Walt’s Dream Come True: Five Future World Facts

by | May 11, 2020 | EPCOT, WDW Blog

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Epcot has what is possibly the most imaginative, yet plausible look into our past, present, and future in the form of Future World.

Walt Disney World is not simply a place to escape the ordinary and mundane with princess meet and greets and Mickey-shaped everything (although those things are fantastic!).

It is also a place to explore, learn, and even imagine what the future holds in this dimension and beyond. 

Gather those lab coats, beakers, and imaginations as we head into the future at Epcot Center!

1. Out of This World Attractions

Not all attractions at Epcot are meant to be solely entertaining, even if in some way, we enjoy them all!

While Walt never lived to see the opening of Epcot in 1982, the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow is something he has said he wanted for his grandchildren and he and Imagineers applied that to every attraction in Future World. 

Spaceship Earth takes us on a journey of the past, present, and allows us to imagine what our future might be.

Test Track

Experience a joy ride like no other! Photo by Cliff Wang

Test Track allows us to move faster than any other Disney World attraction. 

Soarin’ and Living With the Land show us our brilliant earth in a marvelous and even sustainable way.

While I can’t say I enjoy Mission Space, the authenticity of orbiting the Earth is a truly genuine experience.  

Mission Space Future World

Mission: SPACE—do you love it or do you hate it? Photo by Cliff Wang

Journey Into Imagination With Figment and Under the Sea With Nemo and Friends are way more than cute kiddie rides—they pique our interest in not only the world around us but the importance of maintaining an ecosystem wherein other species exist. It’s the broccoli-smothered-in-cheese effect. 

2. Figment P.I.

It may have all started with a mouse, but our guy Figment is the figurehead of Epcot, notably Future World.

Believe it or not, Imagineer Tony Baxter turned to an unlikely source when tasked with creating the Imagination Pavilion and what would become Figment himself. 

Figment

It took some imagination to dream up our friend Figment! Photo by Mike Billick

While watching an episode of Magnum P.I., the idea came to him when the episode centered around all of these uprooted plants and various co-stars telling him it was just a ‘figment of his imagination.’

He decided to flip the script on the phrase ‘figment of your imagination’ which is something we often tell children in a negative context when they are simply using their imaginations. 

Figment has become so well-loved that instead of replacing his attraction, what is now Journey into Imagination with Figment, the ride has been revamped three times over, each new installation staying true to its origin whilst taking a gander into the future!

3. The Golf Ball of the Future

We’d be remiss not to dedicate some extra meat to the epicenter of Epcot and certainly the future world, Spaceship Earth itself! 

While most of us just call it the “big sphere,” “giant golf ball,” or as a Cast Member so eloquently put it whilst giving me directions on my last trip “just south of the giant globe,” it has a name that most of us (myself included!) don’t bother with—geodesic sphere. 

That is basically a fancy way of saying a circle covered with triangles: isosceles triangles to be exact. But this sphere wasn’t originally intended to be a sphere at all but a dome modeled after the geodesic dome inspired by Expo 67 in Montreal. 

Spaceship Earth Future World

Can you imagine Spaceship Earth as a dome? Photo by Brett Svenson

With a little (ok, quite a bit) of tweaking, Imagineers decided on a sphere instead which would lead you inside the attraction rather than simply walking into a door in a dome.

Science fiction author Ray Bradbury wrote the original script for this iconic attraction which has been voiced by Vic Perrin, Walter Cronkite, Jeremy Irons, and finally Dame Judy Dench. 

4. Water Makes up About 70% of The (Future) World’s Surface

Epcot and specifically Future World are synonymous with water, particularly fountains. The Fountain of Nations, where dignitaries from 22 countries added water to the source as a goodwill gesture, was one that many of us were heartbroken to see leave Future World. 

Fountain of Nations

The Fountain of Nations in Future World. Photo by Laurie Sapp

But fret not, sentimentalists! The fountain may not structurally exist anymore, but the water that once flowed through it will be recycled and found throughout the new water features all around  Future World!

5. Dining in the Seas With Nemo and Friends 

It is interesting to me that the attractions that are in Future World in Epcot are not necessarily future-y, for lack of a better term. The amazing thing about that is what Walt and the Imagineers had in mind when they created this land. 

The etymology of our oceans and its inhabitants is directly linked to our future, as is discovered in The Seas With Nemo and Friends as well as The Coral Reef Restaurant in Future World. 

Coral Reef Future World

Dine with the fishes at Coral Reef Restaurant in Future World. Photo by Cliff Wang

Nemo and friends take us on an underwater journey much like Journey of the Little Mermaid in the Magic Kingdom.

Unlike any other underwater adventure, however, Nemo (much like the Pixar film) shows us both the beauty and the dark, often harsh side of sea life on a journey filled with family, strong currents, natural predators, and the coral that is miraculously the source of all sea life. 

Coral Reef

This is experience is about more than the food. Photo by Cliff Wang

If you haven’t had the opportunity to dine in the Coral Reef Restaurant located on the west side of Future World, I highly recommend you do, and not just for the food.

This aquarium dining experience has over 85 species of tropical fish including sea turtles, sharks, and rays thriving in a carefully designed habitat all living off of the live coral reef!

What I love so much about Epcot is the connection between the vast cultures that exist across our great big beautiful world and how that ties in and even cultivates the future we create. 

From sea life to orbiting the earth, imagination with your favorite dragon to soarin’ around the world and living with the land, and the focal point of the entire park and Future World, the great Spaceship Earth, the Imagineering was, is, and will continue to be Walt’s dream of an ever-expanding future.

Here’s to the next 30,000 years!

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Written by Britta Stephens

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Britta Stephens is a contributing writer for WDW Magazine, Disney blogger, hairstylist, and dog mom x2. The first book she ever read was Hans Christan Anderson’s The Little Mermaid and she's been a fan of Disney endings ever since. When she’s not fostering kittens, she can be found reading literature from a dog’s perspective and singing the opening of The Lion King to her greenhouse plants.
Britta Stephens

Written by Britta Stephens

Britta Stephens is a contributing writer for WDW Magazine, Disney blogger, hairstylist, and dog mom x2. The first book she ever read was Hans Christan Anderson’s The Little Mermaid and she's been a fan of Disney endings ever since. When she’s not fostering kittens, she can be found reading literature from a dog’s perspective and singing the opening of The Lion King to her greenhouse plants.