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THEN AND NOW: Epcot Future World [Part 1]

Future World, Epcot

Wonders of Life

World of Motion / Test Track

The Living Seas / The Seas with Nemo and Friends


Holy moly.  Future World has seen share of changes.

In front of the old World of Motion building (Test Track) I tried but was unable to get the exact angle of the "then" photo from an old pictorial souvenir book. A tall mound of landscaping was in my way.  Some guy walked up next to me trying to get the same night shot and he said,

"Boy, isn't that a pretty site?"  

I said, "Umm, take a look at what it used to look like" showing him the old photo on my iPod.  

"WHOA. That was much nicer!" he said.

"Yeahhh. It was a beauty. But don't get me started on Horizons, Imagination, The Living Seas."

Buzzy from Cranium Command is looking handsome, wouldn't you say?? With that nice droopy eye and all. Although it doesn't matter much what he looks like--- NO ONE GETS TO SEE HIM ANYMORE.  The "now" photo was taken within the last few weeks. The Wonders of Life building is open during the Food and Wine Festival but don't plan on enjoying the place the way you used to.  Not a single attraction isn't blocked by a few hundred folded chairs and tables.  And sorry, Martin Short is nowhere in sight if you were planning on learning Disney's version of where babies come from.

Future World, come back. We miss you. You weren't boring like they told us you were. Really, you weren't. You've really lost your identity but it's not too late to find it again.


Related posts:

THEN AND NOW: MK Tomorrowland [Part 1]
THEN AND NOW: Epcot World Showcase [Part 1]
THEN AND NOW: Epcot World Showcase [Part 2]
THEN AND NOW: Liberty Square [Part 1]
Walt's Wife Talks About EPCOT Center
EPCOT Construction from the Air
EPCOT Center Graphics 


Reader Comments (19)

Last time I saw Cranium Command, Buzzy looked a lot like that. I think it would be nice if they opened the Wonders of Life pavilion again just for that attraction. How much could it cost to maintain and operate??

I went to Food & Wine this year and was sad to see the attraction entrances in WoL painted over and the names removed like you see in the pics above. I imagine if they went this far to remove these pieces they wont ever open up the attractions again. Sad day.

What they should do in my unimportant opinion is gut the place and give us the original concept for the pavilion. That or Adventures Thru Inner Space. That was health related and people loved it.

November 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJumperJH

Ugh, posts like this make me happy to see at first. It's great to see the memories of what once was. But, after looking at posts like this, I'm left with a very bitter taste in my mouth. I fume with fury at how Disney neglected and/or changed EPCOT. I think Disney has made a lot of mistakes in the past decade (FINALLY I think enough people are complaining where Disney is starting to pay attention again). The biggest mistakes can be seen at Epcot with Tomorrowland at Disneyland and WDW not far behind (What happened to the "Theme" in Theme park?)

"We miss you. You weren't boring like they told us you were. Really, you weren't." is stated so well. I went to EPCOT in my preteens and found it absolutely fascinating and inspirational. I have no doubt EPCOT changed me to love sci-fi, be creative, and to use my imagination. While EPCOT might have been a learning experience, I felt it did so in a fantastical way! Disney, please bring that back!!!!

November 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSubsonic

I've always liked EPCOT. I just thought I was a weird kid who liked to learn, but It's nice to see that other people liked it too. Now, a lot of the changes made to EPCOT I liked. I like Test Track, i think it's a fun, educational ride. I like Mission Space, (though not pictured) I think It's a fun educational ride. I like Ellen's Universe of Energy, I think It's a fun educational ride.

fun educational rides. That's what I always liked about EPCOT. There's no need to put Disney Characters everywhere. (I'm talking about you Finding Nemo, get out of my favorite attraction)

November 3, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterme

In other words, NEMO get lost!

I actually think these posts help show us nostalgic types that a lot of the good old original stuff is still there! Don't get me wrong. With the exception of most of the Liberty Square "then and nows" I think almost all of the "thens" are better than the "nows". One could only imagine just how much worse things could have gotten in the Living Seas for example. I like the Nemo ride a lot. It's very well crafted. I definitely have my complaints about it being in Future World. All in all, I am surprised at just how much of the parks does remain relatively unchanged.

November 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTL98H8R

It's always surprising to me how many people don't like the character tie ins. Which, I completely agree with. They added Donald into Mexico and characters into Small World (though, this was done with good taste). I can't stand it. Look at rides like Pirates and Haunted Mansion. Those stand the test of time because of the amazing quality, detail, and vastness of the set design. It's fully immersive. If Disney starts putting the effort, time, and money into attractions like they used to, they wouldn't have this problem.

November 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSubsonic

This makes me a saddddd panda =(

November 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJT

I miss world of motion...

November 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDonnie

Oh wow... Poor Buzzy. I wasen't able to walk yet when the original stuff was around, so it makes me sad to see all that I've missed. Pretty cool to see them though.

November 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAbby

Ugh, that dive tube in the Seas is just depressing in its emptiness. But what also saddens me is all the little doodads that are missing from the walls. You know, all the letter formed fiberglass dials and wheels and symbols. I don't mind the new-look blue paint, but bring back the doodads!

November 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShane


November 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDeeJay

A little heartbreaking indeed to find Buzzy close to such a state. One eye down while waiting for the next brew of tourists to watch him in action piloting the human brain for all to see.

If any Buzzy fan would see this, they would have to save every penny, and moreover, look for all the help that they could get. In fact, it would take a lot of exhibit dismantling (and checkups for Buzzy) to even get started in the restoration of the long-lost exhibit. When that happens, it's a mystery.

Though in my head, it looks like Stitch has been messing with poor vulnerable Buzzy AGAIN...!

December 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRabidLeroy

I loved the Wonders of Life pavillion very much growing up, and Epcot is still to this day my favorite park. I LOVE these posts and although I agree with a lot, and I may be al alone on this, but there are occasional updates Im ok with. I dont mind Nemo. It was not needed, but I dont see it hurting the attraction. I have a three year old who loves The Seas, its his favorite WDW attraction. He would have probably loved the original, but he lights up when he sees Marlin calling for Nemo after climbing into the Clam. The part that I find unnacceptable is when they simply close an entire pavillion like Wonders of Life without any good reason. Body Wars was the first thrill ride in Epcot. It was fun and educational. Cranium Command was fun and educational as well. I know Metlife quit sponcerin the building and they had trouble getting attendance, but its Disney, Im surethere were better ways to advertise that this was a place that was worth the time. I understand that Disney has always been a magical place, and its sad that they constantly have to cram more and more in as a reminder that the newer generations dont quiet have the attention span as the older generation, but they are not helpin by catoring to the ADD youth. Ive been trying to teach my son patience and at Disney he doesnt get it. Between Fast Passes an every attraction say "Hey look over here, no now here, over here!" His head is spinning! I remember as a teen getting a chance to take a breath at Epcot, actually feeling relaxed and still enjoying myself without falling asleep, now if I want to relax I have to go to World Showcase or the car, not quiet the same.WOL like most of Epcot teaches in a way that get kids excited about education, they learn without even realizing it. As they change massive amounts of Epcot it starts to lose its character in my opinion. I think Disney does need to think about fans more often when they rip out and tear through. My sons favorite roller coaster is Goofy's Barnstormer, and at first They were going to kill that ride as well as everything else in Toon Town, luckily enough complaints came through and now they are going to keep it, but totally change the theme. We need to use our voices and express any distaste about what we want. I will forever be a passholder until the day my voice isnt being heard and my family and I can no longer enjoy the expirience. I encourage everyone no matter what your opinion may be to voice it. We can at least try for a democratic aproatch to major changes inside the parks that have all given us many fond memories.

Wikipedia clams in regards to the Wonders of Life pavillion that a company called Gannett said they are going to turn the pavillion into studios? I have yet to see any truth of this anywhere. I know the attractions have been gutted but if they demolish it, it will be a sad day.

January 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTopher

I love the way it looks now. It's less tacky (in my opinion)! But the rides were soooooooooooooooooooo much better!

July 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEmily Oriotis

This isn't to excuse how lousy Future World has been managed since it opened. But isn't it fair to say that it's a failure of design as much as it is one of maintenance and stewardship?

I was 13 when EPCOT opened, and even I knew Disney faced a nearly impossible challenge in keeping that part of the park fresh and interesting. The original set of attractions, beloved by a lot of Disney park fans, just weren't terribly well-received by the public. The attractions all hewed to those Ward Kimball-style narratives—the past is goofy and humorous, the future is awesome and inspiring—and by 1982, this just didn't fly anymore. They had their moments...but these were not classics on the order of Pirates or Haunted Mansion, despite what some will tell you. They inhabited that mushy world between entertainment and education, a world where Disney's track record is spotty at best, and you could tell it when you disembarked these attractions: people weren't buzzing with excitement and happiness; they had blank expressions on their faces.

There aren't any simple answers. (There also isn't any excuse for, say, how cruddy the Imagination Pavilion has become over the years.) I'll offer just one, but I'm shooting in the dark like everyone else: a Future World that, from day one, tried harder to be educational, and was willing to skimp on the attempts at "entertainment". People love documentaries, oftentimes, the more technical, the better. Besides, learning on its own is fun...if Future World had more confidence in that belief—which I don't believe it ever has—I think Future World would at least be succeeding better against its own ambitions.

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGreg Maletic

I'd forgotten about the scuba diver in the tube! Thank you for posting this pictures.

July 30, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercdillard

It bothers me to no end how bland the sea base looks anymore. I'd just gotten my diving license when I first visited it in it's heyday, and was thrilled at how it really fired the imagination. The working dive tube, the ride through the tunnel, and the overall decor were fun and immersive. Now it just feels like a cheap, full-scale "Brand-X Underwater Base" play set. =(

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

For you guys who think buzzy is gone... As of September 28th 2013, buzzy and the Cranium Command theater are still intact. The sign that counted down to the next show is still on and it reads 00:00

October 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJake

You probably couldn't get the same angle on Test Track as on World of Motion because they're not on the site. A sinkhole opened up on the world of motion grounds, so test track was moved considerably far away from the old foundation

October 17, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMahatma Randy

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