A tangent on storytelling and Epcot Center

A comment on my last blog post regarding music and radio got me going off on a tangent today.  The comment made mention of Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, which put my brain off and running on a semi-related path.  And I haven't even had the chance to write up my post on the importance of music in the original Epcot Center, have I?  I can't remember.  Anyway.
I honestly spend a lot less time these days listening to music than I used to.  The reason is that I've fallen deep down into the world of Podcasts.  They are my commute soundtrack, and honestly make my couple hours in the car each day enjoyable.  I've touched on Podcasts before in my blog, a brief post about Dr. Oliver Sacks.  This will go a little farther.  Hopefully I'm not just rewriting what I once wrote already.
How it's semi-related to the topic of Epcot is that the majority of my podcasts that I subscribe to are ones that engage me in ways that I associate with Epcot Center.  They relate to science in most cases, a lot of them put out by NPR.  Hidden Brain, Freakanomics, Star Talk Radio, Snap Judgement, the TED radio hour, 99% Invisible, Planet Money, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, This American Life, The Memory Palace, Song Exploder, Gastropod, The Story Collider, Serial, Embedded, and my ultimate favorite, Radiolab.  
What they all have in common are their storytelling ability.  The way they can take a topic, whatever it is, and turn it into something that is so engaging that I'll sit in my car, commute over and parked at home, and finish the story.  Or re-listen to the story over and over, like reruns of an amazing show, and still be just as drawn in as the first time.  I can listen to an episode of Radiolab or Snap Judgement for the first, or the 5th time, and still be just as engaged.
Why does this have anything to do with Epcot?   Well, of course I can tie this in!
If I think about the original Epcot Center attractions that are beloved by those that had the chance to enjoy them, I feel that this is how they were built as well.  Spaceship Earth, Horizons, World of Motion, The Living Seas, Journey into Imagination... These were long-form attractions, single, detailed, and well-written stories.  They could draw you in, tell you a story, one that made you think and feel, and you formed the connection with the material.  It was not a shallow experience that you enjoyed and forgot immediately.  It was engaging from the beginning, and held to a consistent narrative throughout.
The Living Seas, entering through historical sea exploration examples, the film setting up the wonder of discovery in the oceans, the Hydrolators taking you "down to a working scientific Seabase".  Everything in the pavilion was a part of the single story, even once you were wandering the aquarium yourself.
Horizons brought you in with a charming couple of narrators, who you slowly realize are telling you the story of their family and how they live in the future.
They were all one long narrative, each area telling an important part of a larger story.
The fact that they were so well written and produced of course helped as well, just as with the podcasts I listen to today.  Radiolab works so well because of the care they take in crafting their story through interviews, sound, creating drama in topics that could so easily become dry.
It poses a bit of a chicken and egg question for me.  Was I always so inclined to be enthralled by this kind of storytelling, and so Epcot hit an already developed part of my inner self, and that is what caused it to resonate so deeply?  Did Epcot create and nurture something that would become a huge portion of how I lived and learned later in life?  I'm guessing it's a little bit of both.  A little nature, a little nurture, and together they informed the adult I've become.
I'd recommend to those who enjoyed Epcot to take any of the podcasts I mentioned above and give them a try.  If you are interested, I will post a list of recommended episodes as an addendum to this post.  They might not be Horizons, but some of them can tickle those same portions of the brain that Epcot Center once did.  Give them a try.