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Orange Bird Photo Hunt


« Animation Studies | Main | Expo 67 »

EPCOT Center Graphics

I'd like to share a few custom graphics I recently did that feature some of the great retro-futuristic stylings of EPCOT Center's Future World.

If I'm not working on this silly blog or reading some Disneyland souvenir book or digging through boxes of dusty old memorabilia or day-dreaming of my days of climbing through the Jungle Cruise, I'm often doing free-lance design for Disney. As fun as that might sound, it ain't all peaches and cream. I mean it's great and I wanted to do it since childhood and it pays the bills... but they don't always give you all the artistic freedom in the world (and rightfully so). Sometimes (possible always) the project manager has no creative sense whatsoever. Sometimes it is loads of fun and the approval processes (plural) don't take too too long. But sometimes, possibly to free up some clogged artistic part of my brain, I do something for myself for no real reason. 

Humor me while I share my study of some of the fantastic structures of EPCOT Center that too often goes unnoticed. Sometimes they cannot be fully noticed because of that pesky habit Disney has of slapping a bunch of clutter over pieces of world-class architecture ruining the entire viewing experience (Nemo cutouts, Test Track roof thing, Imagination banners, MouseGear cogs, Spaceship Earth wand, etc.). I call it "design by clutter". But that's another story. Let's focus on what really matters: The cool angles and shapes of early 80s theme park awnings and such. Just look at these forms. And shapes. And great use of concrete.



Related posts:

THEN AND NOW: Epcot Future World [Part 1]
EPCOT Center Poster Art

Daredevil Circus Spectaculars at Epcot Are Just Not What They Used To Be

HORIZONS MURAL, "The Prologue and the Promise" [ High Res ]
HORIZONS the way you wish you knew it
EPCOT Center Construction Photos: Future World


Reader Comments (24)

minor minor minor nitpick here: It's concrete. Cement is an ingredient in concrete, used to bind the concrete together. You couldn't build stuff out of cement.

(I told you it was minor. Love the site.)

June 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLuvEpcot

These are brilliant, great job!

And I can't agree more with what you say about all that stuff that mask Epcot's wonderful architecture.
They shoud listen to you a little bit more :)

June 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGuillaume

Love these but then again I'm a sucker for anything mid to late century modern, 70's brutalist architecture with a dash of atomic retro!

June 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRIchard

I love the remaining architecture of EPCOT Center, too. And really, that clean, simple aesthetic has come back into vogue. The past several years have seen a slow removal of some of the '90s visual clutter (the wand and the whirlygigs, for example). Hopefully the day will come when it's all gone!

June 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commenter@futureprobe1982

Thanks all!

LuvEpcot- You are absolutely correct. Just made the change.

June 8, 2011 | Registered CommenterMitch

right on!

June 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjordan

you are so right about all the clutter and "froth"...each time I visit Disneyland, it seems, rather than that wonderful "spit & polish" shine on everything, we're getting plywood cut-outs. Sure, they have their time and place, but not year round and as a theme-park-sized commercial or movie tie-in. I love your blog, and always look forward to the updates and exploring all your links! Brad Day, Kingston, WA

June 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrad

Gorgeous. These have captured the very soul of Epcot - LOVE LOVE LOVE!

June 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterClaudia Rosani-Allen

I love the '80's-future architecture! I keep expecting Captain Picard to walk around every corner!

June 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa


June 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKlarkKent007


You are completely wrong. Cement is actually stronger WITHOUT rock. Rock is a filler to save money and works just fine in that manner. Sand is another such filler and is often added to cement to make mortar mix or stucco.

"Cement is an ingredient in concrete, used to bind the concrete together." WRONG. Concrete isn't its own material. "Concrete" is a description! It's the combination of two Latin words.

1. "Con" meaning WITH
2. "Crete" meaning rock or stone.

"With rock". If you see "Concrete" on a bag of cement it means it has rocks in it as filler!!

Here's what you do to prove what I'm saying:

1.Go down to the hardware store and buy yourself a bag of pure Portland cement. No sand or rock.
2. Put it in a bucket and mix with water until it's like mud.
3. Place your bare feet in the bucket with the cement.
4. Let harden.
5. Throw bucket off of bridge into deep water.
6. Notice, as you drown, just how hard that cement is on it's own. Rocks not included!

June 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHoot Gibson

Notice there's no pee stone in our cement pond. Lets keep it that way.

June 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJed Clampett

By the way, the art work is good Mitch. Always a good site.

June 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJed Clampett

Wow Hoot. That was a harsh reply, cuttingly stating the facts of the matter. You are now my new favorite person.

Mitch, this not a silly blog to those of us who check daily for something new(me). Your comment makes the kitty sad. (Well done though.)

June 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterWDWFanBoy Brett

What's with the fake page crease? It's distracting.

June 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAD


June 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJRom

Hoot, I love you, but you're wrong. Concrete is everywhere in those photos and in Epcot. The monorail beams, columns are concrete. The sidewalks, curbs, etc, are concrete. It's not cement once it's had something added to it, and you'll always AT LEAST add sand if it's used as a building material (as seen in Epcot).

Cement is a binding material (as in rubber cement). Portland cement becomes concrete, mortar, stucco, etc when mixed with water and one or more of sand, rock, aggregate, etc. Concrete is the material, cement is an ingredient.

I perhaps misspoke here: "Cement is an ingredient in concrete, used to bind the concrete together." What I meant was that it's used to bind the material together. Cement as a substance is NOT a structural material. Ask a contractor.

Wikipedia (yes, I'm quoting wikipedia):

"In the most general sense of the word, a cement is a binder, a substance that sets and hardens independently, and can bind other materials together. The word "cement" traces to the Romans, who used the term opus caementicium to describe masonry resembling modern concrete that was made from crushed rock with burnt lime as binder. The volcanic ash and pulverized brick additives that were added to the burnt lime to obtain a hydraulic binder were later referred to as cementum, cimentum, cäment and cement.

Concrete should not be confused with cement, because the term cement refers to the material used to bind the aggregate materials of concrete. Concrete is a combination of a cement and aggregate."

June 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLuvEpcot

Oh, you're also wrong about the definition of concrete (nice try though).

The word concrete comes from the Latin word "concretus" (meaning compact or condensed), the perfect passive participle of "concrescere", from "con-" (together) and "crescere" (to grow).

June 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLuvEpcot

I love these, I really wish they were wallpaper size! It's too bad the neon on the CommuniCore overhangs weren't easily photoshoppable out (although I realize that wasn't necessarily the intent and point in creating these images.)

June 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMr. EPCOT

Wonderful stuff from somewhere between the EPCOT of 1982 and Expo '67

August 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDarin Kirschner

Excellent compositions. Great colors. Wonderful architecture to begin with.

October 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSkipper8085

I am a retired Disney World electronic technician from 1987 to 1997 I started in Central shops dept 7ma electrical fabrication in time to help build MGM studios and other WDW attractions, any way keep up the good work ! It helps me stay connected with Disney Thanks for the memories! Charles Roberts I miss working there !

May 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercharles roberts

Since you are a fan of brutalist architecture, I thought you might enjoy these vintage pictures I recently ran across of the Ohio History Center - - there are several if you click through the forward arrow from there. They are not mine, but I'm sure whoever they belong to wouldn't mind me sharing. The building has its limitations as a museum, but in its own way, it would fit right into the EPCOT style as sort of an Ohio pavilion (you know, when they add that "State Showcase" :) ). In recent years, the exhibits have been greatly improved, but it is not an inexpensive building to maintain, so there has been a bit of the same issue with covering things up/hanging large banners on the exterior that you have pointed out at EPCOT - I know it's a big off the Disney topic, but thought I'd share!

July 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

Thank you so much for making and sharing these graphics! I'm a Realtor who specializes in Mid-Century Modern and other modern architectural properties, and I also very much enjoy brutalist architecture. I'm not even sure I'd call these forms retro-futuristic. They're just good design as far as I'm concerned. Form and function, working together to accomplish a goal and look beautiful in the process. Sometimes when people unfamiliar with modern architecture ask me for a "short answer" to the question of what makes something modern, I'll respond with "natural materials applied to interesting geometry", and these images certainly fit.

February 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLou Zucaro

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