Monday marks the anniversary of Walt Disney World’s Epcot theme park, formerly known as Epcot Center, in Orlando, Fla. The park will celebrate 30 years of one of its famous four theme parks with a look back at Epcot, called by through the years.
According to WESH.com in Orlando, Disney will embark on the D23 Epcot Anniversary Celebration on Monday, which functions as an “informative party” with a day’s worth of events looking back at the park’s history spanning over three decades. The celebration which began over the weekend goes through Monday with a 1 p.m. panel discussion with Disney Imagineers discussing Epcot’s “building tomorrow” at the World Showplace. At 3 p.m., Mariachi Cobre and Voices of Liberty will perform at the America Gardens Theatre along with Disney leaders for the anniversary moment. Along with special 30th anniversary merchandise for sale throughout the park, retired Imagineer Marty Sklar will speak at 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. about Epcot’s impact on the world.
Epcot was Disney World’s second park, which opened its doors in 1982, featuring staple rides and attractions with an emphasis on culture and tradition in order to educate patrons.
“Epcot is and has always been a theme park of discovery for guests curious about the people, places and progress of the real world,” Epcot Vice President Erin Young told BizJournals. “Epcot’s experiences make science, technology and world cultures fun, and the richness of these experiences inspire guests to discover things they didn’t know before.”
Over its 30 years, the park has been ranked the third most-visited theme park by researchers in the U.S. According to Young, a study found that the whole Walt Disney World Resort has left a footprint economically for the state of Florida, generating $18 billion annually, or 2.5 percent of the state’s entire gross domestic product (GDP).
And that’s exactly why Walt Disney built Epcot, which he called the “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow:” To generate profit during the “sorry state of cities in American in the early 1960s” with a modern Utopian city, according to SILive.com.
“The need is not just for curing the old ills of old cities,” Disney said of Epcot, according to SILive. “We think the need is for starting from scratch on virgin land and building a special kind of new community.”
“By far the most important part of our Florida Project … will be our experimental prototype community of tomorrow. We call it EPCOT … And everyone who lives here will have the responsibility to help keep this community an exciting, living blueprint of the future,” Disney said.
“Solving the problems of the city obsessed him,” former Disney animator and executive John Hench said, SILive wrote. “He thought if you could set an example, people would make changes in their own home town.”
The company Disney, however, prioritized the creation of its first ever theme park in 1971, the Magic Kingdom. But though Disney died in 1966, then-Disney president Card Walker continued his legacy three years after the opening of the Magic Kingdom by working on Epcot. The project took eight years and opened on Oct. 1, 1982. Epcot is more than twice the size of the Magic Kingdom and cost somewhere between $800 million and $1.4 billion to construct over three years. Divided into the Future World and the World Showcase encompassing 11 countries, Epcot has over 40 attractions open today, including the infamous Spaceship Earth centerpiece, which has over 11,324 triangles that make up the 16 million-pound globe.