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Friday
Jun252010

EPCOT Construction from the Air

As I continue to dig through boxes of old Disney stuff to scan for our Gallery, I love finding things I’ve forgotten about.  These sweet photos were taken from a small plane or helicopter during the construction of EPCOT Center, given to me by a friend years ago.  (No, I was not in that plane but man I wish I had been!)  I’d like to know when they were taken and I’m trying to figure that out.  If any of you can decipher, let me know.

The first photo in the above side-by-side comparison was taken in an earlier flight.  Notice that a lot of Future World is well underway but Communicore East has barely been started?  And Communicore West is mostly dirt.  Notice the lagoon is quite underdeveloped compared to the following photos.

It’s interesting that the front entrance has plenty of grass and trees, as do the United Kingdom Pavilion and the lagoon islands yet there is very little pavement anywhere.  I like seeing the space for The Living Seas cleared away even though that pavilion wouldn’t open until years later.  Something is going on in the space that would later house Horizons. The front of the World of Motion building looks uncluttered (and would stay that way until 1998 when that hideous awning and the stupid test dummy stuff would ruin the view).  Of course the America Gardens Theater covered stage was non-existent.  No International Gateway.  Check out the U.K. and that path next to it.  I’d like to know more about that.

Dreamfinder and Figment are looking forward to moving in.  Both are oblivious that the company would murder Dreamfinder and attempt to murder Figment the following decade.  Singing fish are not even considered at this point, however singing food products are about to make their debut at The Land.  Communicore is about to show the world how cool the future would be.  Innoventions has not yet bullied Commuicore right out of the building in order to show the world how lame the present can be.

If you look really close to some of these photos you can see John Hench and Marty Sklar trying to convince themselves that the real EPCOT would never have worked.  Michael Eisner at this point has no clue what an “EPCOT” is or that he’d soon be granted power over such a thing.  He has no idea just how “boring” this park would be (his words, not mine).

It must have been great to walk around Disney’s first non-Magic Kingdom theme park while it was coming to life.  I love stories of everyone trying to acquire the little buttons, one for each pavilion with it's respective logo, in order to be granted access to that pavilion (photo to come).  Talking with people who spent considerable time constructions site, I get a sense of wonder and amazement and an optimism that must have been amazing to witness first-hand.

Enjoy.

 

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Reader Comments (11)

Thanks for sharing!

Is there still a water way wrapping around Epcot today?

June 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterfutureworld84

The first one is from late 1981, because none of the Spaceship Earth shell is on yet. The rest are from about July 1982 (amazingly, less than two months before soft opening to construction workers families for labor day). I took some similar shots from a small plane about the same time. They're toward the bottom of this page:

http://www.stevealcorn.com/atwork/Epcot/index.html

June 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Alcorn

that is cool !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

June 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTrey

This is really amazing! Thanks for sharing!

July 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterIndyJamie

I just think it's amazing to see how untouched all of that land is. Before they put resorts everywhere and leased out land ot other companies. Oh those were the days.

September 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMonorail Central

very very cool. I think the path you're wondering about that is next to UK was leading back to the food tents they had back there in the opening years.....seems to me it was called Renaissance Festival maybe? Or Reinassance Fair? Can't remember and I don't have an old guidebook handy to refer back to. I remember when we were getting ready to open the International Gateway shops a friend of mine and I walked back there exploring.....it was abandoned and eerie. That was probably Spring of 1987.

October 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

That "path" next to the UK looks like a garden path, before the Gateway and canals were built in that area. Could be like a larger version of the Garden Maze that's back there today.

July 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMain Street Jim

I can only imagine that building the international gateway, relocating the canal and adding the lake area outside Boardwalk must have been a huge project as well...

August 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGreg

Any idea if those rectangular concrete stubs I see all over the place in these images are the legendary never-used buried monorail pylon footers?

September 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Altechuler

First and foremost: awesome photos.
Two questions: 1. What was the purpose of designing the lagoon with two islands in it? Do the islands serve any purpose? 2. Was there an overall plan to create a waterway that leads to what is now the beach club and boardwalk? There is a massive mount of green land in that area in the photo. Looks like there's enough room to house another country.

July 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMark

wow!
just wow. As someone who didnt make it to Epcot until 2000, the thing that I first noticed was how small the trees are in,,and around the park,,,and how much they have grown.
Love it or leave it...(love for me)...still very impressive.

July 30, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterpaul

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