Product placement is nothing new in Disneyland and Walt Disney World. The House of the Future was built by Monsanto in Disneyland’s early Tomorrowland and was fabricated entirely of plastic. Inside, guests could see the upcoming technologies of the 1960s. When the wrecking balls came to knock the House of the Future down, they just bounced right back off! RCA also sponsored a Home of Future Living, which was the original postshow for Space Mountain when it opened at Walt Disney World.
This past weekend, I got to check out Vision House, which is the latest version of the “House of the Future” attraction genre. This new exhibit in Innoventions is sponsored by GreenBuilder Media and highlights green construction techniques that you can use in your own home. But how well does it fare as an exhibit while you are on vacation?
We started outside a model of a house, and our tour guide arrived to greet us. At this time, we learned about the exterior construction of the house and the Internet-enabled keypad lock that informs the owner that you are there. It seems that the tour guides have a special deal with the Monteverde family, who own the house: we can take a tour, but Mr. Monteverde can monitor us as we go through his house!
After entering, we were informed that this was a 25-minute walking tour of the Vision House. In actuality it was about 15 minutes, but if I had known it was 25 minutes earlier, I might have passed this one by. The guide then proceeded to explain the dining room, kitchen, and living room. Each appliance was described in detail, including the manufacturer.
We also learned a lot about the owners from the house. The Monteverdes must be a awesome family to spend time with on the weekends: they have a copy of an accounting textbook on prominent display in their living room.
We proceeded to the next “room” of the house, which consists of an open bathroom, laundry room, child’s bedroom and adult bedroom. Of course, this is Disney, so the child conveniently forgot to clean up before strangers toured her room multiple times a day. The highlight of this area has to be the remote controlled toilet or, as my friends dubbed it, the “Star Trek Toilet.”
The tour ends in the Monteverde family garage, where we learned how the wife now works from home selling green building projects. Again, we heard all about the recycled building materials that keep the house cool and that can be (conveniently) purchased from various merchants.
So how is this for a stop on a visit to EPCOT Center? It’s not repeatable at all. My tour guide was difficult to understand at times, and it was clear that the guides were overly rehearsed, down to the individual hand gestures. If you have small children, they will become quickly bored. Heck, I was bored after ten minutes!
This is a great tour if you are planning to go to Home Depot immediately afterwards and buy the most expensive stove and washer/dryer unit available. Otherwise, you may want to pass this one up unless you’ve got extra time in the day or you need a break from the Florida heat. And definitely don’t wait in line for Vision House – go do something else and come back right when the tour is about to start.
Have you toured Vision House? What did you think? Let us know! And make sure to leave a welcome note for Jeff in the comments!
Jeff Swearingen has been going to Walt Disney World since 1981 and has been an Annual Passholder since 2007. He recently relocated from Washington D.C. to Orlando, Fla. Jeff is a cinema buff, technology guru and musician. Follow @jeffswear for regular tweets and photos from Walt Disney World.