Michael Eisner didn’t get EPCOT.
He didn’t understand it, he didn’t like it. He wanted to make it more “exciting.”
And so, when he arrived at Walt Disney Productions in 1984, those grand expansion plans for the park were all put away, never to be seen again. Instead, EPCOT would begin to see a series of special events; cheaply-put-together extravaganzas would help plug the park and reduce the need for major capitol investment.
They would be trendy. They would be exciting. They would be…
Well that’s a darn sight more exciting than Equatorial Africa or Journeys in Space, innit?
In October of 1987, EPCOT premiered the gallingly out-of-place Daredevil Circus Spectacular in CommuniCore Plaza. In the shadow of mighty Spaceship Earth, there would now be four-times-daily exhibitions of various sorts of circus-related derring-do.
But surely, you say, even Eisner couldn’t have been that daft. Surely the circus, with its tightrope walking and elephant straddling, had no place in Future World? Well that, dear reader, is where you and your stupid, stupid brain are completely wrong. Because, you see, this was a circus of the future…
Excitement beyond your wildest dreams comes to Epcot Center in the incomparable Epcot Daredevil Circus Spectacular in Future World. Billed throughout the cosmos as “The Greatest Show In Space,” the Epcot Daredevil Circus Spectacular is an intergalactic thrill show that puts you in the middle of the main ring while a galaxy of stellar performers make you believe the unbelievable. In the eight-ring “spacearena” above CommuniCore, an interstellar cast will tingle your spin, shatter your senses and pound your pulse. Marvel at the sight of Mutant Prehistoric Pachyderms! Stare awestruck as Space Cyclists race toward Spaceship Earth high above you suspended on a wire! Question your own eyes as a Sincotron climbs the heights of a space probe needle! It’s a thrill a minute with Aquilons from Alpha Centauri, Amazites, Archturian Power Drones and Web Women displaying strength and beauty on Archturian Vines.
It’s a once-in-a-millennium epic extravaganza! Don’t miss the Epcot Daredevil Circus!- Disney advertisement, October 2nd, 1987
See! Future! It all begins with story! Sincotrons! Web Women and Archturian Vines! Power Drones! Aquilons! What didn’t this show have? Well, aside from dignity.
While this most special of special events only lasted five short months, it marked the first of many assaults on Future World’s sensibilities to come.
But there’s a silver lining – it gave Regis a chance to be ringmaster!
Here, from the 1987 Very Merry Christmas Parade, is our man Regis hamming it up as ringmaster of “The Greatest Show In Space.”