Seriously though, I didn't look at the Colbert link in your post because I find the man and his humor detestable. It's okay to knock public figures when they cross the line, but Cobert just goes way too far and seems to have respect for no one but himself. No matter how right he may be in the point he's trying to make, the way he goes about it is vile, and I don't care to listen to him one bit.
As far as the global warming scientists go, you need to keep in mind that a good portion of their income is derived from getting grants to conduct more studies to confirm the same results they obtained with their previous studies. They have a bias, and that bias is going to affect my life and the lives of my children in adverse ways. Right now, their solution to global warming is to take money out of my pocket and give greater control of my life to environmentalists and the government.
Until the global warming scientists can conclusively prove that global warming is caused by man and not a naturally occurring event and that there are concrete actions that we can take that will actually make a difference, I'm not buying into the hype. All I've seen so far is pie-in-the-sky nonsense like carbon credits making snake oil salesmen like Al Gore even richer. I guess that helps him pay for heating and cooling that humongous house of his and putting fuel in that private jet that he travels around the world in. Meanwhile, the efforts of the global warming scientists are giving the government the power to tell my kids that they have to drive smaller cars and live in smaller houses than their parents did and they have to pay higher taxes for that privilege.
As far as the evolutionists go, who cares if they get a little heat when they try to present their theory as fact? I'm a conservative christian who doesn't exactly buy into everything I read in the book of Genesis, but I start to bristle when people try to force me to believe that I'm a thirty-second cousin, once-removed from a gorilla. I won't try to cram my "man is divinely inspired" belief down their throats if they agree to not to play "monkey-business" with my beliefs.
I'm not in agreement that science is under attack in our culture. I really don't think people are more anti-science now than they were a generation ago. If anything, the embrace of technology and ability to view more non-traditional sources of information than just the one that the liberal press wants us to see has gotten more people involved with the application of science in their lives. The big difference is that now people are able to express their thoughts and opinions about science and our society more easily, and the thought control "progressives" aren't happy about it. Sure there are some nut jobs out there on the left and right fringes, but overall I feel that people are more science focused than ever. It may not be the focus that the liberals like, but when you look at it, isn't that just another form of diversity?
Lastly, whether Epcot gets more or less non-fiction as a theme park, it needs fixing. The original Frankenstein's monster concept was flawed, but Disney has done exceedingly little in the last several years to fix the problem. They need to find a theme and then put their money into setting and keeping that theme. Putting patches on patches just doesn't work anymore.
It is obvious what political side you are on, which is just fine and I have no problems with it….But…… “Loosen up Francis…” There is global change and it is not good. Polar ice caps melting, rising sea levels, hotter planet, All Lies... What a joke…
Sure Epcot could use a lot, but education in a Theme park is a great concept. All Day…
I'm not against adding Frozen to replace Maelstrom. Give me a break. The ride is a fictionaized story of a national folk tale that Disney already bastardized. Frozen was based on a Dutch fairy tale (The Snow Queen) that Disney bastardized and they created Disney characters out of it and set the story in what it could be Norway. It isn't much of a stretch.
Epcot might be a non-fiction park, but it is largely fiction with its presentation. The "blurred lines" is when the reality of science, technology, and present day world showcase cannot be presented with all its character flaws. The debate is ongoing in the outside world. Disney is just a rosy imitation.
It slowly evolved into a group of restaurants with some interesting fascades. And it makes a nice backdrop to 3 annual festivals (which are growing until they become almost continuous, with only the signs changing).
If this is the future of any sort of theme park, we may as well give up and just build a large mall with shops and a giant food court. We could call it "Food Kingdom".
In my opinion Epcot as a whole is lacking direction. Mission: Space and even the new Test Track are pretty boring rides, physical thrills aside. I rather go on Living with the Land and see veggies grow. I know this is not for everyone, but I do not think that throwing in characters from the animated films is an answer to Epcot's issues.
I do really enjoy the whole world showcase thing. Probably more so than the whole technology focused stuff. Really though, any new attractions in that park would be nice. It's just been a long time since it has gotten something truly new it seems like (I don't count revamps of Test Track, etc.). Even a new 3D movie or something would be nice.... something.
The fact is that Earth is a warm planet. Our climate is regulated by the sun. We are actually in the middle of an Ice Age period. The Earth is normally about 30 degrees warmer than it has been for thousands of years. The Renaissance and Roman Empire periods were much warmer than things are now...and the time of the dinosaurs and even the periods of life after were much warmer. There is no cataclysm coming...but certain people are making a lot of money pretending there is.
I'm old enough to remember in the early 1980s when the catastrophism of the day was "The Ice Age is Coming!" This stuff comes in cycles. It's not wrong to call out scientists who fudge their data to meet the conclusions they want.
I love and respect you Robert, but you're wrong on this one.
Epcot is my favorite theme park on this planet (at least of the ones I have visited). But educational or not, it needs new stuff. And to be honest, all those "attraction rumors" you mentioned at the beginning of your article sound wonderful to me. Add in a Mystic Manor clone for the Imagination Pavilion, and Epcot might just surpass the Magic Kingdom for the #1 draw in Orlando.
My thoughts resonate exactly with Mr. Rao. Epcot is in such a sorry state of affairs that I'd rather see it get the new work it so richly needs over keeping out cartoon properties that provide basis for new attractions. Maybe it's time to revisit your "Fix This Park" series Robert.
Tim, I think the 24-hour news cycle, the Fox News vs. MSNBC thing, is causing more and more people to get entrenched with their beliefs and less open-minded. Feel free to express your thoughts and opinions on science. However, how you or anyone feels about science should have nothing to do with the findings uncovered by scientific inquiry. Science shouldn't care whether Fox News or MSNBC wins the ratings for the week. The scientific community, strictly defined as those doing active, peer-reviewed research that can be recreated by any other scientist, will always support evidence-based research findings. In areas of science where the research is conflicted and inconclusive, you will find competing theories and much further research done to try to settle the question. Evolution is not such an area. The "theory" of evolution is settled science. Indeed, the theory has been so well-tested that a great deal of modern biology and medicine rests on its shoulders. The only "scientists" arguing the theory are Christians with an agenda based outside of the evidence (i.e. scripture). By saying "I start to bristle when people try to force me to believe that I'm a thirty-second cousin, once-removed from a gorilla," you are admitting that you don't believe evolution to be a plausible explanation for the origin of man. Your faith dictates that, and I accept that. That doesn't, however, make your perspective good science. In science, an explanation needs to be proven wrong to discount, not be unappealing. Nor does it make the scientists who study evolutionary biology, and who have centuries of strong evidence to support evolutionary theory, anti-religious.
What I think I'm getting at is that no one is forcing evolution down your throat, but rejecting it on religious grounds is based on faith, not science. It has been a brilliant P.R. move on the part of some Christians to try to attack the scientific foundation of evolutionary theory by confusing the difference between "theory" in popular usage (one possible explanation of many) and in scientific usage (the best and most accurate model to date, based on the evidence, for why something happens).
By the way, I am a Christian, but I think fundamentalist Christianity is on the wrong side of history with this, just as it was when Galileo challenged the scripture-based assumption that the Earth was at the center of the solar system.
And really...I just don't understand the doubters. Majority of scientists believe in climate change. I trust them more than conspiracies. If they're wrong, I just devoted time and energy into something that didn't pan out. If they're right, I want to do what I can to stop it. We only have one earth, people.
At least people are not defending the hate speech with the Coke commercial.
But back to Epcot, it seems like the perfect park to experiment with original attractions. I just don't understand why the Disney corporation is not doing more to fix it. I guess because the crowds keep coming. It's my least favorite Disney park I've visited. I think the FB+ tiers is evidence something is deeply wrong here.
Great article Mr. Niles. I wholeheartedly agree with with your views and sentiments. It's a shame Walt's insatiable curiosity for science and technology, as well as his imagination, determination, creativeness and love of multi cultural diversity can't find it's way to the top ranks these days. All of the things that made him a great man and helped to build this company into the global powerhouse that it is today has been split up into different departments throughout the company.
Anyway, fantastic job as usual. Time for me to get back to burning the rest of those old tires that have been lying around my yard, before any hard evidence comes in to tell me it's bad for the environment.
Mr. Trexen, until Mr. Niles brings back the old "Fix this Park" threads, here's a link to the last one he did on Epcot - and I think most of the ideas are still pretty darn good!
And Jonah, FWIW, FOX News is the highest rated cable news network and it has been #1 for a very long time (check tvbythenumbers.com for ratings to all your favorite and most hated programs). However, since all 24 hour "news" channels are biased, slanted, and useless, I get my real news, the important stuff anyway, right here on TPI! TV ratings were definitely not the main point of your comment, but I felt it necessary to point out that the real news happens HERE first. ;)
Knowing how cheap Disney is they will probably wait 20 years before until they build a cheap attraction like Little Mermaid that doesn't even try to make water look real with projections, black lights or glue it just has blue concrete floors.
Disney does not even target educated people because they are smart enough to not waste their money on outdated theme parks or junk.
It's the simple minded masses that flock to character meet and greets and drop wards of cash on pins and rubber rat dolls painted different colors which is Disney's target.
Look at the three hour wait to meet the Frozen characters and the always empty non fiction stave church. Educated people don't like theme parks they like actual historical sites or national museums. Epcot is dumbed down and watered down anyways. The food is not even authentic
Epcot is about science and the spirit of human progress. I would assume that the people who would be reading the blog love Epcot for what it stands for. It just seems that generally, a person hostile to the science of climate change would just not be interested in Epcot when there is a great fantasy theme park down the road.
Climate change is a complicated issue and few serious scientists claim to know the exact results, but we do know that temperatures and seas are rising, faster than they have in recorded history. Kansas will be fine. But New Orleans, Miami, San Diego and half of the US population will have a lot of work to do in the next 100 years if we ignore that we can do anything to our planet and there will be no consequences. To pretend otherwise does not benefit anybody. I always wonder about people who espouse theory of the "Global Warming Hoax". Who benefits by tricking us into believing Global Warming? I can't think of a single person, except maybe Noah...and he's dead.
Anyways, my main point is this: I agree the the main thrust of Mr. Theme Park Insider's article because Epcot needs a bit more EPCOT and a little less Magic Kingdom. I love Magic Kingdom, but we already have one. Disney could just go for a complete sex change operation and rename the place Magic Kingdom 2, in lieu of the incremental plastic surgeries its done to Epcot over the years.
I also think the country could use a little more spirit of human progress and a little less science hostility.
Walt Disney was very pro science yet he was by all accounts a practicing Christian. He was also, as far as I can tell, a Republican who believed in American free enterprise. He never missed an opportunity to laud this concept. How was he able to rectify these two warring identities? He wasn't an absolutist or partisan. I doubt he voted Democrat but I also doubt he was hostile to government spending on things like roads, schools, military and minimal social welfare programs. We should all take a cue from him, especially in these virulently partisan times.
And Epcot should return to its roots: by moving forward, evolving with science and technology, not away from it. I guarantee there is a way to do that and still make money.
Sadly, that goal is not a priority right now for two reasons: 1. Walt is dead. 2. Investors are now in charge of Disney and they have to see quarterly returns. Big capital improvements are off the table unless everyone is convinced they'll bring in way more dough. And right now investors lack that kind of faith. Maybe if these investors ever went to Epcot and got a whiff of the spirit of human achievement they might change their tune. We can only have faith that things will change. That's why Mr. Theme Park Insider writes these blogs. That's why all these readers posted some sort of response. That's why I took the time to write this response.
On the topic of Epcot, I would love to see at least one new country in World Showcase. As far as Future world, I think new Pavilions covering such topics as Aviation, Physics, Advanced Robotics and even the hot button issue that is the Weather, would all make for fine additions. I love the idea the anonymous poster had about bringing in the Mythbusters as a part of a new attraction. They would be right at home in the Physics Pavilion.
I always loved EPCOT from the first time I visited when I was four, but I would say my love comes from nothing more than my own sentiment and experience in the park, not because I have a strong association with its meaning. I believe that in an effort to make the park accomplish an array of goals, it has become unfocused and therefore not as powerful a draw as it could be.
I also think that expecting any theme park business to attempt to tell any kind of accurate story of history or science is a failed mission, for exactly the reasons found in these comments. People will never agree when it comes to these subjects, and it seems illogical, if not unprofitable, to isolate part of an audience for some ideal of science or process of thought. Parks serve the purpose of entertainment, and while there can certainly be some base in reality, people go to theme parks to escape it, not to have an agenda of social motivations thrown in their face.
I think EPCOT brought in familiar Disney characters because attractions without them just don't have the same power, unless they tell really strong, convincing original stories (which come along only every once in a while). I don't think there is anything wrong with introducing Nemo or the Three Caballeros, as long as those overlays bring fresh entertainment to a long-standing attractions (unlike failed attempts with the Tiki Room, for example).
IF you are reading the Book of God, Why was it edited? Who are these editors and who gives them permission to edit Gods words? I just saying……..
Go Epcot….. I guess Epcot stands for – Emotional pursuing Christians on ThemeParks… hahahhaha All Day……
Nick, I agree completely with your post. Whether we like it or not, this nation is divided on many subjects - which is the spice of life, I guess. Debate sometimes fuels progress. However, if Disney wants to appease all audiences and maximize income, they should stick to nonpartisan attractions!
Steve B, the Lincoln attraction at Disneyland was recently (within the last two years) upgraded. But that's all that comes to mind right now.
As far as the Nemo overlay to the Seas, I think it is very well done, effective in its purpose, and was absolutely necessary. There was a period of time in which the Living Seas was referred to as the Dead Seas. Not enough people were going into the pavilion. People either didn't know it had real animals, or didn't care because it was too science and research based. Disney was fully prepared to get rid of the pavilion all together. WDI already had plans in place for a new attraction to replace it. The construction walls were ready to go up. Until Kim Murphy, who helped design and open the original pavilion in 1986, and was now working at Disney corporate in California, stepped in to fight for the Seas, giving Disney the idea to theme it to this new movie that came out, "Finding Nemo" to draw more crowds.
The Seas with Nemo and Friends has been one of the most popular attractions at Epcot since. Families come for Nemo and Crush, and stay for the real animals in the aquarium. There is still a lot of education going on, with lock-out chamber, fish feed, and dolphin presentations, educators throughout the building doing games and biofact carts, Mr. Ray's pop quiz, and lots of really cool research still goes on for guests to see with the dolphins. Inspiring our youth to care about the ocean and the animals that live in it are paramount to saving the oceans for future generations. The Nemo overlay was necessary to get kids into the building in the first place. You have to touch the heart to teach the mind. The kids go on the clamshell ride to touch their heart, and then their minds can be taught exploring the pavilion afterwards. Teaching children about the ocean and animals is so much more effective when Crush and Nemo and Mr. Ray are the ones teaching them, helping them to create an emotional connection to the animals necessary for the information to really stick.
I personally do not care what religion one is, political views/ affiliations, I except all. But don’t try to put that crap here…. Not the place for it….
Now back to our regularly scheduled program… SO how is Epcot doing these days......
Epcot is doing well... second most popular park in Florida, third most popular park in North America.
To go back to it's original vision Disney needs new investors and companies that use cutting edge technology. After the recession non of that exists anymore in the US.If it would happen the way to continue it is heavy investments on a yearly basis to not become the old and dated mess it is now.
Disney would be better of the kill off the whole Epcot idea and do something more long term with the park.To do that Disney could cut the park in two.World Showcase, the kitsch representation of a bunch of countries with a few rides, many movies and lots of Americanized food and cheap souvenirs for high end prices is the only pull now for the whole park and could live on it's own. Sure overload it with characters and fictional stuff, it suits the place and guests want it.
Leave them with the huge buildings of Future World. This park could be themed to Marvel (sure they can buy it from Universal if they throw enough money around), Star Wars and villains (something fans are begging Disney for for years).
But with money coming in at a steady flow and guests buying crap to put on their wristbands that rape their privacy and are ok with it so Disney is not going to do anything and keep it the mess it is.
Disney management has long concluded that these days the original goal they set out to do: fuel the hopes and dreams of the future with a glimpse of what may come, along with a celebration of human achievemant, is no longer a winner.
I was pumped up watching the Superbowl and it had nothing to do with football. I saw a commercial for Neil deGrasse Tyson's sequel to Carl Sagan's epic series of the 1980's: Cosmos. The rebooted Cosmos says that "it's time to get going again" in our journey to discover our place in the cosmos. The new series will be on Fox! It looks to be pretty awesome and I am excited about it.
Fox, of all organizations, is betting that there is an audience for a big budget general audience science documentary series. I hope it does well and I hope that Disney takes notice. You have a huge potential asset that is so underutilized and underappreciated by just slowly trying to mimic the fantasy theme park down the street. Magic Kingdom is a truly wonderful place. But 1 Magic Kingdom in Florida is enough. Slapping a few characters cheaply over old existing infrastructure does two things: it dilutes what Epcot still pretends to be about and it dilutes the unique aspects of Magic Kingdom.
If Disney really does go through with this, it will signal a total abandonment of what Epcot stands for. It's bad enough (and pretty racist, actually) that they stick Aladdin as a character in Morocco - this is sticking a fictional land into a real country.
It's like turning American Adventure into an Oz ride - but at least part of Wizard of Oz actually took place in Kansas.
Disney needs to get their crap together when it comes to Epcot. Not every park HAS to be the same thing. Epcot did very well for a long time as a "science factual" park - making it just like every other theme park misses the point entirely.
I think Walt himself did that already - Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. The man had Vision. What can I say?
What about other off-the-shelf improvements that Disney could make in Orlando? Copy Indiana Jones Adventure, CarsLand and Matterhorn Bobsleds from California. Upgrade Space Mountain in Orlando to make it equal or better than California's Space Mountain. How many Americans east of the Mississippi ever visit California Disneyland? It would be awesome if they could enjoy these rides too.
These are all improvements that Disney should have made with the $1 billion to $1.5 billion that has reportedly been spent developing Magic Bands and "NextGen" technology.
I disagreed with some of his analysis as did a few other people. In the course of that disagreement my religious beliefs were mentioned. When it comes to the topic of evolution, it's inevitable that people will disagree with it on the basis of their deeply held convictions. If you have a problem with me and others mentioning our religious beliefs on an Epcot thread and choose to police it, perhaps you should take the issue up with Mr. Niles, since he introduced the topic into the discussion.
I also ask that you refrain from trying to stifle others in such an impolite way. Your petty insults and doublespeak do nothing for your position other than to negate your arguments. As James Rao told you twice, nobody on here was trying to proselytize you, yet you took offense at some imaginary wrong. Did it ever occur to you that attitudes and words like you used and displayed are the precise reason why so many christians want the "experts" and the "know-it-alls" in the world to leave them and their beliefs alone?
You also need to stop making assumptions about other people. If you want to be respectfully treated as the complex person that you are then try to show the same courtesy to others. Putting labels like "right wing nut" on people is a lazy man's way to disagree with someone's opinion without providing any thoughtful analysis of why you disagree with them.
Global warming, attributed to mankind, is a scientifically accepted fact at this point. If you do not believe that, or you believe that scientists are fudging the data, because you've been told those things by a news source, that "news source" (I'm betting, Fox News?) is lying to you and you really need to stop watching/reading/listening to it. Please.
Really, this is settled stuff, people — like evolution, and the fact that vaccines don't cause autism. ;^) It shouldn't be controversial in the least. The fact that such things *are* illustrates how we've lost respect for science in America today. And why we need someone to step forward and begin rebuilding that respect by getting some kids to fall in love with science once again.
Nick, I will try your challenge: EPCOT= Experience the Future and the World. 6 words. At least that was Epcot’s original task.
Unfortunately American audience has lost their love to science, specially the younger generations.
I will do a controversy suggestion. Dismantled Epcot and send it to China, fast tracking Disneyland Shanghai second gate. Shanghai 2010 World Fair was a huge success, Chinese people (and East Asians countries as well) love science, and there are a lot of tech companies in East Asia that would love to patronize attractions. I would rather have a true EPCOT in the other side of the world than to see the original be perverted.
… and with the money put a full Star Wars park in its place.
Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios are all under-developed parks. Each of these parks attracts barely half as many visitors as the Magic Kingdom attracts.
It's common knowledge that these parks don't have enough good attractions. Each park has a few good rides and the rest is garbage.
How is this situation ever going to change unless visitors start boycotting these parks and force Disney to do the right thing?
But forget all that non-essential info....Mystic Manor to replace the Imagination Pavilion - who is with me?!?!?!?!?
The reason that a search online for these topics brings up so much controversy is because, in both cases, there is a large population that doesn't want to believe what the research says (and "news" outlets like Fox News continually stir up this pot). That is fine, but it doesn't mean that the science is muddled or controversial. As I was trying to articulate in an earlier post, evolution is NOT CONTROVERSIAL in the scientific community. It is the accepted model, because it fits the observed data. End of story. It causes theological issues and debate, but these are not scientific debates. The attempt to turn a theological debate into a scientific debate is part of the reason why science is so mistrusted.
By the way, if you want to know what I consider to be solid news reporting, I'll list is below. It is still politically biased in all cases (I'll list from political left to political right) but these are all better sources than almost any cable news, which is just trying to get people to keep watching at any cost:New York Times, NPR, Washington Post, Economist, Wall Street Journal.
AND, to REALLY argue with you... I loves me some Mystic Manor, but I want to see Imagination rise again in glory, Figment, Dreamfinder and all! Mystic Manor at Animal Kingdom could be really cool though, don't you think? (and they need a dark ride that isn't terrifying for little kids!)
(By the way, all my kids are vaccinated.... but I can't tell the difference between autism and teenager-ism).
At this point in this endless, but (unbeknownst to me) settled debate, I am largely trolling anyway, so rather than continue the descent into madness I will address your second point - it is FAR more worthy of all our time.
The imaginative aspects of Mystic Manor would be perfect for the Imagination Pavilion especially since the manor itself does not have to be part of the addition. It is just the box in which amazing things happen. WDI could reshape that box to better fit with the Future World theme. As long as the imaginative nature of the excursion is brought to life the attraction could reside in almost any box. Heck, they could even reuse the Imagination Institute and Figment and Dreamfinder if they wanted.
However, Mystic Manor at DAK would be a great choice as well due to the "explorer" storyline behind the owner of the house. Shoot, the attraction appears to be so great they could just bring it to the states and stick it ANYWHERE. It would even work in Adventureland at MK since the only real similarities between MM and HM are that they are both set in a big, impressive looking house. It might be a bit of a stretch to operate both attractions at MK but no more so than having Mummy and Gringotts at Universal Studios.
Whatever or whenever...just bring Mystic Manor to the states!
Epcot should be reinvented as DisneySea plus Soarin' and Mission Space.
Epcot can not hope to keep up with the rapid advance of technology. Future World will always seem outdated.
Epcot can not hope to keep up with museums that cater to the most educated segments of the population.
The reimagined Epcot/DisneySea should focus on entertaining and inspiring the public. Leave education to the institutions that won't dumb it down.
Okay, we need to stop listening to it. Here's Obama trying hard to not explain to O'Reilly how Fox is unfair to him.
O’REILLY: But if it’s unfair — I wanna know if it’s unfair.OBAMA: [Laughs]O’REILLY: Criticism is criticism! It’s my job to give you a hard time.OBAMA: Here — here’s what I would say. I think regardless of whether it’s fair or not, it has made Fox News very successful.O’REILLY: But if I’m unfair, I want –OBAMA: Here’s — here’s the thing you guys — here’s what you guys are gonna have to figure out, is what are you gonna do when I’m gone? I’m tellin’ ya.O’REILLY: Our ratings were high when you weren’t here!OBAMA: Oh, man, you know — [Laughs]O’REILLY: OOOOH! [Laughs]OBAMA: I’ve been a big money-maker for you guys. [Laughs]O’REILLY: Ask President Clinton, or President Bush. I gave President Bush a real hard time.
The bonus is he compared himself to Richard Nixon.
I chose in this piece to make explicit some example of how modern American society disrespects science rather than just playing it vague. Aaaaaand, predictably, some Theme Park Insider readers who get their information from people who don't stand on the side of science have reacted negatively in the comments.
Theme parks, obviously, don't want such conflict among their fans. They want happy customers, spending money. So ditching non-fiction themes in favor of cartoon characters allows them to keep everyone happy and spending. That gives Disney many millions of reasons to bring in Frozen and let the World's Fair stuff go.
But if I could quote a Universal-licensed property for a moment and reference Harry Potter: "We must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy." Those who oppose science can't win because they have no evidence on their side. They can, however, gin up an ugly "controversy" that kind, reasonable people would rather avoid. And by conditioning people to avoid all those "controversial" things that science discovers, they turn a society away from science. Mission accomplished.
So Disney faces a choice with Epcot: To do what is right, or to do what is easy. The easy thing is to bring in the 'toons, and quit talking about science. (As the easy thing for me to do as a publisher would be to avoid this issue altogether.) But that, alas, is not the right thing to do for a society that needs to reconnect with the enlightenment of great science, once again. That's why I wrote this post. And that's why I hope the Walt Disney Company rediscovers its founder's love of science and world around us and starts using its theme park story-telling talents in the non-fiction realm once again.
When Galileo said that the earth rotated around the sun, and not vice versa, he set off a debate very similar to this one. The parallels are striking. His findings landed him in prison. It wasn't until the 20th century that the church decided he wasn't a heretic. One interesting thing: not long after Galileo's theories came out, the church started using his model to make more accurate calendar measurements, this tacetly accepting that his research was legitimate while publicly denying it. The entire field of genetics is based on evolutionary biology. If Darwin were wrong, it would all fall apart. Plenty of folks who don't "believe" in evolution (it's not a religion or a deity!) are still saved by cutting-edge cancer therapies made possible by Darwin's work, for instance. Believe me, when you're in the hospital, you want the care you get to be based off of the most sound research possible. Can we, as religious people, accept that perhaps God reveals truth over time, and that maybe science and scripture don't have to be natural enemies?
....Getting off high horse........now!
I would gladly take Mystic Manor anywhere I could travel to with a domestic plane ticket. ;)
So I love you, bro, and you can have your facts/beliefs and I can have mine. And someday, one way or another, in spite of the current proliferation of lousy 24 hour news channels, we'll all know the truth - or we'll be dead and our bodies will lie rotting and stinking in the Earth.
In the meantime, the most sensible truth is for Disney to put a version of Mystic Manor in each of the four parks at WDW and see which one everybody likes the best!
Once in great while we would mess up and slip over into a debate about something incredibly boring to the vast majority of the patrons of TPI, but for the most part, the old arguments died out, and then this little conflagration flared up, and I got a distinct feeling of deja vu. From my perspective, I suspect some moronic ideologue on the Right (Yes, they do exist!) set Robert off and he's taking out his frustrations on the unwitting (not witless, mind you!) conservatives on this site.
So Robert, even though you shamelessly laid out the initial argument that would provoke a rather heated response, and you added fuel to the fire by telling us not to watch the news source that brainwashes us into distrusting everything scientific that comes our way, I forgive you. I know that it must be particularly galling to see Fox News dominate cable news, and Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity dominate the radio waves while MSNBC is a laughingstock that has trouble keeping their opinion personalities from making every kind of offensive slur imaginable, and Air America is no more. You really should be thankful for Fox News because other than George Bush who else is President Obama going to blame for all of his failures?
Now, with that little bit of self-indulgent and over-the-top sarcasm out of the way, can we all stop trying to be righter than each other? I like what most of you all have to say, and I would prefer that we find areas where we can agree rather than waste time on this endless cycle of putdowns and look downs. Life is too short to waste on telling each other why me is more righteous than ye.
So, back to the original discussion about Epcot and where I really think Robert missed the point. Epcot doesn't need to be a park about science in a science-skeptical society when it would be far better served by being a park about exploration. We may all disagree about some aspects of science, but I think we can all agree on the thrill and the joy of exploring our world whether it is the land, the sea, our imaginations, science and technology, space, and other countries. With that vision and a ton of cash, Epcot might be able to reach its full potential.
Tim, thanks for the bit of TPI commenter history. Helpful, and good to keep in mind. We'll avoid religion or politics, we'll be like the theme park Shriners!
One last thing, since it came up (and for the record): Maelstrom is the weirdest dark ride in the US and I love it for that. Please don't get rid of it!!!
New website: ThemeParkShriners.com! I love it. For the more geriatric, dark ride crowd, of course! Those coasters hurt way too much! ;)
BTW, to the anonymous poster from earlier in the thread, the idea to split Epcot into two parks, which I have now read a couple times in this thread and others, does not get my vote. Epcot is a unique wonder, and while it is diminished because of neglect and a lack of vision, it is only diminished compared to its own ideals (kind of like humanity). Compared to the rest of the theme park world (at least the theme park world I have visited), Epcot is still best in show.
“And the Truth shall set us Free…”
Robert wrote a great thought provoking article and it there is controversy; he is doing a great job at writing.
I am enjoying this immensely…
I am not sure what that scripture has to do with your post, but at least it gave me an opportunity to teach. Thanks!
And yes, good writing inspires debate at which Mr. Niles almost always succeeds. However, personal attacks should be discouraged as they kill the debate, reduce it to a shouting match, and stifle progress (see Washington DC for plenty of examples).
Wow, James! I never knew you were one of those subversive, gun-toting, Bible-hugging, Fox News-watching, "right wing nut jobs"! How awful!
Seriously though, Brian, if you want to be part of an adult conversation, try to act like an adult. Look at Jonas Sirota and James Rao. They may disagree, but they find common ground, they respect each others opinion, and they make excellent points.
...and another point.
None of us has a monopoly on the truth. What we have are opinions, and you wrote three lines of your opinion just as I have written far too many lines of my opinion. Please don't try to excuse your ugly comments and insults by claiming that you speak the truth. The folks on this website are far too smart for that nonsense.
And yes, I do agree - James is a classy guy.
Adult conversation – hahahaha – All day…
I will make this real easy for the Adults – Do you believe there was Noah’s ark?
Do you believe in a last universal ancestor?
Back Spinning bait – I say…
And how does one tell if a mosquito is male of female anyway?
Thanks for playing, but this fish just swam away. Your bait is returned empty. Have a good day, brother.
If you do not debate with someone, then you loss all respect for that person. If folks have different opinions, Great. I dislike those who do not have their own opinion.
And no thanks, No bible reading for me. Not my Cup of Tea....
The hockey science attractions like Horizons were discontinued for more expensive hockey science attractions like Space. The energy exhibit is still a homage to dinosaurs. No one is offended with dinosaurs.
I think the debate over science is mostly over a few things like Evolution and Global Warming. It should definitely be studied without the "settled science" bit. How can it be science if it is settled? These are contradictory concepts. The science and fact should be approached differently, otherwise, it causes unnecessary grief.
Future World needs love in many areas, but a good start would be the re-imagination of "Imagination;" a Mystic Manor ride or something derived from it could be a worthy successor, perhaps with a tangential tie-in to the upcoming Pixar "Inside Out" movie. And there's a lot of space there to work with: ditch the Magic Eye theatre -- 3D is everywhere now; I'd say that the 3D in "Get a Horse" was certainly theme-park worthy, so annex that space and make the new Imagination pavilion something really special. Perhaps with a 2nd-floor terrace restaurant with views of Illumiations.
I will add that a pavilion themed for weather and climate -- and notably illustrating the difference between the two -- could prove very enlightening to some of the climate change denier folks commenting here, provided it was well executed. The stunning power of our planet's environment -- and the ways we are altering it -- isn't something to be trifled with.