Epcot Grand Opening

Official Grand Opening Ceremonies for EPCOT Center at Walt Disney World

On October 1, 1982, EPCOT Center (now known simply as Epcot) first invited the public to explore “this place of joy, hope and friendship,” as Disney chairman and CEO Card Walker would describe it in his dedication speech. Throughout the month, each of the pavilions in both Future World and World Showcase would have its own dedication ceremony, but starting on this day in 1982, the formal grand opening was held over three days, with the official Future World dedication on the 22nd, World Showcase on the 23rd, and the entire EPCOT Center on the 24th. Among the attendees were Disney’s famed songwriting team, the Sherman Brothers. Robert B. Sherman’s son Robbie told us, “I was 14 years old when my parents took me to the official grand opening of Epcot in October 1982. Among other songs for the park, my father and uncle wrote ‘The World Showcase March’ which was penned especially for the Grand Opening ceremonies. I remember the World Showcase band being conducted by (Disney Legend, conductor and orchestrator) Irwin Kostal, who had worked with my father and uncle on five different films. As a musician myself, I was privileged to have the opportunity to ask him questions about conducting. In his trademark way, he made it sound so easy! My favorite part of Epcot was Kodak’s Journey Into Imagination. When my father and uncle (Richard M. Sherman) were working on songs for the Journey Into Imagination pavilion, my father knocked on my bedroom door one day after school. He wanted to borrow my slide whistle for a song that he and my uncle would be recording the following day. A few weeks later he invited me to accompany him to the Disney Studios lot in Burbank where the recording sessions for the EPCOT music was well underway. During a break, he asked the recording engineer to play back the song ‘One Little Spark.’ Half way through the verse I heard it…my slide whistle!”