The Future that Wasn’t

Monorail at Epcot, Disney World - Orlando, Florida

Monorail at Epcot, Disney World – Orlando, Florida

When my family and I went to Disney World, we all agreed that Epcot was our least favorite of the four parks. The future as imagined by the Disney Imagineers never impressed, even in the 80s and it’s no better 30+ years later. But you may be surprised to learn that Walt Disney, the man, had very different plans for the original Epcot, which stood for Experimental Prototype City Of Tomorrow. It was envisioned as a live and work community at heart of Disney’s Florida property. The monorail would connect Epcot to the theme parks and other industrial areas.

Of course, Epcot as imagined, was never built after Walt’s death. It morphed into a second tier theme park with aging, then modern, but now dated buildings. But the monorail is there, perhaps not as extensive as planned, but functioning effectively to shuttle customers throughout the property. It’s one of my favorite things about Disney World.

I’m a bit of a public transportation fan and a sleek and still modern looking transportation system gets my attention. The monorails run every several minutes and puts Austin’s fledgling rail line to shame. This is my favorite view of the monorail, with the impressive Spaceship Earth as a backdrop. Epcot may not be my favorite, but it makes for my favorite setting for a futuristic transportation system, that never reached its full potential.


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