The thirtieth anniversary of Epcot was one that saw the park filled with people, some of whom were there as early as 6am. Fortunately, I was not one of the people who was there that early, but I was there an hour before rope drop. The big thing that the family and I were looking forward to that day was the Marty Sklar presentation, but we thought there was no way that we would be able to see it because we had been told that in order to find a good seat we would have to be in line super early, so we had just thought that we would go ahead and enjoy the park, and then read about the presentation later.
So, later that day we were having an amazing lunch at Le Cellier when we got a tweet from one of our friends about there being room in World Showplace so we finished our lunch, and then headed over to find a spot. When we got there, we ended up sitting about nine rows back. Let me tell you, the World Showplace was amazing. The lights and colors were so pretty, and really helped lend to the air of excitement and the buzz that was going through the crowd about the presentation.
Marty Sklar walked onto the stage to a standing ovation from the crowd. The presentation was called Epcot: How It Changed the World (and boy did it!) During his presentation, he talked about the beginnings of Walt Disney World and Epcot. He showed pictures of Walt Disney as he was working on the parks, meeting with imagineers, and he even showed video clips of Walt’s famous video talking to the people of Florida about Epcot and what having an “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow” would mean. Sklar told everyone that the video that we know of today was filmed about six weeks before Walt passed away. What a legacy he left behind!
He talked about things that I would have never thought of before like different pavilions that were thought of for World Showcase but never happened for one reason or another. One such pavilion was Iran. This pavilion would have been amazing but never came to pass because the ruler of Iran was removed from power before anything could be done. He also talked about a pavilion for Israel and Africa. With the imagination and magical touches of Disney, these pavilions could have been amazing. Maybe there could be something like this in the future? Hmmm…
He looked at the Epcot logo of today compared to the logo of Epcot Center. The logo for Epcot Center was composed of five rings connected in the shape of a flower. Marty said this was meant to symbolize unity between the countries. He also mentioned that he did not like the Epcot logo that is currently in use and that the original logo should be reinstated. This was met with thunderous applause. Then, Marty talked about how there were no new original songs, and proceeded to play clips from songs like “Listen to the Land”. I have to admit, I felt tears come to my eyes.
After the presentation, there was a question and answer session. My son was sitting with us through this presentation, and I was worried about how he would have handled sitting through the presentation that lasted for an hour and a half. However, he was engrossed in the discussion, and had even wanted to ask Marty a question himself. To humor him, I asked him what he would have asked and he said, “I would ask how was Walt Disney so smart to come up with Mickey Mouse and Disney World?” While most of us know the answer is that Walt was brilliant, I have to applaud the fact that my eight year old son paid attention and this is something that he is passionate about too. It is pretty cool to be able to share something so special with him and to have him take an interest.
The presentation was amazing. Marty Sklar spoke of things being in the works for the future of Epcot. Although he would not tell anyone what those plans were, he did say that he was happy with the way things were headed, and he did say that we could expect a lot of good things. I think that sounds promising enough. Here’s to the next thirty years Epcot!