Hello Friends and Family,

1983 - Epcot, Part 1

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Also in 1983, I visited Epcot at Disney World. Initially, DW only had one theme park, The Magic Kingdom, similar to Disneyland in California but with more space and additional attractions. Epcot is a self-contained theme park, dedicated to the celebration of human achievement, namely technological innovation, and international culture, and is often referred to as a "permanent world's fair".

Spaceship Earth is a geodesic sphere, the symbolic structure of Epcot since the park opened in 1982. Inside, a 15-minute ride took guests on a time machine-themed experience, demonstrating how advancements in human communication have helped to create the future one step at a time. This attraction is being refurbished but completion has been delayed due to COVID.

The Land is dedicated to human interaction with the Earth, focusing on agriculture, conservation, and travel. This attraction has undergone multiple sponsorship changes and re-imagining of attractions as they relate to the theme. It is still open today but is very different than during my 1983 visit.

World of Motion, sponsored by General Motors, was the former tenant of the Transportation pavilion at Epcot at the Walt Disney World Resort. It was an opening day attraction at EPCOT Center in 1982

Visitors would board moving four- to six-person Omnimover vehicles, and travel through scenes populated with Audio-Animatronic figures and projection effects. It was a whimsical look at the history and achievements in transportation, showing scenes from the invention of the wheel right up to the present day and beyond.

It closed in 1996 to make way for Test Track, a new thrill ride through a GM testing facility.

Universe of Energy explored the world of energy through four large-format film presentations and a slow-moving dark ride (on 100-person carts) through a jungle diorama filled with audio-animatronic dinosaurs.

In 1996, the Universe of Energy was updated as Ellen's Energy Adventure, starring Ellen DeGeneres and Bill Nye. Its next iteration is now the Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.

Journey Into Imagination began with vehicles “floating” in the clouds, seeing the silhouette of a strange blimp mixed with a vacuum cleaner, and hearing the humming and singing of its pilot. In the next scene the riders come right next to this vessel and the pilot, an old man with a red beard dressed in a blue suit and top hat, introduces himself as the Dreamfinder and says that he uses his vehicle to collect dreams and ideas to create all sorts of new things. He creates a figment of his imagination: "two tiny wings, eyes big and yellow, horns of a steer, but a lovable fellow! From head to tail, he's royal purple pigment, and there, voilà! You've got a Figment!" Both Dreamfinder and the dragon Figment imagine things to fill the "idea bag." When the idea bag is full, Dreamfinder declares that the ideas need to be emptied in the "Dreamport" which, as he says, is "never far away when you use your imagination."

The attraction has been "reimagined" twice but is still operating.

In addition to the BIG rides, the Disney Imagineering folks have added some interesting fountains. In this case, streams of water shoot vertically in perfect synchronization — as if they were dancing.

In this wide-angle view, you could see the variety of dance patterns that keep you entertained for some time.

These fountains were my favorites. A stream of water would shoot out of one of the circles and land in the next circle. Then two streams might shoot out at the same time from different circles. I also recall seeing a stream going from first to second to third to fourth in sequence. Captivating.

If you look carefully, you can see that this stream shot up about fifteen feet in the air over the heads of these three gentlemen. Only one is noticing the stream of water hovering above them before it lands in the circle on the near side of the walkway.

The back half of Epcot was envisioned as a perpetual world's fair. It seems to have stuck to the theme.

The Canada Pavilion was designed to remind guests of Canada's outdoors. It includes a canyon, a waterfall, gardens, a pool with fountains, and totem poles. Further into the pavilion, beyond the rustic log cabins, a small thoroughfare is designed to represent the British and French influences and heritage through its buildings; the Château Frontenac dominates the skyline to the right whilst English cottages adorn the left. An iconic Gilbert-Scott telephone box stands to the side, and often there is a direct connection on this phone to the boxes in the United Kingdom pavilion nearby.

The main attraction is Canada: Far and Wide, a Circle-Vision 360° movie of Canada's cities, scenery, and people. The pavilion also includes Le Cellier Steakhouse and the former home of the Celtic rock band Off Kilter. North American animal characters from Brother Bear (Kenai and Koda) and Pocahontas (Meeko and Percy) used to make the occasional appearances to patrons but have been absent from the pavilion for a few years.

The United Kingdom Pavilion, designed to look like a stereotypical British village, has English gardens including a hedge maze and a bandstand.

The shops sell British items such as tea, biscuits, toys, clothing, sports apparel, and Beatles merchandise.

A set of iconic Gilbert-Scott telephone boxes line a rose garden near the pavilion's restrooms, and often there is a direct connection on these phones to a similar box in the Canada pavilion nearby.

A band called the British Revolution performs British rock music covers from acts such as the Police, the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Blur, and Led Zeppelin. A comedic group, known as the World Showcase Players, used to perform humorous and interactive versions of "King Arthur and the Holy Grail" and "Romeo and Juliet" (renamed "Romeo and Edna").

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com