Nostalgia. That's how some folks may explain the continuing interest in the EPCOT Center of old. People like me are just reliving our childhoods, they say. The park's metamorphosis from EPCOT Center to lowercase Epcot still bothers us, not because the old pavilions were actually superior to what's there now, but because they were inextricably tied to happy childhood memories. It's the same reason people in their thirties still collect action figures and comic books, they say. We're unwilling or unable to let go of the past.
Is that argument valid? On some level, I'm sure it is. But I believe the enduring appeal of EPCOT Center has more to do with the fact that it appealed to different audiences simultaneously. Someone who enjoyed the old He-Man cartoon as a 10-year-old will probably discover that it's nowhere near as entertaining today. On the other hand, if that person stumbles across an old Horizons ride video on YouTube, they'll likely find it just as delightful as it was twenty years ago, but for a completely new set of reasons.
Thanks to a devoted fanbase, it's probably easier than ever to get your classic EPCOT fix. You can read thoughtful commentary at EPCOT Central, get a great overview of the original Future World at Lost EPCOT, explore the old Universe of Energy at the Universe of Energy Companion Site, and get your fill of Horizons at Horizons1.com and the Horizons Remote Access Terminal. You can buy EPCOT ride DVDs and music CDs at the Extinct Attractions Club. To this day, EPCOT Center continues to inspire and entertain. Will we be able to say the same about the park's current incarnation twenty years from now? Will there be Mission: Space and Test Track tribute sites? Will a marine biologist point to his childhood visit to The Seas With Nemo And His Computer-Generated Friends as the spark that ignited his interest in ocean life? And will anyone even remember Journey Into Imagination With Eric Idle, to say nothing of Honey, Dark Helmet Shrunk The Audience?
I seriously doubt it.