From The Model Shop…
EPCOT Center’s Equatorial Africa Pavilion, as seen from World Showcase Lagoon in this Imagineering model
One of the seldom-heralded benefits to the theme park history nerd that the internet provides are the many, many artist portfolios that have appeared online over the years. Disney is notoriously stingy about releasing Imagineering art, especially that of a historical nature, so a nice back-window into the Imagineering process comes when ex-Imagineers are out looking for jobs and post samples of their previous work. Lots of treasures can be found that way.
Recently someone was kind enough to point out the online portfolio of artist Jon Seisa, which includes quite a bit of art, illustration and model work. Of interest to us is the work Seisa showcases from the old WED Enterprises model shop, featuring some fantastic model work for EPCOT Center. You can find a lot more on Seisa’s site, but here are a few highlights.
Another shot of the Equatorial Africa model, this picture shows the treehouse from which guests would look out over a moonlit African watering hole. Via rear projection and dimensional sets, animals would appear to emerge from the jungle to sip at a pool.
This photo of the Equatorial Africa model shows part of the interior courtyard. The structure on the right was meant to be a shop. Through the giant tusks to the left, guests would enter a “sound safari” which would re-create a jungle trek using audio tricks and directional sound.
Here’s a model we’ve seen before; World Showcase circa 1978.
At last – something that did actually get built. This model shows one of many humorous scenes from General Motors’ World of Motion
Finally, here’s another “Lost Epcot” classic. Tony Baxter’s original vision for a “Land” pavilion. This fascinating concept of a series of glass-enclosed biomes containing several attractions was eventually abandoned when Kraft signed on as sponsor and a more food-oriented pavilion was designed.