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Monday
Aug152011

Disney's "Project X" in 1966

It's easy to forget -- even for a Disney nerd like myself -- that before Walt Disney died of lung cancer in December of 1966, EPCOT (the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow) was supposed to be a real city. The code name "Project X" was given to the undertaking that would eventually become Walt Disney World, which today includes the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios and the Animal Kingdom parks.

The illustration above is an aerial view of Project X, while the image below shows the thirty story hotel that was to be the centerpiece of the city of EPCOT. Both are from the excellent book Designing Disney's Theme Parks: The Architecture of Reassurance, edited by Karal Ann Marling.

 

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Reader Comments (4)

I thought you were talking about that movie with Matthew Broderick and the monkeys...

August 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGreyhawk Grognard

I remember an article from the 80's by either David Gerrold or Harlan Ellison (most likely the former) about how Disney Inc had betrayed Walt Disney's plans for making EPCOT a real city of the future. It was also supposed to support research into existing problems with food production, pollution and the like. All of it was turned into a theme park ride after Disney died.

August 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterbG

@bG: if you ever come across that article, please submit it to Matt -- I'm sure his audience would love to read it...

August 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterA Lee Wade

I remember being so excited about EPCOT as it was being marketed with pictures like these. Now I look at it, and I'm underwhelmed. A single medium size skyscraper with an attached mall, theme attractions and apartment complexes built into the mall. A circle of housing developments leveraging light rail. It's not 'all that' anymore. Although I can't think of any single place that meets or exceeds this plan, there are plenty of edge city developments around interstate highway's that come close, only the light rail being absent.

And I guess that means that the future _has_ arrived after all, when the vision of yesteryear is the commonplace of today.

September 2, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjnutley

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