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From: Glen Wheaton
Date: 10-02-2014 14:48:00 pm

Subject: The Improbable Origins of Walt Disney's Epcot Theme Park


The Improbable Origins of Walt Disney's Epcot Theme Park

By Glen Wheaton

One of my favorite theme parks is Walt Disney World's Epcot in Orlando Florida. Being able to experience the cultures of different countries in just such a short walk is what makes this park so great. But just how Epcot got started in 1982 is quite a remarkable story, and it probably epitomizes the forward thinking that goes on with the Disney creators. Also, Walt Disney himself didn't envision this area as just another theme Park, but something a lot more visionary.

The concept of Epcot from the beginning was the vision of a community that was to set an example for other communities to emulate. Novel thinking regarding construction methods such as Disney's Contemporary Resort Hotel and the Polynesian Resort Hotel connecting Epcot by a transportation system, the monorail, was quite revolutionary. Special thought was put into maintaining the environment and ecosystem. This was a city that was going to start from scratch and become a prototype of cities of the future.

When the planning of Epcot started Walt Disney World was in its third year on its way to becoming the country's foremost family vacation destination. But there were a lot of outside forces going on at the time that would make most business enterprises pause and wait for better times. Right in the middle of the planning for Epcot was a worldwide energy crisis during the mid-70s. This not only caused gas prices to escalate (it is hard to believe that we were still paying less than a dollar a gallon) but fuel shortages caused long lines just to get gas.

Speed limits were reduced to 55 miles an hour, and all of this had a major effect on transportation throughout the United States. All of these issues had a major negative effect on attendance at Disney World, as it dropped by as much as 800,000 guests. But Disney executives, with the confidence that things are always going to get better pushed on, working eight years on the development and implementation of Epcot. In 2012 it celebrated its 30th anniversary as the sixth most visited park in the entire world.

So does Epcot realize the dreams of its founder, Walt Disney? Probably not entirely, as after Disney's death the company decided it couldn't run the city without the vision of its creator. Epcot has had an influence on the developments of cities such as Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista. But most believe that it really hit the mark on its showcase of international cultures and customs, which in the opinion of many people including mine is the top attraction in Walt Disney World.

If you are planning a vacation to this spectacular area, our? article ?on Orlando will give you some interesting information on Disney World. You can find more about Florida on our site? ?and we welcome you to take a look. Sean O'Kelly is an avid traveler and writer living in Chicago.

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Disney Travel -    07-09-2007 14:27:11 pm
      The Improbable Origins of Walt Disney's Epcot Theme Park - Glen Wheaton   10-02-2014 14:48:00 pm


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