Welcome back to 30 Days to 30 Years! Take a long look backward, as co-host Beth (Pursuing the Magic and The Magical Blogorail creator) and I count down to Epcot’s 30th Anniversary. Each day the series will bring you a new blogger to share their most precious Disney moments. Today, we welcome Sarah from Running At Disney, and introduce a new decade and the year 1990.
EPCOT Center 1990: The Beginning of the Disney Decade
The early 1990s were by far my favorite time in Walt Disney World. 1990 marked the beginning of what Michael Eisner called “The Disney Decade” where he unveiled a huge expansion plan for the entire resort. The plan included new theme parks, water parks, hotels, golf courses, and more. You name it and they were building it!
Things were a little different in Walt Disney World back in 1990. A one-day park ticket was $31 for adults and $25 for children. You can’t even buy a t-shirt for that today! The real bargain was the 5-day super pass for $135/108. This not only gave you admission to the 3 main theme parks, but to Typhoon Lagoon, River Country and Pleasure Island as well. They also never expired and you could park hop. What a deal!!
It was in 1990 that I recall beginning to love EPCOT Center. My family had been traveling to Walt Disney World since 1985, but this is the first year I remember well. I was in awe by the grand scale of the various attractions. We took a journey through history on Spaceship Earth, dreamed of new adventures in Horizons, and laughed along with the quirky scenes in World of Motion. I was terrified of the dinosaurs in Universe of Energy (I still don’t enjoy this attraction because it conjures up a feeling of unease!) and truly believed we were traveling to Sea Base Alpha in The Living Seas. My absolute favorite attraction was hands down Journey Into Imagination and I made my parents ride it over and over. I’m sure they loved that!
There wasn’t much for a kid to do in World Showcase in 1990. This was before there were characters in every country (you could find Donald in a sombrero in Mexico) or the Kidcot fun stops. However, I did enjoy taking a ride around the lagoon on the big double decker bus! Of course we had to sit up top to get the best view. Do you remember the double decker bus?
My favorite memory about this trip might be a strange one, but I have such fond memories of this “attraction” and miss it every time I visit this area. Our trip was in March and we stayed at the newly opened Swan hotel, which was the first of the EPCOT Center area resorts to open in January of that year. It was exciting to be this close to the park and have what seemed to be our own private entrance to the park at the new International Gateway! To get there, Disney provided transportation by tram that took guests around Crescent Lake and across the new Boardwalk that was installed as the first part of the Boardwalk Resort. You could see all the progress that was coming along at the Dolphin Resort and the Yacht & Beach Club Resorts that were slated to open later that year. Don’t remember the tram? Here’s a great video of the ride…boy do I miss that!
Wouldn’t you love that after a long day in the parks? Much faster than the Friendship Boats, but I can see it being a little dangerous with all of the pedestrians on the walkways around Crescent Lake. This could make my runs around that area a bit more challenging.
The Disney Decade promised expansion resort wide and this included new countries in World Showcase at EPCOT Center. Plans for a Soviet Union pavilion and a Switzerland pavilion featuring a Matterhorn bobsled attraction were in the works, but sadly never seemed to materialize. These would have been great additions to World Showcase and maybe some of the plans have been saved in some secret Disney bunker for future use. One can only hope 🙂 This episode of Dateline Disney features these plans and more!
1990 was the beginning of a very exciting time at EPCOT Center and the Walt Disney World Resort. I’m pretty sure that this was the year that solidified my obsession, which my husband would debate on if that was a good thing or not 🙂
What are your fondest memories of The Disney Decade?