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I have gone to Epcot for the past 20 years for inspiration and to fight depression caused by working with people who were satisfied with “that’s good enough” work. I have seized every opportunity to take my grandchildren to Epcot so they could be exposed to the marvels of technology. Each and every time I have gone to Epcot, I either learned something new and interesting or I was exposed to a novel or unique view of something that I was already familiar with. I always walked away from Epcot with the feeling that I had not only enjoyed myself but had learned something. I enjoy collecting knowledge. I have seven years of college in the areas of physics, electronics, and philosophy. I have 40 years of experience in electronics, computers, computer controlled devices, communications and aviation as a test pilot and maintenance officer.  So, I am probably not your average citizen walking into Epcot. Still, I have never left Epcot without being impressed by the innovative ideas presented and the professionalism demonstrated by Epcot’s employees, engineers, and managers.

However, after my visit a few weeks ago, I feel that Epcot is drifting away from the idea Walt Disney had when he created Epcot.  It was the first time I had ever walked away from Epcot with the feeling that I had not been exposed to anything that I could not reproduce in my shop at home. I did notice a quantum leap in Epcot’s effort to provide two things Americans demand: sports and senseless entertainment containing as little useful information as possible. Lenin (Vladimir Ilich not John) called religion “the opiate of the people”. I think Lenin, if he were alive today, would call sports the opiate of the people.

The dumbing of Epcot is a sad tail to pin onto Walt Disney’s legacy. It does not take an imagineer to provide dope to a dope addict or senseless entertainment to an entertainment addict.

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Please excuse me for poking my finger in your eye WDW. I understand that Disney World is a business and the most important thing in business is to make money, and you are making money – I am a stock holder. However, I just can’t help feeling sad about the change. I am so happy that I had the pleasure and the opportunity to expose my grandchildren to the old educational Epcot.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author and are not not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

John Simpson

During my twelve-year navy career I served as an electronics instructor and flight crew member tracking NASA manned apace shots. I took the first pictures of the Russian nuclear-powered icebreaker Lenin as it traveled south along the coast of Norway; one of the photographs I took was on the front page of the New York Times. I was a member of the navy’s Operation Deep Freeze in New Zealand and the Antarctic. During President Johnson’s South East Asia tour, I was assigned to President Johnson’s White House staff in Wellington, New Zealand and served as a security team leader. In 1967 I switched to the army and trained young army officers to be avionics maintenance officers. I was recruited by the Green Berets and assigned to jump school. After my airborne training, I was assigned to the 46th Special Forces Company in Thailand where I traveled from Malaysia to Burma installing and upgrading communication sites. On one occasion, I provided support for Special Forces operations in Laos. I was also an instructor for small weapons, jungle survival, physical security and combat-in-cities. In 1970 I graduated from primary flight school and Cobra attack-helicopter training; then went directly to Vietnam and the 25th Infantry Division just outside of Saigon. After six months, I was reassigned to the 101st Airborne Division just south of the dividing line between North and South Vietnam. I received nine air medals, two bronze stars and one army commendation medal in Vietnam. My next assignment was in Munich, Germany where I flew the border between East and West Germany. While stationed in Germany I was recruited by the Criminal Investigation Division and later Military Intelligence to track military drug dealers; my investigation led me to a French Communist woman who was supporting an underground newspaper that was providing instructions on how to sabotage military aircraft, vehicles and generators. While serving with the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment in Germany I also trained the unit's Aero Rifle Platoon in combat-in-cities and combat-in-forest techniques. During my long military career I was trained in and pursued independent studies in special warfare, psychological warfare, and physical security. My presentations on the military prove that I understand the difference between the problems inherent to war and problems caused by poor military planning, leadership, and management. I have lived and worked in a number of Muslim countries and have studied Islamic culture and religion for more than twenty years. My presentations on the Middle East and Islam provide insight into current world events and our relationships with the Middle Eastern countries of Iran and Iraq. After retirement, I worked for Bell Helicopter and was assigned to Isfahan, Iran as a Cobra test pilot. I enjoyed Iran until the terrorism started. They blew up my favorite Korean restaurant just moments after I had walked out. I escaped from Iran just prior to the overthrow of the government. Upon returning home to Ohio, I learned from the evening news that some of the Iranian military officers I had worked with had been executed (murdered) under orders from Ayatollah Khomeini. Since leaving Bell Helicopter, I have had three novels published and have worked as a technical writer, publications consultant, and engineer for Siemens, IBM, Motorola, and Dresser Industries. I have written more than 300 technical manuals on computers, computer controlled equipment, central-office telephone equipment, pagers, robots, hydraulics, pneumatics, diesel engines, jet engines, helicopters, and mining equipment. Today, I am employed as a research and development engineer for a South Florida Aerospace company; I also continue to do public speaking and radio appearances. I live in Florida with my wife JoAnn and my four-pound Chihuahua named Chiquita.


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