Thursday, October 14, 2010

Where's the Original Plans to Epcot

Q: Why is the Epcot of today so different from the original plans given by Walt in the Disneyland show? Also, what ever happened to those original plans that hung on the wall in the background?
Joe, Springfield, Missouri

A [Dave Smith]: Walt Disney's 1966 film giving his ideas for EPCOT were shown on local television stations in Florida, but not on his regular television show. Since Walt did not have time to refine his ideas before his untimely passing, plans had to be changed in ensuing years to make the project viable. The original plans for EPCOT are filed at Walt Disney Imagineering.

The Florida Project – September 9-11, 2011

The Florida Project

I wish I could have attended the opening of Walt Disney World in 1971 (some of you reading this probably did – lucky!). One of my all time favorite Disney films from that time period is called “The Magic of Walt Disney World.” It was released in 1972, but I recall seeing it on the Disney Channel in the 1980s. What a classic slice of Disney – the lush sounds of Buddy Baker; the images of polyester and people eating food; groovy music in Tomorrowland and just pure 1970s Disney fun. A different time and a different place. It is in that same vein that I’m pleased to announce “The Florida Project: a Disney Trading and Collecting Experience” coming to World ShowPlace at Epcot on September 9-11, 2011. The image above is a rough concept poster designed by Chris Chapman from Disney Design Group. He is the lead designer for this event and spoke about the origin of this event.

“With the 40th Anniversary of Walt Disney World in 2011, we wanted to focus on the feeling of nostalgia that people have when thinking about those early years,” said Chris. “The story for this event involves an alternate Preview Center that we uncovered. It was never used because the official Preview Center opened on Buena Vista Drive. The experience will be as if you stepped back in time as we will pay tribute to as much as possible from that era.”

Vintage Walt Disney World Postcards

When we had our initial idea session, I brought several of my vintage Disney items to share (it’s one of the things I collect – Disney merchandise from 1970 to 1984). We looked at vintage postcards, at images in souvenir books and even at my Polynesian Village glass vase (behold those 1970s colors). We all agreed that we wanted the merchandise created for this event to have a similar vibe.

Vintage Polynesian Village Glass Vases

“We plan to create a retro look with the character designs” explained Alex Maher, senior character artist with Disney Design Group. “The character designs in the early 1970s were unique. We want to incorporate a similar look with the merchandise we are designing.”

Vintage Walt Disney World Souvenirs

As mentioned, this event will be a Disney Trading and Collecting Experience. This means you will find a variety of items from pins to Vinylmation to potentially some additional categories. And there will be trading (of course). I consider this event an evolution of our Disney Merchandise Events. We still have plenty of details to finalize, and feedback to consider from our previous events. I will share additional information in the coming months on the Disney Parks Blog, so stay tuned.

I leave you with one final question: Did you visit Walt Disney World in the 1970s? What was it like (as sadly my time machine is still not functioning)? I’d love to hear your stories.

Everyday, Disney fans send dozens of questions for Disney Chief Archivist Dave Smith. Here are Dave's answers to your questions. Check back every day for a new post with a new question.

Dave Smith (born October 13, 1940) was the Walt Disney Archives founder and chief archivist which is located in the Frank G. Wells Building at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California. He joined the company June 22, 1970. Forty years later, on July 2010, he retired.

oº Marcio Disney Family Sites Network ºoº

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