YouTube // TheOriginalEpcot
YouTube // TheOriginalEpcot

Watch Walt Disney's Original EPCOT Vision (1966)

YouTube // TheOriginalEpcot
YouTube // TheOriginalEpcot

Toward the end of his life, Walt Disney developed the idea for EPCOT: the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. It was intended to be a planned community in central Florida, using urban planning and advanced technology to improve city life for its citizens.

Unfortunately, Disney died before his plans took shape, and the land was largely used to build the Walt Disney World Resort. Years later, the "Epcot" theme park, a pale shadow of the original vision, opened as a view into futurism, highlighting many of these early ideas but not implementing them as an actual city. Some bits of EPCOT tech, like the PeopleMover, survive today in the Disney theme parks.

Just weeks before he died, Disney filmed his thoughts for what would become known as the "EPCOT/Florida Film," a film showing how EPCOT (and the as-yet-unbuilt Disney World) would work. After his death, the film was mostly relegated to the dustbin of history. But here it is. Behold, Walt Disney's late-1966 vision of the "Prototype City of Tomorrow." Note that the EPCOT material starts at around 6:20, after an extended intro about Disneyland:

For a transcript and tons more detail, check out this history of the film. There's a lot going on here, so reading the transcript may actually be easier than trying to digest the film. (Though the film does show lots of interesting animation and renderings of what the thing would look like.) Here's one bit that jumped out at me in the transcript:

...But most important, this entire fifty acres of city streets and buildings will be completely enclosed. In this climate-controlled environment, shoppers, theatergoers, and people just out for a stroll will enjoy ideal weather conditions, protected day and night from rain, heat and cold, and humidity.

Here the pedestrian will be king, free to walk and browse without fear of motorized vehicles. Only electric powered vehicles will travel above the streets of E.P.C.O.T's central city.

I grew up just a bit south of that land, and I cannot imagine that 50 acres of city streets and buildings could have been effectively enclosed and climate-controlled in the scalding heat of Florida. But what if they were? What might we have learned from that experiment? What would our cities look like today if Disney had lived to promulgate this pedestrian-first idea in a way that actually caught on? Perhaps some of us would be living in Arcologies by now.

(See also: Celebration, Florida.)

Jacqueline Nell/Disneyland Resort, Getty Images
The Fascinating Reason Why There Are No Mosquitoes at Disney World
Jacqueline Nell/Disneyland Resort, Getty Images
Jacqueline Nell/Disneyland Resort, Getty Images

There are no mosquitoes in The Most Magical Place on Earth. That's right, Disney World is so dedicated to making sure you have the time of your life that they've made the bugs practically disappear. How do they pull that off? No, the answer isn't magic. Vlogger Rob Plays delved into the answer in a video spotted by Neatorama.

It would be a feat to get rid of pesky mosquitoes anywhere, but Disney World is in Florida, a.k.a. swamp territory, where insects are more abundant than other places. Bugs are annoying, but they're also dangerous if they're carrying diseases like Zika, and Disney has a responsibility to protect its guests. In short, Disney gets rid of the pests by employing a comprehensive program that includes spraying insecticides and maintaining natural predators, and they do all of this with a level of vigilance that's fearsome to behold.

The park has something called the Mosquito Surveillance Program to manage it all. There are carbon dioxide traps everywhere, and once they catch bugs, the team at Disney freezes and analyzes the population to determine how best to eradicate them. Interestingly enough, they also employ the use of chickens. These sentinel chickens, as they're called, live in coops all over Disney World. While these feathered employees are going about their daily life, their blood is being monitored for mosquito-borne diseases like West Nile virus. Lucky for the chickens, they don't get sick from the virus—but if they do pick it up, the Disney team knows where in the park they got it from so they can deliver a swift blow to the mosquitoes in that area.

You may also notice that the video is populated by clips of the Seven Dwarfs spraying insecticides. If you're wondering how you missed a lengthy sequence in which Happy, Grumpy, and co. did battle with the local insect population in 1937's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, you didn't. The clips come from a separate propaganda film that Disney made during World War II called The Winged Scourge, all about the dangers of malaria and the insects that carry it. The disease caused major casualties for the Allies while fighting in the Pacific Ocean theater of World War II.

Next time you're visiting Disney World, be sure to appreciate the relatively insect-free utopia before returning to the real world.

[h/t Neatorama]

Universal Studios and Amblin Entertainment, Inc. and Legendary Pictures Productions, LLC.
What Would It Cost to Operate a Real Jurassic Park?
Universal Studios and Amblin Entertainment, Inc. and Legendary Pictures Productions, LLC.
Universal Studios and Amblin Entertainment, Inc. and Legendary Pictures Productions, LLC.

As the Jurassic Park franchise has demonstrated, trapping prehistoric monsters on an island with bite-sized tourists may not be the smartest idea (record-breaking box office numbers aside). On top of the safety concerns, the cost of running a Jurassic Park would raise its own set of pretty pricey issues. Energy supplier E.ON recently collaborated with physicists from Imperial College London to calculate how much energy the fictional attraction would eat up in the real world.

The infographic below borrows elements that appear in both the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World films. One of the most costly features in the park would be the aquarium for holding the massive marine reptiles. To keep the water heated and hospitable year-round, the park would need to pay an energy bill of close to $3 million a year.

Maintaining a pterosaur aviary would be an even more expensive endeavor. To come up with this cost, the researchers looked at the yearly amount of energy consumed by the Eden Project, a massive biome complex in the UK. Using that data, they concluded that a structure built to hold winged creatures bigger than any bird alive today would add up to $6.6 million a year in energy costs.

Other facilities they envisioned for the island include an egg incubator, embryo fridge, hotel, and emergency bunker. And of course, there would be electric fences running 24/7 to keep the genetic attractions separated from park guests. In total, the physicists estimated that the park would use 455 million kilowatt hours a year, or the equivalent of 30,000 average homes. That annual energy bill comes out to roughly $63 million.

Keep in mind that energy would still only make up one part of Jurassic Park's hypothetical budget—factoring in money for lawsuits would be a whole different story.

Map of dinosaur park.


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