Recently I asked the podcast RetroWDW to investigate the short lived Disney Channel news magazine, EPCOT Magazine. Naturally they were able to uncover some wonderful details about the production of the show and shared it in their episode, Polynesian Dreams – Part I. It is a great episode if you love the Polynesian Resort at Walt Disney World and if you are interested in hearing what they found out about EPCOT Magazine.
Listen to RetroWDW answer my question about EPCOT Magazine
If you are not a fan of high quality Disney podcasts, here is what they said in their show notes:
Garry was up next and asked all about EPCOT Magazine. He felt he was on the show at one point, so we inform him all about this daily digest style show from The Disney Channel. This show ran from 1983 – 1986 and was hosted by Michael Young. Brian gives all the details on this gone, but not forgotten shows. We restored a 16mm film that shows some of the filming, behind the scenes. Check the 3:00 minute mark in this video.
That is right, I might have been on EPCOT Magazine as a kid. I thought I would use this opportunity to write-up a more thorough description of my appearance on the show.
In late Winter/early Spring of 1983 my family visited EPCOT Center for the first time. We did not take many trips, but my Mother was obsessed with Florida and Disney. So we saved for the entire year to make this trip.
We drove down from New Jersey and were in Florida for a week. We stayed in Ft. Lauderdale and then at the end of the week we would drive up to Orlando and check into the Days Inn and checked in for two days. Day one we went to EPCOT Center and day two, the Magic Kingdom.
My Mom and I were over the moon for EPCOT Center. The rest of my family, not so much. Being raised on a steady diet of Disney mythology, I could not get over that I was in a NEW DISNEY PARK. At the time I thought this was a once in a lifetime experience. At the park, I was shot out of a cannon, nothing could contain me as I ran from attraction to attraction and place to place.
I discover WorldKey
Being a tech fan, how could I not be excited? Then I found the WorldKey Touchscreen info kiosks. This was my first time interacting with the screens and I was set on mastering it. Since few attractions were open and we had a whole day to kill, my family indulged my love of the kiosks while they spent time in shops or hiding in the shade.
I was very young at a the time, just a child, and my enthusiasm grabbed the attention of a nice person who asked me to talk them through the use of the kiosks. Little did I know that I was auditioning for an appearance on a television show.
After 15 minutes of poking at the screen and talking non-stop, I noticed a few other people were watching me. They then asked to talk to my parents and I brought them to my Mother.
I would later find out they were from EPCOT Magazine and wanted to film me for the show. So after my Mom signed a few documents, they set up the cameras, filmed for about 45 minutes, and that was it.
We got copies of the docs, but no info about when or if the footage would air. Despite my sisters making fun of me for the rest of the day, I was on Cloud nine.
When we went home, I was sure that this was the start of my career in television and fell asleep on the cot at the Days Inn dreaming of my inevitable move to Hollywood.
When we got home, we did not have access to the Disney Channel. This caused much consternation on my part. After all, I did not want to miss my big moment.
Eventually the Disney Channel would be available, but it was very pricey. It did not seem like we would be able to afford it, but fate would lend a hand.
My awesome rebellious sister lends a hand
My sister, fed up with having only basic cable, took it upon herself to order the MOST expensive cable package by pretending to be my Mom. The fallout from it was explosive, but somehow when the smoke cleared, we kept the cable!
I would tune into the Disney Channel every day and would consult my Disney Channel guide for broadcasts of EPCOT Magazine. Episodes would come and go, but I would never see myself. Which means that they might have never used the footage or I missed the episode that aired it.
Sadly info about the show is scant online. So I have not been able to find episode descriptions. The bits of footage available are just as scarce, so I am forced to look for clues and information wherever I can.
Watch the intro to EPCOT Magazine
When my Mother passed away, I inherited a lot of paperwork, I could not find the release forms, but I have not given hope up that they are in some other box. Perhaps if I find them, I will get more clues or a name of someone I could try to track down.
The internet is a magical place. You never know what someone is going to upload or sell. So I keep my eyes open.
This is the closest I have come to being a part of “Disney” and as fans of Disney will tell you, being part of the magic is something we all secretly dream about.