The tour began shortly after 3:15 PM underneath Spaceship Earth. RetroWDW hosts Todd McCartney, How Bowers, Brian Miles, and JT Kuzior took turns sharing stories from their personal knowledge and research, along with some new stories they learned from the D23 events that weekend. While you would've needed to join the tour to hear all the stories, I'll share a few things that I found noteworthy.
Epcot Entrance Fountain
We also spoke about the acrylic sculpture that used to sit in the center of the entrance fountain. Over time, it developed small cracks and began to discolor, which led to its removal from the park. Fortunately, having attended the RetroWDW Looking Back At Tomorrow event the night before, I now have my own miniature version of that statue to remember what it used to look like (and you can see for yourself how that miniature was made).
World Key KiosksThe group moved on to the second stop of the tour, just outside Guest Relations, which was once home to a bank of World Key kiosks. Those machines once served as interactive guides to the park, though they were best known as the places guests would make same-day dining reservations in EPCOT Center, via video conference with a Disney Cast Member.
We also discussed how the current Guest Relations was originally part of Communicore, and how today you can still see the windows to what was once a UNISYS corporate lounge inside Guest Relations.
|Our hosts also pointed out a functioning mailbox that still exists inside the park, right next to the abandoned World Key kiosks outside of Guest Relations.
|A different World Key kiosk in action, in March, 1986
A Vestige of Horizons
|Horizons, as seen in 1992
A Short Visit to the Outside of Communicore East
Remembering the Epcot Flamingos
This sinkhole turned small lake near the Odyssey restaurant and the Mexico pavilion was once the location of a family of flamingos. Brian Miles described how that flock was later relocated to Disney's Animal Kingdom and can still be seen today near the end of Kilimanjaro Safaris.
We also talked about the Odyssey's days as a quick service restaurant, while also learning that it also hosted a character meal at one point.
|A flamboyance of flamingos in between Future World and World Showcase, in March, 1986
A Visit to the Imagination Pavilion
Here's a look at the same fountains in March, 1984:
|The group stopped for character photos at the Imagination pavilion, while some folks from the tour also visited the DVC Lounge in the former ImageWorks
|Before they opened to the public, these restrooms were used for meetings during the construction of the Imagination pavilion
|One of the younger guests on our tour was eager to point out the spot where Figment signed the concrete on the ground outside the Imagination pavilion. Do you know where this can be found?
|Before making one last stop at The Land, the group gathered for a discussion of several topics, including Tony Baxter's concept for that pavilion.
|Artwork from the 1977 Walt Disney Productions Annual Report, showing what Baxter's version of The Land may have looked like. Author Tim O'Brien says that Baxter believes this was the"best thing he was a part of that never got built."
Our tour ended outside The Land pavilion, where our hosts (and some of the tour guests) pointed out the subtle difference between the two tile murals on either side of the entrance to that pavilion. Can you find the one different color tile on these otherwise mirror images of one another (ignoring the slight differences in how the photos are cropped and the position of the glass covering part of the mural)?
|RetroWDW hosts Todd McCartney, Brian Miles, How Bowers, and JT Kuzior never miss the opportunity to pose for a photo in front of some wall carpet.