The theme park got its peculiar name from Walt Disney himself.

By Meghan Overdeep
April 25, 2019
Katja Kreder/Getty Images

Most people are familiar with Epcot's giant golf ball-like structure. It is, of course, the Walt Disney World park’s most recognizable feature—by a mile. But far fewer people are familiar with the theme park’s unique history, starting with its name.

(For the record, Spaceship Earth is not a giant golf ball. It’s a geodesic sphere devoted to the future of communication.)

Now, the story of Epcot (which stands for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow) goes back much further than its 1982 opening. According to Disney Tourist Blog, Walt Disney dreamt it up in 1966. At the time, his plans for Disney World were much different, and Epcot was to be an actual utopian city where 20,000 residents lived, worked, and played. It was a “personal vision of Walt Disney,” and one of his last great ambitions.

WATCH: The Genius Reason Disney World Highway Signs Are Purple, Red, and Yellow

Unfortunately, after Disney’s death, his company opted against building a city. “Without Walt’s creative vision, the leaders of the company felt it too uncertain of a project,” Disney Tourist Blog explains.  But they didn’t ditch his plans entirely. They moved forward with his principals and ideas for a high-tech, futuristic EPCOT Center, and even kept his proposed name for it.

EPCOT Center was shortened to just “Epcot” in 1993 and has remained that way ever since.

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