Time for another Looking Back post, this time looking at Epcot at Walt Disney World in 1995. By this time, the name had changed from EPCOT Center to just plain, mostly lower case Epcot. Changes were underway in the park as things were starting to change direction somewhat.
These photos were from two different visits in 1995, one in April and one in August. And apparently on both of those visits I spent all of my time in World Showcase, because I have no photos at all from Future World for either of those trips. Strange. So let’s take a walk around the world in some old photos!
Our first stop is China, because we apparently took some quick boat rides in Mexico and Norway and didn’t stop for any photos there. But China has so many great photographic opportunities, even if most of them do include the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest. As you can also see in the next photo…
Most people call this the Temple of Heaven, but that is the name for the whole complex where the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest, of which this is a half-sized replica, is found, along with other buildings. So now you have learned something for today. Impress your friends!
Moving on along, we stop at Italy for a photo of St. Mark’s Campanile, the bell tower at St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice. I like this view with the tower surrounded by trees here. I often take lots of photos of the other buildings in Italy, but I didn’t this time around. Of course, this was still back in the days of film photography, when you had to pay for both film and developing, so you didn’t just take 1,000 photos of everything like you can now. Thank goodness for modern technology!
Next, we find ourselves in front of the Bab Boujouloud, a replica of a famous gate in Morocco. Interestingly, the actual gate has several different spellings, with the most common being Bab Bou Jeloud. But however you spell it, the name translates to The Blue Gate. And you can probably guess why it is named that from looking at this photo. It is even more interesting to see up close, where you can get a better view of the intricate work that makes up the gate.
Before we leave Morocco entirely, here is a view of it from across World Showcase Lagoon. Rising above it all is the prayer tower, which is a replica of the Katoubia Minaret found in Marrakesh. And also you can see that carefully manicured green grass. I could never keep our grass at home cut that neatly.
Our next stop is the United Kingdom. It is interesting to note that this building actually combines two different architectural styles. Off to the right, the building represents Hampton Court Palace, which was one of the palaces of King Henry VIII, among others. But then to the left, the building represents Abbotsford Manor in Scotland, which was the residence of Sir Walter Scott. But to most people, it is just a big toy store with lots of interesting British stuff.
The last pavilion on our walk around World Showcase is Canada. Here is Hotel du Canada, which really isn’t a hotel at all, so don’t try to book a room there. Most sites out there say that Hotel du Canada is modeled after the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa, but to me it also bears a strong resemblance to Chateau Frontenac in Quebec. Check out the photos at the links and judge for yourself. Not that it really matters anyway.
We are still in Canada! Well, the Canada pavilion at Epcot, of course. This garden area is modeled after Butchart Gardens in British Columbia, and yes, that is still in Canada even though it has a British name. The rocky mountain in the background represents the Canadian Rocky Mountains, which should be pretty obvious. And the real purpose of the mountain is to hide the building for the CircleVision movie that shows there.
Up next are some scenes from around World Showcase Lagoon. This first photo is of the Harding Academy Band from Memphis, Tennessee, performing as part of Magic Music Days. For the April trip, I was a chaperon/van driver for the band. While it looks like there weren’t many people there, there was actually a pretty good sized small crowd just to the right of the frame. And the band had a great backdrop behind them for their performance.
For the August trip, it was just me and Laura there together, without a high school band following us around. Here is Laura with Spaceship Earth and World Showcase Lagoon behind her. We were celebrating two years and one month of marriage at that point, if you are curious.
A Friendship boat sails through World Showcase Lagoon, with Mexico and Norway off in the distance. See, I did get a photo of Mexico and Norway after all, even it if was from far away. Those clouds are pretty cool, too.
Here is another view of Mexico and Norway from a slightly different location than the photo above. Also off to the left, the World of Motion building is visible behind some trees. At that time, World of Motion had already closed and was in the process of being converted to Test Track, by the way.
And here is yet another view across World Showcase Lagoon, this time looking at Norway and China. Mostly China, although you can see the Stave Church from Norway at the left. Does this view make China look big? That’s a good thing, unless China is concerned about its figure.
And here is one more World Showcase view, this time from the early evening as some dark clouds were moving across the sky. You can see Hotel du Canada sticking up toward the right, if you are wondering which direction you are looking here. And the fountains and such for Illuminations are already out at the left, meaning that our day at Epcot is near its end.
Thanks for joining us once again for this episode of Looking Back! Be sure to check back later for more!