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First Look at Merchandise for the 30th Anniversary of Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort

Steven Miller

by , Senior Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility, Walt Disney World Resort

Epcot Celebrates its 30th Anniversary with New Merchandise

There is one book in my Disney collection that I cherish – a soft cover book released prior to the opening of then Epcot Center. Before my first visit in July 1983, I spent hours dreaming of the 21st Century while looking at the beautiful concept paintings in the book. October 1, 2012, marks the 30th anniversary of Epcot and to celebrate, we will be releasing several items on that milestone day. I spoke with Disney Design Group artists Qunyh Kimball and John Henselmeier about their work on the anniversary style guide being used as reference for merchandise (you may recall Quynh and John’s work on the Starspeeder 1000 Vehicle Playset released last year). I was happy to learn that they used that book I love as inspiration.

Epcot Celebrates its 30th Anniversary with New Backgrounds

“We loved the warm colors and illustrations found in [the Epcot Center book],” explained John. “In the past five years, we have designed many vintage Epcot items. For the 30th anniversary, we wanted something different – a retro but contemporary feeling, something we call ‘today’s vintage.’ That soft cover book really helped us achieve that look.”

Epcot Celebrates its 30th Anniversary with New Pins

Work on the style guide began in December 2011 at the request of the Disney Pins team. Pins have been a big part of previous Epcot anniversaries and they will play a part in October. The image above contains a few of my favorites, including a reversible lanyard, a few mystery pins and a pin that looks like it’s from an early 1980s video game (oh, why can’t “Epcot Center – The Game” be real?!). John told me his favorite attraction of all time was Body Wars, so he made sure it was represented in the assortment.

Epcot Celebrates its 30th Anniversary with New Jumbo Pins

There will also be a jumbo pin that uses the soft cover book image in the packaging. In addition to pins, look for a few softline items including a T-shirt that uses the “21st Century Continues” artwork as seen in the first image.

Writing this article has left me feeling nostalgic. Do you have a story about your favorite thing from Epcot in the past 30 years? I vote either the handwich from The Land Pavilion or Magic Journeys. I hope to see you on October 1!


  • Definitely excited for the Jumbo Pin! It looks awesome! I think the design itself would look AMAZING on a T-shirt as well. It’s so good to see Wonders of Life being well represented in this line of merchandise, it was always one of my favorite pavilions at EPCOT.

  • I’m excited for the 30th Anniversary (just like I was the 40th of WDW) and as I mentioned anything w/the OLD logo’s I will by…except pins. I will buy anything else non-pin related. A couple of things that might be note worthy…the Monorail in the pin set above, if it were to be truly retro, would have FOUR doors instead of two as the Mark IV’s were used in 1982 and each each car had four doors per side (that’s just the rail geek in me nitpicking). What would really be awesome is if the fountain in front of SSE was resurrected w/the lucite panels. THAT would be amazing.

    Incidentally, Steven, I still have my two copies of the pre-opening guide book to EPCOT Center as well as the smaller Preview Guide that was given out when you took the monorail to the “preview center” at the EPCOT Center Monorail station. (they’re bagged and boxed). When I first got them, I used them in Jr. High for a report I did on EPCOT Center prior to my first visit in November of 82. Those were the days.

  • The playroom above Imagination. That was my favorite part as a kid. Horizons was also fun because of the ending choices. They are also what I miss the most. Although, Mission to Mars was a great replacement.

  • I went to EPCOT for the first time for my 14th birthday (Jan 1984), I got to skip school and go with my Mom, loved Horizons and the choice of which environment to live in…loved the original Journey to Imagination (especially the light floor that made music when you moved from space to space and the rainbow tunnel…I remember eating Tempura in Japan and seeing a 360 degree movie for the first time in China (still love those just went there last weekend) and now that I’m an annual pass holder I have gone 6 times this year…favorite things now are the Flower and Garden Festival and the Food and Wine Festival!

  • YES!!! Can’t wait! But, I hope there’s a LOT more options than what is shown here. It will all sell, trust me!

  • Steven – I got to ask… Are we going to see some new Retro Vinylmations for this celebration?

    • @David – At this point, the Vinylmation team is reviewing options. I know there have been several figures included in recent Park series releases saluting Epcot attractions.

  • I still have 2 copies of the soft cover Epcot preview book sent out prior to the opening of Epcot.We still enjoy Epcot on a regular basis but miss The Dream Finder with Figment, Food Rock at the land, Cranium Command, and the First GM sponsored World of Motion and Walter Cronkite narrating in Spaceship Earth.. We really enjoy soaring, the Mexico Pavillion boat ride, and the many new attractions that have come about throughout the years though. Who remembers the taping of Celebrity Circus near the Epcot Ball many years ago?

  • Any chance they will re-release the Figment beach towel that looks like he’s lying on the towel and catching some rays? maybe update the Walkman to an iPod. my towel from 1990 is sooo threadbare. It’s cheesecloth now:)

    • @Lori – There are no plans at this time for such a release. Sorry. Trust me, I would love such a thing too! 🙂

      @James – How lucky! It must have been amazing to be there on opening day. Thanks for shaing.

      @Jenna – Too funny about the video reservation screens. Thanks for sharing the many memories!

      @Jennifer from CT – Safe travels! We are still finalzing when items will be released. It’s doubtful they will be available at the beginning of September …. probably closer to the October 1 date. Please stay tuned.

      @Jeff from VA – What a great set! I have it in my collection too. Unfortunately there are no plans at this time for an EPCOT Center set. But it’s good to know there is interest. I would probably be first in line 🙂

      @Lori – I haven’t seen any plans for such a beach towel but I do recall the design you reference.

  • Do you remember “A Musical History of Disneyland”? That wonderful 5 CD set from a few years ago? I can’t tell you how many people would jump at the chance to buy “A Musical History of EPCOT Center”. The EPCOT background music loops are the best in all of Walt Disney World, but there’s rarely any EPCOT music available.

    Also, I’d love to buy concept art for EPCOT Center, or an updated book like Walt Disney’s EPCOT Center: Creating the World of Tomorrow. People want a lot more than pins and t-shirts, and are willing to pay for it if you would just make it.

  • That looks so cool, I can’t wait to get pins and mech 🙂

  • LOVE the designs! Especially the 8-bit Figment pin! I would love to see the 8-bit Figment on a t-shirt. Figment is a favorite in my house….. we named our pet ferret Figment, cause he is mischievous. 🙂

  • I love, love, love this retro-EPCOT merch! Great designs, bringing back great memories. I’ll be there in late August, and I certainly hope some of this is available then!

  • This stuff looks awesome, especially the pins! When this some of this stuff be available to purchase? I am coming down first week of Sept. Will some of it maybe available then?

  • How can I pick ONE memory. I can’t, here are a few:

    1)taking the monorail in May 1982 to see EPCOT under construction.
    2)Making restaurant reservations at the kiosks in Spaceship Earth(sort of a VERY early form of Skype).
    3)The Japanese artist who made art pieces out of caramel. I just watched a video of he and myself from 1988.
    4)the ORIGINAL figment ride and meeting dreamfinder and figment outside the ride.
    5)World of Motion

    well, that’s a few. Now my husband and I live there 365 days a year in the form of our picture on those granite slabs outside of spaceship Earth(we took a photo on our honeymoon 8 years ago).

    Jenna=28+ WDW visits
    Chris=6+ WDW visits

  • OMG!!! I love it. I’ll still never forget being part of Epcot’s 25th Anniversary back in 2007. Boy, where does the time go? Already at 30..dang! Anyway, I’m all prepared to join the crowds of Epcot fans and help celebrate Epcot’s 30th Anniversary on October 1st!

    John C.
    “Your Ear to the World” Host

  • Was there on opening day it was wonderful.Kept driving up to the parking area and they kept turning me away until it was time.Maybe I can be there October 1st this year.Still have a full opening day ticket with stub attached(bought extra one for souvenir)

  • Any chance that a music cd will be released for the 30th Anniversary? It would be great to have closed attraction audio and some of the great songs by the Sherman Brothers remembered perhaps in tribute to Bob’s recent passing. What will be available through Disney Store?

  • @Bailey – Do we remember Horizons?? 🙂 My first trip to Epcot was only a year or two after seeing the REAL World’s Fair at Vancouver in ’86, so not only was I in on the whole Worlds-Fair vibe of the original Epcot Center, I still get confused which attractions came from where. (Did Horizons have a theater preshow?)

  • I have so many memories of classic EPCOT Center. I grew up there! I miss Horizons and the original Journey Into Imagination SO MUCH. I’m really hoping that in addition to all this awesome merchandise, there will be some cool events taking place around the anniversary date. Why not bring back the Dreamfinder and Figment for photo-ops for it? The walk-around robots? It’d also be the perfect time to tell us hopefuls that Wonders of Life would be restored, or Journey Into Imagination will be returned to something worthy of its classic origin. The odds of that happen are less than me winning the lottery, but it’d be nice for EPCOT to get some real love on this anniversary!

  • looks awesome! I can’t wait to buy 30th Birthday of EPCOT! This is awesome!

  • I was so lucky to be in Magic Kingdom for the 40th anniversary event last year but will miss Epcot by one day! Will merchandise be available on September 30?

    • @Diana – Best of luck with the move. I made the trip down here 14 years ago and I’m so glad I did. I too was inspired by Journey Into Imagination. I have a great photo of me wearing a ringer tee-shirt with Dreamfinder and Figment. I carried my Figment plush everywhere!

      @James – The developers are still finalizing the assortment but I know the styleguide artwork is being used as inspiration for all merchandise categories.

      @Jordan – A very happy, 21st Century birthday to you! 🙂

      @Katie – At this point, we are not planning a merchandise event like the 40th Anniversary of the Haunted Mansion event last year.

      @Gregory – That was an incredible model! I would have loved to live in that world. Thank you for the comments.

      @Susan – The release date for the merchandise has not been finalized at this point. But I will share once it is known.

  • OMG! The original EPCOT pavilion icons are back! Please please please tell me it’s not a one-time special for the 30th Anniversary. The iconography was so strong and such a fabulous uniting element to the park — it’s a shame they disappeared.

    (And since Wonders of Life is no more, we won’t have to be bothered by how poorly the body icon fit in with the rest of the set.)

  • This is awesome, we were there last year for the anniversary of the opening of MK, and now we get to do it again this year at EPCOT. Our trip keeps getting better and better, I love it when this happens. I see some pins and shirts in my future.

  • I love the retro! Horizons was my dad’s favorite ride, glad to see it represented there. Personally I was most awe-inspired by the CenterCore city model in World of Motion, and I still feel ripped off that we don’t have that vision as our future! Oh well, that’s not Disney’s fault 🙂

    Fond memories from the mid 80s- getting in trouble with one of the Disney staff when my preteen self and teenage cousin got caught at the Communicore making the text-to-speech computer say “off color” phrases. Ooops!

  • I LOVE the Figment & Jumbo Pins!!! I do have a question, is there going some sort of merchandise event? Like the merchandise event for WDW Haunted Mansion’s 40th.

  • I can’t wait to purchase some of these anniversary items! I’m also turning 30 this year (in September), and Epcot is by far my favorite park. 🙂

  • Any chance that second image (Epcot 30 “Background”) is going to be put on a mug or T-Shirt? I love that one.

  • I LOVE this merchandise! And, conveniently enough, I plan on relocating to Orlando in September – meaning I will be able to celebrate EPCOT’s 30th with other great Disney fans!

    My favorite EPCOT Center experience was most certainly the original Journey Into Imagination. The original attraction (the whole pavilion, really) left me entranced and inspired as a child (my first trip to WDW was when I was 5, back in 1986). I remember my family spending hours between JII and the Imageworks Labs upstairs. It is so sad that the entire space now sits empty!

    I’m hoping that with EPCOT’s 30th anniversary, a dedication is made to restore Future World to the spirit and ingenuity that imbued those early attractions, so that families can experience the wonder and entertainment that is so distinctly EPCOT.

  • I love all this retro stuff. I have great memories of “Body Wars,” “Horizons,” the original “Journey Into Imagination.” I wish I could go on “Horizons” one last time!

  • I was at Epcot last week, and had been looking forward to the Flower and Garden Festival. Unfortunately, the day we set aside for Epcot, it rained! Looking at this makes me think another visit is in my future.

  • How can I pick just a few EPCOT Center memories? Let’s see if I can name just a few…

    As a little girl, I was absolutely fascinated with Journey Into Imagination. Who could forget the opening scene of the ride, when Figment pops out of the Dreamcatcher? World of Motion’s outside track! How cool was that? Another one of my favorite memories were lazy afternoons spent in the Land pavilion… Grabbing a tray of food (or multiple trays!) at Sunshine Seasons Food Fair, sitting underneath a umbrella-covered table, and listening to the beautiful background music while taking in the majesty of the floating balloons above.

    I’m excited to see some previews of the softlines merchandise for our favorite park’s 30th birthday. Will there be any other merchandise available, such as replica souvenirs, mugs, bumper stickers, etc?

    Great post, Steven! 😉

    • @Erica – Thanks for the comment. I too love the music of Epcot – such an amazing soundtrack (looking at you, outside music loop at The Land Pavilion). At this point, the product development and planning teams are still finalizing the assortment that will be offered. Pins were some of the first things developed due to the manufacturing timeline (it takes many months for pins to be created). Stay tuned as I will share once things are finalized.

  • I’m hoping that there will be a plush Figment again. There can never be enough Figment! I will fully be there again, as I enjoyed the 25th Anniversary immensely.

  • Does anyone remember Horizons?! Don’t get me wrong, I love Mission: Space, but I remember one of the highlights of a day at EPCOT was getting to choose which little video to watch at the end of that ride. Also, Cranium Command! Such a good show! And to this day, I’m convinced Ellen is talking to me on the Energy pre-show when she compliments the haircut. 🙂

  • I can’t believe it’s been almost 5 years since the exciting 25th anniversary celebration at Epcot! This merchandise looks fantastic and I will definitely pick up a shirt or two to go with the one I bought 5 years ago. I hope there will be a special moment on October 1 to commemorate the milestone!

    Ricky B
    Inside the Magic

  • Our trip starts on the 21st, here’s hoping this merch isn’t too limited and fairly easy to come by by then.

    I may end up finding the lanyard & pins on eBay so I’m ready to go before the trip even starts.

  • I like that Figment is in so many! Two things I do miss though, the meet N greet with Figment and the Horizon’s ride. Can we at least have the meet N greet with Figment back for the anniversary year? I remember a trip where on the last day I wasn’t going anywhere or doing anything else until Figment came out so I could have a photo with him. It’s my favorite photo of all time!

  • As a college program cast member in 2003, my friend/coworker and I would eat once a week at a different restaurant in World Showcase and watch IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth that evening from that designated Country.

  • I also wanted to add that I miss the Kitchen Kabaret act.. that was so funny

  • I was there the day it opened 30 years ago… seem slike a lifetime ago.. just wwent back with my fmaily in Jan.. its amazing how different it looks…

  • I love this. This makes me want to be there for Epcot’s 30th even more. I was there last year for MK’s 40th. It was absolutely grand. I was in the front row for the celebration. I definitely want to be here for this and the merchandise. John Henselmeier is awesome.

    • @Alison – What great memories! I totally remember the Krystos!

      @Spencer – I have to agree – John is a pretty cool guy! I’m always impressed with the talents of our Disney Design Group artists.

  • I was there for Epcot’s 15th anniversary, working for the College Program. I got a special edition pin that day, just for working. I gave it away to this little boy that was marveled by it, so it went to a good cause. My wife and I should try to get down there for the 30th to get some of these items…

  • This is wonderful! We’ll be there in October to celebrate as well! With the merchandise being excellent, I’m hoping there are some ongoing anniversary events and recognition at the park as well. This is some of the best news I’ve gotten about WDW since I made my reservations! Keep us posted! Thanks!

  • I still have my Figment mug from the 1980s. One food I miss is the chicken teriyaki baked potato at the land. The Epcot I miss the most though is all the entertainment through the years…the Chinese dogs, Cirikli stilt birds, Epbots, Krystos (I think that was the name of the flexible mother / sons duo in Future World, and especially Dreamfinder with Figment in his hands. Epcot is my favorite park and I cannot wait for the 30th!!

  • The designs here are pretty spectacular. I really hope they’re turned into desktop backgrounds (or something) and used for more than just pin trading brochures. Can’t wait for EPCOT Center’s 30th!!!

  • Wow… I LOVE This merchandise!!! I love that Figment is the focal point of some of the pins, matched with some of our favorite EPCOT Center robots and extinct attractions. The 8-bit is awesome and screams 1982! Really looking forward to these (and whatever else you have up your sleeve, Steven!) 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!

    Lou M.
    WDW Radio

    • @Katie – The planning, operations and merchandise event teams are still finalizing how, when and where the merchandise will be released. As we get closer to October 1, we will share details.

      @Daniel and Brian – I’m glad you enjoyed this first look. As soon as I saw the final artwork, I knew I had to share.

      @Lou – Great to virtually see you! Thanks for the feedback. I intend to write some additional articles as we get closer to October 1.

  • LOVE the Jumbo pin!!!

  • I have many happy memories from Epcot, since my 1st time at Disney it has been my favorite park! Bringing back Capitan EO was a very nice decision! Now, when they’ll open Wonders of life again?!

  • These items are truly amazing! Thank you for sharing them, Steven. Can’t wait to be able to celebrate the 30th!

  • Those items looks great! It’s grand to see advance thought put into anniversary merchandise. And the nod to the vintage look really works well. Good to see Disney Merchandise is realizing collectors (the generation with money to spend) really like the styles and images they remember from past special memories of visits to Epcot. And 30th Anniversary plush of Figment would also be a great item to put with the 25th one.

  • When will the EPCOT 30th Anniversary merchandise become available? Will it be availabe before Oct. 1? How long after Oct. 1 will the merchandise be available? I’ll be there in September and November and am hoping to get the merchandise for my favorite park during one of those trips!

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