Does it bum anyone else how soulless Epcot feels these days or is it just me?

Discussion in 'Theme Parks Attractions and Strategies' started by mjallemand, Mar 3, 2013.

  1. mjallemand

    mjallemand Est. 1985

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    I've been listening to a lot of Epcot park music over the last hour while I've been browsing the web, and it gradually bummed me out.

    Now, to preface, I'm not quite a child of the 80s. I was born in late '85, so the majority of my childhood took place in the 90s. I've been to Walt Disney World five times in my lifetime: In 1989, 1994, 1997, 2010, and 2012. (At least, I'm certain on the '89, '97, '10, and '12 dates, '94 I'm rather sketchy about. I remember being at WDW when Tower of Terror had recently opened, and Innoventions being a new thing, so I want to say '94.)

    With those visit dates, I have memories, vague though they may be, of Epcot in the first half of the 90s. I definitely remember riding Horizons, World of Motion, the Hydrolators of The Living Seas, Body Wars, seeing the food-themed stage shows at The Land, and even some of the pre-Ellen Universe of Energy.

    As a kid (and as an adult) I was a huge nerd. I grew up on Beakman's World and Bill Nye the Science Guy, and in general science and space exploration, along with then-upcoming technology fascinated me. I wanted to be an astronaut, at the time not knowing how slim of a possibility it would be. I spent hours at the library, reading every book I could get my hands on involving the future, space, and how the world around me worked. Even in the 90s, the majority of the books I read were written and published in the 80s, so, in a sense, I was a literary and educational child of the 80s.

    Considering all of this, Epcot Center fed directly into the imagination center of my brain, and I loved every bit of it. In particular, the 1994 trip was a giant catalyst of this. It was during a time where much of the early Epcot attractions were beginning to be replaced, but overall, the soul of the park still existed.

    These days education and imagination have been replaced by thrill rides. History has turned into marketing (Test Track), Science has been turned into Cartoonish fluff (Seas with Nemo) and an imaginative look at the future has been turned into a flight simulator (Horizons into Mission Space).

    But possibly the biggest loss, as everyone knows, was Journey Into Imagination. What was once an attraction that outright encouraged the use of your mind has been turned into a soulless factory tour, of sorts.

    Does this bother anyone else as much as it does me? Epcot may as well not even exist anymore, because the only attractions that even come close to Epcot's original mission statement are Spaceship Earth and Universe of Energy.
     
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  3. Allison

    Allison DIS Veteran

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    Nope. I think Epcot is a wonderful park and I thoroughly enjoy it.
     
  4. MinnieLee

    MinnieLee DIS Veteran

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    In some aspects, I do agree with you. I miss Food Rocks (replaced by Soarin' which we also also love). I remember the Hydrolators but love Turtle Talk. Haven't been on the new Test Track yet but it did need updating. Body Wars was also fun. It is a shame seeing the Horizons building not being utilized for something else besides Welcome Centers. Some were angry over the changes at Spaceship Earth. WDW has to keep changing with the times while keeping some of the "old traditions" to keep people coming back. We absolutely love EPCOT and spend most of our time there. We always will find something new but still have our old favorites.

    We loved EPCOT then, love it now and will love it in the future. Every change they make is something new that we can try. Sometimes it works, sometimes not but at least give it a chance.

    MK replaced Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, DHS replaced the Backlot tour. As much as I am not one for change, you have to do what you have to do to keep people coming back and making it "fresh".
     
  5. dadddio

    dadddio DIS Veteran

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    I'm with Allison. Epcot's a great park. I suspect that the OP is struggling with his first burst of that nostalgic feeling that we all have our childhood experiences.

    Sure, there's been many changes to Epcot. Most that I agree with, but some that I don't (Life). Still, Epcot is what it always has been. It's a park that forces the guest to make a bit of an effort to be wowed. A person can fly through and hit the rides and be OK with the park, or he can slow down and dig a bit deeper and really experience the wonder of it. There's a lot of incredibleness to Epcot if a person really decides to check it out.
     
  6. Disworldluv

    Disworldluv DIS Veteran

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    Epcot is still a terrific park for all ages. For me, it ranks right up there with the Magic Kingdom. I could not imagine visiting the World and not spending time at Epcot. There is something there for everyone. The overall beauty of the place is still very impressive.
     
  7. stink

    stink Mouseketeer

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    I do enjoy EPCOT. I agree with the OP that that when EPCOT opened (IMHO) seemed to educate, enlighten and entertain. I feel some (not all) of that education and enlightenment has been lost in favor of more entertaining. I remember Horizons, the original Imagination pavilion, Body Wars Pavilion and all the exhibits and interactive features in the Pavilion. EPCOT had more of a Worlds Fair/Science Fair kind of feel to it.

    That all being said, I still feel EPCOT is a great park. In taking my nephews out of school to go to Disney, we tried to incorporate in our trips around WS to educate them. Bought a passport and use small world map on iphone and had mini geography lessens and interacted with the kidcot staff, taught them how to say Hello, Thank you Goodbye in different languages. Attempted to use the Living Seas exhibits to educate about the oceans etc.
     
  8. maxiesmom

    maxiesmom The Mean Squinty Eye Works

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    I love Epcot. Do I think some rides could use some updating? But I don't find it soulless. At all.
     
  9. CarolynU

    CarolynU <font color=CC0000>Proud Mum twice over<br><font c

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    I just miss some of the entertainment I enjoyed, although I appreciate it has all been replaced, but I prefer who was there before, but that's my personal taste.
    I loved the musicians that used to play in Italy, Nova Era I think they were called, and I adored The British Invasion in the UK pavilion, much more so than the current more generic rock band, and I preferred the previous Dragon Acrobats that were in China.
    I also loved both of the Tapestry parades, and that catchy music.
     
  10. dadddio

    dadddio DIS Veteran

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    You are thinking of Wonders of Life. Horizons was razed to build Mission: Space (and possibly because of a big sinkhole).
     
  11. DizDaD7

    DizDaD7 Truly a ~GOOFY~ Person.

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    Love Epcot...Probably my fav. park. Although yes that bldg. That seems way off to the side could use some other attraction in it, but not a total killer.

    What I don't understand is getting rid of Honey I shrunk the audience, & bringing back Captain Eo....By all means I'm not bashing Michael Jackson, ( because I did enjoy him as an entertainer growing up) , but really, This is the best we could come up with..??:confused3 Still love, love Epcot.....Just bring back the tapestry of nations Parade, which I miss very very much.:thumbsup2
     
  12. bcrook

    bcrook DIS Veteran

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    I think Epcot has lost its identity. It definitely isn't a "Worlds Fair" type environment and it is NOT a Future World. If anything to me it is a fun collection of restaurants with amazing landscaping.

    I contend that Epcot is replacing downtown Disney as a place to go for food, treats, and partying. Mouse Gear is DTD. More restaurants are being built, and more people are drinking around the world. The food and wine fest reinforces this image.

    We have to buy hoppers just so we can visit Epcot everyday for the evening food and beverage.

    We spent 14 days in the parks last summer. We were Epcot nearly everyday. We enjoyed the gardens and food and libations. We never rode mission space, energy, soarin, test track was closed, didn't see captain EO. We rode the living with the land and spaceship earth and figment one time. Out of all the attractions we went on the Gran Fiesta Tour the most at two times. We never even visited innovations east or west.

    And we ride rides! I probably rode IASW 10 times, Kali - over and over again, TSMM we played until our arms were sore. We played on buzz ranger spin more than all Epcot rides combined. We love Everest, tower of terror, great movie ride, haunted mansion etc...

    I don't even view Epcot as a park anymore, I view it as a destination, an extension of the boardwalk area. I love being in there - especially at night because it is so beautiful, but I really think of it as a food venue much like City Walk at Universal. I am glad a ticket is needed though, because it keeps some of the crowds out. But, I would NEVER buy a one day pass just to go to Epcot. And without Epcot, I am not sure i would buy a hopper.
     
  13. nooneshome

    nooneshome but us dis shutins-send help or APs

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    We go to EPCOT mostly for DW. We spend the morning riding Soarin and Test Track and collecting FP for later in the day. With the recent FP enforcement policy we probably won't be collecting FPs anymore because we always loved using them on our way out. After we finished with the rides we would spend the day browsing the World. DW is a great sport while the rest of us ride the rides so EPCOT is her time to do what she wants. Soarin is one of the few rides she will do.
     
  14. bcrook

    bcrook DIS Veteran

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    They are definitely keeping the restaurants "fresh", each time I go there is something new in that area. Mexico addition and renovations, karamel kuche, two new food venues in Italy, updates in Japan, new tapas restaurant coming, bistro updated, patisserie expanded, and Starbucks going in!!! That is progress.

    Other than turtle talk, I am not sure there have been any interesting changes since the addition of Soarin in future world. At least not comparable to the investment in restaurants.

    It seems the focus has changed at Epcot. Instead of Worlds Fair theme it is more like myrtle beach's Broadway at the Beach. Lots of restaurants and shops, and some overpriced somewhat interesting attractions.
     
  15. jarestel

    jarestel DIS Veteran DIS Lifetime Sponsor

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    I think it's a bit harsh to categorize Epcot as "soulless", but I'd agree it no longer qualifies as an "experimental prototype community of tomorrow". As with all of the parks, Disney continually modifies and revamps the rides and attractions and this is probably a good thing.

    I do understand the temporary disappointment long time Disney visitors feel when some of their favorite attractions fall victim to the march of progress.
     
  16. bcrook

    bcrook DIS Veteran

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    I think maybe the OP point was in this case at future world... There hasn't been "progress". World showcase yes! The rest...not as much. As you say, it is not E P C O T anymore. It is now a directionless ship. I can see his point.

    And as I said in a previous, I go to that park the most. I would say Epcot has much room for improvement.
     
  17. I loveStitchnippyjon

    I loveStitchnippyjon DIS Veteran

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    Still my favorite park, and I've been going to WDW since there was only Magic Kingdom!
     
  18. eisforpants

    eisforpants Mouseketeer

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    I find it fascinating how different people enjoy different things. For our family Epcot was our least favorite park. For others it's their favorite.
     
  19. pepe of ohio

    pepe of ohio DIS Veteran

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    I'll go against the grain... For us it's become soulless....we visit evenings because its usually crowd less ......

    WS to me is just a few restaurants and shopping... And if I picked one restaurant to eat in I'm done....must admit I enjoy American Pavilion and Canada.... To me is just a huge walk around....

    I'm totally indifferent to this park over the years!
     
  20. DizDaD7

    DizDaD7 Truly a ~GOOFY~ Person.

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    I put down that I love EPCOT because every year that we go, something stands out THAT Trip!

    For us, last year even w/out TT up n running EPCOT was our fav. park.

    With 11 nights there in WDW, there was plenty of time to visit & revisit each park several times. It's just something stood out this. :confused3 time. It's possible that was because we stayed in BWV this time, I'm not sure.

    For instance the trip before that in 2011 we really enjoyed AK ,& at that time, that was our fav park..

    Who knows: Maybe this April Epcot won't be our fav. But even if it's our least favorite out of all 4 parks this time, it's still Disney, & it's better than anything else that there is out there---> (O/side of Disney that is)
     
  21. Okh

    Okh Mouseketeer

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    Daddio is wise. Be thankful for the memories but embrace change as well. Now put on fresh black socks with sandals, hitch your pants up to just below your nipples, chase the kids off your lawn and enjoy EPCOT as it is now! ;)
     

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