What an incredible 30 days this has been! 30 bloggers have shared the highlights of a park and a love- Epcot– across the span of 30 years. In the blink of an eye, our retrospective is over. As I wrote after last year’s 40 Days to 40 Years: The
treasured gift that Walt left us is a shared joy when first experienced, and
then gains sparkle as we remember the magic years later.
As a way of thanking each and every author and
supporter of 30 Days to 30 Years, it is an honor to share the highlights from exactly what we’ve been working towards together; Epcot’s 30th Anniversary Celebrations.
The 1st Annual WDW Radio E-Ticket Event:
An Evening with the Secret Society of Historical American Adventurers
Many Walt Disney World fans would argue that Lou Mongello, host and producer of WDW Radio, is the celebrity voice of that park. Named Best Travel Podcast since 2006, Lou’s on-line radio show covers all the Disney news that’s fit to listen to! So how could we pass up the opportunity to attend an inaugural event that included comedy, gal pals and dinner in The American Adventure Rotunda at Epcot World Showcase- spellbinding!!
|The Preservation of the Secret Society of Historical American Adventures (the PSSHAA Club)
This hilarious comedy troupe not only made us honorary “members” of the club, but elected a new president from our midst. Can you guess who?! One of the highlights for me was seeing one of our 30 Days to 30 Years contributors on stage… P-S-S-H-A-A!
|2003’s Sherry Boswell
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend
Despite temperatures and humidity in the 90’s, a cool time was had by the over 10,000 runners, and luckily no one “ran till they dropped”! The Happy Haunted Trail Run took the pack (for the first time ever) through the woods surrounding the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, and welcomed a great many first-time racers.
|Which included 1994 author Kathy Kelly.
That evening, the sold-out road race treated runners to a spin through the fifth dimension; and for the first time ever, a lap through Champion Stadium at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
|Writers Amy, 1985 and Sarah 1990 were 10-Milers!
The subsequent Disney Villains Hollywood Bash rocked into the wee hours of the morning, giving runners, guests and other brave souls a chance to party; eating, drinking and dropping…
|One for the team- Autism Speaks was the official beneficiary of
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend.
The 2012 Walt Disney World Moms Panel Fan Luncheon
On Saturday afternoon, September 29th, Princess Laura Spencer and her pink ladies and lords held their 3rd annual fan meet; with 300 of their most ardent admirers (including, as no surprise, many, many 30 Days to 30 Years writers)!
With heads in the clouds, loyalists ate, (oh, what salmon!), reconnected (photo ops!) with five years worth of Walt Disney World Moms Panelists, took in magnificent views (New Fantasyland baby!) and dreamt the afternoon away at the California Grill… YOU know what I mean. I had the good, good fortune to meet Debra Ann of Focused on the Magic fame (1991), and Mark (1999) and Elizabeth (2009) Weaver- the dynamic duo from Illuminating Epcot. I somehow missed Sarah from Running at Disney (1990), and will not rest until I get one of her great “RAD” pins!! Thank you Walt Disney World Moms Panel for making every one of us feel important and wanted, and for the beautiful gift of yourselves.
|Panelist Amanda (40 Days to 40 Years contributor) visits us!
After the luncheon, we needed still more time to connect, so over to Disney’s Beach Club Resort we went, for a fabulous Diva Meet-Up arranged by the equally fabulous Faith, Kathy and Melissa!
|Writers (and hosts) Melissa 2001 and Kathy 1994.
|Meeting Kristen from Cooking with Mickey and reconnecting with pal Diane~ 1996
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party
Everyone’s favorite! I covered this party in last year’s Pearls From Walt Disney World’s 40th Anniversary Celebration, but I will add two favorites not discussed: unique Disney Character sightings and Happy HalloWishes.
|7 new friends surround writer Ami (1989)!
Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
So many countries, so little time. I wrote about my top 3 picks in last year’s wrap-up, so I’ll highlight the 2 new standouts this year:
Perhaps you are familiar with the Gardein vegetarian product in your grocery’s frozen section.
Being a lover of Indian spices, I sampled their Trick’n Chick’n Curry with Basmati Rice and I must say it has a substantial kick (good thing I still had my Seven Tiki Mai Tai from neighboring booth Hawaii in hand) and interesting texture. When I return in November, I will try their Chili Colorado with House-Made Chips & Cashew Cheese for sure. And another Mai Tai. Just in case.
The Florida Shrimp Cerviche with fire Roasted Vegetables, Fried Plantains and Cilantro was a hit with me. It was fresh and light on the very hot day we were grazing, and yet offered wonderful flavor combinations. Contrastly, the White Corn Arepa with Mangalista Pork Rilette and Zellwood Sweet Corn Salad looked a bit heavy, and perhaps greasy. To be fair, I did not taste it, so I will be obliged to do so next month.
I have not included the also-new Fife & Drum, which sells frozen alcoholic beverages only; another obligation for November.
Epcot: How it Changed the World with Marty Sklar
Talk about surprises! This placard greeted us as we entered Epcot on October 1st, 2012, and we quickly built our day around the presentation courtesy of D23; The Official Disney Fan Club.
Pictures were not allowed during the presentation, so I thought I’d share the highlights of our 90 minutes with the legendary Marty Sklar, former Walt Disney Imagineering Principal Creative Executive:
– According to correspondent David Brinkley, 30 years ago, EPCOT Center was the most effective piece of urban planning in the country.
– As per Marty Sklar, Walt Disney’s most important legacy was teaching his colleagues to “meet the needs of people” first and foremost.
– For his Florida Project, Walt Disney wanted flexibility and freedom to grow and adjust with time and changing needs. To accomplish this: 1. He created the Reedy Creek Improvement District; effectively creating its own governance for all future development and eliminating red tape and external bureaucracy 2. Interest American industry in this endeavor, thereby gaining the cooperation and input of the best minds in the country.
I will admit that I watched and listened through most of this presentation with a tear in my eye. It is difficult to imagine and dream of what Epcot would look like today had Walt lived just a few more years. Marty represents a narrowing circle of Imagineers who were directly influenced by the master visionary himself, and he carries that torch well. Look for his new book, which will be published in the coming year, that will detail the full genesis of Epcot, and how this theme park “changed the world”.
Illuminations: Reflections of Earth~ with 30th Anniversary Tag
|I hope you can spot the number “30” illuminated on the globe.
If the Magic Kingdom is where my brother, sister and I grew up, I most closely link Epcot to where my two boys cut their Walt Disney World teeth; from learning to walk on the fiber optic lights,
to having their faces engraved on steel at Leave a Legacy, to marching in The Tapestry of Nations Parade, those memories will be forever vivid. After 30 days, and 30 personal stories, (as Marty Sklar’s prompted), we remember and respect the past, but with our vision ever forward.
As Walt would say- the future is now…