It’s no secret that Walt Disney was deeply interested in progress and the work of great futurists of his time, like Ray Bradbury. But did you know that the work of one great mind in particular actually inspired the name of a classic Epcot attraction?
That man was R. Buckminster Fuller, a theorist/futurist, who studied how technology could improve our daily lives, including in the area of housing. Two of his major works may sound familiar in terms of Spaceship Earth: First, in 1951, he patented a design called the geodesic dome that was lightweight, cost-effective and easy to assemble. Then in 1968, he published a book called, “Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth,” in which he calls people astronauts and describes how the planet needs continual maintenance in order to keep operating, just like a vehicle.
According to Disney Legend John Hench in his “Designing Disney” book, Fuller’s work was a huge inspiration in shaping what would become the park’s icon:
“We assumed from the beginning that we needed a large sphere for the Epcot icon, and we wanted one with enough space inside for an attraction. We were familiar with architect Buckminster Fuller’s experiments with building the geodesic dome he had invented in the 1940s, including the one he had constructed for the Ford headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, in 1953. Fuller’s famous phrase ‘spaceship earth’ also appealed to us.”
Excited for Epcot’s 30th anniversary? Follow @WaltDisneyWorld on Twitter, and join the conversation with the hashtag #Epcot30.
Late yesterday afternoon, I sought to make a photograph of Spaceship Earth to help celebrate the upcoming 30th anniversary of the opening of Epcot. Having photographed this dramatic structure since its construction phase, I struggled with the challenge to come up with something new.
As I casually strolled through the area, I was struck by how beautiful this stately grove of Washingtonia palm trees appeared, gently swaying in the breeze and contrasting so dramatically with the sleek, smooth surfaces of the Epcot icon.
I call this my “Future World Forest”… Happy birthday, Epcot!
For the fifth year, Disney VoluntEARS had “fuh-un” at the annual Orange County CANstruction event, where they spent nearly six hours “can-structing” our favorite tow truck, Mater, from 5,700 cans of food donated by the Disneyland Resort.
The event, benefiting the Orange County Food Bank, takes place every September in conjunction with the Festival of Children at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif., where structures made entirely out of canned foods are put on display.
Disney VoluntEARS created Mater’s main structure from cans of kidney beans, and eyes and pupils from cans of mandarin oranges, evaporated milk, green beans and salmon. In total, more than 20 types of canned foods were used, and “dadgum,” the design won “Juror’s Favorite!”
Check out this time lapse of Mater being “can-structed.”
I’ve been looking forward to the return of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival since the day the 2011 festival ended. This year, the festival returns to Epcot from September 28 through November 12. I love this event as it combines a few things I enjoy: food and beverages from around the world, and great music during the Eat to the Beat Concert Series (can’t wait to see Big Bad Voodoo Daddy again). This past week, I stopped by the Festival Center at Epcot while the merchandise events team was setting the Festival Store. The Festival Center operates daily from 9:00 a.m. to park close, and is the best place to find an assortment of goods. Here is a look at some of my favorites from this year.
In July, Lindsay Voigt, product developer for this event, told me about the colorful “Sketch” program she was introducing for the Festival. It was nice to finally see the entire assortment in one sport. I loved the four mini-dishes with different icons, and the set of four stemless wine glasses would be a nice addition to my cupboard.
This year, there are several different apparel options for both women and men. We are introducing a new program called “Brews Around the World,” which features a shirt, sweatshirt, some glassware and a bottle opener. I personally like the “Mission: Around the World” shirt as it always feels like I’m on a mission to visit each booth during the festival.
One thing that will help during my multiple visits this year is a new food tray. It conveniently contains a checklist and a place to hold glasses (no more balancing act!).
We will be holding a special week-long sale of select items from October 8-14 via the Disney Parks online store. We will offer the ever popular festival cookbook, the shirts seen in the third image above, the set of two wine glasses and the “Brews Around the World” glassware. I hope to see you in World Showcase in the coming weeks. I’ll most likely be at the Hawai’i booth.
For more Epcot International Food & Wine Festival news, check out the posts below:
Out of the shadows comes Noah’s latest offering, themed to the Disney Villains, just in time for the hauntingly frightful Halloween season. Designed by Noah in partnership with Disney Consumer Products, these villains herald from some of the greatest stories from treasured Disney films.
“I wanted to create a line this year that had a little something for everyone,” said Noah, “so for the guys, I went with the most dramatic and popular characters I could find, Chernabog (‘Fantasia’) and Scar (‘The Lion King’).
“For the ladies, I opted to stick with two wickedly popular favorites: The Evil Queen (‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’) and Maleficent (‘Sleeping Beauty’). What makes this collection different is that I really wanted to create a dramatic effect with lighting that, simply put, tells an entire story through their eyes. I found that the lighting and dramatic shadows really enhanced each character’s attitude and personality in a different way.”
These new images will appear in a variety of items including limited edition giclees on canvas, men’s apparel, women’s apparel and skate decks.
Last but not least is Noah’s debut of a Disney Theme Park Merchandise-commissioned custom Vinylmation themed to none other than Chernabog. This limited edition piece comes complete with a base that almost engulfs the vinyl in cool blue flames.
Disney Cruise fans, I’ve got some really exciting stuff to share with you today! I just got back from a trip to Europe. The purpose? To plan Port Adventures for the Disney Cruise Line summer Mediterranean cruise season! (Yes, I love my job!)
At each destination, we’re partnering with tour operators to create one-of-a-kind excursions geared towards families and exclusive to Disney Cruise Line. For example, Venice has a wealth of family experiences – but we’re taking them to a whole new level! In this video, you’ll see some of the adventures we’re developing in Venice – while they’re still in the “work-in-progress” state.
The one I’m most excited about is the Disney-exclusive Evening Doge’s Palace Tour & Character Experience where families will be treated to two very rare treats – a private, after-hours tour of Doge’s Palace and a royal reception with Disney princesses on the Palace’s loggia (balcony overlooking St. Mark’s Square).
Another Disney-exclusive excursion I’m sure will be an instant favorite is our Gondolier For A Day Experience. There is no greater symbol of the city of Venice than that of a gondolier navigating his gondola down the city’s world-famous canals. During this Port Adventure, guests 16 and older will be able to try their hand at piloting a gondola on the city’s lagoon!
I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek at Port Adventures in Venice. Stay tuned for my next post about the family-fun adventures we’re planning in Turkey!
For more than six months now, we’ve been working with our friends at Walt Disney Imagineering to bring you regular behind-the scenes looks at the New Fantasyland expansion in our “All in the Details” weekly series.
Opening Day involved honoring the first official family to EPCOT Center and the official dedication ceremony for Spaceship Earth.
Plans to move forward with Walt Disney’s vision for an Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (EPCOT) were first announced in 1974 by Card Walker (pictured above on opening day), then president of Walt Disney Productions. EPCOT Center was one of Walt Disney’s original ideas for the “Florida Project.”
Thirty years later, Epcot still stays true to the words inscribed on its dedication plaque, “May Epcot Center entertain, inform, and inspire.”
For more of the “Vintage Epcot” series, check out the posts below:
Recently, I had the honor of interviewing director Tim Burton. We talked about his connection to the Walt Disney Company and the Disneyland Resort, starting with visiting the park as a child (he grew up in Burbank, Calif.), to his career as a young animator with Disney animation, to seeing his blockbuster movie, “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas,” become a holiday tradition at the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland park, to now, the first animated film he’s directed for Disney, “Frankenweenie” – a movie inspired by his California childhood – bringing it all full-circle.
Now, guests at Disney California Adventure park can get up-close to the movie’s stop-motion puppets at “The Art of Frankenweenie Exhibition.” They are truly magnificent pieces of art and are on display at the Disney Animation Building, which is where I chatted with Mr. Burton about “Frankenweenie.” The exhibition runs through November 5. Enjoy!
The countdown has begun! The 17th Annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival opens Friday, and the chefs are putting last-minute touches on the tastes in the 29 Marketplaces around World Showcase Lagoon. We’ve been lucky enough to sneak in the kitchen for a few tastes, and here are our Top 10 “must tastes” for this year.
The new Florida Local Marketplace shrimp ceviche. Pair with key lime wine for a taste of the Sunshine State.
Also at Florida Local, we can’t get enough of the white corn arepa with Mangalitsa pork rillette and Zellwood sweet corn salad. Doesn’t get any fresher than this.
Trust us when we tell you, you won’t believe the chili Colorado is vegan at the new Terra Marketplace. You have to taste it just to say you’ve tried vegan chili with crunchy housemade chips and cashew cheese.
The grilled lamb chop in Australia – it’s back, but this year the finish is a-mazing: salt & vinegar potato chip crumbles with a kicky mint pesto. Oh yeah.
In Belgium, the steamed mussels are back, but they’ve ditched the cream for Hoegaarden Beer broth and a baguette for sopping up the juices. We like it better than the cream.
We just might recommend starting at the Dessert and Champagne Marketplace and digging into the dark chocolate mousse with chili and salted caramel. It’s a small serving, so the guilt factor is low and it’s worth every calorie.
Canada kicks it up with a favorite dish from Le Cellier Steakhouse brought out on the promenade just for Food & Wine – the buttery wild mushroom beef filet mignon with a splash of truffle butter sauce. You may want to go ahead and order two.
Zapiekanki – Yes, it’s hard to pronounce, but step up at the Polish Marketplace and order this street food that most closely resembles pizza bread with cheese, mushrooms, onions and a drizzle of homemade ketchup. Comfort food.
Frozen Strawberry Nesquik® – Childhood is calling at the Desserts and Champagne Marketplace. They added this just for kids, but we think adults will love this just as much as a glass of bubbly.
Bacardi Torched Cherry Frozen Cherry Limeade – The finale, this slushy drink guarantees a brain freeze if you don’t slip it slow, which isn’t easy. Tart, icy and just right for a hot afternoon.
Check out John Graham’s videos that give you the lowdown on what to eat…