October 1, 2012 was the 30th Anniversary of Epcot or as I still remember it: EPCOT Center. We were there to report on as much of the events as we could… and to take in a little of Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival while we were there. I hope you have seen some of the pictures and live posts that are on Growing Up Disney as we witnessed the celebration.
The day started with us arriving at Epcot shortly after 8am
for the 9 o’clock opening. At 9 the PA
system made an announcement of the event and then streamers went everywhere
from the tops over the turnstiles. Then
we were off. Once inside cast members
were handing out 30th Anniversary Buttons and Commemorative maps
which showed the history and development of Epcot. To the
left of Spaceship Earth we could see a line had formed that stretched from
there to Mouse Gear where the “limited edition” merchandise was being
sold. Later we heard people were
standing in line for 4 hours to buy the buttons, t-shirts, and other items. A quick look at the schedule showed there was
no Anniversary events scheduled until 1pm. So Ridge and I by-passed the extremely long
line and strolled up the right side of Spaceship Earth and stopped in at The
Art of Disney.
In the Art of Disney we stumbled across a 30th
Anniversary piece of art by Larry Dotson titled “Figment celebrates Epcot”. We picked up the last two copies (or at least
the last two that were out) and had them signed by Mr. Dotson and dated “Oct.
1, 2012.” We then strolled around the fountain
and over to the former Wonders of Life Pavilion that serves as the EIF&WF
Festival Center. Ridge picked up a few souvenirs
from the Festival and we happened up on the Chase Credit Card (Disney Visa)
lounge. Here Ridge met up with some of his twitter friends
and we picked up arm bands for reserved seating for the Sugar Ray concert and
the Chase reserved area to watch Illuminations.
|Guidemap & Button|
|Figment celebrates Epcot|
I managed to hit a few of the Food & Wine booths before heading to the World Showplace Events Pavilion for Designing the Future: Past and Present – a presentation by 9 Imagineers. Three served as MC’s and the other 6 (I don’t have names as I did not have anything to take notes with) were there 30 years ago and involved in the creation of EPCOT Center. No pictures or recording were allowed as they spoke of building Walt’s dream and their part in the building of EPCOT, complete with pictures of some much younger men.
Then it was back to the America Gardens Theater for the 30th Anniversary Ceremony. The 45-minute presentation opened with three songs by Mexico’s Mariachi Cobre, while America’s Voices of Liberty performed its opening day song, "Shenandoah." Both musical groups were part of Epcot since 1982, and their 30-year members were individually recognized. Five members of the Mariachi Cobre and one of the Voices of Liberty have been performing since the opening in 1982.
Speaking at the event were Erin Youngs, Epcot Vice President; Jim MacPhee, Walt Disney World Senior Vice President, and Meg Crofton, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Operations President, United States and France.
All three talked about the importance of people to Epcot, from Walt Disney’s original vision for the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow to guests who visit and make memories to the Cast Members who “live” in the park.
Ms. Crofton also thanked the more 150 Walt Disney World Cast members who worked at Epcot on opening day and still work there, as well as the several guests in the audience who were both in the park for the celebration and on Oct. 1, 1982.
Disney Legend Marty Sklar did two presentations titled Epcot: How it Changed the World, which unfortunately I missed. The day ended with a BANG! – Literally, as an extended 30th Anniversary version of Illuminations took place. The 10 minute extended version was louder and bigger explosions until the finale shook the ground with the percussion of the exploding fireworks.
Happy Anniversary EPCOT!!!
At the end of the day, I really knew the meaning of EPCOT – where Every Person Comes Out Tired. Thank you Walt for your vision to build an entertainment destination you called The Florida Project, but we know as Epcot and Walt Disney World.