Science At Your Feet

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When you rush through EPCOT’s Future World early in the morning, part of that mad dash toward the standby line at Soarin’, do you ever notice the big circle on the ground?

Most of us don’t see it; we’re all so focused on getting to our next attraction, the next thrill ride, that we totally miss some pretty interesting stuff Disney’s Imagineers have built into the theme parks.

That’s it in the picture below, right in the middle of that big, open concourse.

Ring of Discoveries

That big circle is one of the things that most people walk right over without seeing, but for the few who stop and look, it’s pretty interesting. That odd piece of architecture is a history of scientific discoveries . . . arranged in a series of concentric circles. It’s a round timeline.

At the center are a few quotations from some well known scientists.




Stones marking the most significant discoveries are arranged all around the circle; the oldest discoveries are closest to the center and the most recent are at the outer edge.

Here are a few examples from the Prehistoric Era:

Prehistoric Era Stone Tools

Prehistoric Era Fire

Prehistoric Era Wheel

That first ring, the Prehistoric Era covers a span of about 2 million years, discoveries were slow to develop back at the dawn of civilization. But things accelerated as the centuries passed. By the time of the Renaissance humanity was making great strides. Here are some samples from the Renaissance Period:

Renaissance Period Astronomical Telescope

Renaissance Period Scientific Method

There was another dramatic increase in the rate of change during the period historians refer to as The Industrial Revolution. There were lots of discoveries during the Industrial Revolution:

Industrial Revolution Steam Engine

Industrial Revolution Electric Generator

Industrial Revolution Genetics

Industrial Revolution Electric Light

Industrial Revolution Radio Waves

And the rate at which important discoveries were made increased even more in the 20th Century:

20th Century Quantum Theory

20th Century Airplane

20th Century Television

20th Century Computer

20th Century Nuclear Reactor

20th Century DNA

20th Century World Wide Web

So, the next time you’re rushing off to Soarin’ be sure to take a quick look down to see where that big ring of concentric circles is.

Then once you’ve enjoyed your ride stroll back to that concourse and have a closer look at the visual treat the Imagineers put there for you to enjoy!

Gary hails from Canada and he’s a lifelong Disney fan. In the 1950s he watched the original Mickey Mouse Club and The Wonderful World of Disney on a snowy old black-and-white television. Gary was mesmerized by the Disneyland that Walt introduced to the world during those Sunday night shows! In 1977 he took his young family to Walt Disney World for the first time and suddenly that Disney magic he experienced as a child was rekindled. Since then Gary and his wife Carol have enjoyed about 70 trips to Walt Disney World, 11 trips to Disneyland and 11 Disney Cruises.

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4 Replies to “Science At Your Feet”

  1. This is one of the ‘small’ things I am familiar with. Its very interesting, and a great visitor-friendly way to display the periods of time.

    Its quite fascinating when there were ‘booms’ geographically of great scientific moments.

    Thanks for another great blog Gary!
    All the best

  2. Hi Gary –

    As much as I tell people to “smell the roses,” I don’t always follow my own advice. We only go to WDW once every 2-3 years, so I tend to race thru, despite my best efforts to slow and absorb the details. I find I see the most details at The Studios, especially the architecture and city details. I enjoy your “detail blogs” they give me something to try and store in my head to look for in the future! Merry Christmas to you and the family!

    – Jeff

  3. Hi Gary,
    Do you remember Jack Spence, a former blogger? Jack always said to stop and smell the roses or stop and look which is what you have done.

    I have seen this spot but thought it had something to do with water fountains that they would use when it was really hot outside. Little streams of mist as you passed.
    Now next time I visit I will check it out because I love History and trivia.

    Thanks Gary for opening my eyes.

    [Gary writes: Yes Cathy, I sure do remember Jack Spence. I miss his insightful blogs and I know that many others do as well.]

  4. Hi Gary,

    You provide great blogs. I love the little bits Disney throws in. Speaking of little seen things, does Disney World have their own army of semi-feral cats to minimize the rodents scampering about like the do at the Disneyland Resort in California? I’ve seen a couple when I’ve gone there.

    Looking forward to your next AllEars blog as well as your next RV trip blog with the hairballs.


    [Gary writes: Thanks Doug. I have heard of the Disneyland cats but never seen them. As for Walt Disney World, I’ve never heard even a suggestion of working cats. I suspect that the property is just far too large and underdeveloped to be policed by cats.]