History and photos of the Future World section of Epcot at Walt Disney World.
Roughly half of Epcot is composed of Future World (not to be confused with Futureworld, a science-fiction movie from 1976), a collection of pavilions that offer glimpses into the visionary future, each through a different theme and means of doing so. This is normally the half of the park that receives the most attention as this is also where you'll find most of Epcot's rides and shows.
It's here in Future World where you can take a slow-moving ride through the history of human communication, have a simulated rocket flight to Mars, take a test car through a proving ground, push your imagination in new directions with the help of a little dragon, learn about different methods of growing crops and the future of agriculture, dive into the oceans and learn about aquatic life, and so much more!
Future World begins at Epcot's entrance plaza and stretches back to Showcase Plaza and the northern edge of World Showcase Lagoon. This also includes the theme park's entrance area, from the ticket booths to the bus station to the sleek and futuristic monorail station.
When EPCOT Center first opened on October 1, 1982, Future World was missing about half of the pavilions that we've loved over the years. The original Future World attractions included Spaceship Earth, CommuniCore, Universe of Energy, World of Motion, and The Land. Although Journey Into Imagination was nearly complete, the pavilion's main attraction had numerous technical problems, and the ride itself didn't officially open until the following year in 1983. Horizons also opened in 1983, The Living Seas was next to open in 1986, and Wonders of Life opened its doors in 1989.
1989 through 1993 is generally considered to be Future World's "glory years" for those people who loved the original version of the theme park. During that four-year time frame Future World had all of its original attractions with the vast majority of them still in their original form. That would all slowly change through starting in 1994 when Future World would go through a major transformation to upgrade the attractions and breathe more life into the park.
In 1994, Spaceship Earth received a major upgrade including a new narration as well as new scenes that included a new ending to the ride. CommuniCore was changed into the upbeat Innoventions. Honey, I Shrunk the Audience was added to Journey Into Imagination, and The Circle of Life and Food Rocks were both added to The Land. All three of those shows replaced shows already at those pavilions. In addition to the new shows, the main boat ride in The Land was changed to Living with the Land.
Starting in 1995, Horizons operated on a limited basis as it lost its primary sponsor. The ride would later re-open in 1996 when World of Motion permanently closed to make way for Test Track.
In 1996, Universe of Energy was changed to Ellen's Energy Adventure. The ride itself with the "moving theater" and massive dinosaur segment remained similar to the original version, but the rest of the attraction was changed to add Ellen DeGeneres as well as Bill Nye "The Science Guy."
October of 1998 saw the closing of the Journey Into Imagination ride as well as The Image Works. The pavilion would re-open later in 1999 as simply Imagination! with the newer version of the ride as Journey Into Your Imagination along with an upgraded version of ImageWorks. However, this newer version of the ride would not go over well with the audiences, and the ride closed in October of 2001 to be refurbished and changed once again. The latest version of the ride, Journey Into Imagination With Figment, opened in 2002.
In 1999, Test Track officially opened, and Horizons was permanently closed to make way for Mission: SPACE. This outer space thrill ride opened in 2003.
It was also in 1999 that The Living Seas began to go through a series of changes that began with the pavilion losing its sponsor. The changes started with the removing one of the preshow theaters and allowing guests to proceed directly to the Hydrolator. In 2001 the Seacab ride would close and guests would simply walk into The Living Seas without the elaborate experience.
In 2003, The Living Seas would begin a transformation that would bring the characters from the hit animated film Finding Nemo into the pavilion. The interior was changed and re-themed to the characters, and in 2005 the pavilion was closed for even more changes. Parts of the pavilion opened again in 2005, but the main entrance and line queue would remain closed until it reopened as The Seas with Nemo & Friends in 2007.
2004 saw the closing of the show Food Rocks in The Land to make way for Soarin', a hang gliding simulator ride that would take guests over famous sights throughout California. This ride would open in 2005 as part of The Happiest Celebration on Earth event that took place throughout Walt Disney World and Disneyland.
On January 1, 2007, the Wonders of Life pavilion closed for good. The pavilion had been open on a seasonal basis since 2004, but it ceased operation as Wonders of Life in early 2007. The main building continues to stand as Epcot uses it for seasonal events such as the Flower and Garden Festival and the International Food and Wine Festival, but this is mainly for things like merchandising and presentations. The pavilion's attractions have been closed for good and it's believed that they have been removed from the complex as well.
It was also in 2007 when Spaceship Earth closed again for another major refurbishment. The ride soft opened in December of 2007 with a new narration, improved (and some new) scenes, and a new, interactive final segment of the ride. Like the 1994 refurbishment, this 2007 refurbishment of Spaceship Earth also changed the ride's post-show / exit area as well.
In 2010, the 3D show Captain EO returned to the Imagination! pavilion, replacing Honey, I Shrunk the Audience.
The latest change to Future World took place in April of 2012 when Test Track was closed for a lengthy refurbishment. The thrill ride re-opened in December of 2012 with a new sponsor, a interior line queue, and a new experience in the testing ground.
Today's version of Future World is still a futuristic and upbeat experience. The area generally experiences its peak crowds throughout the morning and early afternoon. By later afternoon and evening, the crowds in Future World tend to decrease as people wander throughout World Showcase and stake out their viewing spots for the IllumiNations fireworks show.
Future World is divided into two main segments: East and West. Future World East tends to be dominated by more trees and is more compact, while Future World West has water features and is more spread out. In addition to those two areas, Future World is also composed of Innoventions Plaza as well as Epcot's entrance plaza.
|FUTURE WORLD EAST||FUTURE WORLD WEST|
|Ellen's Energy Adventure||The Land|
|Mission: SPACE||The Seas with Nemo and Friends|
No trip to Epcot is possible without spending a few hours to walk around and explore the pavilions of Future World.
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