In October, 1979, it was still 600 acres of Florida swamp, complete with sinkholes, 6-ft rattlesnakes and muck the consistency of dirty crankcase oil. Now, almost three years later, rows of trailers and swarms of construction equipment® are indications of the $1 billion in construction that will be in place by next year. But a closer look reveals even more about this very special construction site.
Fiberglass trees stand with pipes protruding from their trunks where artificial branches will be. A round, low-rise building has been partially buried under the stage-prop rocks that will mimic a Canadian mountain. Molded plastic strips lie in piles, waiting to be aged and colored as part of a centuries-old Chinese temple. Stalks of artificial prairie wheat are being fastened to a floor as a mechanical alligator grins in a half-assembled jungle nearby. And above it all looms a gleaming emblem of the future, a 165-ft-dia, aluminum-faced globe.
The place is EPCOT Center (for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow), a two-part park Walt Disney Productions is building near Orlando to expand Walt Disney World. Disney expects that the opening of the new park on Oct. will boost Disney World's annual attendance to 20 million, from the 13.1 million now drawn by the 10-year-old Magic Kingdom park.
EPCOT Center will be "a quantum leap" beyond anything Disney has ever done, says James Nagy, project director with the Tishman Realty & Construction Co., New York City, the construction manager. "This is a generation and a half or two generations beyond the Magic Kingdom."
Distinct sections. EPCOT Center consists of two sections with two distinct themes (ENR 8/6/81 World, includes pavilions on different p. 34). The first, Future aspects of human technology, how they developed and where they are likely to be headed. By the Oct. H opening date, six of the Future World pavilions will be ready: Spaceship Earth (a globe that serves as the park's theme structure and contains a spiralling ride), Universe of Energy (a three-part show on energy sources), World of Motion (on transportation), Journey into Imagination (on human creativity), The Land (on agriculture) and Communicore (the computer center that runs all of the rides and displays of EPCOT Center). Work has also been started on two other pavilions: Horizons and The Living Seas.