How should we write the name of Walt Disney World's second theme park?
Is it Epcot? Or EPCOT? Disney has used both styles in the 40-year history of the park. But the name dates back before its 1982 opening.
Walt Disney himself introduced the term, which he used as an acronym for Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow - the city that he wanted to build at the heart of what became the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. That Epcot came into being as an acronym helps make the case for typing it in all caps, but does not settle the case the way it would if the term had been an initialism instead.
Which brings me to this flimsy excuse for a vocabulary lesson. Acronyms are a collection of letters, usually initials, that are enunciated together as a word, such as NASA, laser, and scuba, Initialisms are a collection of initials that are enunciated as a string of letters, such as FBI, CIA, and WDW. Initialisms pretty much always get written in all caps (I can't think of one that isn't, to be honest), while acronyms can go either way.
Disney's preference at the moment is to style the park's name in all caps, as EPCOT, while I have been using Epcot here on Theme Park Insider. Why? My journalism geek training was to avoid gratuitous use of capitalization in words and titles, reserving all caps for initialisms and certain acronyms where people commonly used the all caps form. NASA provides a classic example of the latter, while laser and scuba exemplify acronyms that grew into lower-case use because so many - if not most - people forgot that they started as a collection of initials. (If you are wondering, they are Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus and Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.)
When Disney decided years ago that Epcot, the theme park, was just "Epcot" and no longer the Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow, I went with it and stuck with it, even after Disney decided to bring back the EPCOT styling. Now? I'm willing to consider changing back, too.
The other common example of an all-caps treatment in theme parks is Legoland, or LEGOLAND, as its owner Merlin Entertainments prefers to style it. The brand name Lego is actually an acronym, deriving from the Danish words leg godt, which translate to "play well" in English, so styling the word as LEGO has some accepted precedent. But I'm not willing to extend that precedent to a new brand name formed by appending the theme park favorite "-land" to another brand name.
In other words, I can be persuaded to switch to EPCOT from Epcot, but I'm not yet ready to consider LEGOLAND instead of Legoland on Theme Park Insider.
So how to decide this? I have chosen to put it to a vote. So you tell me...
As always, thank you for input.
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