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Prologue - "The Lost Classics"

All artistic endeavors are in some way, large or small, a product of the times in which they are produced. In addition, we define ourselves by the art that we absorb, and in most cases the experiences we have as children create the longest-lasting impacts on the our means of expression, our outlook on life, and the legacies that we leave to our children. From the father that watches Star Wars for first time in his son’s eyes to the daughter who is told the story of Cinderella and knows that her mother believes in rising above ones circumstances, we all have experiences we want to relive again and eventually share with our children.

Multiple generations have now grown-up with the art of Imagineering, and in many ways, have attractions that identify their childhood experiences of coming to Disneyland and then Walt Disney World. Children of the 1950s often think of Peter Pan’s Flight or the Jungle Cruise as their most fond memories. The 1960s contain most of the landmark attractions that we today regard as masterpieces from the Enchanted Tiki Room to Pirates of the Caribbean, from the Carousel of Progress to the Haunted Mansion, this generation has seemingly no end to the praise and recognition it is given. The 1970s gave us the Country Bears and Space Mountain. The 1980s saw an explosion of activity, most of this was focused on the characteristically optimistic attractions of EPCOT Center. World of Motion, the Journey into Imagination, Spaceship Earth, and finally Horizons were all attractions the epitomized the cultural mindset of the age: with everything we know and everything we’re doing, Nothing Is Impossible. If We Can Dream It We can Do It!

Unlike the generations that preceded it, children of the 80’s have no unabashedly positive future worlds to visit today. The visions that shaped our perception of what the future could be, have been changed, ripped-out, covered-up or demolished. These are the “Lost Classics”. A once bright white-hot revelation of the future has dimmed to gray. But there is hope for the Future; the signs are everywhere, in film, merchandising, in architecture, color, and tone EPCOT Center is slowly returning. The classical look of the “Center” is gaining popularity all the time. As current attractions go out of favor, the Imagineers will look to the past to recreate the future. Although, nothing is ever as it was, what was can always return in new and exciting ways.

To the generation that grew-up with thinking it’s fun to be free.
And the children who chose their own flight back to the Futureport.


To those who believe true global communication is the key to understanding.
And especially to everyone who fell in love with an imaginative baby dragon and his creator
The E82 Historical Expositions Series is greatly dedicated. 

Reader Comments (2)

Yeah, there's far more truth in this article than most are willing to admit. Sadly, even at EPCOT, the vision is fading even further. Half of the upstairs to Journey into Imagination was closed off (with the other half converted into a Disney Vacation Club lounge), Innoventions East was removed to make way for a character greeting spot, and only half of the Wonders of Life pavilion gets used in spring and autumn just for those specific seasonal events. Even worse, the attraction that was supposed to display a ride-through visualization of Norway's mythology (Maelstrom) was converted to Frozen (which has NO place there).

Call me a nostalgia-tripping 80s kid, but I'm gravely worried about EPCOT's own future with the current people in charge.

September 11, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJosh

  Just a few thoughts.
   It would have been great If Walt Disney had not died and his original ideas for EPCOT had come to pass. But the Epcot Center that was opened in 1982 and ran through 1994 was a far better experience than what exists now. FutureWorld was a well themed, comprehensive look at man’s potential. It was, for the most part, educational, entertaining, and inspirational. My family visited EPCOT Center four times between 1983 and 1996. My children, ages six through sixteen, had no problem understanding the scientific “adult” level at which the exhibits were set up. We all loved the park.  
   What was once my favorite park, has become my least. Theming is gone. The once contemporary colors and sight-lines are now gaudy and circus- like. Open areas are now cluttered with kiosks hawking junk. The once magnificent open entrance with colored fountain is now cluttered with tombstone-like tributes to those willing to spend money to have there names inscribed.
EPCOT has lost all sense of direction, either adding “thrill” rides that make people ill or dumbing down the pavilions for preschoolers just to sell merchandise. Only The Land pavilion, for the most part, has held on to it’s original educational orientation. 
 Things have changed and corporate sponsorship is not what it once was. Yes, the park needs work. But change just for the sake of change? Hopefully they can come up with an overall plan and stop the seemingly random way in which they have addressed changes over the last twenty years.  I really think it may have to do with the fact that those people that had Walt Disney’s direct influence in their lives are now mostly gone.
The scriptures say “For lack of a vision people perish.” If EPCOT is to survive, Disney needs a vision. I hope they can find one.

May 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRandy Clifford

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