Part and parcel of Disney’s pride in its new theme park, Epcot Center, was the seemingly endless amount of documentation the park received when it opened in 1982. Not only did Disney want to promote its new and exciting offering, but each attraction had a major sponsor; these were the companies who had paid for the park, and it was important to keep them happy by giving each pavilion the PR treatment.
This wonderful little video seeks to present the tale of Spaceship Earth, the park’s visual icon. Is it a machine? A vehicle? A monument? You’ll find out.
There’s a lot to look for in this, aside from some really nice talking heads with various WED and PICO personnel. There are some great aerial shots of the new park; aside from the big empty lot where The Living Seas would later be built, you can make out a number of small infrastructure differences from today. The “rose garden” path from Journey into Imagination into World Showcase had not been built yet; neither had the path from World of Motion to the Odyssey. Look for the satellite dishes on the lawn next to CommuniCore East! And, of course, there’s the beautiful original entrance plaza, with its signature fountain.
The video features a brief but nice walkthrough of the attraction’s development, from early consultations with the Annenberg School at USC through to the engineering process. Ray Bradbury speaks a little of the park’s inspiration, although I find his version of history to be, perhaps, ever so slightly embellished. Keep an eye out for the Nautilus submarine in Ray’s office; that submarine – along with a similar amount of clutter – was still in his home study as of 2009. It was sitting in the corner, propped up against the wall; everyone has a Nautilus sitting around, right?
It’s neat to hear Claudio Mazzoli speak about the creation of that mural which we all have probably walked past a million times over the years. And some peeks inside the ride itself offer a look at the original 1982 staging; the Renaissance scene, in particular, has been changed over the years.