03 October 2014

You Can Build It - Part III

Transportation around EPCOT Center was a much different affair when the park first opened. There was not an International Gateway for guests to enter and exit through, everyone came in through the main entrance near Spaceship Earth which meant there would be more walking at the beginning and ending of a day. However, more guests got off of their feet and took advantage of the internal modes of transportation.

The Friendships were much more popular during this time, and this popularity led to an increase in the fleet. However, the most sought after way to maneuver through the park were the double decker buses known as World Showcase Transportation. In particular the second level which offered stirring breezes and unparalleled views of World Showcase. In the early years the buses made stops between Mexico and China, Italy and The American Adventure, France and United Kingdom, and Canada and Port of Entry. Later routes would transfer the United Kingdom stop to between France and Morocco, and the stop between Mexico and China would remain in the same space, but now be directly in front of Norway.

Also in this set of photographs we find a group of barges for EPCOT Center’s first nighttime spectacular. Prior to any incarnation of IllumiNations there were actually three other shows. Debuting in 1982 was Carnival de Lumiere, 1983 saw A New World Fantasy, and Laserphonic Fantasy had its world premiere in 1984.

Here we step backstage to see Friendship I and Friendship II docked.

Friendship I makes its way out to World Showcase Lagoon, passing by China along the way.

Friendship II makes its way by the raised bridge near China.

Here we see one of the double decker buses from World Showcase Transportation parked backstage.

A row of projection, fountain, and firework barges.

A close up view of one of the barge’s inner workings.

Getting up close and personal with a pair of barges and their set-ups.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

From the looks of the sheltered area, I guess fireworks techs were on the barges to launch the shells in the early days.