Thursday, May 8, 2014

Taking Walt to Epcot

     For this post, I will stray briefly from my theme of lists or countdowns. Instead, I want to share one of my thoughts about Walt Disney himself. I recently listened to Lou Mongello on his WDW Radio Podcast, and he asked for responses to a question, as he is wont to do. This episode, he asked for places where we would want to take Walt in Walt Disney World. My immediate response is the same as their conclusion: Epcot.
    There are many out there who view Walt's Florida project video, and cannot help but feel that today's Epcot is a shadow of, and not a conceptual realization of his original Epcot idea. It was supposed to be a city! Right? Walt had planned an Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (EPCOT). Walt had a huge imagination, but also managed to accomplish an incredible number of his wild and crazy plans. Disneyland, anyone? I say this because, as Lou Mongello pointed out, Walt was a realist. When the Imagineers sat down together after Walt's death to look at building Epcot, they ran across too many problems to make the "city" of Epcot a reality. Lou's feeling, and mine, is that Walt would have changed direction with the project, and done something with it that made sense and was of maximum benefit to the world. He wanted to make a place that was a "model". He said that! He said he wanted Epcot to be a model for the world to follow.
    This is where my bit comes in. I have an additional idea for my event to which I would take Walt. I hope, during your stays at Walt Disney World, that you have witnessed my favorite thing in the entire world; the event that brings me to tears each time I am a part of it, and makes me believe in the good of the world: Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. With a musical score that will leave you speechless, pyrotechnics perfectly timed with that score, lasers, fire, and water, Illuminations is the culmination of the Disney company in my mind. The eleven countries lit around the lagoon, each playing an integral role in the story of the history of earth, is without a doubt the most powerful show of any kind I have seen in my life. See it!
     All this to say, I would bring Walt to Illuminations. Although Epcot didn't turn into a city, it did turn into the perfect model of a society. In this model, each country celebrates the other, and celebrates what makes their own pavilion unique. I would turn to Walt before the show, and tell him simply that the world has not solved all of its problems, and countries are still constantly fighting. But I would tell him to watch and appreciate what the company he founded is doing as a beacon for the world, and a model for society.