park, after a wonderful firework and laser show. Although purists have always maintained that the image was out of character with the architecture of Epcot, I, for one, will mourn its demise.
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