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2032 — Part I 



"Everyone in the world will come to these gates. Why? Because they want to look at the world of the future. They want to see how to make better human beings. That’s what the whole thing is about. The cynics are already here and they’re terrifying one another. What Disney is doing is showing the world that there are alternative ways to do things that can make us all happy. If we can borrow some of the concepts of Disneyland and Disney World and Epcot, then indeed the world can be a better place."

—    Ray Bradbury
OMNI Magazine September 1st 1982

“The 21st Century Begins October 1, 1982”.  This was not merely one of the boldest marketing taglines ever created; it was a statement of fact! During that first year visitors to EPCOT Center could browse an internet on touch screens, manipulate images with Photoshop, paint with Illustrator, Skype with a cast member, play Kinetic musically-based games and ride the world’s first interactive attraction. This was by no accident, as most of the world’s most forward-thinking individuals were sought out to bring their collective insights and expertise to the forefront. Over 60 men and women, that made up EPCOT Center’s Advisory Board, first assembled almost 40 years ago.

Throughout the late 70’s a series of conferences were held, in which Marty Sklar introduced the following…

Walt Disney did not go to Florida just to build another “theme park” or even a destination resort. He had something far more important in mind.
We believe today that the creative insight which led Walt Disney to propose EPCOT is as valid as it ever was, and is needed even more.

National public opinion polls have made it clear that government and industry have both lost the trust of much of the American public. As a result, democracy and free enterprise are coming under increasing attack, both at home and around the world.

At the same, the public is becoming increasingly aware of the complex nature of problems facing all people. They have a need to know what is being done to solve these problems.

We have dedicated the achievement of Walt Disney’s concept for EPCOT to the belief that public trust can and must be strongly reaffirmed in our democratic institutions, and our free enterprise system.

If distilled into its most succinct statements, all of these conferences asked two fundamental questions: Where are we going? And What’s the most positive way to depict it? The former question was one for the advisors while the latter was posed sometime later to the Imagineers themselves.

One such answer and its application was featured prominently in all of EPCOT Center, but most especially in Spaceship Earth and Horizons — Communications. The Information Age was metamorphosing into the Digital Age during EPCOT Center’s formative years and both pavilions showcased a world in which connectivity (not distance) was the only barrier to communication. One of the most positive examples of this was in Horizons where an extended family spends most of the attraction coordinating a child’s birthday party across thousands of miles. And although we might not have holographic video conferencing yet, such a scenario is not uncommon in many families today.

However Horizons, Spaceship Earth, Universe of Energy as well as most other pavilions were passive experiences of the future yet to come, and didn’t exactly address the issues that these marvelous technologies would ultimately bring. EPCOT Center was in many ways a Blueprint for tomorrow — what we need now is a Guidebook!

Undoubtedly, there will be new technological advances that will continue to revolutionize the way in which we work, live and play. And yet, technology is still only a process towards fulfillment, and does not necessarily ensure a higher quality of life. We can be perpetually connected through Social Media, sharing in other’s triumphs however, we can also end up depressed by the constant compounding of collective success in disproportionate comparison to our individual achievements. The iPhone 16 will no doubt be wondrous in its abilities but will it improve your life anymore than the iPhone 6?

At every stage of human history we have proven that technology develops far quicker than our ability to responsibly use it. If humanity is to continue to progress we must evolve to meet the challenge posed by the creations of our innovators. Learn to move beyond our primal selves, and into that race of super-intelligent benevolent beings that is so often depicted in science fiction. But how to do we begin to address such a seemingly insurmountable goal of human evolution?

In 1976 Card Walker announced to the world that EPCOT Center would indeed become a reality, and that his objectives for the project were to create an ongoing “Forum of the Future”. A forum that, in many ways, began long before EPCOT Center’s opening during that series of conferences where many advisors were asked for their insights and predictions of “Where are we going?”.

These conferences were expensive, and protracted affairs that required people to travel vast distances in order to converge at the Contemporary Hotel. And one could surmise that many of the participants were expounding their pre-existing knowledge with little in the way of actual revelation.

What If such an advisory board existed today? What would be the problems and possibilities discussed at such an event? For although the global malaise is nearly identical to that of the late 1970s, it is now for far different reasons. It is clear that the answers to our original questions are far too passive and pessimistic to be constructive. No matter your perspective, we can all agree that unless conditions change the answer to the original question: Where are we Going? makes the second question: What’s the most positive way to depict it? nearly impossible to answer.          

However, we do now have the tools and capabilities to bridge the gaps between us, as the physical distance is no longer a barrier in exchanging ideas. Incredibly one could now amass information from the greatest thinkers of our time to create an Intellectual “Mood Board”, without them even realizing it! Only this time we could ask a much more proactive set of questions. Instead of soliciting predictions of things yet to be, we would seek directions to construct a bold new era where the seemingly infinite flood of electronic babble has been channeled into contextually relevant resources of information allowing us to make the best decisions for ourselves, each other and the planet we share.

What would such an advisory board look like? And what would be the answers they give to our most fundamental questions? Not just Where are we going? but Where do we want to go?  And most importantly: How to do we get there?


YOU are now standing at that threshold…


The “Forum for the Future” begins now!

Click Me

Welcome to The E82 Institute

The fifth and final realm of The E82 Project, The E82 Institute is a repository of innovative ideas and concepts from the minds of some of the greatest dreamers and doers of our time — a collection of individuals bringing EPCOT Center’s ideals into the present and beyond creating a guidebook for “Optimal Living” for you and your community now and into the future.

Part II – The Tone of Tomorrow



Edited by Christine Cryderman

Reader Comments (3)

I've been waiting for this since it was announced! Wonderful work as always, Josh!

March 5, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAaron

Quite profound.

March 5, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKye

I will definitely keep an eye in part 2: The Tone of Tomorrow. I started to feel that Epcot is having an identity crisis, especially with the replacement of Universe of Energy for Guardians of the Galaxy, which if the rumor is true, it shouldn't be there.

Now here's the question, though. Casey Newton from the movie, Tomorrowland, stated that it's hard to have ideas. Is this really true?

I am a fan of Epcot and I do visit the fountain from time to time, even the one near the Imagination Pavilion (I miss the stepping tones that lit up colors in the floor), but I'm starting to feel that I'll be visiting Epcot less often, aside from Via Napoli where they serve great pizza and French serves chocolate mousse before I watch the fireworks and that's about it.

I do try to be positive and optimistic as Casey is.

June 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterGrayson Peddie

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