Sunday, April 17, 2016

Day 1203: The Epcot that Once Was


I wasn't around back in the 80's when Epcot first opened, and I barely remember some things from my youngest years in the late 90's, but I do know that the Epcot that once was is very different from the one that sits in Central Florida today. It's a shame really, because the original Epcot was popular, and there's a huge community of fans that would love to see it restored to its former glory. Actually, most people just really want Dreamfinder back, but I don't blame them at all, because, well, me too. And Horizons too!

Pretty much every pavilion at Epcot has undergone major changes, with the exception of World Showcase, which has stayed relatively the same until just recently. Back in Future World, on the other hand, very little of the original park still exists. Spaceship Earth is close, still telling the story of communication through a slow-moving trip through time, but the World of Motion has turned into Test Track, and Horizons was demolished to become Mission SPACE. Even the Seas has changed drastically with the addition of Nemo and his friends, a change that actually brought life back to the pavilion. In Imagination, Captain EO has come and gone multiple times now, and meanwhile, Figment barely holds on without is pal Dreamfinder, and back on the other side The Universe of Energy is quickly becoming both rundown and outdated. Even Innoventions is looking it's age as half of it sits empty, and as the other half is in danger of the same.


And yet, many of us try to keep the memory of the old Epcot Center alive. I see both sides of the story here, really. A good part of me agrees with the fans, wishing to see some of our favorite vintage attractions return because, really, they were so much better than some of what's there now. On the other hand though, I'm not entirely sure that those old attractions would appeal to the general public today. Attention spans are shorter and the appreciation for the dark ride has come and gone. Instead, I really think we should be putting our energy into combining the thrills of modern Epcot and the stories and educational quality of the past. 


Where this theory seems to work already is the Seas, where Nemo has taken over. Some hate the addition of the little fish, but you can't argue with the fact that the pavilion is once again somewhat popular, and that it's at least somewhat nice to have an attraction back in there! Plus, over the past few years I've noticed the educational programs picking up speed, and overall the pavilion seems to be running much like it did years ago, just with a different theme. 


There's some problems with this theory too, since many of the original attractions were outdated by the time they left, and just like with Tomorrowland, it's difficult to keep attractions and areas ahead of the curve continuously without doing major remodeling every few years. It's where we lost Horizons and the end of Spaceship Earth. And current educational programs in the United States are far different from what they were in the 80's and 90's, mostly because we're more opinionated now than we were then, meaning attractions that promote healthy eating and exercise, much like Kitchen Kabaret and Food Rocks did, will no longer be popular with guests. 


In the end, I suppose we'll have to just go with the flow here and force ourselves to keep moving forward. As much as we might want the original Epcot back, even I'm not sure that it would be the right fit for our current society, and while I agree not everything should be about money, I'd rather keep Epcot open and running smoothly than see the sequel to The Carousel of Progress one more time. 

Although bringing Dreamfinder back might be a good compromise. 

Have a magical day!