In 2019, Disney unveiled plans for a major overhaul at Epcot, one of its most innovative and futuristic theme parks in Florida. Although the transformation will likely take a decade, a few new additions are on the way and will be revealed during Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary, which has been going on since October of last year.
It might be hard to compete with the major attractions coming to Epcot. For example, there is the guardians of the galaxy the roller coaster is scheduled to open during Memorial Day weekend 2022. There is also the tron Light Cycle Run, another great race that has already started push-pull testing. However, a restaurant goes all out to attract attention. This includes paying homage to the park’s creator, Walt Disney, using 3D printing.
Thanks to an article by Disney Imagineer Zach Riddley, we took a closer look at the incredible 3D-printed flooring design for Connections Café and Eatery, a brand new fast-casual quick-service restaurant located on the grounds of the worldwide celebration of Epcot.
“Customers will experience detailed flooring designs (yes, more flooring) that pay homage to the radial layout and celebrate Epcot’s purposeful geometry and organic symmetry,” Riddley describes. He is part of Walt Disney Imagineering Research & Development, the research and development arm of The Walt Disney Company, responsible for the creation, design and construction of theme parks, cruise ships and even real estate developments.
The radial plan of the Greenbelt displayed in the geometrically intrinsic flooring design is an exact replica of Walt Disney’s original concept for the “City of Epcot”, a plan inspired by the garden city urban planning movement. Envisioned in the 1960s, the idea was to create a functional city prototype that “would never cease to be a living model of the future”. However, after the death of the park’s creator, the project turned into an Epcot theme park. The futuristic vision of what today could be called a “smart city concept” has only been immortalized on canvas. Today, the Imagineers bring this piece of Disney history to life.
“Epcot is brimming with an iconic form language that evokes big ideas about cities, innovation and the potential of design to make the world a better, more integrated place. These iconic Epcot designs were evident from Walt’s original site plans for the Florida project, where Eocit was to serve as the literal and conceptual “center” of Walt Disney World, where one could live, learn and experience innovations. which would come later. to define everyday life as we know it,” the Imagineer explained.
Riddley’s images from his Instagram account show the various stages of the process, from line drawing to a near-finished product just before its final polish. These designs were created with a durable biopolymer material that is 3D printed to provide “an intricate pattern”. Skilled craftsmen then arrange this line drawing to create inlays in the poured flooring material, with the final design revealed through cycles of sanding and polishing, “where classic and cutting-edge techniques meet”.
Earlier this year, Riddley hinted there would be nods to history at the park, which opened in October 1982, and it’s a great surprise for millions of Disney fans. Launched this spring, the new fast-casual restaurant and adjoining cafe was inspired by Epcot’s core idea of ”connecting” around food and bringing people from different cultures together.
“Epcot never stopped evolving – what Walt envisioned as a constant ‘state of becoming’. To this day, the Imagineers continue to draw inspiration from these original concepts and ideas for the park throughout the current transformation,” continued Riddley, who has also worked on other major projects at the parks including the restaurant. Epcot’s Space 220 and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.
Imagineers have been using 3D printing in parks for several years. In 2017, they used a 3D model to present the two star wars-inspired lands, now officially called star wars: Galaxy’s Edge, at Disneyland and Disney World. Then, once the lands opened up, Disney designers had access to the Lucasfilm archives to study the original props, artifacts and costumes, which were scanned to take 360-degree images. Finally, 3D prints were used to create new molds for the items, which were then replicated as merchandise.
Other areas of the park have also relied on 3D printing, including Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment department, which recently shared a post of little 3D printed Mickey ears created especially for The Seas with Nemo pavilion. & Friends. The hats were placed in one of the marine environments, where a sea urchin and an epaulette shark were seen having fun with the 3D printed accessories.
In another bold move, Disney Imagineers in Glendale, Calif., tested 3D printing methods to create muscles that can mimic authentic humanoid movements for Project Exo. Kept under wraps for nearly two years, Disney finally revealed what it was. The team is developing piece by piece a very elaborate complete exoskeleton system that could one day be used to bring Disney characters, like the Hulk, to life at theme parks and interact with guests.
Like many other innovative uses of technology, Epcot’s upcoming 3D-printed floor design reinforces the 50-year-old history of one of the world’s most-visited theme parks. Not only does this mimic Walt’s original idea, but it ensures that Epcot’s origin story continues to unfold, even as the park changes and transforms.
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