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Keane and Jenny's May 2011 WDW Disney Up North, Not A December Trip Report -- Part 6 (Day 6 (continued) - Destination D:Walt Disney World 40th, Day 1 - Part 2)


Destination D
I wonder how many of these exist... If you were here that day, would you have used it?
Who: Me, Keane. The person who actually writes this drivel.
     PiC, Partner in Crime. Travelling companion and hanger on.
     BYPT Jenny. A substitute PiC, only shorter.
What: Not a December vacation
Where: Walt Disney World; Wilderness Lodge, Contemporary Resort
Why: D23 Event - Destination D: Walt Disney World 40th
When: May 9-16, 2011

1) Much of what is here is fact, mostly fact, or complete figments of my imagination remembered as fact. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.
2) Yeah, this is mostly innuendo and sarcasm. Anything else is a bonus.
3) If you take something in this report seriously and get offended, I will laugh at you. I am not Disney. You will not get free park tickets, food, fastpasses or guest assistance cards.
4) Please remember to take all your personal belongings, and have a magical Disney Day!

Thank you.

Day 6, May 14
Destination D: Walt Disney World 40th. Day 1. Part 2

The afternoon's session is "EPCOT: Walt Disney's Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow." It's an in-depth look at the Epcot Walt really wanted to build. I wonder how much it would have cost to live there. Certainly not as much as Golden Oaks. Maybe. It's being presented by Paul F. Anderson and Steven Vagnini. We've already seen what Paul can do from the Weird Disney presentation, so we sit back for a primer in and vision for EPCOT.

One of the first slides shown, was an interoffice memo from the archives dated March 17, 1966, six months to the day after the World's Fair in New York closed. It states, "Walt suggests that we begin referring to our town of tomorrow plan as EPC - Experimental Prototype Community - which very nicely puts the thought across."

And thus, Epcot was born.

Not the Epcot you and I know, but the Epcot that was just a dream away. A city that utilized concepts that would revolutionize the way people live. We're not talking Celebration, either.

It was a city that segregated the infrastructure from the living areas, where the city itself would be sitting on top of what I would refer to as 'utilidors', since they would provide a similar function as those in Magic Kingdom. One service level for trucks and deliveries, a level for residential parking, and the actual living spaces would be serviced by peoplemovers.

In certain areas of Chicago, we have just such underground (actually ground level) areas for truck delivery. We just fail miserably on the car level.

The themepark would be built first, to help fund the building of the city. And of course, corporate sponsorship.

Looking back on the photos, we are shown Dreamfinder and Figment again. Were we being set up? Of course we are.

EPCOT: Walt Disney's Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow
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The 3:30pm session was a presentation of Rob Klein and Tim O'Day, "Past Forward: A History of Walt Disney World on Television."

Yes, it was 'a' history of Walt Disney World on Television, but it might not the history Disney wants remembered. Bad camera work, bad choreography, bad scripts, and poorly executed concepts is what mainly comes to mind, but it's probably unfair to judge much of this segment on television production standards in the late 60's and early 70's.

But using phrases like "It's worth the money" is a little blatant, even for Disney... :-)

One of the more interesting video presentations was from US Steel, about the construction of the Contemporary and the Poly. US Steel did in fact own both hotels, and leased them back to Disney. (Later during the panel of the Disney Legends (I forgot which one), the company hated the arrangement, bought the hotels, and never entered an arrangement like that again.)

But they also had the promotional video of the opening of WDW with John Davidson and Julie Andrews, as well as the opening of the Contemporary Hotel with Bob Hope. It is due to Mr. Hope's segment that I will always think about the Goodyear Blimp and the Contemporary Hotel having sex. Maybe you had to be there.

It was neat to see these video segments. Disneyland has had two volumes of Disney Treasures dedicated to it, but not so much Walt Disney World. I will also add, that Disney did a *great* jobs of cleaning up a lot of the old film, very few scratches or dust marks are apparent in the video they showed. It makes me hopeful that there'll be a DVD or Blu-Ray release at some point.

Past Forward: A History of Walt Disney World on Television
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The next session, "The Walt Disney World That Never Was", presented by Tony Baxter, was photo restricted. Bummer, too, because this was one of the primary sessions that detailed Walt's plans and dreams of the WDW that never happened.

For instance, the Theme Hotels around the Seven Seas Lagoon. Of course the Contemporary and Polynesian were always supposed to be there, and were the first built. But the Asian Hotel (Thai themed), The Venetian (the theme was eventually used by Universal Orlando when they built Portofino Bay ;-)), and the Persian themed "Arabian Nights" resort were in the plans, but never realized. Baxter showed us the plans, artwork and concepts of the other monorail hotels.

I think it was also in this segment that it was revealed that the Contemporary Hotel wasn't really supposed to be called the Contemporary Hotel. It was a generic name for a modern US hotel, and was supposed to be themed to be "Contemporary". Well, the imagineers (WED actually) came up with some name for the hotel, with the reasoning behind the name and presented it to Roy Disney, and he listened patiently for them to finish, then asked "What's wrong with the name Contemporary?" Ta-da!

We were also given a glimpse of the attractions that were planned for parks. For instance, we were given a complete walk through of the "Western River Expedition", ostensibly WDW's version of Pirates of the Caribbean. Since Disneyland had Pirates, who's actual setting is in the East United States, Disney saw it fitting that a Western presentation be put into the East Coast facility. Instead of Pirates, we were supposed to have Cowboys and Indians. Big thunder Mountain is all we have left of those grandiose plans.

Do you remember a spectacular failure known as Biosphere 2? I was originally a concept for Epcot! The Imagineers wanted to build a complete self-contained biosphere. The idea was scrapped, but one of the consultants on the project eventually took the concept as far as Biosphere 2. (See disclaimer #1. Thank you.)

We're not hungry at the dinner break (probably the lava cake), so we go over to where D23 had their merchandise set up and I buy the original Epcot Center t-shirt. They have the original MK and Epcot maps, too.

The Disney Archives have brought a few things and are in a side exhibit hall, so we go take a look. There isn't a lot here, but the stuff they have is pretty cool. Among the items is a ticket to the Grand Opening Dedication Ceremony on October 25, 1971, and Tom Morrow 2.0, the guy that used to be in Innoventions.

Stuff from the Disney Archives
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I get a coffee cup, shooter or shot glass from every resort I've stayed at, so we go hunting for resort merchandise.

There are two retail stores on the 4th floor concourse, one of which sells generic Disney stuff, and the other that sells...generic Disney stuff. I see nothing related to the resort. Boo. I ask at the counter if they have any contemporary themed merchandise, and I am told no. I then note there is a pin with the contemporary on it right next to us. I guess even the CM's don't think of pins are real items. I refuse to buy it. Thinking about it in hindsight, I never did check the market, where they sell the non-prepared food, booze, drugs, etc. Maybe I'll check next trip. It's a monorail stop, after all.

I wander around the 4th floor taking pictures, take some panoramics of the murals.

Contemporary Hotel 4th floor atrium
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The dinner break goes way too fast, and we're back in the ballroom for the evening session, "From the Vault: Walt Disney World Resort on Film", hosted by Tony Baxter and Tim O'Day. It was another photo restricted session. Maybe Tony's just camera shy...

One of the films, "Project Florida", was interesting in that it had two endings, one directed toward the locals, and one for everyone else. But mostly for corporate sponsorship, I think.

They also showed the opening of Epcot, hosted by Danny Kaye. One of the things O'Day mentioned at the start of the session, is how they did extensive research...on youtube...so they wouldn't be showing us stuff we could see elsewhere. Except for this one (I think, see Disclaimer #1), but they restored the print so well, that they had to show it off.

They even admitted one film was a complete mystery as to why it existed. It was in the archives, and there are even titles on it, but they don't know why it was produced. But it was an early film of the concept of Epcot.

We get out of the last session for the day, we find we have 10 minutes until Wishes. We get to our balcony with 5 minutes to spare. Jenny texts Cathy that we're about to watch Wishes, and Cathy texts back something that I'm not sure I can repeat in a Disney group. I do believe it had to do with animal reproduction, or a various subset thereof...

It's interesting to note that the large shells are fired from quite a bit further back from the castle. The air launched pyro looks like they're launched from Fantasyland. In any event, the wind is blowing in the opposite direction it usually does, exaggerating the distance from the castle to the larger shells. I can't get both the castle and fireworks both in frame, even with a wide angle adapter.

That doesn't mean the fireworks aren't any less impressive. On the contrary. It is still Wishes. I can barely hear the soundtrack that's pumped into the observation deck someplace else in the hotel, but I don't need it. Like watching the finale of Fantasmic! from the bus stop last December, something in the back of my mind grabs the cues and plays the show and the music like I'm in front of the castle. Ah, no one does fireworks like Disney. Especially when you have your own private balcony to watch it from. The finale comes, and the sky fills with huge balls of sparkling light and the Castle lights up with fireworks of its own. Jenny and I are both Disney geeked out. That's okay, that's what this weekend was about anyway.

From there, I need to get a little food in me, then we're going to have an "adult" beverage. It's a nightmare trying to get an elevator, since all the interlopers who went up to the top floors to see the fireworks are now making their way back down. One enterprising family on our floor takes an elevator up to the top floor, so they can be on an elevator that has room going down. We're able to squeeze on the next down elevator, and beat the other family to the 4th floor. We go to the Contempo Cafe, and I order a Marinated Beef Flatbread from a touch screen terminal. That was different. I pay for the food, and I get a buzzy lighty thing. We play stupid camera tricks while waiting, and in 5 minutes the buzzy lighty thing goes buzzy-lighty. It wasn't bad as in need food before I have a drink, kinda thing. Jenny informs me the crab-grass stuff on the top of the pizza...uh...flatbread is arugula.

We go to the bar and find it's closed, so we go down to the Wave. I use Jenny's TiW card, and find even on the bar tab, Disney includes the 18% gratuity. So that's all the guy gets. I had some cherry drink off the specialty drink menu (it was the equivalent of an alco-pop), and Jenny had the agave nectar margarita, which had way more alcohol than the frozen variety you get from Mexico... :-)

The Wave
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A thunderstorm rolls through about 1am, and is gone by the next morning. It gets me up, and I have to make sure they're not testing new pyro in MK. lol.
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End May 2011 Trip Report - Part 6.

Jump to: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9

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