communicore

5

Walt Disney World Original Character Report

Character: SMRT-1 (Smart One)

Status: Extinct

Home: CommuniCore East in Epcot Center, October 1982- January 1994; Concourse Steakhouse at the Contemporary Resort 1994-2000.

Appearance: Small, purple and chrome robot set on a rotating pedestal surrounded by telephones.

Quotes: “If I keep this up I might graduate from Solid State.”

Description: SMRT-1 was part of the Computer Central exhibit sponsored by Sperry and later Unisys. The small, adorable robot acted as a demonstration of voice recognition technology by playing games with guests. In one example, SMRT-1 would display a list of animals on a piezoelectric display board and ask the player to select one. He would then ask the player a series of yes or no questions through a telephone handset to arrive at the answer. It also spent some time ad-libbing and singing between games: “If I keep this up I might graduate from Solid State.” After the closure of CommuniCore in 1994, SMRT-1’s shell, long silent, could be seen for several years in the Contemporary Resort Hotel’s Grand Canyon Concourse as a piece of restaurant decor. Rumor has it that the robot was sold after SMRT-1 suffered an accidental fall at the Steakhouse that caused minor damage in 2000, the current location of  SMRT-1  is a mystery.      

This Day in Disney History

September 29, 1994:  Innoventions opens in the former site of Communicore in Future World in Epcot.

Innoventions is an ever changing area on either side of Future World full off different kinds of interactive displays, walk-through areas, and attractions.  Split into Innoventions East and Innoventions West, they make great areas to walk through while you’re navigating Future World.  Not only will you get to see and experience some of the latest and greatest innovations in home improvement, you can also score some delightful air conditioning and places to rest!

The name “Innoventions” comes from a combination of ‘invention’ and 'innovation’ which perfectly describes the things you’ll find inside.  If you have some spare time, take a peek inside!

2

These concepts are from a time when EPCOT was transitioning from the full-blown city Walt Disney had planned to build to the more traditional theme park it eventually became.  In the mid-70’s there were still plans to have commercial entities doing real research at EPCOT.

The 1975 Annual Report describes the Future World Theme Center:

“The EPCOT Future World Theme Center, a high-capacity visitor facility which will employ advanced communications techniques, including motion pictures, models, multi-media exhibits and ride-through experiences, to inform millions of people each year about what is being done in the creative centers of science and industry around the world.  Most importantly, it will demonstrate how these new technologies and ideas can be applied in a practical way to improving the environment for living in existing communities throughout America and the world.”

We also get the origin of Communicore, the “Communications Corridor”.

youtube

That’s why I’m a rooter
For me computer.
Everybody needs a friend.

youtube

Here’s “A Day At EPCOT Center” which was probably released around the late 1980’s because it shows Horizons and Wonders of Life which were later additions to the park.

It walks you through a “day at EPCOT Center” starting at Spaceship Earth, going through Communicore (and showing the “futuristic” costumes of Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and others) with their newfangled computer technology, then out to The Living Seas and Seabase Alpha. 

It ventures on to The Land, back when Symbiosis was playing, Listen to The Land with it’s on-boat narration was the main attraction, and Kitchen Kabaret stood where Soarin’ is now. Next up is Journey Into Imagination with the original (and best) ride, and ImageWorks with the Rainbow Corridor. The World of Motion is next with it’s adjoining Transcenter. 

At this time, Horizons is open and the footage is great and even shows some of the “choose your own future” ending. Next up is the Wonders of Life pavilion back when it actually had full attendance. It mentions The Making of Me which is rare for publicized glimpses into Wonders of Life. It’s actually the first thing mentioned.

The Universe of Energy is next, pre-Ellen and Bill Nye but still with dinosaurs. So still awesome. 

They show Surprise in the Skies, an air/water show on the World Showcase Lagoon.

Then, you work your way starting with Canada, onto the UK (with a very large inflatable Robin Hood which looks…questionable), then France, Morocco (which was one of the newer pavilions added after the park opened), Japan, Italy, Germany, skipping over to China, then Norway (which was also added post-opening) which has Maelstrom with brand new audio-animatronics and only Norway related stuff in the gift shops instead of primarily just Frozen like it is now, and on to Mexico with the El Rio De Tiempo boat ride. There is also a lot of the footage of the live entertainment spread throughout the World Showcase and the omnibus that used to drive people around the showcase. The American Adventure is the last pavilion to be shown, featuring the early version of The Voices of Liberty, back when they were called the Liberty Singers and wore differing costumes ranging from the pilgrims to post-colonial.

To end the program, the original IllumiNations with it’s heavily synthesized score and lasers (so 80’s, you guys. I can just feel the 80’s).