Sunday, September 30, 2012

Epcot's 30th: 1983 Birnbaum's Guide to Walt Disney World

While EPCOT Center opened in the fall of 1982, it is my understanding that the 1983 edition of Steve Birnbaum's Guide to Walt Disney World was the first edition of what would later become Disney World's Official Guide to include coverage of the newest theme park.  Since this book was likely published before the park was finished being built, it relies almost entirely on concept art and photographs of a few models along with whatever Disney chose to reveal to the book's author, but it does accurately represent the early attractions and dining options that were available to EPCOT Center's early visitors.

Readers may be interested in the park admission prices back in the 1980's, before corporate Disney realized what a goldmine their theme parks could be.  Disney diners may also want to know that Biergarten opened as table-service restaurant (not a buffet) and Le Cellier was originally a cafeteria-style steakhouse (though I see no mention of this designation in the Guide).  In Future World, there is no mention of the unfinished Horizons and Living Seas pavilions and very little is written about the tardy Journey into Imagination ride, which also was not ready for opening day (so Disney probably wasn't ready to release much information about the ride).

Have a look for yourself at our first Official Guide descriptions of EPCOT Center!

[NOTE: Double-click on the images to see larger versions of each page]









  1. Great post! I think the first edition of Birnbaum's guide that I had was either 1984 or 1985, although I don't think there were that many changes in those early years. I used to read it over and over - so much great information and trivia in there.

  2. Thanks, Steve. I bought the Official Guide every year from 1990-2002 (except, I skipped 1996 for some reason), but somehow I also ended up with this copy that my father bought for our first trip to EPCOT Center. I think he may still have some other Guides, which were a great way to keep up with what was new in the park in the pre-Internet days. Now, it's fun to look back at how things used to be!