The History of Epcot

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Florida Guide > Epcot

The History of Epcot

The EPCOT project all began with one man’s vision. Walt Disney’s original idea was to create a community where people could both live and work. His idea was to build a perfect city with reliable public transport, a civic centre that would be covered by an all-weatherproof dome and idyllic housing for twenty thousand residents. He envisaged a clean city without dirt and grime. He wanted to build it in the shape of a circle with the housing around the perimeter, businesses in the centre, which would be surrounded by community buildings and schools. Transportation within the city would be by monorail or people movers (similar to the WEDWAY people mover in Magic Kingdom, now called the Tomorrowland Transit Authority). All traffic was to be kept underground so that pedestrians would be safe.

It was all very hush, hush and the project was given the name “Project X”. Meetings took place in a special room at the Disney studios in California. If you visit Magic Kingdom, during your holiday, be sure to look out for the original concept model of this futuristic city on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority ride.

Walt came up the name EPCOT, which is an acronym for ' Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. ' Cast Members have their own interpretation, “Everyone Person Comes Out Tired” and just for added amusement “Excruciating Polyester Costume Of Torture” or “Every Paycheck Comes On Thursday”.

Unfortunately, Walt’s vision for EPCOT never came to fruition. Walt died of lung cancer in 1966 and so the designers had to rely on Walt’s past thoughts to continue his work. Walt had visited the Florida room several times a week during the planning stages, bringing with him new ideas and inspiration.

Walt’s brother, Roy Disney was worried by the idea of building the perfect city. He saw it as a money-losing proposition. After all, Disney was just a movie studio and, so after Walt’s death, the original plans were scrapped. The new idea was to build a taller, bigger park than Magic Kingdom and to include hotels built around the edge of the park.

After three years of construction Epcot eventually opened on 1st October 1982 at an estimated cost of $1. 4 billion and was named EPCOT Center. In 1994 it was renamed Epcot ’94 followed by Epcot ’95 the following year. In 1996 it became Epcot, no longer spelt with capitals, as it was decided that the park no longer reflected Walt’s original plans for a futuristic city.

The park consists of two sections: Future World and World Showcase. You may notice that the sidewalks have been painted a special colour of pink. This is so that the grass looks greener and also so that any photographs taken will look brighter. Those Disney Imagineers think of everything!

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