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Entries in epcot center (13)

Sunday
Aug302009

My First Thoughts on Paleo-Futurism (or how I learned to stop worrying and love Disney)

Me and Goofy (circa 1989)I've visited Walt Disney World about 20 times.

Now, for an elderly woman living in Orlando, Florida, this might seem like an appropriate number. But for a 26-year-old man who's lived his entire life in the Midwest, that number is fairly absurd. My parents got me hooked at a young age, and while my perspective on the Disney brand and favorite activities in Disney World have both drastically changed over the years, I keep going back.

It was in EPCOT Center that I first started thinking about paleo-futurism. By the mid-1990s, EPCOT was looking stale; a future frozen in the early 1980s. The park was almost a monument to a historical future, rather than a hopeful tomorrow, and even young children could sense this. Though an extreme comparison, it was somewhat like visiting Flushing Meadows to see the decaying remnants of New York's 1964 World's Fair.

EPCOT as a theme park sparked my interest in this concept -- a concept for which I didn't yet have a name -- but one ride in particular stands out as the most reflective, yet forward-thinking. Horizons was opened in 1983 and featured both a history of the future, represented by an animatronic Jules Verne, and the future as imagined in 1983. Disney and this ride have so invaded my thoughts that any time I smell oranges I still imagine the "farm of the future," as was briefly depicted during this ride.

Though the ride closed in 1999, I can still play through every scene of Horizons in my head. The ride stands out as an experience that introduced me to thinking about histories of the future, and got me to thinking about what futures survive in our collective imagination. Like movies forever lost to history because of negligence and poor archiving, I feel a special sense of loss that most will never get to experience this ride in person.

Oh well, at least Epcot still sells booze. Pour some out on the curb for Horizons. Or don't. That alcohol ain't cheap.

The clip below is from the 1991 souvenir video, A Day at EPCOT Center.

Previously on Paleo-Future:

Sunday
Oct262008

Report From the Year 2050 (1984)

My interest in futurism can probably be credited to two things: Disney's EPCOT Center and children's science books of the 1980s and 90s. One of my earliest posts here at the Paleo-Future blog covered the EPCOT Center book, The Future World of Transportation. I vividly recall checking out the three books in this series from my elementary school library, my sticky fingers pawing through the technological promises Baby Boomers never saw materialize but insisted we Millennials would soon enjoy. Just over that horizon, just a little further! The year 2000 is going to change everything! We swear! 

The number is just so big. And round! 2000! Look at all those zeros. 2000!
To the author's credit they figured out that to sound even remotely plausible and still make me wet my Underoos over the advanced technology featured in the book, one had to open with a year further out than 2000 A.D.

 

And thus the first chapter, titled, "Report From the Year 2050." Below are four renderings of technology we are certain to have by the year 2050 (if those lying, deceitful Baby Boomers are to be believed).

 

Thursday
Apr032008

Disney Paleo-Future Muxtape


The Paleo-Future Muxtape is currently featuring 12 tracks of Disney paleo-futurism. Listen while they're hot because this will be a constantly changing mix of audio. For a less paleofuture-focused Disney audio adventure check out the Epcot Muxtape.

See also:
EPCOT's Horizons
EPCOT Publicity Materials (1981)
Mickey Futurism (1980s)
The Simpsons go to EPCOT
Astuter Computer Revue
Rebuilding Tomorrowland (1966)
Disney Calls Future a Thing of the Past (1997)
Tomorrowland, Disneyland Opening Day (1955)
Space Station X-1 (circa 1955)

Wednesday
Mar262008

Sea City of the Future (1984)

This image appears in the 1984 book The Future World of Agriculture and illustrates futuristic farming techniques near a sea city.

Robots tend crops that grow on floating platforms around a sea city of the future. Water from the ocean would evaporate, rise to the base of the platforms (leaving the salt behind), and feed the crops.


 

See also:
Sea City 2000 (1979)
Robot Farms (1982)
Farm of the Future (1984)
Superfarm of the Year 2020 (1979)

Tuesday
Mar182008

SMRT-1 Concept Art (1982)


This concept art for the SMRT-1 robot at EPCOT Center is dated May 3, 1982. SMRT-1 was featured at the Communicore exhibit and "spoke" with visitors via telephones while playing trivia games.

The Widen Your World website has a pretty thorough breakdown of the Communicore exhibit. Their photograph of SMRT-1 appears below. Communicore was closed in 1993 and converted into the Innoventions exhibit in 1994.


Be sure to check out one of the Paleo-Future blog's earliest posts, which happened to be about the The Computer Song. The Computer Song was from the Communicore attraction, Astuter Computer Revue, and certainly gives you a taste of the early-EPCOT atmosphere.

See also:
Astuter Computer Revue
EPCOT's Horizons
EPCOT Publicity Materials (1981)
Mickey Futurism (1980s)
The Simpson's go to EPCOT
Westcot (1991)

Thursday
Oct182007

Mickey Futurism (1980s)


Jeff over at Hyperion 2719 has this photo from the 1980s of assorted Disney characters in their futuristic rainbow costumes.

See also:
EPCOT's Horizons
EPCOT Publicity Materials (1981)

Thursday
Jul262007

EPCOT Publicity Materials (1981)

The diverse and informative Disney blog, 2719 Hyperion has a very interesting post about the publicity materials sent out prior to EPCOT's opening on October 1, 1982. Below is a description of the attraction New Horizons from an early brochure.


New Horizons
An underwater colony is one of the future habitats highlighting your journey through New Horizons, presented by General Electric, In the Omnimax Theatre, you'll spiral through eight-story-high projections of the macro and micro worlds that form the building blocks of our future. And you'll take a whimsical look backwards at the tomorrows imagined by visionaries of the past.


See also:
EPCOT's Horizons
The Simpsons go to EPCOT
Astuter Computer Revue
Westcot (1991)