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Constructing... PALS


In the hindsight of almost 30 years later, the title of this New Brief is outright comical in comparison to other (more historically intriguing) information found further on. However, I suppose having a nice place to eat lunch while on the job site would be more pressing news than developing the world’s first Universal Translator.

As has been (and will continue be) stated many times before, the technological advances of EPCOT Center were simply astounding. The park’s super-cool tagline “The 21st Century Begins October 1st 1982”, wasn’t as much a slogan as it was a statement of fact. From the near iPhone-like functionality of World Key, to Wi-Fi for Figments, the multitude of completely new and wondrous devices developed for the park would (in many instances) not be used practically for decades after their debut in EPCOT Center.

One of the many amazing aspects of the park was not only its displays on world culture and triumphant achievements, but a commitment on all levels to make it accessible to as many people as possible. The PALS system is a prime example. Because of this device, Epcot’s attractions had the ability to reach a much wider audience than any theme park ever had before. Additionally, the attractions of Epcot’s Future World, although visually spectacular, were dealing with abstract concepts that simply could not have been told in completely visual terms. The apparentness of singing birds, pirates and ghosts can be enjoyed with little understanding of the English language. But without language how can one understand the complex story of Energy, the narrative prose of Spaceship Earth, or the completely abstract Journey into Imagination. In short and just as Walt predicted…

…when EPCOT has become a reality and we find the need for technologies that don’t even exist today, it’s our hope that EPCOT will stimulate American industry to develop new solutions that will meet the needs of people expressed right here in this experimental community.

With PALS available for guests of four languages and with hearing difficulties, pictographic signage, and a well designed park layout, it should come as no surprise that Epcot was (and still is) a very close second (and sometimes a first) with international guests. As the ancestor to Epcot, the 1964 New York World’s Fair’s theme was “Peace through Understanding” - technologies like this help to make that plausible!

© Disney All Rights Reserved

Photo Caption:
Ah! The hexagonal masterpiece of design that is Odyssey. Although no longer a restaurant, the backside of the building (that opened on the day of the News Brief) does still operate as The Discovery Dinner. In this picture (from 1983) one can see such futuristically themed items like the “Odyssey hamburger” or “The Voyage hot dog” or even the really fancy salad trio simply titled “The Discovery” which is the most expensive thing on the menu at $2.50!              

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