This past weekend, both the Magic Kingdom and Epcot at Walt Disney World celebrated anniversaries; 46 and 35 years, respectively. While Walt Disney World as a whole is a major cornerstone of themed entertainment, the two parks that not only stand out, but resonate with nostalgia are Magic Kingdom and Epcot. They have always represented Disney's expertise in design and imagination, and have left indelible impressions on many of our own team members here at Rethink. Some of them grew up going to Walt Disney World as kids, while others are fairly new to "Disneyland's younger sibling" here in the United States. As we mark these two anniversaries, some of our team wanted to share their own thoughts and impressions as fans and design professionals:
"My first time at Walt Disney World was last year, when I went with a friend who played tour guide and spent all day giving me an expert’s course on the history of Epcot and the Magic Kingdom. As a little kid in SoCal, I never got to experience the magic of Disneyland (I didn’t go until I was older), but Walt Disney World gave me that magical feeling. I can’t wait to go back!" - Morgane Keesling, Concept Designer
"The Magic Kingdom serves as a tangibly-grounded spot where truly remarkable experiences that eliminate the internal limits of disbelief can occur. Its complement, Epcot, is a space that applies optimism to the tangible factors of the real world and acts to give the guests a new context to their lives outside of the theme park.
"In short, guests are allowed to play pretend at the Magic Kingdom and are inspired by pretend play at Epcot; it’s a beautiful balance.
"I believe Tony Baxter may have said it best: “Epcot is the real world made magical, the Magic Kingdom is the magical world made real.'" - Kevin Kalbfeld, Show Designer
"Growing up on the West Coast, Walt Disney World was always this mystical place that existed in the far-off land of Orlando. It wasn't until I was 25 that I finally made my first trip to Florida and experienced the Magic Kingdom and Epcot in person. I was fortunate, in that I made it just in time to see Epcot in its 'original' state - Future World had its funky '80s soundtracks and awesome attractions, as well as the beloved Journey Into Imagination experience that lives in our hearts to this day. It was also my first time visiting the Magic Kingdom - a strange, dream-like experience where you kind of know the lay of the land, but yet, everything is different. I fell in love with both parks, and am fortunate enough to visit them at least once a year now as part of my profession. As storytellers, it's imperative that we benchmark and remain close to such iconic properties within the themed entertainment industry. Epcot and Magic Kingdom are stunning accomplishments that we continue to learn from all these years later." - Rick West, Show Writer