Thursday, July 05, 2007

It's Official!



Word came through this morning that, after seven long years of desecrating the glorious Spaceship Earth geosphere at Epcot Center, the 257 foot tall Mickey arm and wand will indeed be coming down. Work starts this Monday, July 9th, and will be complete by Epcot's 25th anninversary in October.

Jim Macfee, Epcot's Vice President, noted, "We think the timing of the removal is right."

Ya think?

Those that truly care about the heritage of Epcot couldn't be happier.

There's still much work to be done in Future World; the removal of the dismal Epcot Cemetery, the transformation of Test Track / World of Motion into a true showcase for the future of transportation, the write off of Mission: Space as a dismal and deadly failure, the rebirth of the Energy Pavilion as a true exploration of alternative energy choices and the re-imagining of The Seas Pavilion as a place to be actively challenged with the stewardship of our amazing ocean wonders rather than challenged to merely find Nemo.

Indeed all of Future World is in dire need of a complete tone change. A high ranking executive at the very top of the Disney food-chain would be smart to bankroll a confident transition from the empty thrills and bizarre marketing agendas of Epcot's Eisnerland to the headier, hopeful and more satisfying goal outlined on the dedication plaque, where the promise of Epcot Center was not only to 'entertain, inform and inspire' but more importantly to, 'instill a new sense of belief and pride in man's ability to shape a world that offers hope to people everywhere.'

Still, knocking down that god-awful tawdry disgusting horrid filthy cheap Mickey wand is a great first step.

Bliss!

Photo courtesy Sam Eagle

64 comments:

Kori and Ken Pellman said...

I really miss the old EPCOT Center - Horizons, the World of Motion, Journey Into Imagination, especially. Horizons, World of Motion, Universe of Energy, Spaceship Earth, and The Living Seas presented a nice, unified look at the future. It would have been nice if the old attractions could have been updated and the new attractions added nearby, if necessary. But I guess WDW is strapped for land.

Anonymous said...

while the news is great...

Um...

IMAGINATION? How can that not top your list of things needing attention. I would put it over the graveyard.

Furious said...

Oh, yes. Yes yes yes yes yes.

teevtee said...

OK, OK... one step at a time here.

The removal of the wand (long rumored but FINALLY confirmed) is the first real step towards understanding the value of their product at WDW that I have seen Disney make in decade.

At Disneyland some smart choices have been being made for some time, yes, some poor ones as well but many wise ones. However in Florida things break down much quicker. We have AWEFUL, just DREADFUL decisions made daily and now FINALLY some signs of hope.

Drop the damn wand and then for God's sake PLEASE lose the freaking giant hat at MGM which is an even more shameful display of PR and marketing muscle over creative thinking than the wand is.

Making these moves is atleast aknowleding some past mistakes and starting down the path to redemtion.

BRAVO!

Bob said...

Yes!! My Disneyworld Honeymoon starts on the 9th. If they only started removing it a bit earlier then I wouldn't have to look at any of that awful wand.

Geoffrey said...

and the good news continues to roll in...hopefully this is a sign of things to come, that Disney is starting to roll back the sleeves and get back to business as usual, before they started getting more interested in the almighty dollar than they were in entertaining people.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I agree with taking all the stuff off Spaceship Earth. But I think that Test Track works well, and the Imagination Ride is fine too.

The Energy Pavilion should be gutted, and something needs to be done about the inside of Spaceship Earth.

But like it or not, the Living Seas is now a great experience and the ride is great.
What else needs help is the World Showcase. Let's see Norway....a ride in Italy...an update to the Golden Dream in American Adventure...and oh, how about a new country?

teevtee said...

I wonder what that baby will fetch on eBay/ Maybe John Stamos can buy it and out it next to the original Disneyland Marquee he bought a 6 or 7 years back, hell, maybe we can pay him to take it.

As Disney somewhat sporadically knows better than anyone "God is in the details". Making good moves like this can set a new direction for the entire resort. Just as bad moves can (and did) snowball so can good ones.

Sadly I am afraid that the reason this is happening is simply because of Spaceship Earths new sponsor but even so good news is good news.

If that giant hat is ever removed I will personally go to the park and cheer it's demoliton.

Andre said...

Thank god, at last! I'll be at Epcot for it's 25th and even if the ride will be closed at that moment (clever timing that) at least Epcot will finally be Epcot again.

Next, the Epcot mausoleum maybe? How about relocating it to somewhere where it can be calm, reflective and relaxing - maybe the grassy area between The Land and The (Living) Seas?

And as for the hat.... oh well, we can still dream.

Baby steps, baby steps, one at a time.

Digital Jedi said...

Hallelujah!

May I fire the first cannonball? Hell, can I just throw something heavy at it? I'll be in Florida just in time to see it wrecked. I'm happy today. Optimism is on the rise again. Shame on me for forgetting how to feel that way.

Greg said...

If only EPCOT Central was alive to see this.

Eric Frenchman said...

What do you have against the Nemo/Living Seas combo? The kids LOVE it and then you end up in the aquarium. It seemed to work for my family...

Eric

Anonymous said...

::sigh of relief:: Yes.... ::exhailes::

There was a comment made that the Living Seas should be about our stewardship of the oceans. I'm curious as to wether not people feel that The Land does a good job promoting our stewardship of the Earth. I've not yet seen the Nemo add-in (haven't even seen the film for that matter, I hate seafood), but I'm certain that there is potential there to use Nemo to both entertain and educate in a way that's not kitshcy.

While we're on the subject of fixing up the Future World experience, what about that spaceship over on the East side? You know the one that looks like an elephant in a room but isn't really there.

What about bringing the science of Star Wars to Epcot?

Anonymous said...

Team Pixar is slowly but surely moving in the correct direction. Baby steps, people. Baby steps. Soon enough Lassiter & Co. will be walking, then running. "Keep moving forward," from Meet the Robinsons and Brad Bird's 'flipping the bird' to the Eisner regime in Ratatouille were not coincidental nor subtle.
The spirit of Walt Disney is alive and well!

Merlin Jones said...

Yay! The Hat next, please...

Brandon Starr said...

A couple years back my wife and I visited Walt Disney World on our honeymoon. My wife had never been, and I hadn't been since junior high. To my dismay, almost all the amazing EPCOT attractions I had been telling my new wife about were either gone or had been shuttered. It got to the point where she thought I was making things up. Hopefully the dismantling of the wan is a sign of a return to the type of amazing experiences I remember from my youth.

Adam said...

I have it on very VERY good authority that there was a blue sky meeting about a week and a half ago solely on the premise, "What can we do to make Epcot more fun?". Unfortunately, for the most part there weren't a lot of ideas flowing about. As for myself, I believe that the World Showcase pavilions could benefit greatly with some synergy with Disney product as well as some other creative ideas. Off the top of my head were the following (some ideas costing more than others, but all viable IMO):

Norway - a reindeer petting zoo
Germany - small coaster themed around cars called "Autobahn"
Morocco - immersive simulator ride (screens on all side but floor) based on Aladdin
Canada - indoor ice skating rink
American Adventure - reenactment of the Battle of Lexington
France - re-theme the lesser of the two restaurants to Ratatouille while also offering cooking lessons via a digital Remy.
UK - Mary Poppins dark ride

As far as Future World, I could think of two ideas both around The Land. One themed around Soarin' where guests could indoor skydive via a vertical windtunnel; the second porting over from Tokyo DisneySea "Journey to the Center of the Earth". The Seas could also benefit from DisneySea with Aquatopia and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea as possibilities. A new 3-D movie and a re-theming of Imagination with a return of Dreamfinder would be beneficial. As I said, these are ideas that I thought up in the space of about ten minutes; it's amazing that WDI can't at least do the same.

Van said...

I'm so happy I could cry. Taste the tears of joy!

Digital Jedi said...

Eric Frenchman said:
>>>What do you have against the Nemo/Living Seas combo? The kids LOVE it and then you end up in the aquarium. It seemed to work for my family...<<<

The problem with The Seas, as it is called now, is not it's effectiveness. It is its appropriateness in the park it's in. EPCOT was not supposed to be a souped up version of the Magic Kingdom, but rather, a reflection on the past and contemplativeness of the future. The new ride completely side steps EPCOT's theme for pursuit of a cartoon tie in.

But, of course, you can find more comments like these in many other blogs about the subject. Suffice it to say, there are some great rides in EPCOT. But thematically, they don't fit and don't perpetuate what EPCOT is supposed to be, much like a certain giant wand. EPCOT is like a table full of good food, with no regard for whether the food complements each other, or makes the meal appetizing. What we want is the well thought our meal they used to prepare.

dan_steinberg said...

Okay, my cynical side is showing: Does anybody else think that they’re taking down The Hand only because it’s cheaper than painting and maintaining it?

Now rather than launch into a caffeine-fueled critique of every single Epcot attraction, I’ll just keep it simple and say that Future World needs more “Future” and less animated characters. And World Showcase needs something new: new countries, new attractions, anything new – please!

Of course, Future World has that same “we can’t keep up with the changing future” issue (excuse?) that Tomorrowland has. I guess things do tend to get out-of-date – especially if you don’t bother to update things more than once every 20 or 25 years.

Personally, if I were put in charge of refreshing Epcot, I’d look at all the ideas the Imagineers have in their desk drawers and then I’d go out and do some research: there’s no shortage of designers, futurists, theorists, visionaries and dreamers out there, and I’d go talk to a whole bunch of them. That’s what Walt did (with folks like Werner von Braun and Welton Becket, among others), and that’s how he got inspired to create the original EPCOT concept. That sounds like a good plan to me too. You can’t tell me there aren’t dozens of great ideas for futuristic attractions that would beat the pants off of Test Track, the Living Seas, or Journey Into Your Imagination...

Ben said...

This is certainly a step forward.

Yes, Epcot is in need of some work. But there are improvements being made...

take for example, the new CircleVision film for the Canada pavilion. The old film is not so horribly outdated it couldn't keep running for a few more years, and it still draws a crowd. Plus, there is no marketing benefit to installing a new film; it wont draw any new customers. But Disney has still gone ahead and done it, and I think that's great (despite the fact that I quite like the old film and will miss it).

Chris said...

I am a Cast Member at the
Walt Disney World Resort and the mood could not be happier right now. The fact that that gaudy lighting rod is being shipped over to Kennedy Space Center, the foundation is sutible for use as a launchign pad, brings a magical feeling back. Particularly in monorails where we, the pilots, travel past that horrific hand numerious times every day this is welcome news indeed.

The next step I hope would be to rebuild the Wonders of Life pavillion-the sign when illuminated at night simply reads, "WOND LIFE" the "er" and the "of" needing the attention of DACS.

While I have problems with EPCOT in general, it was not suppose to be a park but an actual city of the future, I realie that EPCOT can become great for those who love magic as a park if the proper care is shown...time will tell.

Anonymous said...

See, here's the thing. Even if Walt hadn't left us so soon, I believe even he would have seen that his idea for Epcot wasn't going to happen...at least in central Florida. Anyway, moot point.
So instead we got Epcot Center, and despite what got left on the drawing board (money, folks...that's reality like it or not) they created a wonderful mesh of the past and the future. Problem is, it costs a lot of money to stay current, let alone 2 steps ahead of the present...so Epcot's Future World side could never hope to stay cutting-edge.
Things change...change is our only constant. So I'm putting my trust in the new team to begin re-aligning Future World toward something that's simply more realistic for the space, the money available, and yes, the original mission of Epcot.
Pay attention to Anton Ego's speech at the end of Ratatouille. Being a critic is easy compared to the truly creative people who are doing the real work.
My two cents: if you don't like it that much, just stay home.

Alex said...

At last, that hideous wand is a monstrosity and should have never been erected. EPCOT has been mistreated a lot in the last few years, the wand, the cemetery, etc. I hope this is a sign that the creative people will once again decide what should be done at the parks and not the marketing people.

teevtee said...

A couple comments about some commonly heard complaints that to me at leasat do not hold water;

First of all there is always this talk about how Future World could never stay current or futuristic and therefore it simply had to be changed, to that I call B.S.

The exterior of all of the Futureworld pavilions are virtually identical to the way they were 25 years ago. Save the LESS futuristic addition of outdoor tracks to W.O.M. / Test Track and the LESS futuristic Mission Space replacememt of Horizons the rest are identical. My point here is that the architecture is every bit as cool, futuristic and unique today as it was on opening day. There is no need to worry about keeping it current because it has aged very, very well.

So now lets look at the INSIDES of those pavilions. What people fail to get is very little of the pavilions ever really dealt with the future exlcusively. In fact they often had roots more in the past (and therefore ageless) then in the futre per say. World of Motion was 99% a look at the past HISTORY of transportation, as such it would have aged every bit as well as say mansion or Pirates if given the chance. Spaceship Earth is 80% a look at the past. The Living Seas was really a look at the current state of oceans... it aged just fine save for a very dated (and cheaply replaced) opening film. Teh land is virtually identical to the way it was on opening day with the exception of Soar'n and normal updates, it has aged fine. Imagination has been gutted and trashed while the original concept and attraction would be MUCH preferable to what is there now and easily could of been modernized for relatively small costs. In fact if you look at every pavilion you will find that only two truly needed constant updating, Communicore and Horizons. The rest would do fine with small updates every so often. So is this really all boiling down to 2 pavilions? The look of Epcot's pavilions have aged fine, the content of the original ones was aging fine... only Communicore really needed to be updated often, and Horizons every 5 years or so... is that REALLY why Epcot has been destroyed?

OF COURSE NOT.

Epcot has been screwed with not because it was getting dated but because the stewards of that particular park really lost sight of what the place was about (or more likely never understood it to begin with). It is much easier to market characters and thrils and the good old surveys showed that people missed Mickey and company over there. So one thing leads to another and you have Fidning Nemo, you have Magic Kingdon style thrill rides, you have dumbed down pavilions... you have all the easy stuff while losing all the challenging stuff. This is marketing driven CRAP. This is PR people not understanding how to market something liek Horizons while they think they can sell something like Mission Space better. it is LAZINESS. There is absolutley nothing wrong with the original concept of Epcot Center and in fact it was a genius way to impliment some of Walt's original vision in a practical manner. Today it is a hodge podge mess and it got that way out of short sided thinking, nothing more.

Finally I would like to address the "cemetary" quickly. While I tend to agree with many of the complaints I want to point out that it was designed by a true legend, John Hench. Hench is as inlfuential to the look and feel of Disney parks as Walt himself. Without Hench there would be no Disneyland or Epcot.... I think his vision of the Leave a Legacy markers was right on point... sadly the actual execution leaves something to be desired and the general concept of Leave a Legacy sreams of marketing squeezing every last dollar from patrons more than anything else. So yes, they are unneeded and unwanted but Hench's actual design is in keeping with the original look of Epcot much more than anything that has been put in there in the last 15 years.

Scott M Ross said...

The wand was a great addition for 2000. But even the script on it now looks out of place. It will be an improvement to see it leave.

As for the "cememtary" out front. It is a stylish "Future looking" industrial and themed entrance to the park. No problems there.

As for the current attractions....

Toss the living with the land boat ride. Waste of space and time. Imagination Institute is a great concept for a pavilion. HISTA fits perfect. The ride, however is a little childish for me, but the kids love it.

Test Track is A+++ (when it is running). Mission Space is great. Need more immersive rides like that. Just becasue you don't like thrill rides, does not make it a great ride.

Wonders of Life needs to be scrapped and rebuilt. It has been a boring pavilion since the day it opened. Body wars was just a bad version of Star Tours.

Universe of Sleep, I mean energy needs a new concept. The public is just not amazed by a 30 minute preshow to a 10 minute ride to nowhere and a great big screened post show. Look at the atraction crowds all over WDW. They are not lining up for an audio-animatronic review. Hall of Presidents—empty. Great Movie Ride—empty cars. POC—if it wasn't for Captain Jack it would be the lonely pirates.

It is great to imagine a world full of people looking for the rides of their childhood, but that Walt Disney World would not be open for long. The crowds would have long left for a modern park.

Disney has some things that really need some help. However, the answer does not lay in looking to the past, it lies in looking to the future.

teevtee said...

While I understand and even agree with some of Scott's points I am afraid that you are not speaking from a position of authority because you have some of your fact wrong.

People often use anictodal evidence that Pirates for example was not pulling in crowds before Capt. Jack was added. You hear similar complaints about many of the classic attractions. However Pirates BEFORE the movies ever came out continued to be one fo the most popluar attractions at each of the parks based soley on the raw numbers of hoe many people per year ride it. Pirates, Mansion etc. are absolute people eaters. They have huge hourly capcities that suck people up pretty much as soon as fast as they can walk. there has NEVER been a time when Pirates was not HUGELY popular.

So when you toss out comments like that it casts doubts on anything else to follow. Opinions are great but when you start using attendance info to support your theory you have to have accurate information or the foundation for your argument crumbles.

No argument here that Epcot and all the Disney parks much continue to progress and look ahead. However I want ambitious, exctiting well executed attractions. Mission Space for example just fails on multiple levels. I don't hate the attraction, some of it is quite nice, but come on... this is a simulation of a simulation for God's sake! They did not want to spend the money to actually re-create a flight to mars (meaning a themed load area and a themed unload area, pressumably on Mars. So they decided to simulate a TRANING session. We are riding an attraction that is simulating a simulation and that is flat sad. If that is the best they can come up with the company is screwed. Fortunatley I know that they can do MUCH better, here is hoping that WDI is given the chance.

Chris said...

I have to disagree with Scott on several points as well.

When taking into consideration many of the new attractions at Epcot, yes, there can be thrilling rides, but the problem is what they've taken away to get there.

People can badmouth having any "education" at a theme park, but with these new attractions, they just dont have the same inspiration put into them. The old Epcot we spoke about in school all the time, since I grew up in Orlando, it was easily accessible.

I've also heard a lot of people say that technology moves so quickly that it would he difficult for Epcot to add anything really futuristic. I also have to disagree with that assumption. Yes, most of the stuff at Innoventions isn't really new at all, its stagnant for the most part and really could use some new tech displays.

There are plenty of things we haven't seen yet, and the old Disney company, even post Walt didn't stop trying because something would be "difficult"...in fact thats what motivated them to overcome that.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy the old EPCOT and parts of the new one and I am A purist at heart.

But here is an excerp from a magazine I bought on ebay. It gives an interesting insight to Walt and his creations
:The Details of business Bore Disney "You need the sharp-pencil boys, but You can't let them run the joint," he remarks. "Since Disney-land opened, I've poured another $25 million into it. To me it's a piece of clay. I can knock it down and reshape it to keep it fresh and attractive. That place is my baby, and I would prostitute myself for it."
Interview by Gereon Zimmermann
Published in
Look Magazine Feb 11 1964

Hazelrah said...

I have to disagree with those who think Test Track is a decent Disney attraction. If it did not have a zippy little loop at the end, it would be less than average. Its thrills are the only reason why it is popular (and this is not what makes Disney attractions great).

Much of the ride takes place in a wide open, unthemed warehouse, with only the barest hint of setting or place (probably the best themed area are the heat/cold/corrosive chambers). Its storyline is decidedly pedestrian, focusing on the "now" of transportation, and only a small part of it at that. There is nothing revelatory in what we see. And as teevtee pointed out, the tracks stapled to the outside actually make the building look less cool than it used to (and give us ugly views of backstage during the finale).

If you wanted to point a finger at where EPCOT started going wrong, Test Track would be one of the first places to point.

Anonymous said...

1) Now that I think about it, I can entirely see the decision being based on the cost of paint and general upkeep. Thanks to whoever brought that point up.

2) The Dreamfinder's return to Imagination inspired me...

Epcot Wars EI: The Phantom Menace
Epcot Wars EII: Attack of the CPA's
Epcot Wars EIII: Revenge of the MarketEARS
Epcot Wars EIV: A New Hope
Epcot Wars EV: Marketing Strikes Back
Epcot Wars EVI: Return of the Dreamfinder

Matt said...

EPCOT does not need more 'thrills.' EPCOT deserves to be different and not molded to fit what everyone today thinks a theme park should be.

EPCOT was great because it wasn't what everyone thought a theme park should be.

Digital Jedi said...

The notion that EPCOT, or Tomorrowland for that matter, couldn't stay cutting edge because the times catch up to it too fast is absolute rubbish. Even a 1950's vision of the future is still a vision of the future. It's the vision that was important. Not whether the animatronics were new or not.

Our idea of what tomorrow will be like is always going to miss the mark in some way. It's not supposed to be dead accurate. If anything, the old Future World made that point very clear by its constant points back to the past. The future isn't just about technology, it's about what we think might happen. And every generation has had a perspective and a prediction of what that might be. Their no less visions of the future because they turned out to not be true.

That's what Future World was all about. Seeing tomorrow in different ways, whether from now, from the perspective of our grandparents or forefathers, or from the perspective of science. Not whether Innoventions had the latest Sony robot or previews of the next iPod.

Josh said...

The wand is coming down! Yeah, there are a lot of changes that still need to be made at WDW, but today I'm celebrating the removal of that eyesore.

Thank God!

If Siemens insisted on the wand coming down, good for them. If Disney came up with the idea themselves, even better. But, either way, I'm thrilled with the result.

Josh said...

If you can't be there in person but you'd like to watch the wand come down - cut and paste this link into your browser:

http://www.instacam.com/showcam.asp?id=LKBNV&size=L

It's a web cam atop the Swan hotel, and it points directly at the sphere. Right now, you can see a crane off to the right of the wand. I never saw a crane that pretty in my life!

teevtee said...

Digital Jedi nailed it... Future World was never really abour predicting anything. It was about optimism is what it boils down to. Disney himself was a very future forward kind of guy... great big beautiful tomorrow and all of that. It was less about projecting how many Gigs the next iPhone will have and more about looking for a harmonious and unified vission of the future. Yes, it walks on the edge of being corny but it is that very optimism and reassurance that has made Disney parks so popular for over 50 years.

This is also why Disney fails when it tries too hard to be hip or "edgey" or sarcastic. People do not respond long term top that, they are seeking reassurance that everything is OK, that there are problems in thwe world but that they can be overcome. This is what Epcot was all about, both FW and WS. It does not really matter if the means of conveying that message was in the form of a thrill ride or an AA show or what have you... it was the MESSAGE not the medium that mattered. Today that message has become a muddled mess and nearly removed altogether.

If you look at each FW pavilion you will see no unifying mission which the originals all enjoyed. At Test Track you have a look at aging cars (at BEST current models, nothing forward thinking at all) being put through pedestrian paces such as rumbling over some bumpy roads. What does this have to do with anything Epcot like?

At the Seas we have a nice fun ride and a nice fin pavilion but it would be more at home in Fantasyland. They failed to even work a message of good things to come or tackling issues the oceans have or anything of the such. It is simply a fun little dark ride and a nice aquarium... not very Epcot like.

Mission Space pretends to be about the future but is really about simulating the present. Again, this is a simulation of a simulation that leads nowhere and has not scope beyond some spinny thrills.

The list goes one. Surprisingly I would say that Soran' actually does have a bit of an Epcot feel to it simply because nothing goes wrong, you don't almost crash, it is really about making riders feel exilerhated and free. At it's core this is what Epcot was and should be all about.

Thinking that Epcot is or ever was about guessing what we would be driving in the future is to miss the point completely.

Anonymous said...

Now they have to bring the People-Mover back to Disneyland.

Nakoma said...

It's so good to read Tee-Vee's last post. He got it. Epcot was originally about optimism in the future and respect for the past that helped us get where we are. It had a message that was present in every one of its attractions.

I'm hoping the dismantling of the wand is a signal that the powers that be are beginning to remember that message and will make changes so that Epcot once again shines as the unique and inspiring park it used to be.

Figment571 said...

Belive it or not the theme of EPCOT could be found in pert of the thing that brought the wand upon us. The millinium celebration song. "WE go on, through the good times and the tears, moving on, we go on...." I don't remember the rest. I heard it tonight at the park.

I actually went on a tour and they tried to tie in the current pavillions into the original theme. Some times it worked others it didn't.
I think Universe is okay. Mission:Space as a cool architecture on the outside but there is no substance on the inside. Test Track, well I agree with the posts above. I actually saw the old Imageworks today too on the tour. wow that brought back mememories. I wish I could remember all of the older EPCOT. I was young at the time and my folks speak as it was almost mythical, so did the guide on the tour today, he had started out for the company in the original Imageworks.
Hopefully this may symbalize a dawn of a new era in Disney history, we ned to have a time line...

Anonymous said...

The webcam is cool!

Joy said...

This discussion reminds me of an interesting article I once read - it was actually discussing Tomorrowland, and not Future World.

Back in the 50's there was a lot of "look at the cool things of the future" entertainment. The article pointed out that we often look back now and think of that period as a time of great optimism, that science was doing great things.

But in fact, the opposite was true. We had recently seen what an atomic bomb could do, and we were entering the cold war. The future looked very bleak. With the bomb, and images of mercury poisoning in Japan, people lost their belief that science and progress were always good things. The public needed hope, they wanted reasons for optimism, and so they were drawn to things like the "House of the Future."

The argument makes some sense to me - as the cold war became less threatening, and the future once again seemed fairly bright, dreams of the wonders of the future became less important to people. For most people in America, life was getting better and better.

And so I think this is an interesting time to consider the direction for Future World and Tomorrowland - because the future is once again looking bleak. Global climate change, instability in the Middle East, Hurricane Katrina, Bird Flu - there have been a lot of knocks to America's optimism lately. There is also a growing distrust of science, a sense that any advancements must have horrible side effects.

And so I wonder - is the public ready to dream of the future again? Would they be drawn to hear the message that human ingenuity does have the potential to make the world a better place?

Perhaps it is time for a new "House of the Future."

Anonymous said...

It may be that it's coming down because of the cost of upkeep for Disney, but considering how long it's been there up til now, it could have more to do with Siemens wanting it down more than Disney. But either way I'm glad. Next, the Leave a Legacy rocks. At least relocate them to a different area. The hat at Disney-MGM needs to go.

Anonymous said...

I loved the wand when it went up for the millennium, but 7 years?! This is a great day for Epcot geeks like myself.

The article touches on some good points about future world but I don't agree with the idea of writing off Mission:Space.

carly said...

they have to be doing something else for the 25th. I know guest have been promised some "surprises"...goody bags? stage shows? public burning of the cursed wand?

Anonymous said...

The whole thing of Mickey and the wand is bad. Mickey was never suppose to have the wand, he took it without having the permission of the wizard. Therefore I believe Mickey with the wand was setting a bad example to children, telling them not to respect other people's property.

I had a similar argument with the people at my bank, who were putting Yogi Bear's picture on checks. Yogi is a thief. He steals picnic baskets. You don't want to associate him with the bank!

j.slipchinsky said...

thank goodness!
now if only they'd get that awful hat down at MGM, it's hideous and us Tour Guides at the Movie Ride would really appreciate it.

Hrundi V. Bakshi said...

Goodbye wand. You won't be missed.

As for the hat - removal = wonderful.

Destruction = lack of foresight.

There's a lot of open space on the way to the Fantasmic theater.

Move the hat along the LONG pathway to Fantasmic so that walking toward it and under it can serve as the "wienie" to the theater.

Anonymous said...

off topc but like the Yogi statement, should the world's most expensive McDonald's at Downtown Disney really be wearing uniforms with the Hamburgler on them?

Digital Jedi said...

Anonymous said:
>>>The whole thing of Mickey and the wand is bad. Mickey was never suppose to have the wand, he took it without having the permission of the wizard. Therefore I believe Mickey with the wand was setting a bad example to children, telling them not to respect other people's property.

I had a similar argument with the people at my bank, who were putting Yogi Bear's picture on checks. Yogi is a thief. He steals picnic baskets. You don't want to associate him with the bank!
<<<

Yogi is a bear. Last I heard, animals could pretty much do what they want without fear of prosecution.

No, it doesn't teach children that at all. The story ends with the magic, that Mickey is clearly not ready for, getting out of control. The sorcerer's returns and puts a stop to it, and promptly chastises Mickey for his error in judgment. In fact, in the original stories with which Mickey's is based on, the apprentice is either expelled or reprimanded. Clearly, there was a good moral for the story, provided you view the story all the way through, that there are consequences for your actions that you may not be able to control. (And Yogi didn't fair much better for his shenanigans either.)

The point is moot, however, considering Mickey didn't the take a wand in the Sorcerer's Apprentice. He took his hat. The EPCOT wand symbolizes nothing in particular.

teevtee said...

I must disagree, I think the wand certainly does represent something....

GREED.

It represents taking without giving. Taking money and pretending that something of substance has been done when in fact nothing has. It is a symbol of DIsney at it's lowest, when marketing lorded over creative and little more than window dressing was added to the parks.

I hope that the removal represents something as well... HOPE.

Scott M. Curran said...

This is a touch non sequitur (sorry), but the readers of this blog who haven't already seen it should read this Slate article that advocates on behalf of the straight to DVD sequels (e.g. Bambi II).
http://www.slate.com/id/2170559/
You should all chime in on the discussion board (already some interesting posts) and someone here should post about this development (i.e. the sacking of the direct to DVDs at feature animation). It is almost as exciting as the removal of the wand (I would argue more so)!

creative-type dad said...

I can't believe it only took seven years...

Digital Jedi said...

teevtee said:
>>>It represents taking without giving. Taking money and pretending that something of substance has been done when in fact nothing has. It is a symbol of DIsney at it's lowest, when marketing lorded over creative and little more than window dressing was added to the parks.<<<

You've got me there. =)

Hrundi V. Bakshi said...

The Wand is coming down!

And there was much rejoicing.

And now attention turns to "The Hat" at Disney-MGM.

As hideous as "The Hat" is in it's current poorly conceived location, instead of destroying it outright, perhaps an expensive asset such as this would be better served moved to a more appropriate location?

The walk to the Fantasmic! Theater is long and tedious.

"The Hat" could serve as a "weinie" as one approaches the theater, then one could pass under it along the way to the Fantasmic! Theater.

Failing that - moving it outside of Disney - MGM at the entry road or in front of the Main Gate could serve as an icon for the park - and again - without destroying it outright.

The wand, on the other hand, should be smashed into little bits and then have the little bits smashed into even smaller bits.

OR

Move the much-hated wand to the All-Star Movie Resort and re-purposed there as the central part of the resort's sign - a far more fitting location, as over-sized and tacky is all the rage at the All Stars.

Simply destroying expensively designed and produced icons seems out of hand to my way of thinking, especially when said things that have (more than) out-lived their careless 'usefulness' in one location can be utilized to plus areas that could use a good sprucing up.

Thinking outside of the box-edly,
Hrundi

I'm Hrundi V. Bakshi and I endorse this post.

Thierry said...

There are other kinds of restoration I'd wish:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tw1npyyw6vw

St. Chris said...

[Hrundi V. Bakshi:] Move the much-hated wand to the All-Star Movie Resort and re-purposed there as the central part of the resort's sign - a far more fitting location, as over-sized and tacky is all the rage at the All Stars.

But even the All-Star resorts' giant icons are Disney-quality: fully three-dimensional figures, and very well done. The wand, in contrast, was always just two-dimensional facing slapped onto visible trusswork. It never looked like anything more than a (giant) temporary party decoration. That worked, arguably, for the 2000 celebration, since you'd pretty much expect someone to hang a HAPPY NEW YEAR sign at a New Year's party...but installing it permanently, either at Epcot or an All-Star resort or anywhere else, is like never taking down your HAPPY NEW YEAR sign. Even if you replace it with a WELCOME sign in the same lettering, it still looks like a party decoration you haven't gotten around to removing. It's cheap.

The wand looked cheap. The All-Star icons don't. Mind you, I'm not trying to defend the decor at the All-Stars, but the wand would be a downgrade to even the cheapest Disney hotels.

But! Moving it to Dino-Land would be a perfect fit! Chester and Hester would kill for an eye-catcher like that! Except, of course, that it would dwarf both the Tree of Life and Expedition Everest...but oh well! Everything for Story!

Curious said...

OK, its been a month since the last post... So, how is the culture right now today? Can a WDI employee suggest a wild new idea without worrying about the political winds? Are people working more as a team with a common goal to grow WDI?

Anonymous said...

Any news? Been over a month. What's positive? Are they keeping the momentum going?

- Mike

Anonymous said...

It has been well over a month, now. Is this blog done? Is it up to the outsiders to keep it going, or just to go to other sites for inside info?
8/14/07

Anonymous said...

Can they take down the stupid tarp in front of Test Track now and restore the old World of Motion building to its former glory?

That and put back 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Well...I can dream...Can't I?

Lainey Schallock said...

Thank God. It's about time that hideous piece of coporate non-imaginative fluff came down for our beautiful EPCOT. Aside from that. I love your blog guys. Please keep the posts coming as they're really just inspirational. It makes us little folks out here feel like something is actually getting done up there. Thanks for all your great insights. I'll be checking in soon.

Heather said...

8/19/07
Love Hrundi's comments, I LOL. BUT, improving the walk to the Fantasmic! Theater will not improve the show itself, which is an embarrassment when compared to the original show in Disneyland.

Anonymous said...

What a glorious quote: "Still, knocking down that god-awful tawdry disgusting horrid filthy cheap Mickey wand is a great first step."

Amen! The mausoleum needs to go, and the ugly tarps. WE WANT OUR EPCOT BACK!!

Rootbeermom said...

I did notice this at the marathon. It was almost as joyous as watching my husband cross the finish line.