Looking Back: EPCOT Center in 1991

The Looking Back series returns with a look at EPCOT Center from back in 1991. At this time, the park was less than 10 years old, and its name hadn’t yet been officially shortened to “Epcot,” although most people probably called it that, anyway. As with the Magic Kingdom photos from 1991, these photos come from two different trips in that year, one in April and one in June. Enjoy!

Spaceship Earth in Epcot at Walt Disney World in 1991

To begin with, here is a photo of Spaceship Earth and a Monorail, because what says EPCOT Center more than Spaceship Earth and Monorails? Believe it or not, this is not a black and white photo. And I didn’t even desaturate the colors. This is how it came out of the camera, thanks to an overcast sky and Monorail Silver. Although if some other Monorail had come by making the stripe on the Monorail the only color in the photo, that would have been pretty cool, too.

Spaceship Earth in Epcot at Walt Disney World in 1991

As I mentioned above, when you think of EPCOT Center, you automatically think of Spaceship Earth. At least I do, apparently, which would explain why I have so many photos of it. This photo was actually taken from the Monorail Station, which explains the elevated view. And the elevated view gives an even better look at the whole geosphere. Funny story: I once heard a guy saying that they named it a geosphere because they built it, looked at it, and said, “Gee, a sphere.” (Warning: Not verified as fact.)

Laura and Spaceship Earth in Epcot at Walt Disney World in 1991

Here is Laura near Spaceship Earth on a sunny day. We were just kids then, there on a high school band trip. And maybe one of these days we will be there like the slightly older couple to the right, too, walking through the background of some kids’ photos.

Mickey Mouse ponchos in Epcot at Walt Disney World in 1991

While the previous photo was nice and sunny, that wasn’t always the case for this trip. Here are Beth (my sister) and Laura showing off their Mickey Mouse ponchos after a rain shower, with Spaceship Earth in the background. Remember when the ponchos were yellow instead of the clear ones that they sell now?

Spaceship Earth in Epcot at Walt Disney World in 1991

One more photo of Spaceship Earth from between the Communicore buildings. That would be Innoventions for all of you kids out there. Do you ever wonder if Spaceship Earth were to break free from its supports just how far it would roll? Me either.

Living Seas in Epcot at Walt Disney World in 1991

Moving on from Spaceship Earth, here is a photo of the entrance to The Living Seas, presented by United Technologies. Back in the old days, people would walk by this and say, “Who is United Technologies, anyway?” Then they would go in and watch the preshow and still not know. Or maybe that was just me. Now, United Technologies has been replaced by the seagulls from Finding Nemo. Which is a much more recognizable brand.

Mexico in Epcot at Walt Disney World in 1991

We next move on to World Showcase, where our first stop is always Mexico. For whatever reason, we never start at Canada and go counter-clockwise. Probably because we usually get there around lunch time, and we always like Mexican food. And I always think this pyramid is cool, too. Once you go inside it, how do they get that whole nighttime village inside that one pyramid? Magic.

Germany in Epcot at Walt Disney World in 1991

Next up is Germany. At least as far as photos go. We apparently skipped right by Norway and China without getting any photos. Did you know that there were originally plans for a boat ride in Germany? But if they had built it, they would probably be replacing it now with a Pinocchio-themed ride anyway.

Italy in Epcot at Walt Disney World in 1991

Welcome to Italy! The crowd you can see in the foreground is watching the World Showcase Players do their thing. You can even see one or two members of the now-departed group standing up above the crowd. Ah, the good old days.

Italy in Epcot at Walt Disney World in 1991

I like how St. Mark’s Campanile from Italy sticks up above the trees as you walk along World Showcase Promenade. One of those things that makes it seem like you are worlds away from the theme parks of Florida. Or that you are in a college town with a cool bell tower.

Japan in Epcot at Walt Disney World in 1991

The Torii Gate in Japan is always a popular photo spot, especially when you can find a way to get Spaceship Earth into the photo. Because nothing says Japan like Spaceship Earth. Actually, I have thought that the gate is popular with photographers because of its great red color, which stands out no matter if it is a sunny day or a rainy day.

France in Epcot at Walt Disney World in 1991

From Japan, it is just a short walk (past Morocco, where again I didn’t take any photos) to France. You don’t ever think of Japan and France being close together in the real world, but then this isn’t the real world, is it? I have always liked this corner, because to me it feels very French. Not that I have ever been to the real France, but this is what I picture it would be like. I hope I am not disappointed if I ever get to go. Don’t let me down, France!

International Gateway in Epcot at Walt Disney World in 1991

Moving past France, we come to the International Gateway. This was a relatively new addition to World Showcase, and it was created to give the guests staying at the Swan and Dolphin hotels (which you can see beyond the trees) a way to enter the park, either by walking or by boat. This entrance would later serve all of the Epcot Resorts as they were added alongside the Swan and Dolphin.

Canada in Epcot at Walt Disney World in 1991

O, Canada! You are about to have a lawsuit on your hands when that kid falls off the top of the stone wall! I’m not sure if he was taking a picture or trying to fight off the totem animals. But hopefully it didn’t end tragically for him. Except for those dangerous walls, I have always enjoyed the design of Canada at Epcot, partly because it captures so many different aspects of the culture right in this one view.

Spaceship Earth in Epcot at Walt Disney World in 1991

To close things out, here is one more photo of Spaceship Earth, this time seen from across World Showcase Lagoon as it gently rolls along the ground. Oh wait, it still hasn’t broken free from its supports yet. Anyway, the size of the sphere is always impressive, as you can see how high it towers above the trees here. Always cool to see.

That wraps up this episode of Looking Back! Be sure to join us again in the future for more from the past!

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Burnsland is Steve Burns, with generous help from his lovely wife Laura. Steve is a husband, father, photographer, webmaster, writer, podcaster, artist, Christian. Steve enjoys sharing his photography, art, and stories through Burnsland.com, from the Burnsland World Headquarters in Tennessee.