Ego's models depicting his adventures in searching for compatible life seemed very similar to an old fashioned EPCOT display in Disney World. Is there any indication that this was a shot at Disney and Co.?
It would seem the diorama was not shot at EPCOT but instead designed by the VFX team to look like the "Stations of the Cross" (not necessarily look alike in the sense that side by side it's clear, but in the same manner, using individual depictions to tell a story). In and interview with Paul Butterworth, the VFX supervisor of Animal Logic, he said the following about the design of the Diorama. (Emphasis mine)
Which references and indications did you receive to create the dioramas?
Early on in the pre-production phase of the film, we were asked by Chris to design and develop a series of ‘moving paintings’ that depicted Ego’s backstory. Chris was keen on the idea of pictures that form through falling sand, and he had some excellent reference that he shared with us in this regard. James loved the idea that Ego’s backstory was displayed in the manner of the ‘Stations of the Cross’ which is a classical representation of Jesus’s crucifixion.
In Ego’s case the paintings would be several triptychs that depicted his backstory from a lonely intelligence adrift in the cosmos to ‘galactic conqueror.’
One of the other key factors to consider was that Ego could manipulate and grow anything with his ‘celestial energy’. So the images needed to be beautiful Renaissance paintings that could evolve and change like a picture sequence.
Art of VFX interview with Paul Butterworth, VFX Supervisor at Animal Logic