- This is pretty much the day we built the trip around - the 25th Anniversary of the opening of Epcot. On Oct 1, 1982 EPCOT Center became the 2nd gate at Walt Disney World and a new era of Disney parks expansion had begun. You probably know EPCOT was Walt Disney's final dream and the subject of his last filmed appearance before his death - a true, unified community of tomorrow. Over time the Disney executives modified his dream to present a vision of the future married to a permanent World's Fair with pavilions from several countries around the world. This is my favorite park of all and I felt privileged to be around for the anniversary celebration.
- We arrived just after 8:20 and made it easily through the turnstiles to the front of the crowd gathered below Spaceship Earth. It was easy to see that plenty of Epcot fans from all over were here to celebrate. Faces painted, lanyards festooned with pins, some dressed as characters from the park - they all came.
- When ropes dropped, we hit Mission: Space and rode with no waiting. There are two intensity levels to the ride: the original "Orange" level that produced many upset stomach and dizzy spells since it opened, and a newer, less intense "Green" level that didn't spin. We rode Green, and honestly I didn't notice a lot of difference from the last time I rode it a few years ago at full intensity. But I'm not one to get motion sick or really sense that sort of queasiness while spinning, so maybe that's just me. Anyway, try the Green if you're nervous about it, it's fine.
- At 10:01 AM was the rededication ceremony in front of the big fountain. I don't recall the names of all the dignitaries who spoke but one was Erin Wallace, VP for Walt Disney World (a name that should be strangely familiar to those who know me personally) and Marty Sklar, one of the original Imagineers, a friend of Walt Disney's and architect of much of what we saw that day at Epcot. Some photos are below.
- We rode Test Track, The Seas with Nemo and Friends, and a spectacular new ride at Epcot, Soarin'. We then made our customary circuit of all the nation pavilions, especially the inspiring patriotic American Adventure show with new footage.
- It had rained off and on all day and by dusk clouds were threatening again. We staked out a great spot near the edge of the lake to watch the special fireworks show, "Illuminations: Reflections of Earth". About 15 minutes before showtime the skies opened up and the rain began to pour. While we were concerned the show might be cancelled, we were more concerned about delay - once again, the resort bus had a small window to pick us up and return us to the hotel. Any delay in the start of the fireworks could mean getting left again. The rain let up after about 5 minutes, and about 9:10 Illuminations began. At the end was a special anniversary finale that was truly memorable.
- We rushed through the park, out the entrance to the location where our bus was to be with about 5 minutes to spare.
This is a park with a lot of detail, a lot of charm, and a lot of promise and hope for the future. It's the perfect place to soak in ambiance, meet people from around the world, experience new technologies and new innovations, and enjoy the best Disney has to offer. A fantastic day.