Those large stones clogging up the entrance of Epcot (in front of Spaceship Earth) have been gone for a couple of years now but they are now are back in a new colorful wall display just outside of the park. Now that they are back, we thought that we would look back at the history and original purpose of the display.
From this (inside the entrance of Epcot):
To this (outside of the entrance of Epcot):
Background on Leave A Legacy
The original idea from Disney was to generate additional revenue from the entrance area by allowing guests to have their image forever etched in the park on one of the many large sculptures that Disney would be making. The display would be part of Epcot’s Millennium Celebration which kicked off in the fall of 1999.
Disney Imagineer John Hench (who also designed Spaceship Earth) was tasked to design the large stones. His design removed six of the large planters on the west and east side of the entrance and replaced them with the Leave A Legacy stones (the center planter remained for flower & other displays).
By September of 1999, construction walls at the entrance came down and all of the stones were in place. Shortly after, the promotion towards park guests began with a kiosk under Spaceship Earth that described exactly what the Leave A Legacy program was.
For $35 (or $38 if you had someone else in your photo), you could be immortalized on one of the sculptures at the front of the park. In October of 1999, Disney started to install the small engraved photos that guests were purchasing. By the time the celebration was finished (January 1, 2001), Disney had only filled up around 25% of the spots available and decided to leave the program running in an attempt to fill empty spaces.
The program’s sales kiosk remained open until May of 2007 when Disney ended the program and promised that the guests that did have engraved photos done would have them remaining there until at least 2027 (20 years after the last one was engraved). Overall, Disney sold over 550,000 of the 700,000 spots that they had available for this program.
In 2019, at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, Disney released info on many new large-scale projects that they were planning for Epcot (and keeping the large Leave A Legacy stones at the front was not one of them).
In July of 2019, Disney started to remove the stones to prepare for Epcot’s remodel.
Now, in February, the Leave A Legacy engraved images are back and with a bright new color design! These newly designed panels are the first of many that will be installed outside the EPCOT touchpoints, featuring vibrant hues from the park’s new color palette. If you had an engraved tile done of yourself or someone in your family, you can locate it here: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/epcot/leave-a-legacy-find-my-tile/
As you can see below, the original photo tiles were not as visually stimulating as the new colorful version is! Look closely in the second image below and you can see that the “boy band” NSYNC had their images done for Leave A Legacy!
And you can now still see those original NSYNC images on the new colorful wall display just outside of the park!
What are your thoughts? Do you prefer the old stones or do you like how Disney is displaying them today?