EPCOT has always been a special place to me. For as long as I can remember, the park has been a part of my life. Growing up, my favorite things to see were Food Rocks and Honey, I Shrunk the Audience (I know, I was a strange child). But even as attractions have come and gone, there’s still something that draws me to EPCOT. It was for this reason that I simply had to be there on the park’s 40th anniversary.
I had previously visited EPCOT for minor anniversaries, such as the 38th, but never on a major day of celebration. Walking into the park yesterday and hearing the 1982 area music loop playing in person for the first time was a truly mesmerizing experience for me. That loop stopped playing in 1999, long before I had conscious memories of the park. Hearing the beautiful orchestral and synthesized sounds of “Magic Journeys,” “Listen to the Land” and even “The Computer Song” brought me back to an EPCOT I never thought I’d be able to experience.
I came into the park later in the day, so I wasn’t able to see the special ceremony for the anniversary. So the next anniversary related thing I came across was the merchandise. I had heard horror stories of 4 hour waits to get into the Creations Shop earlier in the day, but thankfully I only waited about 35 minutes.
I think the thing all EPCOT fans were excited for was the special anniversary edition of the Beacons of Magic light show on Spaceship Earth. A few clunky transitions and edits aside, the show was a beautiful tribute to 40 years of EPCOT, with music from Tapestry of Nations, “Listen to the Land,” “New Horizons,” “One Little Spark” and “We Go On.” An attempt was made during “One Little Spark” to show the Dreamfinder’s ship traveling across Spaceship Earth in lights. The execution was a little rough, but I appreciate the touch! “We Go On” from IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth perhaps got the biggest cheer from the crowd, proving how missed that nighttime spectacular is.
While Disney definitely could have done more to celebrate, what we got was a beautifully nostalgic day of the EPCOT of old, mixed in with the new trajectory of the park. I for one am excited for 40 more years of the world’s greatest theme park!