First, let me say the “list” is now published. I am talking about The Man Who Ate the Town’s Top 10 Burgers in WSNC (ish). I talked about it on the podcast yesterday but the actual list was published today. You can read all about that here. You can listen to the podcast episode here.
So, now, I want to talk about something else. Today is October 1st.
On October 1, 1971, Walt Disney World opened. “The World” consisted of Magic Kingdom (no article “the”), The Polynesian Resort and Contemporary Resort. Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground opened in November of that year. Shades of Green (formerly known as The Golf Resort), a golf course and resort that is exclusive to US military past and present opened in 1973 and is now owned by the Department of Defense. In 1974, Discovery Island opened and until 1999, it was open to guests as an attraction, where they could observe its many species of animals and birds. You can still see that if you’re on any boat in Bay Lake. In 1975, Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village opens. They changed the name to Walt Disney World Village in 1977, Disney Village Marketplace in 1989, and Downtown Disney in 1997. In 2015, it became Disney Springs. In 1976, Disney’s first water park (a freshwater park, which to me sounds totally gross), Disney’s River Country opened and closed in November 2001. That was “The World” until 1982.
Then, on October 1, 1982, my official “favorite place in “the world” (and “The World”), EPCOT Center, opened. EPCOT (an acronym for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow) Center was a concept of Walt’s in the 1960s to be an urban city center, residential areas, and a series of mass transportation systems that would connect the community. Once Walt died in 1966, this concept was abandoned. Spanning 305 acres and more than twice the size of the Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot (as it became known as in 1994) is dedicated to the celebration of human achievement, namely technological innovation and international culture, and is often referred to as a “permanent world’s fair.”
There are two parts of Epcot: Future World and World Showcase.
Future World is highlighted by Spaceship Earth, a geodesic dome that houses a dark ride that goes through the span of time and showing globalization and communication. Future World also addresses space travel, innovation and conservation.
World Showcase opened with 9 countries represented: Mexico, China, Germany, Italy, Japan, United States, France, the UK and Canada in 1982. In 1984, Morocco opened and in 1988, Norway opened.
A lot of things have changed since the park opened on that day 37 years ago. New resorts, two more theme parks, new restaurants, and more.
On July 31, 2011, I asked The BCPF to marry me on the World Showcase Lagoon, on a boat, under the fireworks show, “Illuminations: Reflections of Earth.” That fireworks show started on October 1, 1999. Last night, September 30, 2019, was that show’s last ever performance. Tonight at 9pm “Epcot Forever” started its tenure as the nightly firework show. I have fond memories of “Illuminations” and it will always have a place in both The BCPF’s and my hearts.
So, happy 48th birthday Magic Kingdom and happy 37th birthday Epcot. I love you both.
Until tomorrow, keep the magic going…
“To all who come to this place of joy, hope and friendship, welcome.
Epcot is inspired by Walt Disney’s creative vision. Here, human achievements are celebrated through imagination, wonders of enterprise and concepts of a future that promises new and exciting benefits for all.
May EPCOT Center entertain, inform and inspire and above all, may it instill a new sense of belief and pride in man’s ability to shape a world that offers hope to people everywhere.” — E. Cardon Walker