04 May 2010

A right and necessary step

The stories and history behind the development, construction, and execution of EPCOT Center are many, but just how did the actual construction process begin?

While clearing of the land hand been happening for some time, the official start of construction was a marquee event. The ceremony, dubbed a “land-filling,” took place on October 1 (a familiar date), in the year 1979. Meant to show that EPCOT Center would, indeed, be a blending of corporations, Imagineering, and the ideas of tomorrow, the land portion of the presentation was facilitated by a General Motors vehicle, General Motors having already signed on to the project as a pavilion sponsor. The vehicle in question was the world’s largest earthmover, a 40-ton Terex truck, which rolled onto the site to deliver the first batch of soil in the presence of Card Walker, Dick Nunis, and a plethora of other guests.

These other guests included an assemblage of every governor who had had a hand in the development of Walt Disney World. From Haydon Burns, who had been instrumental in early stages of the resort’s development and was present at the Walt Disney World announcement with Walt and Roy Disney, to Burns’ successors, Claude Kirk Reubin Askew, and even the current governor in 1979, Bob Graham. This set of governors been involved, in one way or another, from the planning stages of the Vacation Kingdom straight through its early operation and development of EPCOT Center.

During the ceremony, Card Walker made a statement that surmised not only the possibilities of Walt Disney World, but the promise of brighter tomorrows that EPCOT Center presented for the entire state of Florida. Speaking to the honored guests, Walker stated, “We take this major step forward for Walt Disney Productions with great confidence. We have looked carefully, even minutely, at not only the creative aspects of EPCOT Center, but also the economic, the business and the marketing potentials. And now, more than ever before, we know that this is a right and necessary step in the growth of Walt Disney World and, we believe, in the continuing growth of the state of Florida as the most important tourist destination in the whole world.

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