I was perusing some old photographs of EPCOT Center, looking for pictures of the original Illuminations show for a post I am planning to write next. I was looking at a photo taken of the Germany pavilion all lit up for the show and recognized an awesome part of Illuminations history. At first glance the pavilion looks beautiful, all lit up. Then, on closer examination, I see an example of what would be considered one of the first iterations of the projection mapping technology that is becoming an ever-present staple of nighttime spectaculars moving forward.
The projections on the back building of Germany
The projection effect portrayed ornate trimmings that were not present on the physical show building, as well as a stripped pole on the round castle portion of the facade. I do not remember any of the projections on the facades of the countries, but @EPCOTExplorer posted this article with a fabulous photo of the capital building projected on the facade of the American pavilion. I think the projections kind of fell to the wayside next to the lasers and music for each pavilion because of the fact that they were hard to distinguish from across the lagoon if you were not right in front of said pavilion.
Not quite the same angle, but pretty close
The projections used in the former Magic, Memories, and You show were direct descendants of the original Illuminations show. The mapping technology used today is incredibly sophisticated compared to what was presented more that 20 years ago. But I believe the projections used back then could actually hold up today, in certain applications, to convey the stories that need to be told. Today though, we have such advances in this technology that the limits seem to be boundless. In my opinion, if Disney utilizes all the best of all the technologies available in one unifying show, they could create nighttime entertainment options that could not be beat. I do have my full Illuminations post coming soon, so I will be elaborating on all of these subjects soon. Thanks for reading!