When you hear the word “Epcot,” you probably immediately think of the giant golf ball-like structure in the Disney park—even if you’ve never set foot in Disney. But what does the word “Epcot” actually mean, if anything? This is a question that even Disney aficionados may not know the answer to. Is it an actual word, or one coined by the powers-that-be at Disney? Or is it not a word at all, but an acronym? And if it’s an acronym, what does Epcot stand for?
Well, to answer the first question, no, “Epcot” is not a word outside of the context of Disney. You won’t find “epcot” in online dictionaries, even as a proper noun. So let’s dive into the history of the park to find out how it got its name. Disney fanatics will also want to know these 23 secrets Disney employees won’t tell you.
It was Walt Disney himself who came up with the acronym EPCOT—and long before the park itself came into being. So what does “EPCOT” stand for? Well, Walt thought it up in 1966, when his plans for a theme park in Florida were very different from what’s there today. Disneyland, in California, had been up and running for more than ten years, and the Walt Disney Company was now working on a “Florida Project.” Walt’s idea was to build an “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.” Yes, that‘s what EPCOT stands for. And he originally planned for it to be, not a theme park, but an actual community. According to the Disney Tourist Blog, Walt envisioned a genuine city, where engineers and creative types would work and live together, sharing ideas to help usher in a better future. Speaking of the future, Disney buffs need to know about these awesome attractions coming to Disney in the coming year.
So then how did we get, instead, a full-blown theme park, with futuristic rides, globetrotting attractions, and a killer fireworks show (not that we’re complaining)? Well, after Walt passed away in 1966, the rest of the Walt Disney Company wasn’t sure how to move forward with the city or whether such a living community would truly work as he’d envisioned it. But they did adopt many of his ideas and themes for the park, including his forward-thinking focus on innovation and technology, which permeates the park’s attractions. And, of course, they kept the name! Learn more about how Walt’s vision lives on in Epcot today in the book Walt Disney’s EPCOT: Creating the New World of Tomorrow.
When Epcot opened, it was originally called EPCOT Center, a name that better reflected its acronym-ness. In 1993, though, its name changed to just “Epcot,” and it’s remained that way. On Disney World’s website, “Epcot” actually isn’t written in all caps, which would suggest that it’s not an acronym. This may have kept you guessing and wondering what does Epcot stand for, if anything. Well, now you know! Find out more Disney World secrets only insiders know.