The Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow

Photo+via+http%3A%2F%2Fdragonofbrainstorms.deviantart.com%2Fart%2FEpcot-Center-290346834+under+the+Creative+Commons+license.

Photo via http://dragonofbrainstorms.deviantart.com/art/Epcot-Center-290346834 under the Creative Commons license.

Federica, Editor

We all know Walt Disney as the person behind the massive Disney empire to which we have been exposed at least once in our lives.

Snow White, Pinocchio, Buzz Lightyear, Cinderella, Stitch, Olaf; all characters that exist and are known thanks to the motion pictures of Disney. Many children, both now and in the past, have looked up to these characters as heroes, friends and role models. Media platforms, like television, have given Disney the opportunity to increase his influence on children with specific channels like Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, or simply with major, award winning films aimed at a wider audience and often also presented in cinemas. Not only this, but The Walt Disney Company owns 5 of the most famous theme parks of the World (Disneyland, Los Angeles; Disney World Orlando, Florida; Disneyland, Paris; Disneyland, Tokyo; Disneyland, Hong Kong), all of which attract millions of visitors each year. It is agreeable that Walt Disney (and his company) has had a great influence on the entertainment industry in the past 90 years,but is it just this?

 

Well, have you ever heard of EPCOT? EPCOT is one of the four parks which make up Disney World in Florida which is themed around innovation, ecology and the future. It also contains an area which showcases the beauty and variety of different countries of the World. Although there are fun and entertaining rides like Spaceship Earth or Test Track, this wasn’t EPCOT’s original purpose. It was, in fact, meant to be part of a project of private government which was already planned for the surroundings of the entire theme park. Walt didn’t want this new space to be influenced by social, political and economic factors of the surroundings. His aim was to isolate his parks in order to create a proper magical kingdom, which visitors would enter, forgetting about what was happening outside. In order to achieve this he planned to buy acres and acres of land in the surrounding area, place dummy corporations there and connect Disney parks and hotels with private railways; in the original plan there was also supposed to be a Disney Airport. 

 

Although isolation has been mostly achieved, you have to travel through various roads after having crossed the gates before reaching the establishment. Certain details planned by Walt are not yet present but there is a monorail that connects various areas of the site. Within Disney’s world of imagination, EPCOT was a utopia; a Brave New World in which people lived in smart houses, would move on technologically advanced means of transportation and would never retire. EPCOT would be a separate state and have a different political orientation, different taxation and have a dome-like climate control system. Disney World can be said to be a separate town which benefits from the privilege of bending US regulations, but the extent to which Disney wanted it to be is far from what it is now.

 

Certainly, Disney had plans other than creating an exposition-type park filled with attractions. It is not as futuristic as it would have been in the 1960s, but we can’t underestimate the revolutionary character of the idea and the relevance of it.

This community would have been one of the greatest innovations the world had ever seen. If it had been fully accomplished whilst Walt Disney was alive, who knows where we would be now?