Walt Disney’s Epcot: The City that Never Was

Walt Disney was an amazing guy.  He gave us Mickey Mouse and Daffy Duck, Bambi and the Peter Pan, Disneyland and Disney World, and so much more – the foundations of childhood all around the world!  But did you know that Disney also plans for his own city? The heart of his enterprise was to be Walt Disney World and EPCOT – an actual Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, a futuristic city that would serve as a proving ground for the latest science and technology. Obviously, given the nature of the current theme park bearing the same name things did not go exactly as planned …

 

 

 

 

 

To start, it was supposed to be EPCOT City, not EPCOT Center, and it wasn’t a theme park with rides or admission fees.  It was an actual city.  A place where people would work and live out their days in what Disney called a “living blueprint of the future;” a perfect city with dependable public transportation, a soaring civic center covered by an all-weather dome, and model factories. It was meant to be “a community of tomorrow that will never be completed, but will always be introducing, and testing, and demonstrating new materials and new systems.”A vibrant new design for city living through which Disney hoped to seek new cures for old cities’ ills by luring in the best innovators in the world, a place where the captains of industry could test their solutions for the problems of modern-day city living.

Everything in Epcot City would radiate out from its epicenter “like spokes on a wheel.” Shopping districts, office buildings, convention centers, the hotel and a transportation center would sit at the heart of the community under a common roof, completely enclosed and climate-controlled.  Along the perimeter of this core would sit high-density apartment buildings, home to some of the city’s workers.  Just beyond these structures would be an expansive green belt upon which would sit community buildings, schools, churches, sports and recreational complexes for EPCOT’s residents.  Further out still, surrounding the entire development, would lie the low-density neighborhood areas.  Here houses would back up against broad parks where children could play safely, free from traffic.

So, what happened to Disney’s Dream?  Well, he died shortly after making this video.  And his dream turned into EPCOT Center, a theme parked, admission-charging pavilion of rides that talked a big talk about how “one day, in the future, someone will see to it that we will all live like this!”  Just think what might have been …

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