Should the City of Epcot Have Been Built?

Most of my longtime readers know that my blogs are usually 95% fact and 5% opinion. I try to stay noncontroversial. But today’s blog will be a little different. Today my opinion will be strong – and I’m sure it will generate more than a few opposing views. The question I broach is this: Should the Disney Company have built the City of EPCOT as originally envisioned by Walt?

In a 1970 promotional booklet titled “Preview Edition – Walt Disney World – The Vacation Kingdom of the World” the short and long term plans for the company’s recently acquired 43 square miles in Central Florida were laid out. In the booklet, the first five years of the undertaking (Phase One) was presented in great detail. The project was to encompass the Magic Kingdom, five hotels, a campground, a monorail, and recreational facilities. With the exception of three hotels (the Asian, Persian, and Venetian) this all panned out as planned.

1970's Promotional Booklet

The long term plans for the property (Phase Two) were also presented in the booklet, but with far less detail. Briefly mentioned was the Airport of the Future, Industrial Parks, an extensive Transportation System, and a city to be called EPCOT, the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. Inhabitants of this new city would be required to work somewhere on property in order to live there. The estimated population was to be 20,000. These were the grand plans Walt had shared with his Imagineers before his death four years earlier on December 15, 1966.

City of EPCOT

For a number of reasons, far too many to mention here, the idea of building the City of EPCOT was abandoned. In the end, the Company decided to build EPCOT Center, a theme park that would encompass the ideals of Walt’s grand city. In addition, these ideals would be applied to the entire Disney property and are administered to this day by the Reedy Creek Improvement District.

I often hear guests and Disneyphiles lamenting that the City of EPCOT was never built. They say things like, “If Walt had lived longer, he would have insisted that EPCOT be built and it would have been magnificent.” This may or may not be true. We’ll never know. Walt was always tweaking his ideas and looking for better solutions. If he had lived another ten years, who knows what the plans for the City of EPCOT would have looked like at groundbreaking, estimated to begin in 1976. When Walt died, his dream died with him. His brother Roy and the other executives of the company did not share his enthusiasm to build a city.

For a long time, whenever I’ve heard people criticize the Company for not completing Walt’s final dream, I’ve kept quiet. It’s easier to hold my tongue rather than getting into a long, drawn out discussion. But I, for one, am happy that the City of EPCOT was never built. I have no doubt that it would have been great, especially if it had materialized as Walt envisioned it. But I have selfish reasons for my opinion. You see, I like the theme park of Epcot. I like Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I like Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I like Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. I like Downtown Disney. I like the Yacht and Beach, Port Orleans, and the Pop Century resorts. I like all of these things that never would have materialized if the City of EPCOT had been built.

Walt said that there was room enough to hold all of his Company’s dreams, but building an entire city would have eaten up most of his land. Walt wasn’t really motivated to build more theme parks – been there, done that. He was only interested in building the Magic Kingdom as a means to eventually build the City of EPCOT. If the City of EPCOT had been built, Walt Disney World would not be the vacation destination it is today. For the most part, this was an either/or decision. Built a city or build a destination vacation kingdom.

Let’s jump across the country to the Disneyland Resort. Even with two parks and a shopping district, most people do not plan their entire vacation around this single destination. There simply aren’t enough activities at the Disneyland Resort to fill more than three days (for the average guest). When visiting Southern California, most people augment their Disney stay with trips to Knott’s Berry Farm, Hollywood, Universal Studios, and the many other attractions found in the area.

If the City of EPCOT had been built, the same thing would be true in Central Florida. People would only plan on spending two, maybe three days at the Magic Kingdom, Bay Lake, and Seven Seas Lagoon. Then they’d spend the rest of their vacation at Kennedy Space Center, Sea World, and Gatorland. And in reality, they probably wouldn’t make yearly trips (or more) to Orlando.

Sure, if the City of EPCOT had been built, we’d all want to ride the monorails and PeopleMovers through this magnificent metropolis. But after we did it once, we wouldn’t really want or need to do it again. If you stop and think about it, the trains at the Orlando Airport that transport you between the terminals and the gates are PeopleMovers. Yes, they’re modern and efficient, but once you remove a PeopleMover from a theme park environment, it becomes utilitarian and rather boring. The same would have been true with the transportation within the City of EPCOT. After you rode the PeopleMover through EPCOT suburbs, would you really need to do it again and again on subsequent trips to Disney World?

Take a look at the community of Celebration, the town that Disney built on the south edge of their property. Have you taken the time to drive through this town? And if you have, do you have a need to see it a second time? It’s a wonderful community, but it’s not what most people want to see while on vacation. I’m the first to admit, Celebration doesn’t compare in scope to what was envisioned for the City of EPCOT, but it was a planned community built by the Company we all love. In addition, the people of Celebration really don’t want hordes of tourists traipsing through their town. The citizens of the City of EPCOT would have felt the same way.

Walt touted his City of EPCOT as a blueprint that other communities could learn from. But would other cities have taken the time to learn? Possibly. I don’t know. But I do believe that all of the lessons that the City of EPCOT could teach us are available at Disney World without a city. Since the EPCOT philosophies are guidelines for everything built at Disney World, a city really isn’t necessary.

But getting back to my selfish reasons, I like how Disney has developed their property. Sure, there are a few things I think could have been done better. And sometimes I ask myself, “What were they thinking?” But overall, I believe Walt Disney World is a fantastic place. A place that many people come to year after year. A place where one week isn’t enough time to experience everything there is to offer. A place where people can buy Disney Vacation Club memberships. If the City of EPCOT had been built, this wouldn’t be the case. As I said earlier, you’d only visit every couple of years for two or three days. I like visiting for a week or more on a yearly basis.

So there you have it, why I think the City of EPCOT should not have been built. If you would like to share your thoughts on this subject, feel free to leave a comment. And don’t forget, you must type the word “BLOG” in the appropriate space or your comment will end up in our Junk Bin.

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70 Replies to “Should the City of Epcot Have Been Built?”

  1. you’re forgetting the whole purpose of EPCOT City…it was to be Prototypical the “P” of EPCOT sure people would live there and work there and there were plans for retirees..the whole thing was to inspire other communities to eventually upgrade to a new way of living a sorta “New Urbanism”…and it wouldn’t have taken up that much of the Florida Project…and…it should have been done as soon as do it now would be exponentially expensive…it was to be mostly a show piece and not a working city per se…and rules like upgrades to your home being mandatory and no cars in EPCOT…kinda hard to get large groups of people on board that train….still…I wish he’d done it..or the company…”New Urbanism” needed to be realized…it was the 21 century city nobody has today…beyond the internet…we’re still mid/late 20 century and can’t let go of it.

  2. I’m with you all the way on this, and I’ve said for many years that I think the idea might have bankrupted the company. So, I’m really glad that they didnt build it as planned. However, I wish the current Epcot could get some much needed attention, update Energy, Imagination and maybe even Wonders of Life, then maybe add another country or two.

  3. Hello,

    Thank you for giving me the chance to voice some of my own thoughts about the EPCOT center and Walt Disney World.

    Having actually been given the wonderful opportunity to experience a whirlwind, 15 hour day at Disney World (all the parks!) and learning about EPCOT, I think there are some matters that should be brought to light, particularly the matter of the Theme Park that could have been.

    First and foremost, the theme park would have been five times the size of the contemporary Disneyland, with most likely five times the thrill and ambition. I think the space between all of the parks at the modern Disney World is based on the justification for having so much land to begin with. Had his vision of Disney World gone through, there would have been no doubt that one could spend a week or two combing the myriad corners of such a large park. It is vital to separate the EPCOT of design from the larger Disney World itself. EPCOT as a city, in my opinion, would not have prevented the other parks other than the Magic Kingdom to be built, it just would’ve kept them closer together so that you wouldn’t need a bus ride to get to them.

    Secondly, in terms of other entertainment venues, the amount of hotels would preclude the creation of resort areas (similar to Typhoon Lagoon and Disney Hollywood Studios) to entertain not only passing families on holiday, but the business and industry professionals that would be visiting the industrial parks. Also, as part of the industrial park, there would have been many many tours of the assorted corporate factories, akin to a permanent world’s fair. As someone else mentioned before, a city, even a relatively small one of 20,000, can have attractions such as museums and such, that would’ve drawn in visitors from outside of Walt Disney World. Walt Disney World and its facets and attractions were meant to draw people from all over the world, not just cater to the few that worked within the confines of EPCOT.

    So the entertainment value of the parks and resort areas as we see them today cannot be compared to the vision Walt had without understanding the extent of what was going to be built in to EPCOT specifically for giving people a reason to come and explore and experience Disney World. We must remember, he was, first and foremost, an entertainer and showman.

    I do feel that Walt Disney World could have created a corner of America that would have been a shining beacon of industry, design, and wonder had it gone through. The elements of the community itself would have been difficult for urban expansion, but I feel it would be similar to how malls shift and adjust which vendors are within its halls.

    On the note of malls, the enclosed urban center is exactly like the large Malls of America, just set towards a larger and more conducive environment for pedestrian traffic and spending. Far from the florescent lighting that I personally despise, the lighting for this under-roof city would have been better prepared to reduce fatigue.

    Before I go too far off topic (too late). I think the argument that EPCOT as a community of tomorrow should not have been built because of the value of the destinations we have now is ignoring some of the finer details of the original Walt Disney World concept.

    As usual, Walt Disney has a short film describing his plans and some of his ideas for preventing the issues of work/home chicken/egg problem (such as getting companies committed to the industrial area, guaranteeing jobs). It’s called “walt Disney’s original plan for epcot” in 3 parts.

    I would’ve loved to have seen EPCOT as Disney imagined it. To wit, had he succeeded in his vision, we may be speaking not of “Silicon Valley,” but of the “Silicon Swamp”.


  4. I agree with some of your points, however, a theme park cannot live up to what a city would have brought into the world, perhaps by now we wouldn’t be using fossil fuels, also other break throughs like perhaps a cure for cancer?
    On the other hand with the selfish point of view, great place to take the kids.

    – Dr. Alan Crisford

  5. Jack,

    I guess I’m late to the party on this, eh? I find myself split on the answer.

    I feel we love WDW because it is a place where we really do get to leave things behind, the ‘World’ aspect being very key to the experience. That’s why I really dislike the buses as well. After all, leaving the cars outside was one of the critical design points of EPCOT. There’s something very special about leaving a theme park but not actually leaving the whole WDW experience – sure you leave the park but then you get to take a monorail through a hotel and head over to a great dinner in another wonderfully themed resort miles away. Having such a variety of things to do enhances that experience although it can be a little overwhelming at times. But to have such a variety I agree that the original concept of EPCOT had to be set aside.

    On the other hand, I’m very interested in Sam’s book. My gut feeling is that Walt’s instincts were almost always right and that even if EPCOT was not a success it still would have had a profound positive influence on urban planning. But the seriousness of this goal and message is really at odds with how most of us view a vacation at WDW. I remember seeing the film Symbiosis and finding it to be, frankly, a drag. It was well done and certainly had it’s place but I’m not sure that place was in a entertainment resort complex, even one with the serious undertones of EPCOT center.

    And of course, EPCOT itself, being such a progressive vision, would inevitably suffer from the same problems that Tomorrowland and Future World have always had. It turns out that committing to a major re-do every 20 years for those isn’t really in the cards. How much worse would it be for a city, no matter how small? And how much would that detract from the guest experience if a run down, sponsor-less city of the future is the first thing you hit as you entered WDW?

    Sometimes I find myself wondering what Walt’s next idea post-Epcot would have been.

  6. I totally agree you. Case in point: my family of 4 spent 7 full days in WDW on our most recent trip and had the time of our life! This would never have happened when I was a kid. Glad you’re back blogging.

  7. Jack,

    I completely agree with your answer (in response to someone’s comment) about the busses at WDW. I don’t believe that cars and busses should be on property. In such a wonderful, progressive place, all transportation should be much more fuel-efficient. If not monorails, how about trams or something of that sort?

    I wish they could find a better way to move people around property so that guests wouldn’t feel that cars are necessary. That way, hotel rooms on property wouldn’t have views of parking lots. The hotel parking could be further away, with people being transported to the hotel, so more rooms would have nice garden views. What a Wonderful World it would be.

    P.S. I am so thrilled to see your blogs again! Your wonderful insights and knowledge have been missed!

  8. Hi Jack,

    Thank you for another great article. There are so many wonderful ideas left on the drawing boards, or these days CAD files. As time goes on, we realize how much we learn just from the process of designing.

    The monorail system expansion I understood to be expensive, but I always wondered why the Wilderness Lodge wasn’t built closer to the existing EPCOT-TTC monorail line? Assuming it is all swampland and equally difficult to build anywhere, moving the lodge 1500ft (just a guess on the distance) to build a monorail station on the existing line would have been worth considering.

    Jack’s Comment:

    If you study the Wilderness Lodge carefully, you can see that a monorail station was built into the structure. It’s at the front of the building above the main entrance. At the moment, it just looks like a large balcony. But it could easily be redesigned if the monorail track was ever extended.

  9. Which would I rather have? I would choose an expanded monorail system. It seems such an elegant way to get around–and quiet, too! Plus, I love the elevated views.

  10. Hey Jack,
    I think in concept this was a great idea, especially for the time period conceived. Can you imagine what those employees would go through in that type of a set-up in this day and age? We all know how some Disney fans and people in general seem to hunger for all things unique/Disney. Talk about life in the proverbial “fishbowl” 🙂

  11. You’re right of course. I believe Epcot as a city would have had a government run by a (even benevolent) dictator backed by multiple corporate interests. That’s the classic definition of fascism. It would not have been the happiest place on earth. Eisner and Co. may have been obsessed with the bottom line, but they did fend off a corporate takeover and gave us a lot more Disney World to enjoy.

  12. Hi Jack,

    This is a bit off topic, and I’ve labored over whether or not to comment, but not only do I enjoy reading your blog entries, I also enjoy reading all the comments from other Disney fans.

    I’ve noticed just how many people are claiming Epcot as their favorite park. This has caused me to give a lot of thought to the subject, and I’ve realized that I don’t really have a “favorite” park.

    Magic Kingdom will always feel special since I grew up with Disneyland in California. Epcot was the second park added, and on my first trip to WDW in 1988, there were only the two parks. Epcot was exciting and huge! It was and still is the closest I’ll probably get to visiting Europe. I love the fact that Epcot can absorb a very large amount of people, as sometimes I just need a “Disney fix” during high volume times of the year. Since my two largest passions are Disney and Art Deco, I adore Disney’s Hollywood Studios, although I’m so disappointed in many of the changes in merchandising in the various shops, and attractions like The Great Movie Ride could stand an update, I still enjoy all the fantastic examples of Art Deco architecture and fine details. I was fortunate enough to attend the grand opening of Disney’s Animal Kingdom back in 1998 (and I have the t-shirt to prove it!) Disney’s Animal Kingdom really put an entirely different light on the enjoyment and conservation of wild animals.

    I guess the bottom line is that the four main parks that make up WDW are so completely different from one another, that I just can’t really pick out a “favorite.” I love them all, and as you’ve pointed out in your blog entry, if the City of EPCOT had been built, we would probably only have Magic Kingdom.

    I am, as you are, very glad that WDW turned out the way it has so far, and look forward to new adventures the Disney Imagineers come up with in the future.


  13. I agree with you 100% after reading your article about EPCOT. Disney World is a place to rest and relax and once you go thru those gates, you leave the real world behind. I have been to Disney World 42 times and I never get tired of going there, because I am totally relaxed. If EPCOT was builta like a city, it would not be a special place, it would just be another place to live, work, pay bills etc.

  14. Hi Jack. Great post. Like many of the people commenting, I have mixed feelings about this topic. EPCOT is my favorite Disney park, and while some of the classic attractions are gone, there’s still nothing that compares to walking in Future World at night. It was my favorite experience of our last trip in January.

    That said, I really wish they would have taken a better shot at creating a city like Walt envisioned. I’m a huge proponent of public transportation, and I feel like Walt’s city would have really shown how well that could work in the right structure. To many, riding a train or bus seems like a hassle, but the idea of using monorails and people movers to get around smoothly sounds remarkable.

    This is probably a pipe dream, but I think Walt was going to give it a shot. It’s this technological creativity that’s starting to disappear at Walt Disney World now. Walt was fascinated by new technologies, and given our current economic state, it’s possible he could have had a major impact on urban development.

    Regardless, I also really enjoy EPCOT and the other parks today, so it’s still a great destination, despite the different path taken. Thanks!

  15. Agreed. Worth noting, other “New Cities” came about at the same time (e.g. Columbia MD @ 14k acres) that were planned and idealistic, etc. They’ve aged just as Epcot City would have, and those New Cities have had to adjust and change… sometimes the changes move the city away from the ideal. Point being, cities evolve over time and eventually find an equilibrium or natural state. if you manufacture a city, its natural state may not match the ideals. this is actually more likely, thus… the City of Epcot would be extremely difficult to maintain as a destination much different than other places of comparable size.

  16. I am soooooo pleased to read a blog from you and to learn that you will be guest blogging and probably returning to weekly blogging. I was thinking about giving up on AllEars (except I do like “Where in the World” – but am not very good at it!).

    I agree with your comments on EPCOT. We love looking around Celebration but we only do this at Halloween time when the houses are decorated and we assume that people don’t mind us driving around looking at the houses. But at other times it must be awful for residents to see lots of siteseers gazing at their houses all the time. And yes we have been to WDW lots and lots of times but only been to look at Celebration twice which kinda proves your point!

    I see that people have already asked the question – what happens when you retire or work for someone else. I also wonder about crime – which I believe is inevitable in any large city. That just wouldn’t fit with the most magical place on earth image! I am not naive enough to think that crime doesn’t happen at WDW but I think it would probably be more apparent in a large city and maybe taint the rest of WDW. I think the idea in theory would be good but in practice it just wouldn’t work.

    I have only been on a WDW bus once so really can’t comment about them but we do like the monorails. I can see that it doesn’t make good business sense to build more monorails when there will be no income from them and probably not increase the footfall at the parks – but it would be nice!

    I love WDW just how it is – agreed it can be imroved – but it is still my most favourite place to be!

  17. Interesting blog — it made me think about things in a different way. Of course, as you said, it’s impossible to predict what would have actually happened if Walt had lived longer. Even if his dream of a city had become a reality, it might not have been anything like the community he discussed. Regarding stitchcastle’s comments about the city having museums and a zoo and whatever else, I don’t think most cities with a population of around 20,000 have such things in a way to draw people from all over the country or the world on vacation. Of course, Disney could always have been an exception, that certainly wasn’t indicated in his presentation.

  18. hey jack
    even though it would have been interesting to see what Epcot would have been if it was a city, I have to agree with you 100%. I like Epcot for what it is now, a theme park. It fits together with everything else like a puzzle and thats the way it should be. can’t wait for your next blog and as always keep up the great work.

  19. So happy to read something from you! You must be tired to read this but Allears is not the same for me without your blogs!
    Now about the blog: I love Epcot the way is it and cant imagine as another thing. Perhaps Walt would love it too. I can´t imagine WDW in another way, with a city instead of theme parks and hotels and so. I can´t imagine Epcot without soarin or test track or the country pavilions neither. So I Agree with you and I miss you from Argentina!
    I hope read you soon!

  20. Jack, I couldn’t agree with you more. I have selected WDW as a favorite vacation destination as an adult for all four decades now because there’s always something new and exciting to see. I can’t imagine life without Epcot as we know it. Thanks, Jack, for making me appreciate it even more.

  21. Nice article but I think you should give the idea more merit, I mean think about it, the original EPCOT was going to be an entire city. What do cities have? museums, venues, financial and entertainment districts, different communities that would have been molded and shaped in an interesting visual cohesiveness the way Disney intended.

    Just think of a big city like San Francisco, Paris or New York, people plan vacations around these cities specifically and there are never shortages of things to do.

    You seem to think that the city would have just been fancy suburbs with people movers without really thinking that this would have been a full on metropolis that was aiming to embrace the future. Imagine Tokyo City popping up in the middle of Florida, that was what EPCOT the city was going to be.

    and you lament the loss of the other theme parks? The city would probably want to have a zoo, why not make it Animal Kingdom? There would have been plenty of room for a working studio like DHS. and the different pavillions of the EPCOT we know today would probably have still materialized as museums or educational institutions within the city. The Wide World of Sports would have been home to an EPCOT team.

    The biggest criticism about theme parks and WDW in general is that they are manufactured and not real, EPCOT the city would have fixed that. Think about it, not a theme park, not a glorified suburb, a living, breathing city.

  22. HI Jack,
    So glad to see a blog by you- I SO LOOK FORWARD to them and was thrilled to see that you are coming back. We did miss you terribly. NOw in relation to the article- I also agree that I love Disney the way it is today and can’t imagine not coming down and getting away from reality which is what it does for me and I’m sure others. I agree with Angela in that we are visiting Walt’s city in just another version and I am very thankful it is there to help all of us get away from the harsh realities of today and believe in fairytales and magic.
    Looking forward to your next blog
    Bonnie L

  23. I was so happy to see a blog from you! And to read that you’ll be guest blogging more frequently and blogging even more by the end of the year…yay!!
    In regards to Epcot…I’ve always wondered what would have happened had Walt lived longer and which of his dreams would have become reality but I’ve never pondered it too intensely as none of us can really know what ‘Walt would have done’. But I completely agree with you in this blog…I’m glad things ended up as they did:) And I also agree with the ‘other things you’d like to change’…good ideas!

  24. I agree that the property is probably better off without the EPCOT city. However, I mourn the loss of the transportation systems that city was to have incorporated.

    Even after Walt passed and plans for the EPCOT city were scrapped, there were still plans to extend the Monorail out to the Disney Village, and to have a PeopleMover system to move people around the Lake Buena Vista area. Instead we have buses, and traffic, and all those transportation problems that Walt wanted his city not to have.

  25. Jack,
    So glad to see new stuff from you. I enjoy those few moments of anticipation when I’m scouring the blog section and looking under your section for something new.

    I see the entire WDW property as a version of Walt’s envisioned city. It IS a city, in which you have obtained a temporary citizenship in. When I’m in his “city”, the only news that I see is the standby wait time for Soarin. The only politics that I hear come from animatronic men. My home is in a resort decorated with towel bunnies. And, my only job for the day is to see if I can find a particular human size cricket to sign my autograph book.

    Does this qualify as Walt’s city? Not quite sure, but it sure is nice. Duplicate away!

  26. You are so right! Couldn’t have said it better myself.

    Just as an aside, one of my pet peeves of Epcot is the size. Did everything have to spaced out quite so much? Sometimes I might have a fastpass for Soarin’, but, if I’m in one of the countries, more times than not, I think, “forget it.” It’s just too darn far to walk back for one ride. There’s just too much concrete and no shade between Future World attractions. And, years ago, they had signs in the countries that they were adding countries, such as Africa, Israel, etc. And nothing ever materialized. Wonder why–could they not get the countries to agree to staff the shops and provide the merchandise?

    Thanks for a great article!

    Jack’s Answer:

    The reason no other countries have been added since Norway and Morocco is money. Ten years ago the minimum price to build a new pavilion without a film or ride would cost a nation $50 million. In today’s economic climate, very few countries can justify this expense to their citizens.

  27. Hi Jack,

    I totally agree with your comments. EPCOT is our favourite park also. We are making our
    27th trip to Florida next month, we visit for 2 weeks each September and 1 week each March.
    We visited Celebration right from it being built and the residents must be totally bored now by the people who seem to think it is another ‘park’ to go and see. I also think that
    Walt may have changed his mind about an EPCOT
    town had he lived longer. As another blogger said what would happen when you no longer worked for Disney would you have to give up your home ? I always enjoy you blogs Jack – long may you continue. From a Yorkshire UK Allears fan.


  28. Hi Jack,

    This was a very thought provoking article and extremely well written as usual. I’m happy that a city wasn’t built but like many others I wonder what other ideas Walt would’ve come up with if he had lived a little longer.

    I’m very happy to have you back even part time…I look forward to the Contemporary blog.


  29. Jack, good to read another article by you. Like so many others, I agree with you about NOT building the city of Epcot. I also believe that Walt was a listener as well as an innovator. I think after listening to the pros and cons of an Epcot city, he might have changed his mind and gone with what we currently have. Walt’s Disney idea was a park for grown ups and I think a park that would keep those grown ups coming back. It sure does keep ME coming back year after year, and often more than once a year. Again, thanks for your comments and insight. You’re the best!

  30. Hey Jack,

    Excellent article/blog as always & I agree with you 100%. Most of us LOVE WDW the way it turned out & it’s tough to think about not having this vacation haven to visit every year.

    On a side note, I noticed on one of your reply’s that you noted your blog got moved down because you were going to be leaving Allears but now your not & you just haven’t returned full time yet…does that mean that you are returning full time soon & we can expect more excellent blogs on a more regular basis? I know this would make many many fans (including myself) extremely happy. If not we’ll just have to enjoy your guest blogs from time to time.

    Thanks again for an excellent blog!!!

    Jack’s Comment:

    My reasons for leaving AllEars have changed. If all things continue as I hope they will, I will be back blogging full time in mid-October. Until then, I’ll be guest blogging. Stay tuned for my Contemporary blog next week.

  31. I completely agree with your blog regarding EPCOT. Having gone to DisneyWorld since 1972, we’ve seen many things within the World. We went to EPCOT soon after it’s opening, we went to The Studios soon after it’s opening, in fact the parking lot was not yet complete. We also went to Animal Kingdom shortly after it’s opening. In 1989, when we moved to Florida, the World was not in really good shape. We went over many time during our first few years in Florida, we were able to stay at the Polynesian for a great price. We saw all the building during the 90’s. If the original EPCOT had been built, it would have taken away from what is today. During that time, Eisner really moved the company along, but then his time ran out. But, I ramble, again if Walt had been around, I don’t think that EPCOT would have been built to the original, I think that he would have grown with the times, maybe not to the what it is today, but maybe, who knows, better than today.

  32. Hey Jack! Thanks for the great article! I totally agree, Epcot is my favorite park and I can’t imagine it ever being a “city”. Walt was a genius, but I think that idea would not have turned out the way he envisioned.

    I wanted to ask you about a portion of your article. You mentioned that you thought that some things could have been done better. What did you have in mind?

    Jack’s Answer:

    Wow. What a question. Okay, here are a few things I think could have been done better.

    First, I believe that monorails and PeopleMovers should be transporting guests around property, not buses. But the cost of this is prohibitively expensive so I’ll move on to other, more realistic endeavors (if they had been done correctly in the first place).

    The convention center adjoining the Contemporary Resort is a mismatch. Surely the architects could have come up with a more complementary design.

    The Richard Petty Driving Experience should never have been put in the middle of the Magic Kingdom parking lot. I realize it was built before the Sports Complex, but that’s where it belongs. Disney should have found a more out-of-the-way location to begin with. The noise generated by the race cars is very annoying to guests staying at the Poly.

    I’m not happy about Disney adding Grand Floridian DVCs. Seven Seas Lagoon will soon look as crowded as Crescent Lake.

    I have never liked the location of the Swan & Dolphin. I like the hotels, just not the location. They intrude on World Showcase. With all the land that was available, why, oh why did Eisner agree to let U.S. Steel build them where they did?

    Why did the Imagineers place Disney’s Hollywood Studios where they did? They crammed it into a corner, limiting its size. And having two entrances is weird. Also, when leaving the park, there is no direct access onto a freeway as with the other parks. You must sit through traffic signals. Bad planning.

    Somehow they should have fixed the problems of the Fort Wilderness Railroad. Once again, buses are not the solution.

    Because Downtown Disney was built in stages, the parking lot is a nightmare.

  33. Jack,

    I agree with you 100% on your opinions about why the city of EPCOT should not have been built. Living in the city of EPCOT sounds like it would have been wonderful, but more than likely not as magical by any means. Disney has been able to expand Walt’s dream and create a vacation empire for families to enjoy together. In my opinion, this is an example of why it’s good that not all ideas become reality.


  34. I could not agree with you more. I am very selfish with my Disney World. The way that is now is the way that I like it. And you could not be more right in that residents of EPCOT would not want us all walking through their city. The good part of EPCOT would be if I were one of the people that got to live there. But I can only imagine that would have been a very hard thing to get. And then I think about what you say. Would I be saw drawn to Disney World if it was missing all of the things that would have never existed? I doubt it. So I am glad that it went the route that it did! Great article.

  35. Jack,

    I agree with you on this – I much prefer the variety and scope of resorts/parks offered at WDW today rather than one single city having been built. Who knows what the outcome of that would have been? Building once single city would definitely have impacted what we experience today.

    Glad to see you are still blogging!


  36. Jack,

    Insightful as always. I agree with you that EPCOT as originally articulated by Walt himself would not have been in the best interests of Disney, the entertainment and resort destination company, or of the millions of annual guests of Walt Disney World (my family included). I think that the resort as built embodies much of the spirit of the planned community that Walt had in mind but embodies more of the thematic, recreational and entertainment aspects that make Walt Disney World the premier resort destination it is today. I say this except for one notable exception–the buses! That’s the one major aspect of Walt’s original dream, advanced mass transit, that got lost in the translation, in my opinion. Since Disney already knew how to build and run a clean, more efficient mass transit system (the monorails), and since forward-thinking transportation was an important part of the EPCOT dream, the hundreds of buses that transport guests around the resort stand out in sharp contrast to the rest of the resort experience. While I think that ideas like the Utilidors may actually limit future growth potential, the inclusion of a fixed-rail transit system between major areas within the resort would have enhanced, rather than detracted from, the guests’ overall experience. I also think that better pedestrian access options throughout the entire resort(similar to the Boardwalk/EPCOT/Hollywood Studios layout) also would have enhanced the resort experience for many of us. Now I’ll get down from my soap box and close by restating what many others have already said. It would have been wonderful to see what Walt would have done with his grand experiment. However, I think that we, the guests of Walt Disney World, have benefited greatly from what has actually been created out of swamp land in central Florida. Thanks for another thought-provoking as well as informative blog!


    Jack’s Comment:

    I hate the buses at Disney World. Like you, I think Walt’s idea for an advanced mass transit system was lost. Old management (after Roy Disney but before Michael Eisner) did carry on Walt’s dream. After all, they did extend the monorail from the TTC to Epcot. However, Michael Eisner’s team decided not to make this investment with subsequent building spurts.

    About 8 or 9 years ago, the Orlando Sentinel wrote a piece about the monorails and asked why the system had not been expanded. In their article, they quoted the price as $100 million per mile. Part of this cost has to do with Florida’s high water table. Soil samples and water depths need to be taken at every single pylon location. Because of this, the pylons cannot be mass produced.

    Monorails generate no revenue. Eisner and his team decided to invest the company’s money in Disneyland Paris and the Disney Cruise Line.

    So I ask this question, what would you rather have, more Disney theme parks around the world and cruise ships that you can enjoy for a week at a time, or an enhanced monorail system that you might spend an hour total riding during your week-long vacation?

    For me, this is a tough question.

  37. Wow Jack! This was a very thougth provoking blog. The wheels are turning in my brain with images of what could have been. I must say that based on the information you gave, I am glad about the way WDW has turned out as well. I would love to hear a discussion about your opinions in a webcast.

    P.S. Thanks for posting the pictures! I enjoyed seeing them just as much as I enjoyed reading your blog!

    “THE Disney Fanatic”

  38. Hi Jack! I have to admit whenever I heard about the “city” that Walt envisioned, it just sounded a little creepy to me. I’m not sure why but it did. Besides, Epcot is my favorite park and I wouldn’t want it any other way! Can’t wait for the my favorite event there – the wine and food festival this October. Thanks for your strong opinion, I totally agree!

  39. Hey first off, why did you get moved down in the blog entries???
    OK, onto the article… I finished reading it I could not wait to write back. Not to be a “butt-kisser” but I agree with you from top to bottom. Sure who knows what it would have been (the City of Epcot) but how, I mean HOW, could you trade what we have in Disney World for anything???
    It is the reason us self proclaimed “Disney Dorks” flock to the area every year. Myself every year in the hot and beginning of hurricane season month of August. The reason we sometimes make multiple trips during the year to also hit the Food & Wine Festival, or during the holidays, or the Flower & Garden Festival.
    I could go on and on and on, but I will just finish with this……thank you Disney Imagineers, Walt had a great plan, you just tweaked it a little and we love ya for it!

    Jack’s Answer:

    My blogs were moved down because I thought I was going to be leaving AllEars. As it turns out, I will not, but I’m not back contributing full time yet.

  40. another great article i agree like alot of others if EP became a city i’m not sure what kissimee or orlando would look like today

    thank jack

  41. As I understand it, Walt did not even want the Magic Kingdom in Florida. He strictly wanted the city of EPCOT. It was the members of his board that insisted he would need a theme park to draw crowds. So he built it in the northern most part of the property because the entrances would be located at the southern most end and guests would HAVE to go through the city to get to the theme park.

    No offence to Walt, but I like you am glad his vision didn’t pan out. I love the Disney World that we have! I grew up on it. My mom realized she was pregnant with me while at Disney World. I took my first vacations there. I shared trips with friends and family. I worked as a Cast Member through the college program. I got to take my husband on his first trip when we were dating. Last year we spent our honeymoon there. And next year we will be taking our first family trip with EVERYONE since 1994. I don’t think this would all be so if we had Walt’s EPCOT. But it all worked out perfectly!

  42. Hey Jack, i have a few things to comment on. Yes you are right that the other parks would not have been built if the city of EPCOT was built. But do you believe that EPCOT was to be a tourist location? I for do not. I think Walt’s idea was bigger. Sure, people would go through it and see it. Just like you said. However, that is exactly (in my opinion) what he wanted. He wanted the world to see “this” is what the future is. And from that to inspire others to build towards the “future” whatever that may have been. And so the idea was a “domino” effect so that America would have continued to evolve into “the future”. And I believe that was the goal of EPCOT. To advance society past what it is today. Imagine if it caught on, we would probably all have flying cars right now and be living like “The jetsons”. But of course, this is just my opinion and I do believe that EPCOT would have done that. Not only for the USA but for the world too.

    Jack’s Comment:

    EPCOT was NOT intended to be a tourist destination. I never meant to indicate otherwise. It was meant to be a showcase. The Magic Kingdom was intentionally placed where it was so people would be required to travel though EPCOT on their way to the park — and like you said, be inspired. However, I’m not as optimistic as you when it comes to the innovation EPCOT would have brought to other cities.

  43. I had never really thought of the EPCOT project in this mindset before; and I have to say I absolutely agree! My family and I have been to Disney many times and still feel that we haven’t seen it all. That’s part of the excitement…to have a place to go back to in which you are familiar with, but still see something new w/in that trip. That is absolutely why people come back year after year! IF EPCOT had been built as a community, I would have seen all there was to see at Disney years ago and would never have thought to go back. Somehow the magic would have been lost. Perhaps Walt would have realized that and scraped the idea if he hadn’t died; maybe he would have built the town. Who knows….but all I know is that I’m happy Disney is the way it is! It’s quite simply, the most magical place on earth!

  44. Great article about Walt’s EPCOT dream. I thought you made good arguments for the reason why not, while acknowledging the opposing view. I would perhaps compare Walt’s vision for EPCOT to the early exhibits at Epcot’s Living Seas and Wonders of Life (from what I remember)… retro and nice to have experienced (gets me a bit nostalgic), but probably for the best to (be able to) evolve.

  45. Instead of a city called EPCOT being built, did they not build Celebration instead? To me this was a great failure, abandoned by Disney. Comment please. Thank you.

    Jack’s Comment:

    Celebration was never intended to be a substitute for EPCOT. From the very beginning, Disney had promised to develop their land in both Orange and Osceola Counties, thus helping each county’s tax base. However, before Celebration, Disney had built almost nothing in Osceola. Most of the Osceola land was south of Interstate 4 and Disney felt it was too far away from their other attractions to be suitable for anything “tourist” oriented. They believed building a town would accomplish two things. It would help appease the Osceola County elected officials and it would bring revenue to the Company. Disney always intended to divest itself of the project once a certain percentage of the homes were sold — which they did.

    There were a number of lawsuits filed against Disney from the residents of Celebration. I will not get into the merits of these lawsuits, but it does illustrate what can happen when a company tries to manage a town.

  46. Hey Jack! As most everyone else has said, I agree with you completely. No doubt, Walt would have made Epcot an absolute success. Unfortunately, it would have required him to live forever. No one would have been able to carry the vision out even if he had lived to see it built and opened.

  47. Wonderful article! I have to agree with you – especially when you say that who knows if it had been built, how it would have even turned out. Anyone who has read books about Walt and his life (I have a small bookcase full, haha!) knows that his ideas were, just as you say, always changing. Again, great article! Thanks for it!

  48. I can’t agree with you more. Especially after you gave your reasonswhy it shouldn’t have been built. Kind-of reminds me (the way you described it) as thefuture world in Meet The Robinsons.Looks cool the first time, but gets old after awhile! Great Blog!

  49. Jack,another great article, and one that I agree with 100 percent! EPCOT is our favorite park, and the park we end up at most evenings after spending partial days in the other parks. We are DVC members, and visit multiple times per year, and if EPCOT were just a city, I could not see going there more than once. My opinion is that had Walt lived, he would have tweaked the EPCOT idea many times before it actually happened, and I don’t think a true ‘city’ would have been the result. He was a true visionary, but I think the reality of a city would not have happened.

    Keep the great articles coming!!

  50. Looks like most people agree and I do too. I am also selfishly glad that we got more of “The wonders of Disney” instead of a city. This is what makes Disney World superior in my mind. The opertunity and room to grow and be more creative. A community would have absorbed all the space and left us with a small tightly packed park just like California.

  51. Hi Jack – I enjoyed reading this article in the All Ears newsletter this week. I think all of your thoughts are spot on – while it’s sad that we’ll never know exactly what Walt would have done with his Florida Project, the Walt Disney World that exists today is hugely successful – and it makes millions of people (me included!) very happy.

    In a way, WDW as a whole is a living city – it has a transportation network, fire department, security, it’s created 50,000+ jobs – and with Celebration, and soon Golden Oak too, a place for people to live.

    Thank you for a great article 🙂

    Jack’s Comment: Just to set the record straight, there are currently over 65,000 employees at WDW.

  52. I agree 100% WDW is better of without EPCOT as a city. I love WDW as it is and yes, I do make my pilgrimage as often as I can. Another great blog Jack, hopefully I’ll make it back over to WDW next summer and enjoy Epcot as a park.

    Thanks again, Jack

  53. Excellent thought provoking article. I too have wondered ‘what if’ but I suspect that you are correct in every way. My entire family have been on pilgrimage to WDW on most years since 2000. We are coming again this year on our 10th trip and we stay for two weeks. Last year we went to DL, and you are right…3 days and then you look for Universal or Long Beach or Griffith Park and then down to San Diego for the other week. One thing we do always do id go to Celebration every year for s troll around and daydreams of what could be if only we had enough cash to retire now. EPCOT is my favourite and always will be but Animal Kingdom is close second. All the Best for Yorkshire UK.

  54. Well, Jack, if this is retirement, you should have done it sooner! I love all your blogs, but you’ve surpassed yourself here.

    Whenever I’ve thought about this subject in the past, it’s always been with a pang of sorrow; that somehow the corporate face of the company had been disrespectful to Walt’s memory and that more should have been done to complete his vision for Central Florida. Never, though, have I gone beyond those initial musings and considered the consequences.

    Every last one of your observations is spot on. This was Walt’s passion and vision and not one shared by other key players. In the 10 years between land acquisition and ground-breaking, it’s inconceivable that Walt’s original plans would not have evolved considerably and could even have become unrecognisable. He might have encountered too many obstacles and been forced to scrap the idea altogether. Had the executive chosen to honour Walt’s memory by forging ahead, the plans would have been so outdated by the time of their inception, they’d have needed major modification anyway and so would no longer have truly represented his vision (because who could know what that would have become in the ensuing years?)

    How different my vacationing patterns would have turned out. Why has it never occurred to me to consider that before? Not only would WDW not exist as we know it, but the entire infrastructure that has grown up around it would be irreconcilable with what we see today. And we haven’t even touched on the economic impact of what has become Central Florida. The entire area owes a big debt of gratitude to the company for abandoning Walt’s dream.

    So, thanks for putting this firmly in perspective for me, Jack. No longer do I need to feel rueful around this subject. A heavy weight has been lifted from my shoulders!

  55. Just this past week I was watching Modern Marvels: Walt Disney World, and wondering how Walt would have felt about WDW not being as he envisioned. I felt a pang for the loss of this vision and wished that it was something I could have seen. But as I thought about it over several days I began to question it and coincidentally comes this article. Jack article addresses several things I was starting to question and has made some valid points.

    I honestly don’t know what my life would be like without my DVC membership and bi-annual vacations to WDW. It is intriguing to imagine how it would have developed and matured under Walt’s supervision, but would it have been the resort I love so much? Although this is a question we’ll never have answered, I can say that my love, appreciation and slight obsession (okay, full obsession) with this resort is as much a part of my life as anything else is. Would we have had the Tower of Terror? Expedition Everest? Rock ‘n Roller Coaster? Who knows. But selfishly, I will take these any day over industrial and apartment high rises.

    Walt Disney World is a place that serves millions, rather than just a select few. A place open to anyone who wishes to take part in the magic. It is an idealized home where the grass is greener and the roads are immaculate and well planned, and you do feel the difference (or at least I do) when you cross that line between Kissimmee and WDW. I relax and smile a little more readily.

    So in many ways I do believe that Walt’s vision was realized. It can be a utopia for many and it can be an example to other communities on how to manage and maintain properties. And although what we don’t know may not hurt us, I sure am glad I don’t have to do without Test Track!!

  56. Personally, I think Epcot: the city, was a grand idea…on paper. Would it have worked in the real world? Well, let’s see…has anyone else even tried??? Walt had a great vision and his ideas/plans were always ahead of the times. Let’s admit it…most of us assumed we’d be living amongst stars, be wearing the same shiney silver jumpsuits or at least have flying cars by now.

    My mother lives in a “little” place called The Villages, FL and part of me likes to think of it as an experimental prototype community (of the Present). A retirement community with it’s own town square, pools, shopping, dining, leisure activities and transpiration (golf carts). 😉 It may not be futuristic looking but, I thinks it’s concept is a bit like what Walt dreamed of.

    I have to agree with Jack. Epcot added value to WDW in more than one way and without it, the World would not be the same.

    Great blog as always, Jack! Thanks for all your hard work.

  57. You really took the time to be specific about your “why” with some very strong points that make so much sense. No Hollywood Studio’s, No AK etc.

    Sometimes your read blogs that seem to “verbally vomit” on the reader and I so appreciate how you break it down with the juicy bites that are easy to ingest. Wether you agree with it or not you make a great case and I think you are spot on.

  58. Great article. Believe me when I tell you that I have thought long and hard about this. So much so that I am releasing a book called Walt and the Promise of Progress City in the fall that is all about this question.

    Walt Disney’s vision for a city of tomorrow, EPCOT, would be a way for American corporations to show how technology, creative thinking, and hard work could change the world. He saw this project as a way to influence the public’s expectations about city life, in the same way his earlier work had redefined what it meant to watch an animated film or visit an amusement park.

    Samland’s Disney Adventures/MiceChat

  59. I agree with Chad. The loss is not that Walt’s Epcot, as envisioned at his death, did not get built, but that Walt did not have a chance to evolve the plan into something that did get built.

    One challenge I think Epcot faced (and still faces, in a different fashion) is that the rate of change from progress accelerated so fast by the end of the 60s that the carousel of progress would have spun you at 10 Gs just to keep up. Early on, Walt could take a bit of time and still be ahead of the curve when he made Disneyland and evolved it through the first 10 years. How Walt would have reacted to the speed up of innovation is something we’ll never know, but I bet he would have found a way to get ahead of it rather than surrendering like the “future that never was” tomorrow land or the looks-like-best-buy innoventions…

  60. Hi Jack! I agree with your blog 100%!!! I also have to say, it was one of my favorites. I am soooo happy the city of Epcot was never built. If it had, Disney wouldn’t be what it is today.
    WDW is my most favorite place in the world, and if the city of Epcot had been built, the charm and magic that Disney offers would have been lacking somehow. I have visited more than 26 times and I still haven’t done and seen everything (although, I’m getting close).
    I love how Disney as a whole has so much to offer. Every time I visit, I experience something new. You have taught me to take the time to smell the roses. When I visited back in early July, my husband and I took an afternoon to explore Old Key West, simply because we had never been there. We discovered Olivia’s and found that we couldn’t wait to stay at the resort in the future.
    I just wish one of the parks would have a character meet and greet with Robin Hood. I sure miss that fox…

  61. Great Blog Jack,

    I could go on and on about my very mixed feelings about this subject, but over all, I agree with all of your feelings and points.

    I really don’t think that Walt was as concerned with bottom line profits as the Walt Disney Company and its board of directors are today. I really believe that Walt’s mind was somewhere else completely. With all of his ventures he tended to fly by the seat of his pants, on the edge of bankruptcy. I feel so bad for his brother Roy. That man must have had a lot of sleepless nights.

    As you said, Walt had a “been there, done that” attitude about theme parks. If I’m not mistaken, Magic Kingdom was sort of a concession that Walt made to placate the politicians here in Florida, and the corporate types.

    The property would indeed look entirely different than it does today, had Walt lived and pressed onward with EPCOT. EPCOT would really be dedicated to an urban test ground more than a tourist destination. I really feel that Walt wanted to open up possibilities for innovation in urban design, including a more “green” environment. I could be wrong, but I really feel that in the venture of EPCOT, Walt was counting more on the visits of corporate types, that would feed progress and innovation, more than visiting tourists. I really believe that “tourist” was just something that Walt threw in to entice the financial powers that be to go along with his ultimate dream.

    All that said, I sure am glad that Walt Disney World turned out the way it has so far. I love Epcot the theme park, and my only real criticism would be Innoventions. It just doesn’t seem to capture the future of technology the way it did shortly after opening. I saw my first high definition TV, first DVD player, only 3-D lenticular TV (which require no glasses) and other burgeoning technology. I just don’t feel that way about Innoventions anymore.

    Other than adding a couple of new national showcases in World Showcase, if I had input in decision-making, I would concentrate more on Innoventions, keeping it more focused on things we can expect soon in improving technologies for an improved quality of life.

  62. While it’s too bad that we won’t ever see what might have been, I have to agree. I also think that even Walt probably wouldn’t have built what we read about. As you said, his ideas were constantly evolving and by the time it was operating, EPCOT might have been somewhere between his original ideas and what we see now.

  63. I tend to agree that Walt Disney World would probably be a very different place had Epcot been a city instead of a theme park – although it may have been an intriguing place to live for those who “fit the mold” (like Celebration), it may have had a drastic impact on the WDW that we all know and love today. Frankly, even though it all started with Walt’s dreams, I think it’s great that the vision has since branched out to explore the imaginations of many because a lot of other great things like you’ve described have come from it.

  64. Very interesting ideas, Jack! I guess I would have to agree with you that I love all of WDW and that it just wouldn’t be the same with only the Magic Kingdom.

    I am curious though, if the requirement to live at EPCOT would have been to work there, I wonder what would happen if you reached retirement age, acquired a disability that prevented you from working, or just wanted to work somewhere else? Would you have to move out?

    Thanks for the great article.

  65. I also am glad EPCOT city was not built, because I believe it would have been a failure. We can not force people to live in the same houses and in the same neighborhoods. What happens when you quit your job with Disney? How long do you have to move out. The craziest part is that Walt wanted a dome over the place in order to control the weather. That sounds nice when it is 34 degrees in January, but I see problems with an environment with no wind, no rain, and no ultra violet light.

  66. I agree with Jack, that as wonderful as the city of Epcot would have been, I love Walt Disney World as it is today (and as it will be tomorrow). As wonderful as the Walt Disney vision of Epcot would have been, no community would ever be able to replicate what Walt would have accomplished. The body politic does not have this type of longevity or vision, so replication was very unlikely. And although there is a certain lack of magic and imagination in today’s Disney Executive Suites, this too shall pass and I have no doubt that the excellence in execution which emulated Walt after his passing will appear again. No city of tomorrow would have had the impact that Walt Disney World has had on millions, and will have, for many generations to come.

  67. Thanks for the great article! Very thought-provoking, but I think you’re right on with your assessment of what might have been. Certainly we’ll never know, but it seems likely, as you suggest, that the city concept might never have happened even if Walt had lived due to his penchant for constantly tweaking and improving his ideas. Anyway, I couldn’t agree more with your conclusion. Epcot is a great theme park and completely unique; something that a city, even with Walt’s imagination powering it, could never be. It adds immensely to the appeal of WDW.

  68. I enjoyed your article about what EPCOT was originally envisioned to be. I guess my response is I want my cake and want to eat it to. As a theme park EPCOT is my favorite and while I might do this or that different I love it overall. I’m still not happy about taking out Horizons and wish they would add a world or two to the showcase but overall its great.As for the City I would like to see that done. This may be off topic but as cities evolve they alway start off small and expand beyond the original vision so that your left with a less than ideal city because it was never planned to be as big as it evolved to be. I would have loved to have seen what Walt would have came up with.

  69. I have to agree, the idea was wonderful and really future thinking at the time, but the one thing that really stand out, the requirement that all residents would have to work there, that could be really limiting. I know that when Reston, VA was being built, the idea was the same, people would live and work there, same thing with Crystal City, VA. Reston is now a vibrant community, people do live and work there, but the work part came much later than the live part. Now there are shops and restaurants, medical offices, businesses, etc.. but a whole lot of people living there commute to DC, Maryland and other areas of Northern VA. I never really gave it any thought when the city part was shelved and the theme park took over. But you are correct, the theme parks are certainly the draw, people would probably not visit the Magic Kingdom year after year after year, if that was all there was. Walt Disney did have great ideas, I doubt that he would dislike what became of his dream. Thank you for the great insight and thoughts.