Podcast Episode 4 – One Little Spark

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Welcome to Episode 4 of the Retro Disney World Podcast. We appreciate your support and hope you have been enjoying each and every episode. Be sure to check out some of the previous shows along with our latest. Thanks for listening!


The regular crew is all here, Todd, Brian, How & JT are all present and accounted for. We discuss the original Fort Wilderness sign whereabouts and also a little Fort Wilderness Railroad trivia is brought up thanks to some viewer mail. We also speak of a eBay auction of an original Resort Wall Map from the 70s and then How analyzes the monorail loading zone at the Contemporary along with the missing elevator.

Main Topic

Our main topic this month is the conception, history and early years of EPCOT Center.

We look into the original vision of how it wasn’t really thought to be a theme park and that Walt wanted this to be the community of tomorrow.  Brian and the gang also discuss the 1966 film Walt made to promote the concept and also get people excited about what was going to happen in Florida.

How talks about the original EPCOT Center mailer that was sent to him prior to park opening and we also touch on the Magic Kingdom Club.  This episode is loaded with tons of early EPCOT facts and ideas, some failed concepts and missing characters – Be sure to listen to this episode carefully, as you may miss all the great information Brian shares with us.   

Audio Puzzler

Congratulations to William Winikus for winning the Episode #3 Audio Puzzler, the answer was the Magnetic Mystery Mine on Tom Sawyer Island. William wins the “brand new” bar of retro Contemporary Resort Soap. If you think you know the answer to the audio puzzler this month, email us! podcast@retrowdw.com – There is an opportunity to win one of TWO retro EPCOT souvenirs with this months episode.  All correct answers will be entered into a drawing in December 2015 for a Paul Hartley reproduction map from wdwmap.com!!

Viewer Mail

We received a great email from Jim, who is a current cast member at Walt Disney World. Jim gave us some great feedback and also mentioned how he uses the podcast to motivate him with his job at the Magic Kingdom, in Tomorrowland.  We always love hearing positive emails and comments on how you listen to the show or what it does for you – Send your questions to podcast@retrowdw.com

Film Restoration

We watch and discuss a retro film that has been restored with Pixcel and Imageworks. Follow along with us as we add color commentary to the October 14th, 1982 EPCOT Center Film that has been restored to glorious perfection.

Listener Memories

Keep the calls coming, sharing your memories and giving us feedback. If you would like to call and leave us a message, please dial 978-71-RETRO.

Tweet at us, send us a Facebook post or message, tag us on Instagram or send us your thoughts.

We hope you have enjoyed this episode! If you have any questions, suggestions or find errors please email us podcast@retrowdw.com.

Next Month

Be sure to check back with us very soon for Episode #5 – We discuss World of Motion and learn how it’s always fun to be free.

Until next time… “Please remain seated. Your time machine vehicle is rotating for your trip back to Earth.”

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February 24, 2015 3:44 pm

Links to some of the source material I referenced in the show:

1) Michael Crawford’s Progress City USA articles on EPCOT’s variations in the concept stage is here:



2) The book “The Florida Project” is not actually called that. It’s called “Project: Future” dealing with the land acquisition and legislative approvals for the development of the Florida property is here: http://www.amazon.com/Project-Future-Inside-Behind-Creation/dp/0615347770/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1424792557&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Florida+Project

3) “Building A Better Mouse”, an EXCELLENT book detailing the construction of the American Adventure pavilion specifically and EPCOT in general is here: http://www.amazon.com/Building-Better-Mouse-30th-Anniversary/dp/1479379476/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1424792611&sr=8-1&keywords=Building+a+better+Mouse

February 27, 2015 8:42 pm

Great episode!

And nice work restoring the EPCOT film. It’s so great to have a resource like RetroWDW to help squelch the pangs of nostalgia.

March 1, 2015 7:09 pm

Didn’t “Project: Future” call out that Anheuser Busch story as not the total truth? I saw an article that also covered it at: http://www.disneyhistoryinstitute.com/2013/04/walt-disney-and-riverfront-square-part-6.html

Richard Amling
March 3, 2015 1:55 pm

Really enjoyed the info about Epcot and had not heard the info about Reagan’s inaugural parade. Video is great. The pictures of Nancy Reagan are great. She looks totally exasperated to be part of it. President Reagan looks to be loving it.

B.J. Major
June 25, 2015 7:09 pm

Listened to this episode today (I’m listing to all the back/past episodes). With the “EPCOT film” being present in its entirety on the Walt Disney Treasures’ “Tomorrowland” DVD set, I’m not sure why you thought you had to restore it. That DVD set which I own is pristine, not faded out at all, and much improved over any YouTube clips or other excerpts that have existed of it in the past. Something that DESPERATELY needs restoring, though, is “The Magic of Walt Disney World” (1972) which is the best documentary on the place that the company ever released, bar none.… Read more »

B.J. Major
June 25, 2015 8:08 pm

P.S. The giant-head characters used in World Showcase when EPCOT center opened were indeed the “America on Parade” dolls repurposed and originally used in the 1976-77 Bicentennial parade in the Magic Kingdom (and Disneyland). There is a hard cover “America on Parade” book by David Jacobs, published by Abrams – and a shorter soft cover one published by Disney – which show all those giant-head characters in their original parade costumes.

April 24, 2019 11:10 am

I was lucky enough to visit Epcot Center a month or so before it opened to the public. A friends mom working at Disney and was able to get her son and I into the park. It was more for testing and all food was half price, at least what was open. I was only 15 at the time so my memory is pretty sketchy for most of that day but some of things I do remember; Seeing Spaceship Earth for the first time was an awesome experience. We had no idea what it was but it was so cool.… Read more »

July 2, 2019 8:30 am

I really love the podcast and have been binge listening! My first visit to WDW was in ’73 with the family and we went fairly regularly each summer (we are from NY). I was quite fanatical about the parks back then and have several cassette tapes of sound I recorded around the park (everyone thought I was such a weirdo – this kid walking around with my Panasonic mono tape recorder and recording my observations and sounds of the park – lots of pics but video cameras weren’t around yet and 8mm film was expensive!). At any rate, I have… Read more »

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