When EPCOT Center opened, it was built on the ideals of tomorrow, and showing how future technologies would enhance different facets of our lives. Spaceship Earth showed the wonders of future communication, while World of Motion showcased the past, present and future of transport. Horizons was an all encompassing vision of the future that combined the technologies of all the pavilions.
But at some point, the park drifted away from this ideal, and went towards more contemporary themes, rather than the far reaching idealizations. Now, the park still holds the idea of discovery the wonders of technology around us, but it's far from as ambitious as it should be. And personally, I find Mission: Space to be one of the most lacking in this respect.
|(c) 2012 Walt Disney World Resort|
|Looks fun. Right? (c) 2012 Walt Disney World Resort|
|Is this really what we want out of a Future World Pavilion? (c) 2012 Walt Disney World Resort|
|Ray Bradbury and Card Walker inspect a model of a scene in the proposed Space Pavilion. Courtesy the Explorium.|
But in 2013 the HP sponsorship agreement for M:S will expire, and most trusted sources assume they will choose not to re-up. This puts Mission: Space at a crosswords. It was an expensive attraction to design and build, but it's also be largely shunned by park visitors. It never made the impact it was supposed to, and without a sponsor its fate obviously lies in limbo. In the past, losing a sponsor has led to a pavilion's closure or floundering for years before a radical change in direction, as demonstrated by Wonders of Life and The Living Seas respectively.
|It is a beautiful building. (c) 2012 Walt Disney World Resort|
First of all, the pavilion has a massive amount of open space behind it that could be used for an expanded post show experience about the wonders of space travel and exploration, but I think a more ambitious plan could be pulled off using an even bigger open space right next door.
Yes, I'm talking about the Wonders of Life Pavilion. Now, I realize that the building is currently used as event space, but I'm assuming WDI would have enough pull to change that if my crazy idea was to happen. Imagine a complete reworking of the dome as the inside of a deep-space station that we visit in a newly reworked M:S, where we can see the wonders of space shown in shows, exhibits, and maybe even a planetarium? Imagine Cranium Command becoming a show where a young alien boy shows off his planet and culture to us. Wouldn't that be fun?
Of course, all this is in my imagination, but I think if a great, forward thinking sponsor was brought in, they could do this or most likely something even better. And who do I think that sponsor could be?
SpaceX is that sponsor, in my opinion. The company stands for everything EPCOT Center was founded on. It's a space flight company started by PayPal and Tesla Motors co-founder Elon Musk, and has made leaps and bounds in space flight technology. The company aims to decrease the cost of space travel by cutting out the unnecessary red tape that often drives prices up. Last month, they had their first docking of the Dragon spacecraft with the International Space Station. And Musk says his company is aiming to have a man on Mars in 10-20 years.
|SpaceX Dragon Capsule docked with the ISS. (c) 2012 Discovery News|
Now, again, this is just me throwing out a bit of wishful thinking. If I was Disney, I'd be calling Mr. Musk to take over Mission: Space and make the pavilion what it was always intended to be: a real look into space flight.
What do you think? Sound off in the comments, or tweet us at @Parkscope.