Today marks the 30th Anniversary of the opening of Epcot Center at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. To know me is to know that I have a soft spot in my heart for all things Pixie Dust and today I’m sharing just a few pictures of my time at The Universe of Energy in 1986. Just barely open four years, the World Showcase was fast becoming an wonderful addition to Disney Parks offering something entirely different than what you could find any amusement park around the world, literally.
I was blessed to be chosen to participate in the Walt Disney World College Program and assigned to The Universe of Energy as an attractions hostess. I had only visited Magic Kingdom once prior and with Epcot Center not open at the time, I had no idea what to expect.
Orientation was fascinating, touring behind the scenes throughout the park, learning all about the innerworkings of our attraction. I was not big on the reality that I’d spend five months wearing orange polyester and low heels, earrings no larger than a post and minimal additional jewelry, hair neatly combed and makeup understated. A Theater Major Wannabe…I did understand that as a Cast Member you are performing every day so in essence, that snappy orange polyester was simply my costume.
I spent my days greeting and directing guests at different points around the attraction. For those who remember, the Michael Jackson Inspired Film Captain EO was to debut that spring but was delayed. I can’t remember a single day of those five months that didn’t include spending time with international visitors, often Japanese, who had planned to come to Epcot Center for that very reason. Talk about customer service bootcamp! Because Epcot was rooted in innovations, there were all kinds of surprises such as Gyro, a robot that was actually controlled by a cast member who would interact with and respond to guests through conversation.
The World Showcase opened with just a handful of countries. This is a shot of the American Adventure across the lagoon in 1986…
Compared to today as World Showcase is comprised of 11 countries and counting…
While our shifts and park hours varied, my favorite time of day at Epcot Center was always evening. After the guests had gone home and we had closed the pavilions, we made our way out of the park as well. That walk was magical, making it clear that I was truly in an amazing and oh so special place. The exit theme music filling the quiet night air, the lights of every attraction shining brightly and those beautiful pathways gently escorting us to Cast Services where we would trade our uniforms for flip flops and the typical college student gear. There is nothing more magical than the moonlit magic of those nights where I swear it seemed like if I tried hard enough, I could actually reach out and touch Pixie Dust. I will always remember them with joy.
Happy 30th Birthday Epcot Center! You remain a treasured friend in my heart, having played such a huge role in shaping my view of what truly makes a business second to none. Thank you for the memories not only that I hold dear but for those that I now share with my own family who could not enjoy you more. Ask each one…they will tell you World Showcase is the bomb, Soaring is out of the world, and Illuminations is by far the coolest laser light show in the world. Tell me…
What is your favorite memory at Epcot Center?
Thanks so much for stopping by ~ we’ll see you next time!
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