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Epcot Fans Rejoice! Mickey's Wand is Coming Down!

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Published: July 5, 2007 at 1:41 PM

The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that the wand will be dismantled in time for the park's 25th birthday in October. Epcot Vice President Jim MacPhee said "We think the timing of the removal is right." Work will begin as soon as this Monday.

Readers' Opinions

From Robert Niles on July 5, 2007 at 1:46 PM
Yaaaaaaaaaaay!

I b*tched about that darned wand three years ago in a TPI column:

Some potential visitors might balk at the non-fiction theme behind Epcot and think the park too boring to justify a visit. They'd be wrong. Unfortunately, some soul-deficient Disney executives seem to have also bought into the idea that science, history and technology can't entertain. That's why they've tramped up the park with ill-conceived attempts to enliven it.

Witness Mickey's hand. The initial design of Epcot provided the most compelling architectural statement ever made in a theme park. (Okay, the competition there's lighter than Paris Hilton, but still...) Spaceship Earth, a geospheric representation of mankind's celestial home, dominated the entry plaza. Pass beneath it, and we witness a symbolic depiction of human thought, with pavilions devoted to science and mechanics to the left, with those paying tribute to imagination and the spirits of land and sea to the right. Beyond them lies the world as manifested by those human endeavors, with pavilions devoted to nations of the world.

But in 1999, Disney corrupted this vision by installing a giant sorcerer's wand, held by Mickey Mouse's hand, to stand over Spaceship Earth. The monument diminishes the geosphere, reducing its visual impact and scuttling the metaphorical procession of Earth, mankind and the culture mankind created. Worse, if one holds on to that metaphor, one is left with an image of Mickey as the creator of this Earth and, therefore, all Mankind. Mickey is God.

I'm sorry, I like Mickey Mouse and all, but I am not willing to accept him as my Lord and Creator. Perhaps few Epcot visitors take the time to think through the implications of having that giant hand waving over Spaceship Earth. But many people do understand the symbolism on a subconscious level. And perhaps that's why so many people have reacted with such visceral hatred toward the wand.

My good karma for the day to whoever at Disney initiated and approved the decision to take down that wand.

From Tombraider Ty on July 5, 2007 at 2:11 PM
Well that sucks... yeah, I'm like the only person on the planet who thinks it looks better with the hand and wand. Otherwise, it looks too plain... I mean, all other park icons have a bunch of different features in archetecture (sp), but Epcot's wand-free ball is just too plain... Cinderella's Castle, Sorceror's Hat, and Tree of Life are all intricate with many details, Spaceship Earth is plain.

Well, this kinda ruined part of my day.

From Mike Duchock on July 5, 2007 at 2:41 PM
Many theme park & architecture fans (myself included) love the elegant simplicity of SSE without the wand. The structure of it is quite remarkable by itself, I believe it is the first freestanding spherical shaped building. True, other Disney Parks icons are intricate buildings full of details that are revealed as you look at them from different angles. EPCOT Center was supposed to be the anti-Disney Disney theme park so it was very appropriate for its icon to make a bold statement by being plain in a sense. Leaving the wand that was supposed to be temporary for the Millennium Celebration is just as bad as leaving the 25th birthday cake over the castle.

Now that we are getting the wand taken down, next can we get the granite Leave a Legacy markers demolished? Also, an appropriate celebration for Epcot's 25th birthday? While we're at it, another World Showcase pavilion with an E-ticket attraction? Or how about Beverly sold in 2 liter bottles at Club Cool? :)

From Joseph Boone on July 5, 2007 at 7:56 PM
It's about time! Simplicity is the soul of elegance. The Golden Gate Bridge, Eiffel Tower, and, yes, the EPCOT sphere are all elegant structures enhanced by their simple natures. I only wish I could man a giant wrecking ball to take the abominable hands down myself (thought I suspect Disney has a somewhat more genteel dismantling in mind).
From Jaivion Williams on July 5, 2007 at 8:58 PM
i liked the wand there
From TH Creative on July 6, 2007 at 4:47 AM
It's funny. I worked on the wand/icon change-over in the Spring of 2001. The icon originally read "2000" for the turn of the century. Along with the construction of the One Man's Dream and sorcerer's hat icon at MGM Studios, our team was tasked with changing the SSE wand from "2000" to "EPCOT."

Because I was not on the team that originally constructed the wand, I am actually feeling pretty indifferent to the upcoming demolition. I am, however, thankful it was built, because I had the opportunity to climb the ladders (huffing and puffing all the way) and stand at the end of the structure's catwalk above Spaceship Earth.

What a view!

It is also nice to know that Disney continues to show an inclination to invest funds to change (improve) the parks. Removing all of that steel will cost a healthy amount of money. That's ALWAYS something to be happy about!

From Matthew Baker on July 6, 2007 at 6:18 AM
I always thought that thing was incredibly tacky, and spoiled the effect of the geodesic sphere. Hopefully the materials, when recycled, will find their way into a good ride or attraction. :)
From David Kirby on July 6, 2007 at 7:30 AM
Thank God. It's about time. Now if only we could do something about that hat in MGM...
From Iris Hernandez on July 6, 2007 at 7:35 AM
I guess i am one of those dopes that actually liked the wand. It made for some great picture ops.

I'm not all philosophical when it comes to analyzing the meaning of an object like that, nor was I ever astounded on its original structural beauty. Maybe its an architects dream structure, sure not mine. I'm a Christian and I never even fathomed the implications some are making that the wand and Mickeys' hand were making him like God. Yeah, its a cool looking sphere(hard as heck to draw too, i drew it once) But people, some of you are reading too much into it, seriously.

Yes, EPCOT may have been Walts Anti-Disney Disney theme park. I know the whole story. But, if something as simple as that wand just added a little Disney charm, it would make everything else in that park that wasnt part of Walts dream gotta go too. IE: The seas with Nemo and friends(totally Disneyfied), The Gran Fiesta (Mexico pavilion). The wand was just a little Disney Charm that i am sad i will no longer be seeing.

From B Stocker on July 6, 2007 at 1:38 PM
I didn't mind the wand at Epcot, but I'm also happy to see it go. I would much rather see Disney spend the money and tear down Mickey's Hat which blocks the entire Chinese Theater over at MGM.
From Jarvis Hampton on July 6, 2007 at 1:06 PM
I liked the hand and wand, but the time has come for it to be removed.
From Lee Mak on July 6, 2007 at 1:21 PM
oh yeah...down with the wand!!!

and yes, it was the first ever spherical geodesic dome.

There were many geodesic domes built since the 1920's, all of them were free standing, but never completely spherical. Another first for Disney. Since EPCOT was built as a worlds fair type attraction, the icon focus for the park was to build a very worlds fair type of icon. They played with the idea of a dome, but eventually the engineers had to go one step further and create the first geodesic sphere.

Go Imagineers!!!!

From JEANY SANCHEZ on July 6, 2007 at 1:59 PM
YEAH! the wand is gone for good. I can't wait to see Epcot in the way since 1982.
From Larry Zimmerman on July 6, 2007 at 2:13 PM
Personally, I don't mind the big hand, but holding a golf club would have been more appropriate...
From Tombraider Ty on July 6, 2007 at 2:54 PM
^ I am cracking up laughing at that.

And whoever said Eiffel Tower and Golden Gate Bridge were simple, I think they're also intricate. Epcot is gonna look plain like it used to with the wand gone, it makes me sad =(

However, I do think that the Mickey Mouse hat blocks the Chinese Theater in MGM and I agree it needs to be moved or torn down.

From Erik Yates on July 6, 2007 at 3:56 PM
Isnt there a reason that Mickey's hat is there? I thought there was a riff between the original Chinese Theater, and the one at MGM. They pretty much used it without permission, is the story I've heard, and could not have the theater be the symbol of the park (the first thing you see, thus being the one thing you remember about the park the most)...Thus the big hat was born to obstruct the view, and become the new thing you were supposed to think about when someone said MGM Studios.
From rich reedy on July 6, 2007 at 4:13 PM
i liked it too, hopefully it will show up elsewhere in a better spot.
From Kathy Barr on July 6, 2007 at 6:00 PM
I think they should keep the hand and wand. Every time we visit we look for that symbol with the sphere. it looks very cool lit up at nite. i don't think it wrecks the appearance of the park at all. who are these epcot fans who dislike it? if it comes done so be it. maybe being epcots 25th they will out something else up there?
From David Kirby on July 6, 2007 at 9:06 PM
See, I think they built the Sorceror's hat in front of the theater because they wanted an icon that was in the center of the park, like in the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Animal Kingdom. Before, the official symbol of MGM was the Earful Tower, however, it's not even located in the park proper and could only be seen well from the Backlot Tour. It didn't grab your attention at all, so they built the hat. I personally like the hat but I hate the location.
From Greg Shilton on July 6, 2007 at 9:43 PM
I think I am gonna cry tears of JOY!!! AMAZING. YES YES YES.
From Anthony Murphy on July 7, 2007 at 11:03 AM
I am a bit mixed about the hand because I thought it did look good there, but I did like the Simplicity of the Space Ship Earth. It was calculated and made a bigger statement sans hand. In regards to the Leave a Legacy stuff, I hope it doesn't come down, especially since my face is up there! Still, I think it still adds to the bare front area of EPCOT.
From Vikki LaPierre on July 8, 2007 at 2:52 PM
I am absolutely appalled by this decision! Epcot is boring with some sort of statement of Disney (Mickey Mouse). We just went there as a family about 3 weeks ago. We loved the fact that the "golf ball" or "Apricot Park" (as my 6 year old son calls it) had Mickey's wand on it. I wish they would rethink this decision.
From David Sutter on July 9, 2007 at 3:06 AM
Well now that ive read all the insights to the Mickey Hand and Wand over Spaceship Earth at Epcot...Lets set the record streight...When it was erected for the Millium Celebration it said 2000 and switdhed to 2001 a midhingt..now as far as it haivng any deep meaning about Mickey as Good and all that deep mean...Forget it..it was a simple spreading the magic world wide ..and with Magic Kingdoms around the world...Lets keep it simple..and yes Im happy to see it come down
From Bradley Robertson on July 9, 2007 at 7:16 AM
Well seeing as Sorcerer Mickey is one of my favorite Disney characters, I am sad to hear this confirmed. This has been rumored on on the DisBoards and IOACentral for a while. Granted, I never had a problem with the original SSE design before. So I guess when I return to EPCOT this fall I will be seeing the SSE of my youth.
From Dan Babbitt on July 9, 2007 at 9:43 AM
Now they just need to take down sorcerors hat at MGM and Ill be fine!
From James Adams on July 9, 2007 at 10:05 AM
Its just good to see Disney spending money to keep the park ever changing and updated. I liked the wand when it was up and it will be good to have it down. the only time I get nervous with Disney is when they are just collecting the money and not doing jack to put it back in.

The God symbolism is interesting, I don't think that I ever looked at it that way. But, symbols have a very powerful effect on people's internal motivations - this is whole point of advertising. Robert, your thoughts have caused me to wonder about other Disney symbolic implications.

From B Stocker on July 11, 2007 at 11:47 AM
I guess the biggest problem I have with the Mickey Hat at MGM is Disney took away one of the best Hidden Mickey’s. For those who remember when the hat wasn’t built yet, if you turned park guild map upside-down there a giant Hidden Mickey right in front of the Chinese theater. I think I heard about that whole argument about the Chinese Theater not pleased that Disney used it as their icon at MGM, but I though it was the Earful Tower icon that was used for the most part to represent MGM. How about they place Mickey’s Hat on top of the theater and make everyone happy. At least the Wand looked cool at night and didn’t totally block any major attractions.

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