I’m sorry that I’ve not written anything recently. It’s been a mix of things that has kept me from blogging away at my Manifesto. Work’s been busy. Home’s been busy. There has been another writing project that has consumed some of my time recently (news on that in the next week or two, I promise).
There is also something else. Something additional. Some extra dissatisfaction that has taken over in the last month or so. It honestly started the day that I realized that this Guardians of the Galaxy rumor had legs. That people I know who ‘know things’ were confirming that it was serious, and more likely than not to happen. Universe of Energy is about to go away.
I took my disappointment and disillusionment that day and penned my letter to the VP of Epcot, and emailed it off. I received contact from Disney’s Guest Experiences services, and had a nice conversation with their representative. It was a polite phone call, we spoke of my general concern for the park, rumors, and my passion. Nothing deep was talked about, no assurances were made. I was told that Ms. Valiquette had indeed read my letter, and had sent it along to leadership at Epcot for them to read. I am not certain how much faith I put into that, but I’ll take her at her word because I have no reason not to.
One of the main reasons I’ve written this blog is that I felt that there might be the slightest, tiniest chance that someone in some corner of the Disney company might read it, and might pause and question what has been going on at the park.
I had no delusions that my manifesto would some day come to be a part of the park. That I’d be hired on as some guru imagineer in charge of a revamp of Epcot. No, I’m not that crazy. I just hoped that maybe, somewhere, someone would realize that there are alternatives to what seemed to be the prevailing wind at Epcot. That it might be possible to still revitalize the park, and Future World, and bring it back to be the inspirational place that it was in my childhood.
The flicker of hope that I had has been being beaten down recently by that same prevailing wind. I don’t think that there is any chance that we’re not about to witness the official end of Future World. While the spirit of Epcot Center has been on life support for years, a paint job here, a hastily thrown together Innoventions exhibit there, I think we’re witnessing the last days where Disney even pretends to care about what Epcot once was.
This is something I wrote September 12, 2014. It was the day that it was confirmed (via Disney Parks Blog post I believe) that Maelstrom was going to be closed and replaced with what is now “Frozen Ever After”. It was written on a message board in the style of a eulogy.
Education in Epcot had a long and storied life, but today slipped away quietly after a long slow decline in health.
Education in Epcot was born in 1966 to Walt Disney, father of many mind boggling and forward thinking achievements. In it's youth, it's father dreamed of a Utopian city, melding some of industry's leaders together to create a new world for the future. Sadly, Education in Epcot's father passed away shortly after it's birth.
As Education in Epcot grew, it realized it's true calling, to bring out the best in human civilization by fostering excitement among people big and small, educating people from all walks of life about the technologies and dreams of the future, as well as exposing people to the global community that would need to come together to make these dreams come true.
During it's teenage years, Education in Epcot contracted a case of malaise brought on by poor decision making from it's new foster parents. Starting in 1994, it started losing some of it's most important fundamental beliefs. It started to lose it's energy and mobility in 1996, it's imagination in 1998, and by late 1999, all of it's dreams of the future crumbled away.
Education in Epcot still maintained a love for foreign travel though, and continued to enjoy life with it's love for cuisine and world music. These loves could only be sustained for so long though, and signs of it's death started cropping up in the past few years. It quietly passed away today, it's last heartbeat frozen in time. It's death was announced in a short statement on social media.
It is survived by it's half-sibling Corporate Greed.
Education in Epcot: 1966 - 2014. Rest in Peace.
Donations can be made in Education in Epcot's honor to local school systems and libraries.
I keep toying with blog post ideas to try and get back into writing on this manifesto. I know that I’ve had my Plan Alpha sitting out there, only just begun, and I need to continue along with that. I’ve hit most, but not all, pavilions in Future World. There are other ideas, other plans. I can brainstorm ideas for each pavilion until the proverbial cows come home. I will do that too. Just not today. Today feels more like a day of mourning.
The blog will continue. I’ll find the spirit again to discuss why this place was important, and how it could be again. I have too much passion about this silly theme park that had such an impact on me decades ago. I can’t keep it down forever.
Epcot will continue also. Disney’s second most visited theme park will continue to change. It’ll be with less coherence, more whiz-bang attractions based on comic book characters and popular films. Some might be groundbreaking technologically, and fun as hell too. I might even enjoy them.
That won’t change the fact that something was lost. Something that was more than just a theme park.
I tweeted a link to a podcast the other day, one of my favorite podcasts. The episode itself was not super-Epcot relevant, and not even one of my favorites of the series. It however closed with the line that I quoted in the tweet, and that line hit me HARD. The episode “America’s Last Top Model” was about a massive model of the Mississippi River that was constructed so that the Army Corps of Engineers could simulate floods on the Mississippi River and devise methods to save lives by managing the flood plain. Near the end of the episode, they were interviewing Stanford Gibson, a hydraulic engineer for the Army Corps. He closed the episode with the following statement:
“The idea that science demystifies the world—I just don’t understand that. I feel like the deeper down the scientific rabbit hole I go…the bigger and grander and more magical the world seems.”
followed by host Roman Mars closing the episode with what literally dropped my jaw.
“If there’s one thing I believe more than anything, its that knowledge creates wonder”
This right here. This is what Epcot Center was. This is why it is more than just a theme park. This is why it was important.
Until I come to grips with the fact that this is something that is over and done with, it’s going to be hard to write a fun and informative blog post about Communicore or Wonders of Life.
I’ll get there. It’s just going to take a little more time.