The Great Disney Debate: One man’s dream, another man’s nightmare

After visiting the upcoming Tomorrowland preview at Disneyland this past weekend, it brought to mind some of the things that truly terrify and mystify my poor naive little mind – how Walt Disney’s genius/ego had eventually turned into a full-fledged God complex toward the end of his life. I can’t wait to see this movie because it looks visually compelling and I’m a huge fan of science fiction. But, the inspiration of the film goes a bit into the past of what is often overlooked and rarely explained about the strangest aspects of a beloved icon – the conceptual birth of E.P.C.O.T. (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow).

Walt Disney and his legacy are greatly admonished, especially in California, where his career in animation and film and the birth of an iconic theme park originated in 1955. According to the Disneyland Tour guide who hosted the Walk in Walt’s Footsteps Tour I took a few years ago, Tomorrowland was loved by Walt because he believed that technology was the hope for a better humanity. Tomorrowland was partially inspired by the World’s Fair in New York where “it’s a small world” and the GM Carousel of Progress were originally showcased and eventually transplanted to Disneyland and Walt Disney World (respectively).
His participation in the New York World’s Fair was the very beginnings of taking what was amazing about the world around him and turn it into a sterilized version of itself for children and adults to enjoy together (Disneyland). It also inspired a new dream of a world that he could use technology to improve- a world called Tomorrow. Once Disneyland was fully established, Walt turned his focus to “The Florida Project,” which we now know as Walt Disney World. Walt Disney World was to be composed of the Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and E.P.C.O.T.
  EPCOT was originally designed to be a prototype of his vision for a Utopian society that he hoped the rest of the world to duplicate. It was a world without controversy, without poverty, without governments, without war, with the leading edge on all technology and entirely enclosed in weather controlled dome. Don’t believe me? Take a look at this and tell me what YOU think? 
It truly is a thin line between genius and madness. It has been said that Walt’s last dying request was that his brother (Roy) promise to complete EPCOT. Roy, being the more practical one, didn’t believe that such an ambitious project was something they could afford. It would be too time consuming and nothing that could be accomplished without the direction of Walt himself. EPCOT as we know it today was one half of the realization of what the plan was originally meant to be and the other half was a planned community known as Celebration, Florida
Not having seen the full movie as of yet, I’m not privy to fully analyze the storyline. Having seen the extended preview, the Tomorrowland Exhibit at Disneyland and the DIsneyland Expo two years ago, I can tell you there is a lot more to this story than meets the eye.
The movie was inspired by a box found in the basement of the Disney animation building labeled 1952, containing what looked like the remnant collections of a madman. For more details and descriptions of what was enclosed in the box, follow this link. 
One of the major objects of inspiration in the box was what looked like a damaged metal record, but was nothing of the sort. The writers of the film described it as a metal disk with many grooves that functioned more like a DVD. It was a technology that has never been seen as far as they were able to discover. They had to send it out to have the data taken out of it by technological experts, seen only by themselves and the audience of the expo. It was a short adult animated film briefly explaining a short history of mankind and an introduction to the potential of a future – a future that apparently had already been realized. 
Tomorrowland, staring George Clooney, hits movie theaters on May 22nd. The Tomorrowland extended preview is currently showing at the Magic Eye Theater at Disneyland and includes an exhibit featuring interviews with the writers, props from the film and artifacts from Disneyland past. 
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