Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Feasible EPCOT Improvements: A Wish List

As my wife and I were doing some planning for our January 2010 trip to Walt Disney World, my thoughts turned to EPCOT, and how it could feasibly be improved. Obviously, I'd like nothing better than to walk into the park in six months to find Mission: Space gone without a trace, with Horizons sitting in its place like it never left. Unfortunately, that will never happen. Instead, I've come up with a list of twelve improvements that Disney management could make to EPCOT if they really wanted to. (Whether or not they're inclined to do so, and what it says about the competence of Disney management and the health of the company as a whole is a different topic altogether). Let's get started:

#12: Get rid of the graveyard at the entrance to Future World
In saner times, the space between the entrance turnstiles and Spaceship Earth was a wide open area that contained only a few planters of flowers and a fountain. Now we have this:

Is it a graveyard, or perhaps a war memorial? No, it's just a transparent attempt to get you to pull out your wallet just minutes after you put it back into your pocket after paying for your tickets. At least it was. From 1999 until 2007, guests could shell out $35-$38 for the dubious privilege of having their picture etched onto a tiny steel plate that was then affixed to the surface of one of the gray stone monoliths that litter EPCOT's entrance plaza. Now that the Leave A Legacy program has been discontinued, I really wish they'd just remove the monoliths altogether.

#11: Clean up Innoventions/CommuniCore Plaza
In the late 1990s, EPCOT was obviously invaded by a pointy-haired boss type who had a phobia of open spaces. It's the only way to explain what happened to the area around the CommuniCore buildings. What used to be a clean, open area with clear sight lines to the pavilions that ring the periphery of Future World was defaced into this:
Image borrowed from EPCOT Central 
It might've looked cool in the '90s, now it's just loud, and unnecessarily busy. I might be able to forgive it if those triangular tarp things served a useful function like providing shade against the Florida sun (which can be unbearable in the summer months) but they don't. If the clean, open lines of CommuniCore plaza seemed dated by the mid-90s, they're suddenly in vogue again. Look at Apple's industrial design: the cleaner and simpler their design aesthetic, the more units they sell. It's time to remove the tacky, useless tarps and the pointless whirlygigs that litter the area.

Check back later this week for Number Ten on the list. Thanks for reading!

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