Concept Art Abounds in This EPCOT Center Preview Booklet From 1981
With Disney Parks around the world closed for the foreseeable future, WDWNT is dipping into our archives of vintage parks materials for a look back into parks history! Lovers of concept art will get a kick out of this 1981 EPCOT Center preview booklet, featuring art from every opening day pavilion from Future World and World Showcase (and Horizons)!
Note: This article will detail the booklet page by page, but WIGS Members will have access to download a full-resolution PDF of the entire thing. Head on over to Patreon.com/wdwnt to join WIGS, the WDWNT Inner Globe Society, for as little as $2 a month and unlock access to great content like this, and much more!
Imagine it’s 1981. Work on EPCOT Center is going strong, but you don’t have any real photos of any of the physical items that guests will see, like Audio-Animatronics or show sets, yet. So how do you promote your upcoming park? Why, show off a load of concept art, of course!
The above image proved to be so popular with fans that Disney incorporated it into its poster series promoting the “re-imagined” EPCOT at last year’s D23 Expo!
With a backdrop of concept art of the whole park, the booklet opens with this invocation:
“A few miles from the Magic Kingdom – and beyond the boundaries of imagination – Walt Disney’s greatest dream is becoming reality. EPCOT Center opens October 1, 1982. A showplace more than twice the size of the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT Center represents the ultimate in Disney-imagineered entertainment. An entertainment experience that will thrill your most ‘thrillable’ sense of all – imagination.
Come… imagine yourself the EPCOT traveler, exploring the corridors of time and the countries of the world today. Discovering exhilarating new visions of the future and the family of man.”
Starting with Future World, we see the famed concept art of Spaceship Earth, along with a rendering of the mural that would adorn its entrance on the following page.
Interestingly, World of Motion had not been named by the time this booklet was published, as it’s listed as the Transportation Pavilion.
Moving on, we see concept art for Listen to the Land and EPCOT Computer Central at Communicore.
On the opposite page, there’s more of the art for Journey into Imagination and Horizons, which is dubbed New Horizons and isn’t listed as opening in 1983, as later materials would add.
We then preview World Showcase, starting with art for The American Adventure, focusing on the attraction’s host, Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain. Will Rogers is also included, in the art as he was originally intended to be the third host, but was eventually relegated to his lone scene towards the end of the attraction.
While most of the concept art features paintings, the Canada and Italy Pavilions are represented by photographs of models.
The art on the right of the following offers hits at the food and beverages that could be sampled at the park. Pasta, wine and beer? Sounds good to me!
We close out with previews of the France, Mexico, and Italy Pavilions!
As someone who enjoys concept art, I thought it was cool to see these images of a future that was still on its way!