Tuesday, April 18, 2017

1982 EPCOT guide

EPCOT Center? Say, I've heard of that place! Never been there though. Ken Martinez has been, however! And he has the guidebook to prove it. Here's Ken:

Eastman Kodak EPCOT Center Guide 1982

My first visit to EPCOT Center was on March 22 1983 when the park was less than six months old.  I went with the realization that this was not Walt’s final dream, but still wanted to see it anyway because all things Disney theme park related interested me.  On the first visit, I was really taken back by the scope and sheer size of the place.  Back then it was brand new and the landscape was yet to fill out.  I think what impressed me more than the educational aspect of the park was the sheer spectacle of the place.  All the various conveyance systems, from the traveling theater seats in Universe of Energy to the various styles of Omni-mover systems in several of the Future World pavilions fascinated me.   One of the things I love about Disneyland is the mechanical aspects of the ride systems and Audio-Animatronic figures.  There’s one thing for sure, EPCOT Center was loaded with Audio-Animatronics back then.  With the removal of World of Motion and Horizons, I think it lessened.

This is my favorite Disney World theme park guide which was handed out at the admission gates.  I like the styling and that it was made of firm paper cardboard.  I also like the original fonts used on this guide like the “Walt Disney World” with its mouse-eared globe inside the big ‘D’ and the all-caps “EPCOT CENTER”.  Also featured on the cover are the centerpiece attraction for Future World “Spaceship Earth” and the centerpiece attraction for World Showcase “The American Adventure”. 

Featured on the first open foldout is the map of EPCOT Center and a dial page in which you could select the pavilion name to view its description and location in the park.  This was probably the most expensive free guides to produce that Disney ever handed out at the entrance gate.  I don’t know any other guides that used firm paper cardboard and contained a dial guide.  It’s one of my favorite Walt Disney World pieces of ephemera and I actually got it on my first visit to EPCOT Center in the spring of 1983, not from eBay.

One of the things I loved about early EPCOT Center was the use of simple graphic icons for each of the Future World Pavilions.  From what I’ve read these are no longer in use at the park or in publications.  On my first visit to EPCOT Center there were only six pavilions and one of them was closed during both visits it went.  In addition Horizons was under construction on my first visit.  Unfortunately the pavilion that was closed each visit was Spaceship Earth, so I still haven’t been on it to this day.  The two pavilions that impressed me the most were ‘The Land” and “Horizons”.  I enjoyed “The Land” pavilion because it actually was a functional experimental lab and I loved Horizons because it was like the ultimate tribute to Disney futurism.  

I remember World Showcase feeling pretty massive with its large lagoon and spread out pavilions.  I really loved the American Adventure and El Rio del Tiempo, but didn’t see any of the Circle-Vision films or Impressions de France.  While I thought World Showcase was an impressive undertaking, I just couldn’t imagine it as really being anything like the countries each pavilion represented.  Also, any restaurant I wanted to see was either too expensive or a hassle to make reservations.  Being on budget I only ate at the fast food style places. 

Featured here is a map showing what the Florida property consisted of as far as attractions and lodging available. 

Here’s a continuation of the Information page with services available at EPCOT Center.

Of course since the EPCOT Center guide booklet was from Eastman Kodak Company there was information on the back related to its product.  This was also the back part of the dial guide so the dial could still be used to view various Kodak product descriptions.

We’ll I hope you enjoyed the guide booklet and my recollections of EPCOT Center.  It’s been over thirty years since I last visited Walt Disney World and since then two more theme parks and two water parks have been opened and quite a few more hotels have been built.  I’m sure the nature of the place is totally different than when I visited the place during its early years.

Thanks once again to Ken Martinez for all of his hard work (slaving over a red hot scanner, typing until his fingers bled) and the generous sharing of his collection!

NOTE: Hey guys, I am leaving this morning on a sort of not-very-planned trip for about three days - I probably won't be checking in on the computer for most of that time, but one never knows. I'll be anxious to read everybody's comments when I return!


Nanook said...


And for all the interesting features you pointed out on the guidebook, it was not well-liked by management, as guests' couldn't place these guidebooks in their pockets, due to the unconventional shape of the book. I still have my guidebooks stored-away somewhere.

Thanks, Ken for sharing more goodies from WDW.

Scott Lane said...

Very nice! Yes the scope of the early EPCOT was staggering. I agree that the closures and changes have diminished the park, not enhanced it.

Rachel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nancy said...

EPCOT CENTER.....it has always been my favorite Disney park and my favorite place in the world (literally)....so much so that my daughter got me a bracelet with the global coordinates on it for my birthday! If I had just one day to visit Walt Disney World, this would be the place.

Very lucky to have visited several times from 1994 to 2014, nearly every year. To see where it has gone from what it used to be is a sad story for me.

I loved the simplicity of Horizons, for instance, yet it told such a great story and it promised how much fun the future would be. I was always sorry that technology didn't go in that direction and we don't have hovercrafts to scoot around in from floating city to floating city. Instead we can carry a phone everywhere we go. Big deal.

I feel so lucky to have memories of the way EPCOT CENTER was meant to be when Mr. Disney came up with this concept.

Thanks, Ken, for sharing these with us!

Pegleg Pete said...

My first visit to EPCOT also took place in March 1983. I had already read the large Abrams book about the planning and construction of the park and so my expectations were quite high; fortunately I wasn't at all disappointed. I pocketed several of those guides at the time and still have them. And while I liked the dial design, I've always thought, as Nanook has pointed out above, that the shape was rather too awkward for use while in the park. The last time I visited the park was back in autumn 2003 and I certainly wasn't impressed with what it had become - although I was at least there for the soft opening of Mission: Space. Thanks for sharing, Ken – and thanks, Major, for posting.

Stu29573 said...

It's amazing how Disney in general, and the Florida division in particular has lost all vision. There are no more grand ideals, only money grabs linked to the IP of the week. I've been to Epcot many times over the years, and I can assure you that the original park makes the current version look very sad. The closure of Horizons and World in Motion marked the beginning of the end. Could it be saved? Maybe, but with the rumors of Guardians of the Galaxy going into Future World (and, more horrifying, people actually cheering them) it doesn't seem likely.

Anonymous said...

Epic 70's graphics.

This is amazing.

Thanks Ken and Major.


K. Martinez said...

Nanook, I didn't occur to be there would be an issue with the cardboard guides, but you're right. They would be awkward. I didn't use mine, but packed it safely away as a souvenir to be kept mint. I knew all of what was what at EPCOT Center before I went because I studied on it, so I didn't need to mess with my dial guide. Little did I know at that time that in the future I'd be sharing images of it with readers of a certain blog.

Scott Lane, From what I've seen and read online, EPCOT doesn't seem nearly as special as it used to be.

Nancy, I know this is your favorite Disney park so I'm glad you chimed in. One thing for sure is there is no other park like it. The bracelet your daughter gave you sounds very cool. That's also quite a bit of experience you have going to Epcot. I only got to see it in it's early days, but I'm glad I did. When I learned they got rid of "Horizons" I was heartbroken. How could they close something so special like that?

Pegleg Pete, You and me both. I purchased the Abrams book before going to EPCOT Center and read it cover to cover so I would be ready when I got there in March 1983. It's been so long since I've been that now it seems like I almost never went. Now it's just bits and pieces that I remember. I didn't think of pocketing several guides. I only got the one I'm sharing here. Strange since I used to pocket lots of guides at Disneyland.

Stuart Powley, I don't mind an occasional IP at the theme parks, but I would've thought EPCOT would've been spared. Not so with Frozen now in World Showcase. I remember when I first went they didn't even have Disney characters at EPCOT. I guess the public doesn't think it's a "Disney" park without the "Disney" characters. I agree with you that the closure of Horizons and World of Motion marked the beginning of the end. Now it seems they are all replaced with high speed thrill rides. I guess it's what the modern day guests want.

K. Martinez said...

JG, while it's early 80's, the graphics definitely evoke 70's graphics. Glad you enjoyed.

Nanook said...

Add my name to the list of those who bemoan the changes [for the worse] taking place at EPCOT - and beyond. But as Wikipedia accurately points out... "The Walt Disney Company is an American diversified multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate..." - and a very successful one at that. What that translates into for a publicly-held company (mysteriously missing from the description) is: Returning Maximum Value To Shareholders. (That IS Job 1 for all publicly-held companies, after all).

There isn't the space, nor is this the correct forum to 'debate' the values of capitalism, but suffice it to say, for publicly-held companies to remain relevant, growth is their only option, and Disney has shown a great deal of aplomb in that arena. The result(s) of all that growth don't often translate into high quality experiences for guests' - especially when observed from afar, or taking the long view. Although (in the short run) it's hard to argue with ever-increasing attendance, in spite of greater crowds and higher 'fees', all around. (Does there really need to be a "retail opportunity" at every turn in all their parks-??) Evidently the answer to that is YES - as most guests' don't seem to care, or simply don't notice, or just accept it, as they are used to nothing else.

It isn't impossible to embrace both growth and high quality, but it IS very, very difficult, and if nothing else, the jury of those who've taken the long-view of Disney parks is not really impressed so far. Only time will tell if the many 'short term - for quick profit "ideas" ' will pay off, allowing the Disney parks to achieve a "new renaissance", that for the moment, seems highly unlikely.

TokyoMagic! said...

I agree with the comments above in regards to the changes that have occurred at EPCOT over the years! I've never seen a guide like this given out free to guests at any Disney park. I wonder how long this format was used? I have a fold-out map of EPCOT with the same cover graphics, but it is printed on thin paper and does not have the dial guide. They were actually giving them out at Disneyland, right around the time that EPCOT was opening.

Thanks for sharing, Ken!

K. Martinez said...

Nanook, apparently retail and the restaurant business is big for Disney. You can add hotels to that too. It seems most of the articles on their official blog are related to new merchandise, food/restaurants, extra-cost special events/experiences and hotels. Only occasionally do I see articles on actual theme park attractions.

Even my nephews and nieces when visiting from out of state ask me if there are any cool places to shop and eat. For lots of people, shopping and dining IS their vacation. BTW, I won't be holding my breath for that "new renaissance".

Anyway, I always appreciate you two-sides-of-the-coin analysis to keep it in perspective. Thanks!

K. Martinez said...

TokyoMagic!, I think the cardboard dial guide format was very short lived. I had a friend who visited after I did and he brought back the thin folded paper format which made me appreciate mine all the more. Even Disneyland's multi-page INA guides are a thing of the past. That was an era. So are you saying they were giving out the EPCOT dial guides at Disneyland? I missed that.

TokyoMagic! said...

Ken, it was the thin paper fold-out version that they were giving out at Disneyland, not the cardboard dial guide version!

Nancy said...

Thanks, Ken. Here is a picture of my bracelet :-)


Sunday Night said...

Hey, people were into shopping back in the early days of Disneyland. Why I remember that my parents once bought me a balloon and on one visit they even bought me a Disneyland map!

Thanks Ken. Great post as usual.

Dean Finder said...

Disney (at least in Orlando) is primarily a hospitality company that operates some theme parks to give people a reason to stay in their hotels and eat at their restaurants.
With the success of the cruise line, Disney tries to operate WDW like a massive cruise ship that doesn't move. The priorities in the parks reflect this.