On this day in 1990, Epcot's Person of the Century attraction was launched at CommuniCore West.
Guests could cast their vote for the Person of the Century from a list of 89 nominees. Held at various kiosks equipped with touch-screens, the poll asked guests to vote based on who they felt was the most influential person of the 20th century. Nominees included such famous names as Thomas Edison, Mikhail Gorbachev, Lucille Ball, Winston Churchill, and Marie Curie. Guests could also write-in votes as well if they didn't agree with any of the 89 choices.
Four month later, Disney announced that the following nominees were in the lead: The Beatles, Winston Churchill, Walt Disney, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Henry Ford, Mikhail Gorbachev, John F. Kennedy. Martin Luther King Jr., and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Voting for the Person of the Century was supposed to run until January 1, 2000. At that time CEO Michael Eisner would announce the winner on television. Unfortunately after a little more than a year, the voting machines were removed and the Person of the Century voting disappeared!
The popular belief on why this happened centered on Epcot Cast Members stuffing the ballots with fellow employee names. Disney execs learned that by removing the phony write-ins ... all legitimate votes would be wiped out too. By March 1991, the Person of the Century idea was totally abandoned.
Who is Epcot's Person of the Century? We may never know.
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