I visited Epcot for the first time October of 1999. Back then, the Millennium Celebration was in full swing, the Food & Wine Festival wasn’t nearly as robust and park attendance was fairly sleepy. But as a nine year old, I was immediately captured by the sights and sounds of Epcot and deemed it my favorite park of the four at the Walt Disney World Resort.
Unless you visited around the same time, my Epcot is probably not the same as your Epcot. By that time, Horizons, Communicore and the original Journey Into Imagination had already been replaced. But to me, Epcot as I know and love it is as the late ’90s/early ’00s version of itself. Nostalgia is as magical as it is painful. I miss the original Test Track, Club Cool, Maelstrom, the Wonders of Life pavilion, and Innoventions as it was meant to be. As someone already terrible with change, let alone changes to my favorite Disney Park, I already mourn the loss of Ellen’s Energy Adventure. Ellen’s Energy Adventure is a classic favorite for me and reminds me of the Epcot of yore. I may be one of the only Disney fans on earth sad to see this go, but I can’t help but hold onto my happy memories of Ellen’s Energy Adventure and all that it represents to me. I love the message, I love the music, and I love the celebrity appearances. Plus, dinosaurs are just cool!
With the news that Epcot will be changing, I can’t help but feel sad. While change seems to be inevitable throughout Epcot’s existence, the park has felt like a stripped down version of itself for a few years now, so I understand why it needs a refresh. But Epcot has stood above the rest for me all these years because of it’s sprawling footprint, its impressive structures and its mission to educate and inform us on future and global viewpoints. I would hate for Epcot to become a homogenized theme park barely distinguishable from the others. Maybe our cynical, contemporary viewpoints have made Epcot’s mission a thing of the past. But I hope not. I hope today’s Imagineers remain as optimistic about the future as their predecessors were while visualizing and constructing Epcot.
I wish for a bright future for Epcot and I will always consider it an important part of my life. I experienced memories made from childhood, through adolescence, to now and intend to remain a lifelong citizen. Cheers to Epcot/EPCOT Center. To quote Spaceship Earth, a lasting (but successfully refreshed) nostalgic favorite, “While no one knows for sure what we’ll see or do. I do know it will be quite an adventure, an adventure that we’ll take and make together See you in the future!”
Gina / Will Run for Disney