The Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (E.P.C.O.T) was a concept developed by Walt Disney near the end of his lifetime that went as far as elaborate visions and plans and the purchase of property near Orlando, Florida that eventually became the Walt Disney World resort, including Epcot (formerly known as EPCOT Center), a related concept transformed into a theme park. It was a “community of the future” that was designed to stimulate American corporations to come up with new ideas for urban living. Of E.P.C.O.T, Walt Disney is quoted as saying, “E.P.C.O.T will take its cue from the new ideas and new technologies that are emerging from the forefront of American industry. It will be a community of tomorrow that will never be completed. It will always be showcasing and testing and demonstrating new materials and new systems.”
Walt’s original vision of E.P.C.O.T was for a model community, home to twenty thousand residents, which would be a test bed for city planning and organization. The community was to have been built in the shape of a circle, with businesses and commercial areas at its center, community buildings and schools and recreational complexes around it, and residential neighborhoods along the perimeter. Transportation would have been provided by monorails and People Movers (like the one in the Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrow land). Automobile traffic would be kept underground, leaving pedestrians safe above-ground. Walt Disney said, “It will be a planned, controlled community, a showcase for American industry and research, schools, cultural and educational opportunities. In E.P.C.O.T, there will be no slum areas because we won’t let them develop. There will be no landowners and therefore no voting control. People will rent houses instead of buying them, and at modest rentals. There will be no retirees; everyone must be employed.”
All these elements were imagined by Walt Disney and his staff with new and advanced designs and technologies. This project was conceived between 1962 and 1966 (Walt Disney’s death) and even if it did survived a couple of years it was stopped in the mid 70’s and never developed. Some elements did survive in the Walt Disney World resort as we know it today, like the World Showcase concept, but so much more was planned. Unfortunately, the project has lost its main energy: Walt.
Of course we all know that to EPCOT of today is much different than Walt’s vision. This park gives Disney a chance be both grown up and still child friendly at the same time. I see it as the most dynamic park in the Disney family. EPCOT is always hosting different events and it is the showcase for some of the newest technology in the parks. From gentle attractions like Space Ship Earth to the speed of Test Track to the thrills of Soaring, future world captures and inspires the imagination of folks young and old. It give us a peak into would could have been, and what could be, with a good dose of what really is right now. In the world Showcase EPCOT treats guest to an introduction to the world. The blend of cultures from around the world. A stroll around the promenade lets you experience culture from Canada to Norway, with Mexico, China, Japan, Morocco and France mixed in.
As an adult now I would like to be able to spend time roaming in all of the shops and talking to the cast members for the various countries, but as it is still just a lovely walk for my 7 year old that may have to wait a few more years. At that point I will show my wife the back way through Morocco and the small garden at the end of Japan.
I think the two best time of year to go to EPOCT are for the International Flower Show in the spring and the EPCOT Food and wine Festival in the fall. With horticultural displays Themed flower and garden displays where you’ll learn new tips and techniques you can try at home and educational designer presentations along with Interactive play areas for kids and of course the famous topiaries displays of Disney characters the flower show is reason enough to visit. The food and wine festival, is just as an extreme event for the senses of taste and smell and the flower show is for sight in the spring. With over 25 food booths set up serving everything from Beer Cheese Soup to Sushi with wine and beer parings to go with them, adults can easily make a day of the festival.