Wednesday, August 17, 2016

More EPCOT models

Here are more photos of some early EPCOT models, as shared with us by former Imagineer Mike Devlin! I don't know about you, but I love models of just about anything.

Let's start with three photos of the Mexico Pavilion. According to Mike this was at least the third attempt on the pyramid design, and one rejected concept showed a pyramid with glass sides like a modern office building. I agree with him when he says, "Thankfully, historical accuracy won out"!

Notice that this model was built in shades of gray, including the foliage; Mike said that this was done so that the designers paid more attention to the shapes and designs, rather than being dazzled by superficial colors. Once the design was finalized, Mike said that the models were repainted in the finished hues.

I have never been to EPCOT, but I'm guessing that the Mexico pavilion does not have all of those spiky agave plants (or whatever those are supposed to be). Nothing like sharp pointy plants in a place where the public is going to be!

How about this beautiful model of the Italy pavilion? There's the reproduction of the campanile in St. Mark's Square, with the Doge's Palace to our left. I don't know if gondolas were ever a part of the actual pavilion as it was built, and if the public was supposed to be able to ride in them.

This second photo shows the model as seen from the back. Mike says, "The building in the bottom left was created to house Michelangelo's David, hopefully on loan to Disney for EPCOT's grand opening (it didn't happen). I took the time to create a scale version of that statue for the model, asking Blaine Gibson for tips about armatures and modeling clay". Wow, Blaine Gibson!

Thanks to Mike Devlin for sharing these great photos and his great descriptions! There are more to come.


Nanook said...


I believe those gondolas were originally conceived as an Italian version of the Phantom Boats. And, well, we all know how that turned out at Disneyland...

Thanks, Mike, for once again sharing these terrific models from one of my favorite Disney parks.

TokyoMagic! said...

I believe the gondolas did end up in the water in front of the Italy pavilion, but as props only. Tokyo DisneySea has a gondola ride in their Mediterranean Harbor section of the park. The manned gondolas go through canals and under lolo brigidas (Flintstones reference) and briefly out into their main lake.

These model shots are great! Thanks Major and Mike, for sharing them with us!

Nanook said...

@ TM!-

The gondolas DID end up as a part of the pavilion, moored against their "barbershop poles", but as you say - merely as props. I heard tell that as part of an EPCOT, Phase II, they had planned a gondola dark ride. Now just whatever happened to that Phase II project-??

TokyoMagic! said...

Nanook, were the Africa Pavilion and the Meet The World attraction in the Japan Pavilion also supposed to be a part of Phase II? Or were those actually projects that got axed from Phase I?

K. Martinez said...

Wonderful EPCOT models. Thanks for sharing, Mike.

Melissa said...

Wonderful, wonderful photos, Mike! Big thanks to you and to the Major for sharing with us.

Somewhere I have a picture of myself in front of a bunch of gondolas, but I'm not sure if it's the Epcot gondolas or the ones at the Venetian Resort in Las Vegas.

A gondola dark ride showing scenes from past, present, and fictional Venice would be amazing. And all the music from The Gondoliers is public domain and ripe for the stealing!

Chuck said...

Another awesome set, Mike!

What scale were these executed in? And while I'm at it, were these in the same scale as the Costa Rica pavilion model? And is there any truth to the Internet rumor that these were absolutely gluten-free?

Chuck said...

One more question that I've wanted to ask for years - why were the columns with the statues out in front of EPCOT's Italy pavilion reversed from where they are in the real St Mark's Square?

Anonymous said...

Wonderful stuff, especially Venice. Strange that from the water view, the Palace and the Campanile are reversed from their respective positions in the real place.

Wondering if this was done because most visitors were expected to come from the land side where the buildings then would appear in their "real world" orientation as seen in most photos?

Anyway, very cool stuff. Thank you.


Patrick Devlin said...

Nice work, Mike, and thanks for the share, Major. ::Toddles off to make 1/4000 model of EPCOT with 3D printer::

Melissa said...

Don't forget the teeny, tiny obnoxious drunks!

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, actually I like the idea of scary, dilapidated “haunted” gondolas. Piloted by gondoliers in hooded robes. Take me across the River Styx!

TokyoMagic!, aaaaah, they don’t count if they’re just floating props. Twenty points from Gryffindor! How can I get somebody to give me an all-expenses-paid trip to Tokyo DisneySea?

Nanook, was there really a planned gondola dark ride??

TokyoMagic!, what about the Lichtenstein pavilion? When I think of all of the scenic wonders of Lichtenstein, I can’t imagine why they aren’t in World Showcase.

K. Martinez, doesn’t it make you want to get out your “Testers” model cement and maybe build a WWII airplane model?

Melissa, at least at the Venetian you can ride the darn things. On my one and only trip to Vegas, I was very impressed by the Venetian.

Chuck, good question about the scale, it never occurred to me to ask.

Chuck II, many people don’t realize that when you cross the International Date Line, everything is reversed. I’d explain it, but it’s very scientific.

JG, your theory about the reversed structures is a good one, I’ll bet that’s the reason.

Patrick Devlin, in my younger days I dreamed of building a model of Disneyland, or at least Tomorrowland. Then I realized that I have no skills. But with 3D printers, maybe there’s hope for me yet.

Melissa, he is sculpting tiny puddles of puke as we speak.

Steve DeGaetano said...

As for scale, I'm guessing 1:48, or 1/4" = 1 foot, better known to hobbyists as "O Scale."

Chuck said...

Steve, looking closely at the level of detail in the figures and the relative size of the clumps of lichen, I'm in agreement. Which means these things were pretty darned big. And awesome.

Nancy said...

Speechless!! These are amazing. Thanks for sharing with us!!

Dean Finder said...

And yes, there is some agave and aloe around the Mexico pavilion. Not as much as is shown here.

David said...

I could be mistaken, but I believe I have seen a picture of all of these models combined to form World showcase.