At D23 2019, it was announced that the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow is about to undergo a massive revamp. “Future World” is no more, and World Showcase will be joined with three new lands: World Discovery, World Nature, and World Celebration. This change will move the park closer and closer to Walt Disney’s original vision.
Let’s look back to Walt’s first televised unveiling of the plans for EPCOT and Disney World back in 1966.
“EPCOT,” Walt explained, “will take its queue from the new ideas and new technologies that are now emerging from the creative centers of American industry. It will be a community of tomorrow that will never be completed. But will always be introducing and testing and demonstrating new materials and new systems. And Epcot will always be a showcase to the world for the ingenuity and imagination of American free enterprise… an experimental prototype community of tomorrow that will always be in a state of becoming it will never cease to be a living blueprint of the future where people can actually live a life that they can’t find anywhere else in the world.”
While the execution has obviously changed, EPCOT’s future leans closer and closer to what Walt originally set out to create.
The Community of Tomorrow — A Living Blueprint of the Future
EPCOT has become more than just a new design for the American city. EPCOT is becoming THE experimental prototype community of tomorrow: a GLOBAL community of tomorrow where we as one people live together at the apex of harmony and diversity. It will be a place where we celebrate the world together, where we will embark on world discoveries together, where we will study admire and help preserve the natural world together, and where we will showcase a world where nations live together in peace and community.
New Ideas and New Technologies; New Materials and New Systems
Don’t let the “theme park” facade fool you. An immense amount of innovation can and will continue to be found in EPCOT. Real innovation takes place at The Land and The Living Seas in what will be called World: Nature, and real innovations are what make the famous attractions possible. And that innovation–from the automation behind IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth to the operating systems on the brand new Guardians of the Galaxy ride–is all possible thanks to, as Walt praised, “the ingenuity and imagination of American free enterprise.”
A Showcase to the World.
Okay, you can’t live at EPCOT, and the promise of people movers and a completely enclosed space was broken in favor of a massive walking only area with almost complete exposure to the Florida sun. Yes, the studio’s characters and the fictitious amusement rides are starting to infiltrate more and more. BUT IT STILL WORKS.
At the end of the day, EPCOT exists to be a showcase and inspire all who visit. Whether you decide to visit Mary Poppins in the United Kingdom, polish the remnants of your high school French with a waiter during dinner at Les Chefs de France, SCUBA dive in The Living Seas, or undergo astronaut training at Mission: SPACE, we are supposed to be inspired to go out, immerse ourselves in the real world, contribute something, and make the world a better place.
That is all Walt Disney wanted: a place of innovation and coexistence where free enterprise leads the way in solving the many problems facing the cities of today. EPCOT as we know it rides the wave of free enterprise develops that innovation, and helps us face the problems of our cities by inspiring us to be innovators in our own right. And EPCOT also reminds us that as long as we have a common goal–be it interplanetary discovery, preservation of nature, celebration of our history, or simply the desire to eat, drink, and be merry–we can all get along and work together as seamlessly as a WEDWAY People Mover.
With this in mind, and learning more about the new and biggest Walt Disney World fireworks spectacular on its way, we can’t wait to see what’s next for the “community of tomorrow that will never be completed.”