In honor of Epcot’s 35th anniversary, we spent the day with quick hour-long polls dedicated to Epcot’s history. So many times we hear comments about how “old Epcot was best Epcot” or that the park today is in a state of decline from its glory days. Here’s the day’s worth of polls with your results. Do you agree or disagree with the results? Let us know in the comments.
Who was the best narrator for Spaceship Earth?
Lawrence Dobkin (0%), Walter Cronkite (33%), Jeremy Irons (30%), Judi Dench (37%)
No love for Larry, I guess. This one really was a three-way race, with everyone having their favorite. And really, each of the three popular choices has their own charms. (Is anyone able to say The Renaissance without doing a Jeremy Irons impression anymore?) In some ways, Judi Dench combines the down-to-earth conversational tone of Walter Cronkite with the formal diction of Jeremy Irons. The fact that Judi Dench is able to take a sometimes cringeworthy script and make it still appealing is a testament to her performance.
Universe of Energy
Which Energy pavilion was the best version?
Original Universe of Energy (32%), Ellen’s Energy Adventure (26%), Bring on Guardians! (42%)
If there’s two things I thought I knew about the universe (hah!), it is that the original Universe of Energy ride was painfully long and dull, and that no one is happy with Guardians of the Galaxy invading Epcot. This is the emotion I’m experiencing right now: What is surprise, Alex?
Horizons (now Mission Space)
Which ending of Horizons was best?
Mesa Verde (Desert) (19%), Brava Centauri (Space) (43%), Ciudad Atlantica (Sea) (38%)
If you want to get philosophical, Mission Space is simply another layer in the Brava Centauri ending to Horizons. If you look at the wait times for Mission Space, it is one of the least popular attractions in Epcot. So I’m trying to reconcile the poll results–people like going to space in Horizons, but don’t like it enough to go to it in a space-themed pavilion? Sure, why not! (But I think we all agree that Ciudad Atlantica needs its own pavilion as well, and I’m not talking The Seas….)
World of Motion/Test Track
Which would you rather ride, World of Motion or Test Track?
World of Motion (38%), Test Track (62%)
I’ve heard many a time about how wrong it is for Disney to eliminate dark rides and remove attractions that have a large Audio-Animatronic presence, but it appears that’s working out great for them–if given the choice between a classic dark ride-style attraction filled with AAs or a more thrilling ride, the thrills win out big time. And although some people say the version of Test Track matters, in the end, Test Track is still a popular ride for its time.
Which would be the best use of the Communicore/Innoventions area?
New exhibits (61%), New restaurant (23%), New….trees? (16%)
The sorry state of the Communicore/Innoventions area has to be a note on someone’s to do list at WDI. During the 35th anniversary of Epcot, Innoventions saw a year’s worth of crowds in a day thanks to a pop-up merchandise store. In theory, the idea behind Communicore/Innoventions is a good one — lots of exhibits that don’t fully warrant their own pavilion, with sponsors who will pay for an exhibit but not a full pavilion — but the execution often falls flat. Sure, there have been some winners over the years. My personal favorite of all time was the House of the Future, along with the Home Theater Experience (which convinced me to buy my first HDTV — I couldn’t believe the clarity of it!). But by and large, the exhibits just didn’t attract the attention that sponsors hoped for. Still, there’s hope that new exhibits would be great to bring by the hey day of this area. Fun fact: About a year or two ago, I was talking over dinner about what I’d do with the area, and my thought was a space-themed restaurant where it looked like you were actually eating in a space station. I have no idea if I just tapped into the great cosmic mind on that one or if someone from Disney heard the idea and ran with it, but I’m very excited it is being built–even if not in Innoventions. If anyone at Disney needs some more ideas, just call me!
The (Living) Seas (with Nemo and Friends)
Did adding Nemo to The Living Seas make the pavilion better, worse, or just different?
Better (36%), Worse (17%), Just Different (47%)
Remember back in the day when it was announced that Nemo would be going to the Seas pavilion? I remember reading thousands of comments opposed to the dumbing down of Epcot, the rampant overtaking of WDW by IPs, and threats of boycotts of the new pavilion (likely by people who hadn’t been in years, but that’s not the point). In the end, Nemo just kept swimming, and it doesn’t look like people mind too much. It’s a different attraction for a different time. But overall, very few people think that the changes made the pavilion worse.
What was the best use of the space in The Land?
Kitchen Kabaret (15%), Food Rocks (4%), Soarin’ (50%), Soarin’ Around the World (31%)
Again, when it comes to AAs versus screens, AAs are soooo 1980s. Screens are what’s it. I cringe to think how much was spent on celebrity licensing to make Food Rocks happen for so little love. (How can you not love “I wanna be….your high fiber!”? Everyone sing along!) Soarin’ is a great ride, and its sequel still is good–it is something that almost everyone can enjoy. I still have nostalgia for Kitchen Kabaret, though. Mostly just Veggie Veggie Fruit Fruit. (Cha cha cha.)
If you could bring back the original Journey Into Imagination or make a new ride with Dreamfinder & Figment, would you…
Bring back the original (41%), Make a new ride (59%)
This was a tough question. I spent the better part of a half hour trying to figure out how I would vote if I voted in these polls. The original Journey into Imagination ride was my all-time favorite ride in any Disney theme park at any time. At its time, the effects in it were brilliant and beautiful. It had heart and character. It was so incredibly heartwarming. You couldn’t get off the ride and be in a bad mood. And that’s why the two sequels to the ride are so disappointing. The current ride is okay (especially compared to that second version, which I rode several times because I wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing something–it couldn’t be that bad on purpose!). But it lacks the charm of the classic ride. At the same time, the effects that were awesomely cool in the 1980s Journey into Imagination would appear painfully dated today (unofficially called Captain EO syndrome). But do I trust Disney to take beloved characters like Dreamfinder and Figment and make a new ride with them that is good? I’ve been burned before–but Epcot is about looking towards the future, right? Maybe a new ride could be good. It couldn’t be worse than the second version of the ride, after all.
The best aspect of World Showcase is….
Food and Beverage (42%), Attractions/Performers (8%), Shopping (2%), Pavilion Ambiance (48%)
I truly believe World Showcase could not get greenlit today, and the poll results here prove why. “Boss, I’ve got this great idea for a theme park. It’s going to be a lot of countries where people can go for a meal, and when they’re not eating, they’re just going to wander around doing nothing!” Let’s face it, that wouldn’t sell today. And yet I agree that wandering around the pavilions in World Showcase is a marvelous way to spend a day. World Showcase has a revolving door of performers, and it has few attractions, but that’s not the point of it–this is a very different place. It’s unique, and that’s why I am so thankful that it has remained largely untouched over the years. Different is good.
So there you have the results from our Epcot 35 round of Ask It. Didn’t get a chance to vote on Twitter yesterday during the event? No problem–share your views in the comments below. We’ll be back on Wednesday for the results to our most participated-in question ever, and back with another question for the week.