World Showcase Bazaar: Japan’s EPCOT Influence

Early in the planning stages for Tokyo Disneyland, WED was a flurry of creativity, simultaneously guiding Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom though its first few years and attempting to broaden the Vacation Kingdom with EPCOT- inspired initiatives. Most notable of the EPCOT projects was the Walt Disney World Showcase, an international exhibition.

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In 1974, discussions reached the point in which Japanese real estate companies wanted to move forward on what was dubbed “The Tokyo Bay Project” and Disney began to conceptualize what the American entertainment company would build in Japan. What Disney (Mostly the work of Imagineers John Hench and Claude Coats) came up with is an amalgamation of WED’s most recent and ongoing projects.

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Tokyo’s Magic Kingdom would have had the traditional Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Adventureland, and Frontierland (Dubbed Westernland for Eastern audiences) but would have been prefaced by an EPCOT inspired Main Street: International Land featuring a World Bazar.

If built, the street would have been a massive, climate controlled atrium, but instead of housing the traditional Victorian facades of Midwestern America, a sleek and space age showplace would have dominated the landscape with exhibits and pavilions from countries around the world.

Essentially, a World Showcase would have been dropped down in Tokyo Disneyland’s entrance corridor bringing a bit of EPCOT to a bold, new theme park in Asia. These plans bare a remarkable resemblance to the plans for one of the earliest iterations of World Showcase planned for Walt Disney World, which would have sat just south of the Ticket and Transportation Center.

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Sadly, the plans for an international showcase never materialized in Tokyo, and the plans for Florida’s World Showcase soon evolved out of a singular building and into a concept with individual pavilions, as spearheaded by Harper Goff . The name stuck, though, and a victorian World Bazar greets guests in Tokyo Disneyland, atrium and all.

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