EPCOT Center opened to the public on this first day of October in 1982. Thirty three years later the park’s original “permanent World’s Fair” theme has suffered a bad case of mission creep. But for RetroDisneyWorld fans the chance to step into EPCOT’s first decade is one we relish. Just such an opportunity presented itself to us when we acquired a ¾” videotape (commercially known as U-Matic) containing footage of EPCOT Center’s World Showcase. U-Matic tapes are larger than VHS (which was 1/2” tape) and were the standard video used in commercial broadcast television stations until they gave way to digital media.
This particular U-Matic tape was issued by Walt Disney World for use by the media as “B-Roll” footage. B-Roll is the footage that is used during voiceovers to illustrate a story. Picture the newscaster saying “Ticket prices will be rising next week at EPCOT Center” while footage of people entering the park under Spaceship Earth plays on the screen.
Today we share the “General” footage including aerial shots of the whole park, terrific footage of the original parking lot entrance signage, people pulling into parking spaces, waiting for the tram (check out the original EPCOT color scheme on the trams!) while monorail lime passes overhead.
People pass through the turnstiles (while you hear the original entrance soundtrack). Footage of Laserphonic Fantasy set the stage for a ride on the Friendships of World Showcase Lagoon. A double-decker jitney meanders around World Showcase before the Mickey Express brings the characters on stage. And for you character hunters don’t miss the footage of country-specific characters like Canadian Mountie Mickey and German Goofy!
The EPCOT Center World Dancers take the stage to entertain you and the video closes out with Future World’s band playing swing music. This footage was shot between 1985 and 1987 and includes ambient sound. While the ability to restore videotape is limited we really like how this turned out. Some of this footage was used in EPCOT souvenir travel videos of the 80s and early 90s but we’re betting a lot of it will be footage you’ve never seen before (and never seen this clear). We’ll be releasing more footage from the individual pavilions in the coming weeks.
Stay tuned and Happy Birthday EPCOT Center!
EPCOT Center B-Roll Restoration Series
- Part 1 – General EPCOT Center, Spaceship Earth and Innoventions
- Part 2 – Living Seas, The Land, Journey into Imagination
- Part 3 – Universe of Energy, Wonders of Life, Horizons, World of Motion