If you've eaten at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant, you've likely seen the video loop that plays in front of the restaurant a few times during your meal there. It plays lots of classic science fiction clips to keep you amused as you eat. While there, you may recall a portion of the video where Walt Disney himself appears and he is introduced by a robot that may seem a little familiar to those who are Walt Disney World veterans.
The robot's name is Garco, and if he seems familiar, he should because Garco has a history of his own with Walt Disney World and even Walt himself. Let's start in reverse order and start with his more recent work. If you remember years ago the pre-show video that played in the Space Mountain queue (back when it was sponsored by Federal Express), there was a clip where Garco made an appearance as "President Garco". This is the same robot as we find in the Sci-Fi Restaurant clip today and a good example of Disney Imagineers reusing things for other projects.
Why Garco is actually shown in both the Sci-Fi and Space Mountain is because he actually "worked" with Walt Disney back in the 1950's. For those not old enough to recall or even be around for it (myself included), Walt Disney produced a number of television specials about a number of topics. Walt had always had a keen interest in space and filmed a 3-part series about the Moon, Mars, and Space as part of the Disneyland television series back in 1957. In the episode "Mars and Beyond" that originally aired December 4, 1957, the episode discussed the possibility of life on other planets, especially Mars. In the introduction to the episode, Garco introduced Walt and Garco's legacy remains in the Sci-Fi today. The ironic aspect to this is that the episode Garco starred in was about dispelling myths about space that were created by science fiction of the day and yet today he is portrayed in a restaurant that celebrates science fiction.