Chronology


// 1900s

1901 / December 5 - Walt Disney born in Chicago, Illinois.

// 1950s

1952 / December - Walt founds WED (Walter Elias Disney) Enterprises to carry out the planning for and building of Disneyland.

1955 / July 17 - Disneyland opens in Anaheim on live TV.

1957 / February - An MIT-designed Monsanto House of the Future rises in Tomorrowland, showing Walt Disney's interest in using his park to influence real-world architecture.

// 1960s

1963 / November - Walt and a chosen group of confidants scout a tract of central Florida swampland called the Reedy Creek Basin.

1964 / April 22 - The New York World's Fair opens with four Disney attractions including the Carousel Of Progress.

1964 / August - Anonymous buyers snap up land around Orlando, Florida. Walt Disney has spent an estimated $5 million to acquire 27,400 acres.

1965 / Walt Disney completes purchase of forty-three square miles of Florida property. He wants to build a model city there - a utopia eventually called E.P.C.O.T 

1965 / October - The Orlando Sentinel identifies Walt Disney as the mystery buyer of Florida land. In a secret office at WED, Disney's team is working on Project X for Florida - Walt Disney's new city.

1965 / On November 15, 1965 takes place the inaugural press conference of Walt Disney's "Florida Project" at the Cherry Plaza Hotel in Downtown Orlando. Walt Disney, Roy Disney and Florida governor Haydon Burns speaks to the international press about the future plans of Walt Disney Productions.


1966 / December 15 - Walt Disney dies at the age of 65. Suffering from wide-spread lung cancer, and having already endured surgery to remove one lung, Walt Disney quietly died of acute circulatory collapse early in the morning of this day. His last visitor to his room at St. Joseph's Hospital in Burbank was his brother Roy. The two discussed plans for Walt's last project which would later become Florida's Walt Disney World. The fact that Walt was actually dying was kept from him, but all-too-well known to his brother, and his wife and children. Roy say to it that all the lights in the Disney studio, across the street and visible from the window of Walt's hospital room, were kept on at all times to comfort his dying brother. When the news of Walt's death reached Disneyland in Anahiem, consideration was given to closing the park for the day, but instead it was kept open (as Walt would have wanted), but the flags on Main Street USA were lowered to half-mast. Within 24 hours, Walt was cremated and interred in an underground vault at Forest Lawn in Glendale, with a very private service attended only by immediate family.

1967 / Tomorrowland at Disneyland is redesigned as a city centered on a Spaceport transit hub. Some of the ideas from Project X are reflected in Spaceport. The Carousel of Progress, imported from 1964 New York World Fair, features a last act with the full scale E.P.C.O.T model.

1967 
February 2 - Roy Disney outlines his late brother's plans to build the world's first futuristic metropolis, or E.P.C.O.T. The city is previewed in a model exhibited inside the Carousel of Progress attraction, which has been moved from New York to Disneyland.  Eventually, the working city will disappear from the plan. E.P.C.O.T becomes a kind of permanent World's Fair instead.

1967 
Summer - Groundbreaking for the new Disney theme park in Florida and the Disney-built hotels around it.

// 1970s

1971 / October 1 - New park opens in Florida. The complex is christened Walt Disney World. On opening day, there is a single theme park on the grounds, a "Disneyland East" called the Magic Kingdom.

1973-74 / WED Enterprises executive Marty Sklar convenes E.P.C.O.T planning meetings with many of the original team members. The E.P.C.O.T model is removed from Disneyland. The E.P.C.O.T concept begins its evolution into EPCOT Center.

1975 / Company President Card Walker announces that E.P.C.O.T would be a system based on the communication of new ideas and not a living community.

1975 / A section of the E.P.C.O.T model is moved from Disneyland to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World along the PeopleMover track. The remaining elements have been destroyed.

1979 / October 1 - Ground is broken for EPCOT Center at Walt Disney World.

// 1980s


// 1990s

1996 / June - After years of planning, future residents buy homes in Celebration, a real town build on the Florida property. Although there are no factories, skyscrapers, or electric cars, Celebration does have schools and other features of true urbanism. In a way it's the company's answer to Walt Disney's utopian dreams.

1997 / Designing Disney's Theme Parks: The Architecture of Reassurance is printed complimented with a North American touring exhibit that revealed additional details to the original plans for E.P.C.O.T.

// 2000s

2002 / the-original-epcot.com is the first to make publicly available on the web on one single media the most comprehensive collection of information on the project.

2003 / The original E.P.C.O.T model featured at the Magic Kingdom is restored for the first time since its installation there in 1975. The restoration is basic.

2005 / For the first time since a long time, the legendary "E.P.C.O.T / Florida" film shot in October 1966 is officially released by Disney as a bonus in the Walt Disney Treasures dvd lines within the "Tomorrowland" volume. The film is presented in its full 24 minutes version. A re-edited version of 16 minutes featuring new music and a new voic-over is also released on the Epcot themepark souvenir dvd.

// 2010s

2012 / Epcot center, the themepark adaptation of Walt Disney's original Epcot project celebrates its 30th anniversary. Restored version of original 1966 concept arts are released by The Walt Disney Company through their official D23 fan-club.

2013 / The original E.P.C.O.T model featured at the Magic Kingdom is restored extensively by Walt Disney Imagineering. Restoration efforts included: cleaning, change of light bulbs, addition of new elements (cars, people, monorail) and re-painting. Project leader is Jeff Williams, helped by Rebecca Carlton. Disney legend Marty Sklar is also consulted on the restoration.
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