EPCOT Construction: The Story Behind The Renovations
In 2019 at the D23 summit, Disney announced a massive overhaul to the EPCOT park in Orlando Florida’s Disney World. Since then, massive construction projects have been taking place and there’s no sign that they’ll be done any time soon. This park has an interesting history and the roots of these construction projects is founded in the essence of EPCOT.
The History of EPCOT: The Initial Vision
EPCOT actually stands for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. It was thought up by Walt Disney himself who wanted to utilize the technologies created by “Imagineers” (the name for Disney engineers) during the construction of the Disney park in Florida.
In fact, EPCOT was, in Walt Disney’s mind, meant to be a community for people to live and work in. Walt Disney was a big believer in trying to solve the challenges that faced modern communities and that was exactly what he wanted to do at EPCOT. He wanted to have about 20,000 people living in residential sectors of EPCOT with a “city center” for education, entertainment and employment purposes. This city center was to be called Progress City. He wanted to bring employers and businesses into Progress City and for the entire area to be a complete neighborhood. He even envisioned EPCOT to be covered by a climate control bubble to keep the weather, plants and people living in pristine environmental conditions.
When Disney passed away in 1966, his vision of EPCOT died with him; no one knew how to take his dream and make it a reality. However, the plans for an educational park that focused on technology did move forward. This is what acted as the foundation for the EPCOT we have today.
Changes to EPCOT
EPCOT covers more than 300 acres of land and is 2 times the size of the Magic Kingdom. Some of the top highlights included the Living with the Land pavilion, Spaceship Earth and Soarin’ Around the World.
The plan in 2019 for EPCOT included the creation of four new neighborhoods. These include the World Showcase, World Celebration, World Discover and World Nature. Currently, Innovations East and West have been demolished to make way for these new neighborhoods.
The Resource Impact of Building New Rides and Attractions
Along with redoing neighborhoods and the layout of EPCOT, these construction projects include many new rides and attractions. Construction of new amusement park rides takes up major amounts of resources and materials – especially concrete.
The new Guardian of the Galaxy ride’s foundation used 9,260 cubic yards of concrete and over 80 miles of rebar. It took 300 workers 17 hours straight to pour and fill the foundation. When you think about needing to reconstruct foundations for an entire park, that’s a huge amount of resources that would be needed.
This may explain why the project seems to be lasting forever with walls and construction barricades blocking tourists all over EPCOT. There is so much construction going on right now that many people even question if it’s worth visiting at the moment.
Image from Theme Parx.
The Renovations and Revamp of EPCOT
The purpose of EPCOT was to give visitors a look into the future, to taste some of the latest technologies and to provide an out-of-this-world experience. As tech advancements take off at lightning speed, the revamp of EPCOT is happening to bring the park up to speed with the latest advancements and technologies.
The new World Showcase neighborhood will focus on culture, food, architecture and traditions. Country pavilions such as France, Canada and China will have revamped scenes and stories. World Celebration will house Spaceship Earth and focus on human experience with a focus on storytelling. World Nature will continue to educate visitors about the preservation of nature, the awe-inspiring things that nature has to offer and how we are working to balance new advancements with the natural world. A new Moana-inspired Journey of Water exhibit will help incorporate water into World Nature like never before. World Discover is all about science, space and technology. Intergalactic adventure will seem closer than ever with expansions on Mission: SPACE pavilion and new interactive attractions to bring space to visitors.
These four neighborhoods will help take EPCOT to the next level and continue to maintain the park as a leader in innovation and futuristic technologies.
The Future of EPCOT
Despite not becoming what Walt Disney first imagined it to be, EPCOT is still the third most visited theme park in North America. The construction happening on EPCOT may seem continuous and never-ending but the future goals for the park are clear: to take EPCOT to new heights and make it a worth-while attraction for decades to come.