After years of exploring the secret lives of toys, monsters, and superheroes, Disney•Pixar’s 2015 hit “Inside Out” introduced the studio’s take on yet another hidden world: the inside of a 11 year old’s mind. The movie centers around the group of emotions that live inside the head of a girl named Riley, and now Walt Disney World guests can meet two of those emotions at the “Epcot Character Spot.” In 2016, this Future World meet and greet complex expanded to include a new location for Joy and Sadness designed to resemble Headquarters, the command center from where the five emotions oversee every aspect Riley’s day. However, this isn’t the first time an Epcot offering took guests into the mind of an adolescent.
“Cranium Command” was a theater presentation at the “Wonders of Life” pavilion (now home to the park’s “Festival Center”) staring Buzzy, an audio-animatronic character tasked with piloting the brain of a 12 year old named Bobby by coordinating his various internal organs. Although “Cranium Command” focused more on the anatomical rather than the more abstract mental subject matter of “Inside Out,” there are some clear similarities between the show’s control room setting and the Headquarters seen in the Pixar film, but that’s not the only thing they have in common. Among the animators who lent their talents to the hilarious preshow of this extinct Epcot attraction was a young Pete Docter prior to his joining Pixar and ultimately directing “Monsters Inc,” “Up,” and “Inside Out.” While many old school Epcot fans still feel a lot of sadness that they can no longer join the ranks of “Cranium Command,” there’s a lot of joy right now among Pixar fans of all ages over the opportunity step into the “Epcot Character Spot” version of Headquarters to get in touch with a couple of their emotions.