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The West Coast EPCOT That Never Was

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EPCOT opened 30 years ago today. Here's a look at the proposed West Coast version from a story Stacy originally posted last year.

Michael Eisner's original plans for the expansion of the Disney empire in Anaheim included a version of Orlando’s EPCOT called WestCOT.

Like EPCOT, WestCOT would have been made up of two parts - Future World, a place for guests to get hands on with science, and an area where guests could experience different cultures and architecture. Instead of being divided into individual countries, though, the mini-world tour would be split into regions: the New World (the Americas), the Old World (Europe), the World of Asia (guess) and the World of Africa (right again). Unlike EPCOT, guests would have been able to reside in any one of those regions during their stay, living right in the park. This hotel-within-the-park idea was eventually used at Tokyo DisneySea (anyone been there?). Rides included a James Bond-esque chase on a train, a trip through an Egyptian palace and a Native American Spirit Lodge.

Even more ambitious was a ride show called “The Three Great Religions of the World.” Say what?! Luckily, Eisner and other Disney execs realized doing this without offending someone or creating some sort of controversy was more or less impossible, even for Imagineers who do the impossible every day. I’m guessing it’s totally out of the picture these days, but in 1994, Imagineer Tony Baxter still had hopes for it:

“We had settled on depicting the seven days of creation and avoiding all of the problems between the Muslim and the Jewish and Christian versions of that. And we were getting very excited because we were starting to deal with seven of the great artists of the world and trying to have them depict each of the single days that they had been given. Maybe that will happen later.”

Uh... maybe not.

Like all Disney parks, there were plans for WestCOT to have a large architectural symbol that would represent the park. At first, designers thought they would replicate the giant geodesic sphere from Florida, but make it gold and almost twice as big. When mockups were made, they quickly realized that it would totally distract from the view on Main Street over at Disneyland. The fact that nearby residents were already complaining about how a massive gilded golf ball would be an eyesore whenever they stepped outside probably influenced the decision as well. In the end, a 300-foot white spire was the winner.

And all of this was just the tip of the iceberg: there were incredibly detailed plans for landscaping, hotels, restaurants and more. It was projected that the additions would attract an extra 25 million visitors to the area every year. Nearly 30,000 jobs would be created.

So what went wrong? Well, Disney ran into a lot of problems along the way, including lack of funding from outside sources (hey, someone had to pay for revamped roads, highways and parking garages), push back from some pretty prominent people, and the financial failure of EuroDisney. So, even though WestCOT had officially been announced to the public in 1991, it was scrapped just a few years later.

Still, something had to be done, so execs put their heads together at a three-day summit in Colorado to come up with the next big amusement park. The result of the long weekend was California Adventure, which opened in 2001.

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A Simple Way to Charge Your iPhone in 5 Minutes
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Spotting the “low battery” notification on your phone is usually followed by a frantic search for an outlet and further stress over the fact that you may not have time for a full charge. On iPhones, plugging your device into the wall for five minutes might result in only a modest increase of about three percent or so. But this tip from Business Insider Tech may allow you to squeeze out a little more juice.

The trick? Before charging, put your phone in Airplane Mode so that you reduce the number of energy-sucking tasks (signal searching, fielding incoming communications) your device will try and perform.

Next, take the cover off if you have one (the phone might be generating extra heat as a result). Finally, try to use an iPad adapter, which has demonstrated a faster rate of charging than the adapter that comes with your iPhone.

Do that and you’ll likely double your battery boost, from about three to six percent. It may not sound like much, but that little bit of extra juice might keep you connected until you’re able to plug it in for a full charge.

[h/t Business Insider Tech]

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Trying to Save Money? Avoid Shopping on a Smartphone
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Today, Americans do most of their shopping online—but as anyone who’s indulged in late-night retail therapy likely knows, this convenience often can come with an added cost. Trying to curb expenses, but don't want to swear off the convenience of ordering groceries in your PJs? New research shows that shopping on a desktop computer instead of a mobile phone may help you avoid making foolish purchases, according to Co. Design. Ying Zhu, a marketing professor at the University of British Columbia-Okanagan, recently led a study to measure how touchscreen technology affects consumer behavior. Published in the Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, her research found that people are more likely to make more frivolous, impulsive purchases if they’re shopping on their phones than if they’re facing a computer monitor. Zhu, along with study co-author Jeffrey Meyer of Bowling Green State University, ran a series of lab experiments on student participants to observe how different electronic devices affected shoppers’ thinking styles and intentions. Their aim was to see if subjects' purchasing goals changed when it came to buying frivolous things, like chocolate or massages, or more practical things, like food or office supplies. In one experiment, participants were randomly assigned to use a desktop or a touchscreen. Then, they were presented with an offer to purchase either a frivolous item (a $50 restaurant certificate for $30) or a useful one (a $50 grocery certificate for $30). These subjects used a three-point scale to gauge how likely they were to purchase the offer, and they also evaluated how practical or frivolous each item was. (Participants rated the restaurant certificate to be more indulgent than the grocery certificate.) Sure enough, the researchers found that participants had "significantly higher" purchase intentions for hedonic (i.e. pleasurable) products when buying on touchscreens than on desktops, according to the study. On the flip side, participants had significantly higher purchase intentions for utilitarian (i.e. practical) products while using desktops instead of touchscreens. "The playful and fun nature of the touchscreen enhances consumers' favor of hedonic products; while the logical and functional nature of a desktop endorses the consumers' preference for utilitarian products," Zhu explains in a press release. The study also found that participants using touchscreen technology scored significantly higher on "experiential thinking" than subjects using desktop computers, whereas those with desktop computers demonstrated higher scores for rational thinking. “When you’re in an experiential thinking mode, [you crave] excitement, a different experience,” Zhu explained to Co. Design. “When you’re on the desktop, with all the work emails, that interface puts you into a rational thinking style. While you’re in a rational thinking style, when you assess a product, you’ll look for something with functionality and specific uses.” Zhu’s advice for consumers looking to conserve cash? Stow away the smartphone when you’re itching to splurge on a guilty pleasure. [h/t Fast Company]

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