Walt Disney and Jet-Age City Planning

1037 Words3 Pages

Walt Disney and Jet-Age City Planning

Image borrowed from Waltopia. When is a planned community too planned? Some of the exhibits displayed at the 1939 World's Fair such as Democracity and Futurama influenced many American community planners. The Levittown and Greenbelt projects followed the same guidelines of community that the 1939 World's Fair introduced. These are two of the more well known Garden City projects that took many families away from big cities and brought them to the peace and tranquility of the suburbs. On February 2nd, 1967, Walter Elias Disney announced the plans to create a domed community. This community would be known as the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow [EPCOT]. In this note, I will discuss how Walt Disney planned to create his perfect community, his Waltopia. Disney's experimental EPCOT community attempted to be the city of the future by first providing a controlled climate, second by incorporating many of the garden city concepts, and thirdly by creating a transportation system that brought people back as pedestrians.

The initial plan for EPCOT was to have a city that was built in concentric circles, much like the Garden City of to-morrow that Ebenezer Howard envisioned in 1898. The city as a whole would cover over 1,000 acres of land and of that 1,000 acres 50 of them would be enclosed by a dome that created the perfect air-conditioned temperature year round. The dome that surrounded the heart of the city provided a controlled climate for all of the residents and visitors and protected them from the elements of the outside world. Not only did the dome provide protection and climate control, but it would enable authoritative control. As both a model community and a laboratory, the d...

... middle of paper ...

...ow was planned to test solutions to problems that riddled society at that time. Disney died before his planned community could ever begin construction, but as we all know EPCOT did end up being built in 1979, but for reasons other than social living. The authority and control that EPCOT represented clearly exemplified a true heterotopia. The heterotopia of EPCOT was truly intended to fix the problems that societies faced at the time by not just looking toward the future, but by living in it.


Brown, R. (2000, April 8 [downloaded]). EPCOT: Walt's golden dream. Available online: http://themeparks.tqn.com/travel/themeparks/library/weekly/aa980114.htm.

Howard, E. (1898/1965). Garden cities of to-morrow. Cambridge, MA: M.I.T. Press.

Waltopia. (2000, April 8 [downloaded]). The real EPCOT center. Available online: http://www.waltopia.com/.

Open Document