by Martin Palicki, InPark Magazine Publisher
I am proud to confess that my favorite theme park is EPCOT. There are many parks around the world that I love, but if I have to choose, EPCOT wins. As a young boy I remember my father getting a promotional VHS tape from GM about the Walt Disney World Resort, then celebrating its 20th anniversary. The short video gave highlights from all around the parks, but most attention was given to EPCOT and the pavilion GM sponsored, World of Motion.
At the time, I don’t think I realized how groundbreaking it all was. I just remember thinking how cool it looked – particularly the vehicles on World of Motion moving on their inclined, curved track out of the load area into the open and then back inside the show building. I couldn’t wait to go.
I wasn’t aware of EPCOT’s connection to world’s fairs and at the time, I’m not sure anyone understood how formative the park would be for the themed entertainment industry. So many professionals in the industry today, many now heading up their own companies, got their start working for Disney imagining and building EPCOT.
Of course, today the connections are much more clear. While visiting Expo 2020 Dubai I had dozens of “EPCOT moments,” small touches in pavilions that I could connect directly to EPCOT, especially the park’s World Showcase pavilions. As Joe Kleiman points out in this issue, EPCOT was a pioneer in blending museum quality galleries into pavilion attractions. It’s a model that remains popular to this day. world’s fairs informed EPCOT, which now influences world’s fairs. The cycle continues.
I’m happy that we are able to celebrate all that EPCOT has been and continues to become in this issue. As the park celebrates its 40th anniversary on October 1, reflect on how our industry would be vastly different had the park never been dreamed up, explored, engineered, financed, crafted and built.