World Showcase Bazaar: Japan’s EPCOT Influence
Early in the planning stages for Tokyo Disneyland, WED was in a flurry of creativity, simultaneously guiding Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom though its first few years, while attempting to broaden the Vacation Kingdom with EPCOT- inspired initiatives. Most notably of these EPCOT projects was the Walt Disney World Showcase, the international exhibition part of the project.
In 1974, discussions reached the point in which Japanese real estate companies wanted to move forward on what was dubbed “The Tokyo Bay Project” and begin to conceptualize what the American entertainment company would build in Japan. What Disney (Mostly the work of John Hench and Claude Coats) came up with is an amalgamation of their most recent and ongoing projects.
Tokyo’s Magic Kingdom would have had the traditional Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Adventureland, and Frontierland (Dubbed Westernland for Eastern audiences) but would have been prefaced by an EPCOT inspired Main Street: International Land featuring a World Bazar.
As finally built, the street would have been a massive, climate controlled atrium, but instead of housing the traditional Victorian facades of Midwestern America, a sleek and space age showplace would have dominated the landscape with exhibits and pavilions from countries around the world.
Essentially, a World Showcase would have been dropped down in Tokyo Disneyland’s entrance corridor bringing a bit of EPCOT to a bold, new theme park in Asia.
Sadly, this never materialized in Tokyo, and the plans for World Showcase soon evolved out of a singular building into the Harper Goff designed individual pavilions of today. The name stuck, though, and a victorian World Bazar greets guests in Tokyo Disneyland, atrium and all.
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