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By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2019, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

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A Friday Visit With Jim Korkis: The Epcot Fountain



By Dave Shute

Welcome back to Fridays with Jim Korkis! Jim, the dean of Disney historians and author of Jim’s Gems in The easy Guide, writes about Walt Disney World history every Friday on yourfirstvisit.net.

THE EPCOT FOUNTAIN

By Jim Korkis

Jim Korkis on the Epcot Fountain from yourfirstvisit.netThe Fountain of Nations? The Fountain of World Friendship? The CommuniCore (Community Core not Communication Core) Fountain? Innoventions Fountain?

Over the years, the fountain in the middle of Epcot has been called many different names including these titles both on websites and on official Disney Company press releases.

Whatever guests and cast members call the fountain, it is often used as a central meeting place landmark, and as a photo location with SpaceShip Earth majestically looming in the background.

The iconic fountain has been a part of Epcot since opening day in October 1982. In fact, as a symbolic gesture of international cooperation and understanding, representatives from 22 countries each poured a gallon of water from their homelands into the fountain during the dedication ceremony of the park.

Epcot Fountain from yourfirstvisit.net

Today, every fifteen minutes, the fountain showcases water ballets where over two hundred shooters propel water up to one hundred and fifty feet in the air.

There are seven different musical selections that rotate:

  • Instrumental from the “Air Battle” sequence from “Surprise in the Skies” a former daytime lagoon show at Epcot
  • “Day One” by John Tesh
  • Main title selection from the Disney live-action feature film “Iron Will”
  • “Mickey’s Finale” selection from a proposed Epcot show tentatively titled “Around the World with Mickey Mouse”
  • Selection from Disney’s animated feature “The Rescuers Down Under”
  • Selection from the Disney live-action feature film “The Rocketeer,” and
  • “Standing in Motion” by Yanni

Epcot Fountain Rainbow from yourfirstvisit.net

It took three months of computer programming to design the seven different water ballets. At night, over a thousand colored lights highlight the streams of water. It is the largest fountain on Disney property.

The fountain holds approximately one hundred and fifty thousand gallons of water with computer controlled pumps sending almost thirty thousand gallons of water per minute cascading down its tiered walls.

The fountain uses almost thirty-five miles of electrical wire. Chloride is too corrosive for this fountain, so Disney uses bromine to keep it clean and to ensure that no algae develops. The coins that are retrieved from this fountain, like others on property, are donated by the Disney Company to local charities.

Running underneath the entire fountain is an underground work area that houses the pumps and computer systems, as well as a workshop for cast members who maintain the Epcot fountains. There is also a space with special lifts that are used beneath the stage area for performers and equipment.

The underground work area was built, and then the fountain placed on top, with no planning on how to get new equipment down into the area. Over the years, the fountain has been damaged, like when a temporary stage for performing elephants was put on top of it when Epcot showcased a daily circus.

Epcot Fountain from yourfirstvisit.net (2)

In the 1980’s the fountain team at Walt Disney World included a young civil engineer whose thesis was on the behavior of turbulence-free water. That young engineer, Mark Fuller, worked on the Epcot fountain, and later founded WET Design. This company became the premiere fountain company in the world.

Mark Fuller is also responsible for other Disney fountains including the leapfrog fountain at the Imagination pavilion. His greatest creation to date may be at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.

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Thanks, Jim! Come back next Friday for more from Jim Korkis.

In the meantime, check out his books, including The Vault of WaltWho’s Afraid of the Song of the South?, and The Book of Mouse, and his contributions to The easy Guide to Your First Walt Disney World Visit, all published by Theme Park Press.

MORE DISNEY WORLD HISTORY POSTS FROM JIM KORKIS

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3 comments

1 Anthony { 05.15.15 at 10:42 am }

Great article. Thanks for the fun information on one of my favorite parts of EPCOT Center.

2 Ryan { 05.19.15 at 9:42 am }

“The iconic fountain has been a part of Epcot since opening day in October 1971.”

Epcot opened a bit later than that.

3 Dave { 05.19.15 at 10:30 am }

OMG I can’t believe both Jim and I missed that! Thanks, Ryan, and fixed!!

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