Anyone who knows me or (those of you who actually read my articles) know that EPCOT is by and far my favorite park at Walt Disney World. Although I do enjoy the other 3 parks, I can take them or leave them and I’d be fine. But let me make a trip to WDW and I don’t get to go to EPCOT, I feel like a part of my soul has been stripped away and devoured by some unearthly beast. O.K., not quite that bad, but I do feel like I’m missing out. It’s hard to say what it was about this park that captivated me at such a young age. It might have been the futuristic feel of Future World or the feeling that I actually was in another country while meandering around World Showcase, but whatever it was it had me hook line and sinker. There’s been a lot of change throughout the years since EPCOT first opened. Over the years we’ve suffered the loss of some of the most beloved attractions and characters that have ever been on Disney property. So this week I thought I would talk about another one of those bygones that some of you may remember, World of Motion.
On EPCOT Centers opening day one of the showcase attractions was the World of Motion. It was sponsored by General Motors and was located next to (my personal favorite extinct attraction) Horizons. Much like Horizons, World of Motion was an Omnimover attraction and designed to educate guest about the history of transportation. The ride was designed by Imagineer Ward Kimball (his only ride design) and contained the greatest number of Audio-Animatronics in Future World. Voice actor Gary Owens narrated the attraction. One of the attractions most noticeable features was that after boarding the ride inside the attraction you were carried back outside of the attraction and back into it to the first scene of the ride. The scenes showed how the means of transportation evolved through the years.
The first scene that was encountered was a group of cavemen who were trying to cool their feet by blowing on them after some extensive walking. The scene then changes over to that of water transportation. An Egyptian boy is on a raft in a swamp being over-watched by a crocodile lurking close by. A black screen shows images of different kinds boats, canoes and rafts. Moving along to the next scene we find the invention of the wheel. There seems to be some sort of contest going on in an ancient court. A square wheel, pentagon and triangle wheel have apparently lost out to the ever-popular round wheel. The scene shifts to the exploration of the seas and there is a sailor looking through his telescope only to find a sea serpent staring back at him through the other end.
The ride vehicles then move into the Renaissance period and shows an impatient Mona Lisa modeling while Leonardo da Vinci works on one of his flying contraptions. The scenes continue to progress as the ride continues. We see steam power transportation such as a steam-powered stagecoach, a steamboat and a steam powered iron horse train that is being held up by gang of bandits in the Wild West. Then comes the bicycle and automobiles. During this scene we catch a glimpse of the worlds first traffic jam sometime around 1910. Moving along we come to a new tradition, the Sunday drive, where people can be seen “getting away from it all”. The scene closes out with a pilot standing with a female companion next to a biplane. The next scene brings us to our final scene with a group of cars from the 1930’s to 1960’s. We then enter into a full wrap around projection screen that shows scenes of the rider zooming through the country, a bobsled, a surfboard and various other means of transportation. Then the ride vehicle enters CenterCore, the city of the future that is reminiscent of Walt Disney’s Progress City. CenterCore is the 60-foot high core of the pavilion. Here we see futuristic vehicles and skyscrapers with lighted roads and highways. As the ride vehicles enter a mirrored tunnel, the rider is shown in a reflection to be sitting a futuristic car. The effect is the pepper’s ghost effect like the one used in Haunted Mansion. The riders then exit the ride vehicles and make their way into General Motor’s Transcenter.
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