Tuesday, April 18, 2017
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!