22 June 2008

Challenges of the future

EPCOT Center was the fusion of a World’s Fair and an amusement park, the technologies of today and the dreams of tomorrow, and Walt’s vision for a city of tomorrow and the limitations of mere mortal romantics. Creating a future that can continue to be relevant is not an easy task, but George McGinnis had the uncanny ability to balance all of these components and still create awe-inspiring attractions. As an Industrial Design Manager, McGinnis’ handiwork could be seen across Future World on EPCOT Center’s opening day. From Communicore’s Astuter Computer Revue and SMRT-1, Universe of Energy, and World of Motion, to the central component of EPCOT Center, Spaceship Earth, his show element concepts would help mold the worlds of wonder that all would experience.

Card Walker, speaking to the Urban Land Institute, stated that Epcot was to be a “demonstration and proving ground for prototype concepts,” a “communicator to the world,” and provide an “ongoing forum for the future.” Looking in from the outside, this would seem to be an instance where man’s reach exceeded his grasp, but EPCOT Center would take these trials and create a foundation built of today’s innovations which would allow the future to reach its full potential, and this view of the future would not have been complete without the work George McGinnis.

There was a fluidity to the various messages of EPCOT Center, where at one corner of the park guests could begin to chew on a message about energy sources that would carry with them until they could digest the concept fully in an attraction that carried a message about mobility or guests could see the possibilities the world held in store for them, if only we could find more inspired ways to communicate, before moving into a pavilion where the technologies that could assist us in reaching out to one another were all around them. All of these messages were touched by George McGinnis, and while these are difficult concepts to grasp, McGinnis and the other Imagineers who worked tirelessly on these attractions were not only able to take hold of these concept they were able to translate their fundamental theories into obtainable ideas for all of us. The work McGinnis completed for the various messages of Future World’s Universe of Energy, World of Motion, Communicore, and Spaceship Earth would serve him well, as these messages would combine with others from around EPCOT Center to culminate into a single striking view of the future, Horizons.

Though he was not alone in molding EPCOT Center, George McGinnis was a key component to some of the most enduring ideals and visions the park offered. He helped to create the legend that would be EPCOT Center, and in doing so became a legend himself, if only in the hearts and minds of Disney enthusiasts the world over.

Bibliography: Beyond Today Bibliography

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Great article.

It is amzinf to think about how the Imagineers were able to communicate these nebulous concepts.