A glimpse of the future, along with sights and sounds of many nations, is featured in a huge entertainment complex about to open in Florida.
WALT DISNEY WORLD, Fla. At this tourist kingdom born of love for a mouse, another birth is imminent. On a 260-acre site adjacent to the Magic Kingdom, a maze of buildings – from an 18-story-high globe to a Canadian chateau-is rising. Called Epcot Center, the addition to what already is the world's No. 1 tourist attraction is being rushed to completion for a scheduled opening on October 1. Its twin components, Future World and World Showcase, emphasize mankind's inventive genius.
Epcot is the brainchild of the late Walt Disney, who conceived the idea even before the Magic Kingdom was carved out of a Florida swamp 11 years ago. The original park celebrates Disney's genius with fantasy and is in no small part a monument to Mickey Mouse, the cartoon character that was the foundation for the entire Disney empire.
The opening of Epcot, an acronym for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, rounds out Disney's plan for a resort combining fun with a serious educational purpose. By the time final touches are put on it next year, the project will have cost 1 billion dollars, making a total investment in Walt Disney World of more than 1.7 billion.
"I think the public is ready for it," says Card Walker, chairman of the board of Walt Disney Productions. "We started with haunted houses and rides. Now we're adding a big show filled with information about the world and how we can improve the quality of life. We'll make you think about things you've never considered before."