Monday, October 1, 2018

EPCOT Center Pre-Opening Items: Commemorative Ticket, Booklet & Map

In honor of EPCOT's 36th anniversary today, we're going to take a look at some pre-opening EPCOT souvenirs.

One year before EPCOT Center opened, Disney began selling special commemorative opening day tickets.

The ticket could be used at either of Walt Disney World's two parks, but not until after EPCOT Center opened.

This ad for the commemorative tickets, was featured in the Winter 1981/82 issue of Disney News Magazine.

That price of $30 for three days, seems like it would have been a really good deal, especially for a limited edition commemorative ticket. Here is what the prices were for Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom in early 1982, prior to EPCOT's opening.

By the time EPCOT had opened, prices for one-day tickets (for either park) had gone up two dollars for Adults and Juniors, and one dollar for a Child's ticket.

I actually found this EPCOT pre-opening booklet on the floor of the Main Street Opera House at Disneyland, back in 1982. It was originally handed out to cast members only, during special EPCOT Center "previews" that were held in the Opera House's auditorium.

I picked this map up at Disneyland back in 1982, right around the time that EPCOT was opening. The maps were free and were available in the Carefree Corner on Main Street.

Note the building for Horizons is already shown on the map as a coming attraction in 1983. The Living Seas pavilion would go into that open lower right corner of Future World in 1986.

Happy Anniversary, to Walt Disney World's EPCOT Center!


Chuck said...

What an amazing stroke of luck to have found that pre-opening book just lying on the floor! It's as though it was just waiting for a collector like you to find it.

I love the artsy construction photos, and how Ben Franklin seems to be rehearsing while Mark Twain gets a make-up touch-up.

I so badly want to go back to 1982 (or maybe 1986, after the Living Seas opened) for another dose of EPCOT Center back when it was still "high concept" and felt coherent and fresh and incredibly, incredibly relevant.

Thanks for sharing!

TokyoMagic! said...

Chuck, I also wish that I could go back to see EPCOT Center in it's early years. I blew it by not going sooner! By the time I made it there for the first time, World of Motion, Horizons, Kitchen Kabaret, Journey Into Imagination and the Sea Cab ride through the Living Seas, were already closed, altered or removed. They ruin everything, don't they?

Major Pepperidge said...

Hey, I missed a new post while I was out of town! I was going to say the same thing as Chuck - amazing that you found that EPCOT book on the floor. I still remember getting a different EPCOT booklet in the mail. To this day I have NO idea why one was sent to me or who sent it - I wasn't on any list anything. I still have it too - my understanding is that there are two versions, one with ads (which is what I have) and another without.

When that park finally opened, I bought the famous hardcover coffee table book, and MAN, that made me wish I could go to Florida to see EPCOT! No such luck, and it does sound like that original park is gone, mostly.

Thanks for the post!

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I received that book in the mail as well. It was the book with all artist's renderings and no photos, right? I didn't realize there were two versions. I don't remember mine having advertisements in it, but I should get it out and look at it, since I haven't done that for years. I also purchased the EPCOT coffee table book (at DL in the bookshop on Main St.) and it made me want to go to WDW so bad!

I was actually going to go with a group of employees from Knott's in 1985. Disney had offered Knott's employees a really good package deal, but they ended up returning my deposit and cancelling the trip. Knott's Human Resources said in order for it to be profitable to Disney, they needed at least 50 Knott's employees to take them up on the offer and they did not get that many people. I could have still planned my own trip at some point, and I did eventually. I just waited another 17 years and that was long enough for them to start ruining it!

K. Martinez said...

Boy, am I late this party. I don't know how I missed the boat.

Well, I did visit EPCOT Center during it's first year of operation in March of 1983. That was six months after it opened. I LOVED IT! I remember how the trees were really small and thin and everything was wide open and expansive. The World Showcase felt like a newly developed suburb in that it was flat and barely any trees filling in the areas in between. Everything at EPCOT Center had that just built look. It was the earliest I'd ever seen a Disney theme park from it's opening date. I guess I should consider myself lucky that I saw EPCOT Center and Walt Disney World in its original form.

And I'll close out with that well known saying They ruin everything. They really do! Thanks, TM!

TokyoMagic! said...

Ken, I sure do envy you getting to see EPCOT Center in it's very first year. Wow, it certainly has changed quite a bit since then, and not necessarily for the better. Yes, they really do ruin everything! And I think they actually get enjoyment out of doing it!

Dean Finder said...

Finally got a chance to look at this post after a month...
I was luck enough to go to EPCOT Center in 1984 as a kid, and it's still a pretty big influence on me now. Not sure why I didn't return until 2012. I'll echo everyone sentiments here in that it's not at all what it was. My guess is that the kind of people who wind up in park management aren't the kind of people who "get" the concept of EPCOT Center and won't fight for corporate sponsors or other elements of the company who throw around words like "synergy." Thus, EPCOT gets more like every other Disney park with each revision.

Besides the "wow, how cheap!" prices from the pre-Eisner era, there's a couple of interesting things in the map.
In the area map, Epcot Center Drive doesn't intersect with World Drive. I wonder if that was actually the case, or if it was just drawn that way to encourage visitors to use separate exits from the highways to different areas of WDw. These days, Epcot Center Dr. is the main entrance to all of WDW.
In the EPCOT Center map, notice that there are only a few restrooms shown between Mexico and China (the famous "Danish potties" to EPCOT nerds) and Japan and France (now the site of Morocco). I know that there are restrooms in nearly most World Showcase pavilions now. I wonder if they just didn't show them, or they realized that more were needed after opening. There's also a bathroom on the far right side of the Journey into Imagination pavilion not noted on this map, so I'm guessing that bathrooms were always in the pavilions, and they had standalone bathrooms using plumbing installed in anticipation of the additional World Showcase pavilions.
BTW, that Journey into Imagination bathroom is on a little side pathway and the original area music still plays there. Along with the restoration of the Kodak paint scheme on the building, standing there and looking back towards The Land and Spaceship Earth is almost like time traveling back to the 1980s.

TokyoMagic! said...

Dean Finder, Thank you for sharing your memories/experiences at EPCOT! I am also envious of you, for being able to see EPCOT within it's first couple years. I never noticed the lack of bathrooms on that map, but you are right. That is an early map, so maybe it was drawn up before construction was completed and the artist didn't know the locations of all the bathrooms that were planned. I guess it is possible, as you mentioned, that they realized after opening that they needed more restrooms.....sort of like Walt Disney had to add more drinking fountains to Disneyland after it opened. The reason for that shortage however, was supposedly due to a plumber's strike.

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Cathyzie2000 said...

Thank you for this post. I was just searching these tickets. My mother in law just found 4 of them unused. I just e-mailed Disney to verify them but after researching, I’m fairly certain they can be converted and used! Imagine $30 for a 3 day multiple park pass. There is no set for sale on E-bay. I think she wants to sell them so it will be interesting to see what happens. Your info will help to that end. Thanks again.

TokyoMagic! said...

Cathyzie2000, I'm glad that my post was able to help you. And from what I've heard, as long as a ticket does not have an expiration date on it, Disney will honor it no matter how old it is. Good luck to your mother-in-law, if she does decide to sell them!