The Amazing EPCOT Model

By Keith Mahne

Today’s article comes to us from the FANTASTIC website The Original EPCOT Project by Sebastien Barthe. Sebastian’s hard work really shines through as seen from his elaborate articles to his wonderful YouTube videos. Sebastian graciously allowed us to post some of that work for you here today. If you love what you see, and I know you will, head on over to The Original EPCOT Project and get lost in tons of material on Walt’s original EPCOT project. Now for a little taste of what I mean…

Epcot’s model was truly amazing: 115 feet wide, 60 feet deep, with 1400 individually street lights, 2500 moving vehicles representing future transportation, 20000 trees and 4500 structures / buildings. Disney Imagineer George Windrum recalled that, at Walt Disney’s insistence, the interiors of the 1/8 inch scale buildings of the original Epcot model, which were barely visible through their tiny windows, had to be finished, furnished and lit. The guests might not notice but Walt would know the details were there. Today I’d like to take you on an in depth look at the making of Walt Disney’s amazing Epcot Model. Continue after the page break and let’s get started…

Walt’s Epcot Model could have been an attraction on it’s own. Let’s start off with a look at this exclusive musical slide show filled with rarely seen photos of Walt Disney’s original Epcot model with its original 1967 narration from the Carousel of Progress. From the cosmopolitan hotel and the enclosed shopping center to the low density housing, you will also discover Epcot’s stadiums, heliports, amusement park, nuclear power plant, People Mover and Monorail stations.

In these rare video clips, you can see the model as it was working in the Carousel Of Progress and its level of detail is simply astonishing:

 
The most detailed aspect of Walt Disney’s Epcot project was the urban center featuring what was called the “cosmopolitan hotel” as the centerpiece. As seen in the Epcot film, an international shopping center and offices were supposed to be constructed below the “deck” of the hotel in an enclosed environment. Giant glass domes would have served as sources of light from the outside. For the 2004 documentary “Walt, the man behind the myth” from Jean-Pierre Isbouts for the Walt Disney Family Foundation, the urban center was recreated in computer generated imagery: 

Below are some photos of the Model including rarely seen construction and close-ups of the original working and animated model from Disneyland and current section from Walt Disney World.

The making of the model



Aerial view of the low-density area. You can see: the basis of the central core (hotel + covered international shopping center), a People Mover line,
a church, the main highway, a stadium as well as around 20 family houses.



A close-up of the cosmopolitan hotel area at the core of Epcot with one of the office buildings and several glass domes.
Those domes were some of the light sources of the international shopping center constructed below
.



Epcot’s planned church was inspired by the works of famous brazilian architect Oscar Neimeyer
as seen in this comparison between the Cathedral of Brasília and the Epcot model.



Epcot at night




Close-up of one of the PeopleMover lines and station.



Urban Center view from above highways to and from Epcot.



Urban Center from the residential areas



Urban center: view from the greenbelt and the residential areas



Urban Center with hotel, offices, recreation deck and enclosed international shopping center 

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Urban center: view from the greenbelt and the residential areas



Urban Center with hotel, offices, recreation deck and enclosed international shopping center 



Urban center: view from the greenbelt and the residential areas





The Stadium and Urban Center



The towering cosmopolitan hotel



Industrial Activities close to the highways and monorail line



Urban Center with hotel, offices, recreation deck and enclosed international shopping center.At the foreground: a stadium, a peoplemover line and station.



The recreational deck of the hotel: tennis courts and pools




The Progress City Model for Epcot at the Carousel of Progress, Disneyland



Urban Center with hotel, offices, recreation deck and enclosed international shopping center 



The Original Epcot would have included an amusement park within its city limits. Unlike the theme park of Walt Disney World (later named the Magic Kingdom),
this amusement park was an urban one featuring many classic carnival rides for Epcot’s residents. See more below.


 

Here is a wonderful musical slideshow featuring never before seen photos:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
To end our tour I’d like to share with you some wonderful Concept Art that really gives you a feel of what could have been.
The Master Plan drawn by Walt Disney 65-66

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