Walt Disney: One Man's Dream

[Comment added to "Walt Disney: One Man's Dream" at IMDB on 12/11/2004 by Robert Watson]

This program was a promotional for the 1982 opening of EPCOT, Disney's third theme park on the same property with the second theme park, Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, USA.

The Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow was Walt's dream to build a real research community where real people actually lived. He envisioned it as a place where urban planners and other researchers would live and work to find new and better ways to design cities, homes, transportation, etc. The concept drawings I saw in a film they used to run in the Welcome Center just off to right as you enter Walt Disney World's Main Street, were of a hub-and-spoke city with high-rise business buildings at the center and monorail loops extending out like spokes to the suburbs of homes.

I think he also expected it to be a kind of educational park as well with rides that would carry the public, unobtrusively, through the research areas.

Alas, with Walt's death in the 1966, so too died the dream... except for the name. The money lenders apparently like the futuristic concept and so went ahead with EPCOT as another theme park. Ironically, the characters representing the "money people" in this program (all played by the great Carl Reiner) repeatedly express the view that Walt should keep doing more of the same (i.e. "think mouse","more pig cartoons") instead of trying new things. Maybe the writers were taking a subtle jab at what EPCOT had become?

There is (or was some 15 years ago when I was last there) one pavilion in EPCOT that captures the flavor of what Walt had in mind. It's called "The Land" and is sponsored by Kraft. It has a boat ride (a la "Small World") through a mixture of animatronics scenes and actual hydroponics gardens and things where they experiment with alternative ways of growing crops and such.

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