Ray Bradbury passed away on Tuesday at the age of 91. On the surface this author, including a novel that sits in my personal Top 5, and futurist may not seem to have a lot to do with Walt Disney World. His involvement with the 1964 World’s Fair would lead to his intrigue of Walt Disney’s ideas, in particular the original plan for Florida known as EPCOT. So fascinated by these concepts, Bradbury would take his incredible intellect and ideals to EPCOT Center to lead the centerpiece project, Spaceship Earth.
In one speech to Imagineering, Bradbury referred to the group as “Renaissance people” and that they were “doing the stuff that’s really going to count.” As I think back over all the interviews and I’ve heard and essays or novels I’ve read from Bradbury and, when you consider his life as a whole, he was a forerunner of the Renaissance that spread through groups like Imagineering and most certainly was doing the stuff that really counted. His ability to see tomorrow for what it could be will be missed.
Below is a partial transcript of Ray Bradbury’s talk to Imagineering in 1981 as they prepared EPCOT Center:
“And so, really, what you are is Renaissance people. If ever there was a Renaissance organization, this is it. You haven’t peaked yet, but you’re peaking, and sometime in the next twenty years, when you peak completely, the whole world’s going to be looking at you.“Buckmeister Fuller lectures us on how to change the world and yet the only people I see who are successful at changing the world are right here – people with very special dreams. We’re acting out what Albert Schweitzer often spoke of in his philosophies years ago. He said, ‘Set a good example for the world. If you are excellent, if you are high quality, the world will imitate you.’“What we’re doing here is inventing a ‘Schweitzer Centrifuge’… that the way I look at the Epcot project. If we build all this correctly, if we build it beautifully, if we set an example for the world, we can change the whole damn country. That’s how important I feel, working with you. People will come from all over the world; they’re already doing it at Disneyland and Disney World… so, what we’re going to do in the next year and the next five years and the next thirty years is change our own country, only for the better. And after that – the world.“It’s a big project. But of all the groups in the world, while everyone else is busy talking, you’re doing the stuff that’s really going to count.”