Yestercot at Yesterland.com

Leave a Legacy

“Create a Timeless Memory”
Leave a Legacy at Epcot

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2006

Leave a Legacy kiosk at the base of Spaceship Earth

Would you like to be at Walt Disney World every day of the year, for at least 20 years? You—or at least your face—can be! Just have your photo etched onto a stainless steel Leave a Legacy panel at the entrance to Epcot.


At the Epcot Legacy Sculpture, there’s room for around 700,000 one-inch-square photo etchings on 35 sculpted monoliths, ranging from 3 to 19 feet tall. Don’t worry; they won’t put your photo on the really high part of a tall monolith, so you won’t need a ladder to see it.

Learn how the program works at a kiosk at the base of Spaceship Earth. There are two other kiosks in the park.

Leave a Legacy at Epcot

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2006

Epcot Entrance Plaza Fountain

Here’s how the Epcot 2000 Commemorative Program describes this opportunity:

LEAVE A LEGACY

Throughout history, people have marked important events with special, unique creations or by dedicating something meaningful to them. At Leave A Legacy, located just inside Epcot® on the west side of the Main Entrance turnstiles, you, your family, friends, and loved ones can leave a personal record of how you celebrated the new millennium at Walt Disney World®.

Leave A Legacy was created by Walt Disney lmagineering as a tribute to this milestone occasion. It is both a work of art and a family album where guests can mark their moment in time in the form of a one-inch square digital photograph etched on a commemorative metallic tile mounted on the beautifully sculpted Leave A Legacy granite monoliths. Single and dual image tiles are available. Visit the Leave A Legacy information kiosks near the base of Spaceship Earth, on the bridge between Future World and World Showcase, and at American Adventure in World Showcase for more information. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to create a special reminder of how you celebrated this historic moment at Walt Disney World®.

Are you ready to create a timeless memory?

Leave a Legacy at Epcot

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2002

To the Photo Capture Stations

Go to one of the five Photo Capture Stations on the Epcot Entrance Plaza to snap your photo. The price is $35 for one person or $38 for two faces on the same photo. The maximum is two faces per etching.

Let’s say you want your family of five enshrined as part of the Epcot Legacy Sculpture. You’ll need at least three squares. If Junior gets an individual photo, the other two kids will probably want one too. So now you’re looking at four.

Leave a Legacy at Epcot

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2007

Examples of etchings

If you’re in a relationship that might not last for at least 20 years, you should think twice about Leave a Legacy. Once your photo etching is in place, there’s no option to remove it.


You can no longer purchase a square on the Epcot Legacy Sculpture, but the monument itself will remain where it is until at least 2027.

Leave a Legacy began as part of Walt Disney World’s Millennium Celebration, the 15-month-long party at Epcot which ran from October 1, 1999, to January 1, 2001.

Leave a Legacy at Epcot

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2007

Cradling Spaceship Earth

The idea, as reported in the Fall 1999 issue of Disney Magazine, was that guests could document the moment they “crossed into the new millennium” by “becoming one of the more than 700,000 steel-etched visages that forever, or for the foreseeable future anyway, will grace the Epcot Entrance Plaza.” These digital etchings would be mounted on a sculptural monument that was “designed to resemble foothills or rock outcroppings and appearing to cradle the looming form of Spaceship Earth.”

Leave a Legacy at Epcot

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2007

Explaining the Monument—with a quote from Walt Disney

The Millennium Celebration ended with plenty of blank space left on the monoliths. Leave a Legacy sales continued, just without the millennium angle.

Leave a Legacy at Epcot

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2012

Former location of the Leave a Legacy kiosk at the base of Spaceship Earth

Leave a Legacy sales finally ended June 16, 2007, despite enough unsold space for at least another 150,000 photos. The information kiosks and the Photo Capture Stations were removed, but the monoliths stayed.

Leave a Legacy at Epcot

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2007

No images above eye level

Among Disney fans, the Epcot Legacy Sculpture competes with the Sorcerer Mickey Hat at Disney’s Hollywood Studios as the most hated eyesore at Walt Disney World. But they both have their fans too, especially among Leave a Legacy customers or those whose have never seen the Studios park without the hat. Disney sold around 550,000 Leave a Legacy etchings over the course of almost eight years, and many of those buyers like to visit their photos every time they go to Epcot.

Leave a Legacy at Epcot

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2007

Polished granite monoliths

The Epcot Legacy Sculpture is often likened to a graveyard of monumental tombstones, a mausoleum, or a war memorial. The hard granite monoliths with their hard steel plaques rise from a hard concrete plaza. There’s some landscaping in the center of the plaza and around its edge, but not between the rows of monoliths.

Leave a Legacy at Epcot

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2007

Typical view after entering through a turnstile

Do you remember the photo earlier in this article of the bed of flowers with Spaceship Earth cradled in the monument? That’s not what guests see when they enter Epcot because the entrance turnstiles are on the sides, while the exits are in the middle.

The result is that Epcot has an entrance that comes across as cold and uninviting to many guests, in stark contrast to the entrances of the other Walt Disney World parks—the grand nostalgia of Magic Kingdom Park, the intimate charm of bygone Hollywood at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and the lush greenery of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Leave a Legacy at Epcot

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2006

Mighty monoliths

The Epcot Legacy Sculpture was designed by the Disney Legend John Hench (1908-2004), working with a team of Walt Disney Imagineering interns. It was the last major Imagineering project for Hench, who celebrated his 60th year with Disney in 1999.

That raises the question of why such a distinguished Imagineer and expert in theme park design would want to fill the Epcot Entrance Plaza with giant granite slabs decorated with itty-bitty digital etchings on sheets of stainless steel. The answer is that it was a management decision to make money from the plaza in front of Spaceship Earth. Hench and his team were then brought in to design the monument. With its bold angles and sweeping form, it’s a far better monument than it might have been in the hands of a lesser designer. Imagine if it had been a series of identical, rectangular walls.

Leave a Legacy at Epcot

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2006

Some fully populated monoliths

By now, many readers of this Yesterland article are undoubtedly disappointed that only the sales of new Leave a Legacy squares have “gone to Yesterland,” but that the monument itself hasn’t. The paperwork that Leave a Legacy customers received includes language indicating that Disney can replace or relocate the “image and/or sculpture” anywhere within Walt Disney World at any time. After an image has been up for twenty years, it can be removed permanently.

Leave a Legacy at Epcot

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2007

Loyal Disney customers

It’s seems highly unlikely that Disney would want to rebuild or move the Epcot Legacy Sculpture before the twenty years are up. It would probably cost millions of dollars—and anger 550,000 loyal customers. It wouldn’t be easy either. According to Disney publicity, the heaviest monolith weighs more than 50,000 pounds.

In 2027, twenty years will have passed since the last etchings were added. Perhaps the Epcot Entrance Plaza will then become a welcoming garden space filled with flower beds, fountains, trees, paths, and benches. The space would still be dominated by John Hench’s work—but it would be his brilliant Spaceship Earth.


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Updated December 14, 2012.