OpEd: Should Elon Musk Continue Walt’s EPCOT?

in Epcot

At first glance, lovable Uncle Walt and, one-time fourth richest person on Earth, Elon Musk, have little in common. But if there’s two things they share, it’s a fantastical vision for the future and a restless ambition. So I ask: what would an Elon Musk EPCOT city look like? Could Musk continue Disney‘s legacy and build his Florida dream city for real this time?

Related: Disney shuts down rumor that Tesla will sponsor Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland Speedway

What was the original EPCOT?

Elon Musk EPCOT
Credit: The Original EPCOT

Everybody knows that EPCOT is a Disney park at Walt Disney World in Orlando. It’s famous for its World Showcase attraction which samples exotic cuisine in its annual Internationa Food & Wine Festival. The park also features a number of famous rides and attractions like Mission Space and Spaceship Earth.

However, what only hardcore Disney fans tend to know is that EPCOT stands for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow and was originally stylized as E.P.C.O.T. This is because it wasn’t designed to be a theme park at all. It was supposed to be a city with over 20,000 residents designed by Walt Disney himself.

After the success of his Disneyland park, Disney was interested in building much more than just a sequel theme park. He dreamed of a city that would “never cease to be a blueprint of the future.” His dream for Florida wasn’t to build Walt Disney World, but rather a full blown community that would innovate new technologies and pioneer new ways of living.

He crucially intended to incorporate his famous monorail and PeopleMover for mass transit. There would be no cars above ground at EPCOT and the “pedestrian would be the king.” The city would feature hotels, convention facilities, camps, an airport, an industrial park, and of course, a theme park dubbed The Magic Kingdom. Some sketches even include an impressive dome surrounding the city.

Most importantly, Walt’s vision stated that nobody would own their property and all would be required to work within EPCOT. This was so that new technology could be easily implemented into the homes of each worker to test new innovations on a regular basis. The city would welcome visitors from across the world and Disney would hire staff that could speak a myriad of languages to cater for any guest.

Sadly, Walt’s vision of E.P.C.O.T. never came to fruition as he died during the planning stages in 1966. Disney executives quickly altered his plans to focus on the well-mined theme park industry and Walt Disney World was eventually born, along with The Magic Kingdom and a futuristic park with the ambitious concept’s namesake.

You can find out all you’ll ever need to know about the concept at The Original EPCOT information site.

Related: Relive EPCOT’s Opening With This Image of Spaceship Earth

Elon Musk and the need for innovation and imagination

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Ok, so where does Elon Musk come into this? The South African-born billionaire needs no introduction and is a world-famous giant in American industry. His work founding companies like Tesla electric cars, The Boring Company, and SpaceX are but the tip of the iceberg on this eccentric billionaires’ “to do list.”

Musk has been described as a real-life Tony Stark, a fitting tribute as the entrepreneur was not only a heavy inspiration for RDJ’s portrayal of the hero, he even played himself in a cameo role in Marvel‘s Iron Man 2.

The point is, if there’s one man in the modern world with the finance, infrastructure, and passion for the future to pick up where Walt left off with EPCOT, it’s Elon Musk.

Musk has been vocal about innovating new ways of community living, though unlike Walt, he looked to the stars and, more specifically, Mars. Musk has also proposed revolutionary mass transportation methods like the Hyperloop, a device that he claims could see transport from Los Angeles to San Francisco reduced to a mere thirty-five minutes.

Related: Top 4 countries we wish were in World Showcase at EPCOT

Elon Musk and EPCOT

Elon musk EPCOT

Musk’s innovation in the transport industry and dreams of a future city should sound familiar. They directly correlate and reflect Disney‘s dreams for EPCOT, albeit with a modern infusion of eco-friendly technologies.

Disney‘s EPCOT dreamed of a world where cars would be hidden in tunnels underneath a true utopia. Perhaps Musk’s EPCOT would utilize self-driving cars or use his proposed rockets as an alternative to Walt’s airport. Musk has previously stated that these hypothetical transport rockets could make travel to anywhere in the world take less than an hour.

Musk’s passion for the continued advancement of technology that push the boundaries of what is possible also align with Walt’s vision for the capitalist utopia of EPCOT, a place where brand-new products would be implemented into every aspect of life and innovation would never sleep.

Related: EPCOT: “British Revolution” and other World Showcase Pavilion Acts Hold Final Performance

So, should Elon Musk develop a modern version of the EPCOT concept?

elon musk epcot

Of course, all of this depends on Musk actually being at all interested in the idea of EPCOT. It also might rub more than a few Disney fans up the wrong way that an iconic attraction like EPCOT is evolving into a passion project for an ultra-rich eccentric with an – erm – “flowery” vocabulary. Indeed, Musk has had more than a few controversies that have made much of the public weary of his antics and vivacious personality.

It’s also unlikely that Disney‘s Imagineers would be involved in any capacity as the Mouse has left technological and social development firmly in the past in favor of theme park and multi-media production. If Musk were to develop EPCOT, it would likely be in name only, and perhaps it wouldn’t feature even that. Walt’s basic dream for a futuristic city has been intrinsically entwined with the EPCOT park from a brand point of view and Musk would most likely aim to put his own unique spin on the idea anyway, complete with an unpredictable name.

For now, Disney fans will likely have to make do with EPCOT, a favorite park among Disney lovers for sure. Though it lacks the glitz of Disney‘s Hollywood Studios or the animalistic attractions of Disney‘s Animal Kingdom, EPCOT has something no other park has: a fascinating history and a continued goal to bring people together through explorations of culture, exotic food, and futuristic fantasy.

Though it’s far from Disney‘s original dream, we’d like to think he’d be pleased with the park, particularly the Imagination Pavilion and World Showcase.

As for Elon Musk, though I doubt he’d be interested in Disney‘s E.P.C.O.T., I’ll be ready and waiting to report on the day that he does.

#RemembertheFuture

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What do you think? Would an Elon Musk EPCOT city work? Let us know in the comments below.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Inside the Magic overall.

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