Recently, Epcot has received a stunning new fountain, snazzy plaza lighting, and several updated “throwback” pavilion flags. But that is not all that is new around the park these days. Just last week, Walt Disney World’s second gate received a rousing new soundtrack, as well.

On March 6th, Walt Disney Imagineer Zach Riddley provided fans with the inside dish on the new main entrance music at Epcot, stating that that the loop showcases “bold themes with inspiring arrangements that set the stage for exploration, celebration, and discovery.” While that may sound like a tall order, take just one listen and I think you’ll agree that this updated lineup packs an astounding punch!

Don’t believe me? Don’t take my word for it! Check it out for yourself right here!

Impressive, don’t you agree?

Disney announced that there would be a new soundtrack coming to Epcot at the D23 Expo in 2009, stating that “our team has been working on new music and a parkwide soundscape informing new shows, attractions and environments we are bringing to life in this transformation to live alongside the classic songs and themes EPCOT is known for.”

Exploration, Celebration and Discovery

Associate Music Producer Leeann Hsueh drew inspiration from the breathtaking views and aspirational architecture of the original EPCOT when selecting the new soundtrack for this enhanced space. Hsueh notes “most of the music selections feature a hybrid orchestra – a combination of live musicians and electronic elements to bring a freshness to the music program.”  This soundtrack captures our mission with this park and our work –  that our shared future is bright and rich when we connect and celebrate what makes us …. Us.

Keep your ears open for these new sounds as you visit #EPCOT.

This soaring score (no pun intended) showcases a beautiful blend of live musicians and electronic facets. While listening to the medley, you may find yourself “feeling” Epcot, as if you were somehow transported. There is an overwhelming sense of place throughout the composition. If you think that is just a lucky coincidence, think again! Associate Music Producer Leeann Hsueh, the artist responsible for bringing each note from the page to the stage, called on every ounce of skill, intention, and inspiration available, drawing from the “breathtaking views and aspirational architecture of the original EPCOT.”

Epcot purists may not be pleased to hear of this recent changeover. After all, the former entrance loop featured soundtracks from many of the park’s beloved retired attractions, including:

2001 Epcot Entrance Music Loop

  • Theme from Honey, I Shrunk the Audience (by Bruce Broughton)
  • “One Little Spark” from Journey Into Imagination with Figment (original music by the Sherman Brothers)
  • “Golden Dream” from The American Adventure (original music by Robert Moline)
  • Theme from The Living Seas (by Patrick Gleason)
  • Theme from Ellen’s Energy Adventure (by Bruce Broughton)
  • Theme from Soarin’ (by Jerry Goldsmith)
  • Theme from Mission: Space (by Trevor Rabin)

As you can see, some remnants from the 1982 Epcot Entrance remained in the above 2001 version, but not all. The Original 1982 Epcot Entrance Music contained the following:

1982 Epcot Entrance Music Loop

  • “Energy (You Make the World Go ‘Round)” from The Universe of Energy (original music by Robert Moline)
  • “Golden Dream” from The American Adventure (original music by Robert Moline)
  • “It’s Fun to Be Free” from The World of Motion…and the best version out there, in my opinion (original music by Norman “Buddy” Baker)
  • “Listen to the Land” from The Land (original music by Robert Moline)
  • “One Little Spark” from Journey Into Imagination (original music by the Sherman Brothers)
  • “Magic Journeys” from Journey Into Imagination (original music by the Sherman Brothers)
  • “Universe of Energy” from The Universe of Energy (original music by Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn)

In many ways, one could see updated music loops as a multi-generational passing of the torch. However, Leeann Hsueh’s version seems to be blazing past the rest, leaving no signs of the past in her rearview mirror. And maybe, just maybe… that is okay.

The Future of Epcot

Look, we may not agree on how Epcot should progress, but we can certainly agree that something needed to be done to move the park forward. Even if forward was backwards, it would still be a motion of some sort. If things stayed as they were, its stagnant nature would have continued to pull attendance from the park and thus leave it in an awkward standstill. If you’re a hopeless nostalgic like me, don’t get attached to that notion. Instead, imagine your favourite park (we will presume in this case it is Epcot) with weeds growing through the cracks, failing ride vehicles, and broken audio-animatronics around every bend. Not sure a pretty sight, is it? But this is the cautionary tail of parks that are abandoned, forever lost in the eternal land of misbegotten.

This new age of Epcot isn’t just a defibrillator, it is a chance at another life. Heck, it is reincarnation. And perchance this time, we’ll inch even closer to Uncle Walt’s original intent. Or better yet… what his intent would be if he were alive today.

The Next Generation of Imagineers

Don’t get me wrong, I struggle with change. But I also have faith in the Imagineers. What we have now at our disposal (which Walt and others did not) is an era of artists who hold a deep admiration for the parks as they once were, as well as a finger on the pulse of where they are going. When it comes right down to it, that is the best of both worlds! While we love original and second-string players, they weren’t fans like this up-and-coming crew. (I mean, I hate to break it to you, but even Rohde wasn’t a theme park geek until he got involved with Disney.) Let us take solace in the fact that these creatives have a level of reverence that has never been seen before. And thus, we have officially entered a new and exciting era!

Thank Goodness for YouTube!

If you’re really struggling with this lightyear jump into Epcot’s new beginning, you’ll be pleased to learn that as of March 12th, you can still hear the 2001 loop playing throughout the temperature checks and that counts for something, doesn’t it? If that doesn’t help, remember that is a gift from the theme park heavens and thanks to its mystical powers, we can visit whatever iteration of the parks we like… whenever we like!