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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.)

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A New Roller Coaster is Whizzing Through Colorado's Rocky Mountains
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There are plenty of ways to explore the majestic Rocky Mountains, but few offer the adrenaline rush of the Rocky Mountain Coaster, a brand-new roller coaster that sends riders soaring along the range’s natural twists and turns.

As Urban Daddy reports, the Rocky Mountain Coaster recently opened at Copper Mountain, a mountain and ski resort that’s located near the tiny town of Frisco, about 75 miles west of Denver. Nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, the vacation spot is ideal for hikers, skiers, and mountain bikers. Now, visitors looking to enjoy the surrounding scenery without breaking a sweat can cruise for roughly a mile down to the resort’s high alpine Center Village.

The ride’s raised track “runs along the natural curvature of the mountain, with zigs, zags, dips, and 360-degree turns for guaranteed thrills,” according to a press release. Each personal car is equipped with manual hand brakes to control the ride’s pace, but the coaster does feature a 430-foot drop, so be careful with your phones while Instagramming the view.

The Rocky Mountain Coaster is open-year round, though it will initially mostly only be open on weekends. Solo rides cost $25, and a two-ride pass can be purchased for $35. (Resort guests get an exclusive discount.)

[h/t Urban Daddy]

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The Princess Ride: Here's What a Princess Bride Theme Park Attraction Might Look Like
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Do you fight the urge to say “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya” when introducing yourself? Have you spent the past 30 years mispronouncing the word “marriage”? If so, you may be a diehard fan of The Princess Bride. The cult film (and the book on which it’s based) has inspired board games, merchandise, and countless pop culture references. Now, two theme park designers from Universal have conceived the inconceivable. As Nerdist reports, Jon Plsek and Olivia West have designed the plans for a hypothetical attraction called “The Princess Ride.

Their idea follows the classic river boat ride structure and adds highlights from the movie around each corner. After watching Buttercup and Wesley’s love story unfold, riders are taken past the Cliffs of Insanity, through the Fire Swamp, and into the Pit of Despair. The climax unfolds at Prince Humperdinck’s castle and leads up to the two protagonists riding off into the sunset. The last thing the passengers see is Miracle Max and Valerie waving goodbye saying, “Hope ya had fun stormin’ the castle!”

The ride’s designers make a living turning stories into thrilling attractions. Plsek works as a concept artist for Universal Creative, the group behind Universal’s theme parks, and West works there as a concept writer. While The Princess Ride was just a fun side project for the pair, it isn’t hard to imagine their ride bringing Princess Bride fans to the parks in real life.

For more of Jon Plesk’s concept rides inspired by classics like Dr. Strangelove (1964) and National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983), check out his website.

[h/t Nerdist]

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