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 LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Nov. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Major plans moving Epcot into the 21st century with an exciting new showplace for invention and innovation are underway today at Walt Disney World.
 The unique "Innoventions" is the first big step in assuring that Epcot will always be "What's Next," an ever-changing and entertaining world exposition, according to Michael D. Eisner, chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Company. Epcot will initiate changes each year beginning with 1994.
 "Innnoventions" will be an amazing exhibition of the newest products for home, work and play -- always changing, always exciting "a World's Fair of what's new for daily living," Eisner said.
 "The Walt Disney Company has always dealt with the fantasy world of fairy tales, the real present world of motion pictures and television and the future world of space travel," he said. "Now we will also concentrate on the near future -- on what we will see tomorrow and the day after as it relates to our lives, from entertainment to communications to living in one's house and community."
 Opening for Epcot '94 next June, "Innoventions" will be located in a 100,000 square foot exhibit area at the center of Future World. Other nearby Epcot pavilions dealing with transportation, energy, health, oceanography, agriculture and other subjects vital to life in the 21st century.
 Newness will not be limited to Future World. Epcot plans to add exhibits throughout World Showcase to portray important examples of progress in many nations -- sports, entertainment, education, science and changes in daily living.
 In announcing plans for "Innoventions" and other major improvements for Epcot '94, Disney officials pointed out that Epcot opened in 1982 as a permanent World's Fair.
 "These new initiatives," Eisner said, "represent an even stronger commitment to an ever-changing World Exposition, always on the cutting edge of entertainment, demonstration and experimentation, unlike any other place in the world. Innoventions will be the focal point of this new Epcot ideal.
 "At the same time," he said, "the entire Walt Disney Company will undertake major new programs in education and entertainment based on the Epcot ideal."
 Judson Green, president of Walt Disney Attractions said "Innoventions" guests will be among the first to marvel at the hottest new electronic games and toys, the most innovative system for the home, newest video phones, multi-media computers, interactive-TV, voice recognition controls, High-Definition Television and other major innovations of the near future.
 With such new systems as CD-ROM and Interactive CDs for instance, Epcot guests will be able to take a visual tour of Pyramids of Egypt, choose the exact area for visiting and even pick the angle for viewing.
 "Innoventions" will include at least 15 major exhibit areas, each presented by a leading manufacturer -- in many cases the first public showing of what's new that affects daily living.
 Many of the systems for use at home will be on display in the "Magic House Gallery" including new automatic appliances, automatic plumbing facilities and intelligent systems for computerized management of the home -- even by remote control while on vacation. Many of these are designed to save time and energy and minimize human impact on the environment.
 Examples of new systems include a self-cleaning rest room for business buildings -- automatically flushing down walls, floors and fixtures, then blowing itself dry within five minutes, or a home bathroom with temperature-controlled lavatory seat.
 New systems which will operate appliances and machines merely by waving your hands through a magnetic field instead of pushing buttons are among other planned showings of emerging technologies.
 New automobile navigation systems will provide a lost driver with an instant video map of the area where he is driving via interactive satellite. New heads-up auto instrument panels which place images at driver eye-level are also on the way.
 Just as they are being shipped to market, the newest HDTV sets will give visitors a chance to see the next generation of television -- unbelievably clear and precise in colorful detail to enhance picture realism.
 Advance versions of hand-held computers (personal digital assistants) where hand writing is converted to printed text for immediate transmission across the nation; a phone or switching system which has only to hear your voice to dial a number on your car phone or turn on your home air conditioner; group video games simulating a race through space where each player makes decisions on spacecraft control to decide the winner -- these are the kinds of technologies which will be part of the exhibits.
 "Innoventions" will include live stage demonstrations, interactive hands-on displays and dynamic exhibitions in a fun-filled atmosphere of discovery.
 However, "Innoventions" is only the first of many "ever-changing" Epcot '94 initiatives in Future World and World Showcase.
 In addition, the world's most versatile computer-driven performing fountain is ready for Epcot '94 with a daily "Splashtacular" musical extravaganza. Jet-powered water-cannons will send more than 200 laser- like jets of water crashing skyward in a kind of aquatic dance.
 The "Splashtacular" show also features a cast of nearly 50 dancers and Disney characters with some of the largest cold-air balloons ever made -- an impossibility just a few years ago.
 World Showcase makes show business history in a different way bringing to life the most famous doll in all the world. The "Magical World of Barbie" will take a globe-circling journey with the Mattel doll and her friends on the new America Gardens Stage several times each day.
 Now being seen in rehearsal for a premier during the forthcoming holiday season, the fast-paced musical takes the form of a 30-mintue tour with Barbie and friends, from the Australian outback to a Russian ballet theater, from the African jungle to a fashion-show runway in Paris.
 Throughout Epcot '94, new ideas and technologies are being introduced in the quest for "What's Next." Already under way are Future World projects in The Land, Journey Into Imagination and Spaceship Earth. Later progress will include the Universe of Energy and major changes in the World of Motion.
 Epcot is also undertaking major programs in education and international cultural programs. Plans are being made to bring artists, craftsmen and entertainers from many other nations to join with those already a part of World Showcase.
 New programs for making the Epcot experience available to schools and individuals nationwide will involve nationally distributed books, magazines and television programs including The Disney Channel.
 As a part of the Walt Disney World celebration of National Children's Day, Green said Epcot programs, new and old, will make discovery and learning more entertaining for millions of young people.
 To familiarize school teachers with Epcot discovery opportunities, Green announced that beginning in January all accredited United States school teachers in grades Kindergarten-to-12 will be admitted without charge throughout 1994 to experience the many Epcot adventures and information services.
 A broad-scale test of the fun-learning concept was conducted this fall when 315,000 Florida school children from 2,400 schools made field trips to Epcot as guests of Walt Disney World with teachers directing their tours of Epcot pavilions focusing on what they were studying in class.
 "The reaction," Green said, "was tremendous from students as well as teachers and parents. Many said they had no idea Epcot had so much meaningful entertainment for children. Teachers see it as a motivational tool."
 -0- 11/22/93
 /CONTACT: Walt Disney World Press & Publicity department, 407-824-4531/

CO: Walt Disney World; Epcot ST: Florida IN: ENT LEI SU:

RK-AW -- FL013 -- 6989 11/22/93 17:04 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 22, 1993
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