Home » 5 Secrets of an Innoventions Cast Member at Epcot

    5 Secrets of an Innoventions Cast Member at Epcot

    Image - Big Florida Country

    In 1994, as part of the Epcot ’94 rehab, Communicore became Innoventions. Keeping the general theme of showcasing cutting-edge technology, Innoventions is a bit bigger, more in-your-face, and more heavily corporate sponsored. While the job seems pretty simple on the surface, there is a lot you probably never knew. For example, Innoventions cast members are expected not only to be experts in the specific area to which they are assigned, but to have a thorough understanding of the rest of the attraction. Here are 5 secrets of an Innoventions Cast Member.

    1. There’s a tunnel beneath Epcot

    Image - Big Florida Country

    The Magic Kingdom tunnel system, officially known as the Utilidor, is one of Walt Disney World’s worst-kept secrets. Everyone knows it’s there, photos are posted all over the Internet, and you can even visit the tunnel system on certain backstage tours. The Utilidor is almost like a small subterranean city, complete with banking and dining facilities, as well as the place that behind-the-scenes things such as trash removal and parade control systems are handled.

    What you might not know is that Epcot also has a tunnel system. It runs underneath Spaceship Earth, connecting Innoventions East and West. Unlike the Magic Kingdom system, however, Epcot’s seems largely pointless. I used it occasionally as a cut-through from one building to the other, and I believe there might have been a break room or two, but it always gave off a sense of being abandoned. I have no idea why it was built, why it only spans those few hundred feet, or why it is seriously underutilized. But it was nice to go down and get away from the crowds now and then.

    2. We are unabashed geeks

    Image - SecureBinary, Wikimedia Commons

    I’m sure someone who works or worked for Innoventions will disagree with me, but by and large, Innoventions cast members are geeks. In a job that requires nearly encyclopedic knowledge of a constantly changing lineup of new technology, what else would you expect? During my time at Innoventions, I made some great friends who shared my love of everything from role playing games to sci-fi novels.

    3. Fireworks smoke really sucks


    One of the closing duties for Innoventions cast members is to wave goodbye to guests as they leave the park after Illuminations. Cast members are stationed at various points throughout Future World, including along the bridge from the World Showcase. Most nights, it is no big deal, but on nights with low cloud cover, that is often the worst possible place to be.

    Have you ever watched the fireworks smoke settle after the show? As a guest, you probably make your way quickly through the low-hanging cloud on your way to the exit. As a cast member, though, we could be stuck standing in it for an hour or more waiting for the park to clear. During my time at Innoventions, it was not unusual for whoever had the bridge assignment to come back coughing, eyes bright red.

    4. We miss Sega, Apple, and Bill Nye the Science Guy, too

    Bill Nye Image - Bubba73, Wikimedia Commons

    The Epcot ’94 version of Innoventions focused heavily on virtual reality, games, and a highly approachable vision of science education. Anchored by such big names as Sega, Apple, and Bill Nye the Science Guy, it was a sort of science wonderland with a strong appeal for all ages. Many of these concepts lasted until the Millennium Celebration, when the complex was heavily updated with a more kid-centric theme.

    Innoventions has continued to evolve, and many guests think it is not for the better. If you’re unhappy with the Innoventions of today, please know that many of us miss the same things you do.

    5. Tech”knowledge”ists didn’t really know it all

    Sum of All Thrills

    For a long time, Innoventions had two types of cast members. Some were assigned to specific sponsors, becoming subject matter experts in that company’s products. Others comprised a roving team known as tech”knowledge”ists. As a member of that team, it was my job to become a jack-of-all-trades, able to answer guest questions about anything in either building. Of course, if a guest wanted detailed technical information, we could refer him to someone who worked with that specific product. Even more specific information was available from the sponsor reps, who actually worked for the company whose products were on display.

    The idea was great in theory, but not so good in its execution. The problem is that guests had no idea how to tell the three groups of people apart. With so many different exhibits and sponsors, and new products coming in every week, it was impossible for tech”knowledge”ists to keep up. We ended up spending more time passing guests off to exhibit specialists than we did actually answering their questions—unless, of course, the question was “Where’s the bathroom,” or “How do I get to Spaceship Earth.”

    This led to an ongoing joke that we heard constantly from the exhibit specialists:

    What’s the difference between a tech”knowledge”ist and an information sign?

    One gives you accurate, helpful, specific information. The other wears a blue lab coat.

    It was sad but true, and eventually Walt Disney World came to the same conclusion, phasing out tech”knowledge”ists. It was a fun job, but definitely not what the people who designed the position had in mind.