The first decade of EPCOT Center’s life was the only time its purpose and vision were clear and understandable. From its 1982 opening until its first major overhaul in the mid 1990’s EPCOT envisioned itself as an entertaining and informative place to learn about the world and its many cultures and possible solutions to global problems shared by humanity.
The EPCOT Outreach and Teacher’s Center was one feature that emphasized this – where educators were encouraged to enter a private area and review materials and ideas for integrating EPCOT’s many pavilions and offerings into their lesson plans. Pavilion sponsors produced materials teachers could take with them related to energy, transportation, etc. This worked well for the sponsors, who were promoting education and for the teachers who received new materials to engage their students.
Disney also actively marketed seminars and learning programs to students and adults during this period, predating the Disney Institute by a dozen years. A brochure recently acquired by the Lake Buena Vista Historical Society outlines several 1985 offerings.
First, the “Wonders of Walt Disney World” program was available to youngsters between the ages of 10 and 15 promising a “first hand look at the technical, creative and natural wonders that abound in this very magical kingdom of fun”. Theme park admission was NOT required for the child programs and a lunch break was included. The options were:
- Exploring Nature: A True Life Adventure (Conducted on Discovery Island)
- The Walt Disney World of Entertainment (Focused on live entertainment production)
- Disney Creative Arts (drawing, sign, character and performing arts; backstage at MK & EPCOT, This one included a free Kodamatic camera to take instant photos to show your classmates how you interpret the art you saw)
- The Energy That Runs Our World (A look at how WDW produced and uses energy including the Land and Energy pavilions, WEDway peoplemover, Carousel of Progress and monorail).
For adults 16 and older the “Disney Learning Adventure” was offered. Theme park admission was required.
- Capturing The Magic! (three hour Kodak sponsored photography study tour that starts in a classroom and then to the Magic Kingdom to take photos. Includes 108 page pocket guide)
- Hidden Treasures of World Showcase (3.5 hour tour of the art, architecture, costumes culture and entertainment in World Showcase)
- Gardens of the World (3.5 hour tour studying the plants of World Showcase with expert gardening tips)
Kodak sponsored all of the “Wonders” tours for kids and the “Capturing The Magic!” tour for adults. As you can see many of them resemble tours offered in later incarnations under the present day guided tour program, especially the adult tours. If you participated in one of these tours (and if you have your Instamatic photos!) we’d love to hear from you.
The full resolution scans of both the Teachers Center and Adventure Learning brochures can be found in our Guidebooks & Pamphlets gallery.