I have recently returned from 2 magical weeks at Walt Disney World in Florida.
Walt Disney World is situated in Orlando and includes 4 theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom and Epcot), 2 water parks (Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach) and a number of different resorts. We stayed in one of the Disney resorts and visited all of the Disney theme parks and water parks. We visited Epcot on day 7 of our holiday. Epcot was the second Disney park to be built at Walt Disney World and first opened in 1982.
Our park tickets were included in our package, so we didn't have to worry about entry costs to any of the parks. We could come and go as we pleased. However park prices are generally very expensive at Disney. A one day adult pass (10+ years) at Epcot costs $89.00 and a one day child pass (3-9 years) costs $83.00. These prices are quite high but I still think it's definitely a park worth doing. Parking is available for $14.00 per day.
The park opening times vary throughout the year. During our visit the opening hours were 9am - 9pm. If you are staying in the Walt Disney World resort, then you are entitled to 'Extra Magic Hours'. Extra Magic Hours allow you in to all the Disney parks either an hour before the parks open to the public or a couple of hours after the parks close to the public. Extra Magic Hours are definitely worth taking advantage of. We used a lot of our Extra Magic Hours to get on rides that usually have huge queues. Another perk definitely worth taking advantage of is Fastpass. Fastpass is a free service that is available to everybody visiting the Disney parks. The majority of the most popular rides and attractions allow you to use Fastpass. They have Fastpass ticket machines outside - just pop your park ticket inside and you'll get your ticket back, along with a Fastpass ticket which gives you a time to come back later on in the day and jump straight to the front of the queue. We used Fastpass on most of the big rides which normally have 1+ hour long queues! I recommend using Extra Magic Hours or Fastpass for Sourin' and Test Track at Epcot (Fastpass is also available on Living With The Land, Mission: Space and Maelstrom).
Each Disney park has an iconic structure - Magic Kingdom has Cinderella's Castle, Animal Kingdom has the Tree Of Life etc. Epcot is home to a giant silver ball called Spaceship Earth. Epcot is split in to two halves - 'Future World' and 'World Showcase'. Future World is quite varied and focuses on things such as imagination, space, technological advancements and much more! World Showcase is set around a big lake and is home to 11 different countries (Canada, France, Germany, China, Italy, Mexico, Morocco, Japan, Norway, UK and US).
When we visited the International Flower & Garden Festival was on. This runs from March to May (I think it's on every year but I'm not too sure) and I would definitely recommend visiting when the Flower & Garden Festival is on. They had hundreds of beautiful topiary sculptures of different Disney characters scattered throughout the park. They looked absolutely stunning and included Snow White & The Seven Dwarves, Cinderella and Prince Charming, Minnie Mouse, Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Pluto, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Toy Story characters (Buzz, Woody, Lotso), Bambi characters, Lady and The Tramp, Tinkerbell fairies, Peter Pan, Captain Hook, Tik Tok Crocoidle, Mike and Sully from Monsters Inc, Lightning McQueen and Mater from Cars, Belle and The Beast, Lion King characters. I could go on! It was very impressive.
Our day at Epcot began in Future World with a ride called 'The Seas With Nemo & Friends'. It was a slow moving ride in which we sat inside clam shells. It's a lovely ride for children and fans of Finding Nemo. There is a part where you pass by a real-life giant fish tank and the actual Nemo characters can be seen 'swimming' around inside the tank! There is also a nearby attraction called 'Turtle Talk With Crush' which is a 15 minute long interactive show with Crush (the sea turtle from Finding Nemo). It uses advanced real-time technology which allows people to talk to Crush, ask him questions and hold conversations with him. Each show is completely different and is so much fun - it's a must do in my opinion. Outside both of the Nemo attractions is an area with shark facts scattered around, as well as statues of all of the sharks from Finding Nemo. You can even have your photo taken inside Bruce the sharks mouth! There is also a Finding Nemo gift shop for all your fishy needs.
Next we used Fastpasses to ride Sourin'. Sourin' is unlike anything I've ever experienced before and is a ride that I highly recommend. You sit in rows and when the ride begins, the seats lift up and you are suspended in front of a giant screen. It's similar to a simulator ride and makes you feel as though you are flying on a hang-glider. Scenes change throughout the ride and include the Golden Gate Bridge, river rapids, snowy mountains, the ocean and even Disneyland! Wind blows through your hair and you get different smells at different points of the ride - I absolutely loved the smell of pine trees when flying over a forest and the smell of oranges when flying through a field of oranges! I thought this was quite a thrilling ride and actually rather beautiful in places too. Other attractions around this area include Living With The Land (a boat voyage) and The Circle Of Life (a short film featuring Lion King characters), which we didn't get round to doing. There are a couple of nearby restaurants too.
There is small section of the park called 'Imagination'. This is home to 'Journey Into Imagination With Figment' and 'Captain EO'. Journey Into Imagination With Figment is a slow moving ride, set inside a big pyramid shaped building. You sit in carts and take a tour through sensory labs (which include sound, sight and smell) with a funny little dragon called Figment. This ride is all about imagination and is really fun for little ones. Us adults enjoyed it more than we expected too! There's a part near the end (which I don't want to spoil for anyone) which I thought was very clever. As you exit the ride there is an interactive area called ImageWorks. Here children are encouraged to use their own imaginations and can take part in various activities, including making their own music by jumping on squares on the ground. I had a hard time trying to remove my daughter from this area! Captain EO is a 3D show featuring Michael Jackson. It originally opened at Walt Disney World in 1986 and closed in 1994. The attraction was replaced by Honey I Shrunk The Audience for a number of years, until Captain EO reopened in 2010. It tells the story of Captain EO (Jackson) and his space crew who are captured by the rather evil 'Supreme Leader'. It's full of singing, dancing and seat shaking! I remember this attraction from when I was a child which made me really enjoy it. However for those who have no memory of it, it may seem a little too retro and dated (the pre-show is quite long too).
One of my most favourite rides in Epcot is Test Track. This was another ride that we Fastpassed. I thought the build-up to the ride was a little bit drawn out, but my daughter seemed to enjoy it. You are required to use a computer to design your own car before you board the ride. You can give the car different features and save it on to your park card. When you board the ride, you then swipe your card and your car is put in to action. Your statistics (how well your car done) are given to you at the end of the ride. You are strapped in to race cars (of up to 6 people) and test out your car against different elements. Suddenly you then find yourself zooming off outside and doing a lap around the test track, reaching speeds of up to 65mph! It's very fast and really thrilling, particularly on the turns. We all really enjoyed this ride. At the exit is a Chevrolet showroom with a bunch of cool cars for the men and some car themed activities for the kids! Nearby Test Track is a little Cars themed playground. This is a good place for young children to play whilst adults/older children ride Test Track (although I suspect most children would prefer to be riding Test Track!). My little one enjoyed playing on the playground for a little while whilst I rested my poor feet!
There is a ride inside Spaceship Earth (the big silver ball). It takes you through our past, up to our present and shows you how life and technology has changed and evolved through the years. I didn't really like it - it felt a little long, boring and dated. My daughter didn't seem too keen either (although she was ecstatic to be inside 'the big ball'). There was a brilliant part at the end of the ride which we all enjoyed very much though. I don't want to give away the surprise but it's interactive and you are the star! Other attractions in Future World that we didn't get round to doing include Ellen's Energy Adventure and Mission: Space (in which you feel as though you're blasting off in to space. Really wish we had done this one but my daughter was a little too small unfortunately).
Characters can be found throughout Epcot, so don't forget to bring your autograph book! My daughter managed to meet Alice (in Wonderland), Mulan, Donald Duck and Silvermist just whilst wandering the park. There is also a 'Character Spot' where you can meet a number of different characters in one place, although the queues seemed quite long during our visit.
We began our trip through World Showcase at Canada and ended at Mexico. I really enjoyed this area of the park. It doesn't rely on rides or attractions, it focuses on atmosphere. There are a few slow moving rides and 360-degree films in some of the countries, although we decided not to do any of them. We were quite happy to just walk around and see the sights. Most of the countries are easy to identify, although you can also pick up a park map to avoid any embarrassment! Each country serves traditional cuisine. We ate in Mexico and the US (I couldn't help it!). Each country also sells their own traditional merchandise. I particularly liked the merchandise in China which included lucky cats, fans and Bonsai trees. This area of the park is likely to appeal to adults more than children. My daughter seemed to enjoy herself but got quite tired with all of the walking and seemed to enjoy Future World more. I remember visiting Epcot as a teenager and not really appreciating it as much as I did as an adult (I must also point out that Epcot has improved a lot since then).
Overall we had a great day out at Epcot. It's a very varied park, with lots to see and do. I'd say it's one of the better parks for adults and older people (although there is a lot of walking involved). However it's also very enjoyable for children and I'd say that children 5-10 would probably most enjoy Epcot. Some teenagers may find it a little boring (due to the educational aspects and such) and may want to seek bigger thrills in the other Disney parks. I remember Epcot not having very many exciting attractions and I still don't think it's the most thrilling Disney park, however I think newer attractions such as Test Track and Sourin' (and the Nemo attractions) are now appealing to wider audiences. I'm excited to see what future plans Epcot has up its sleeve! On the flip side there are also a few attractions which aren't so impressive and could do with a bit of updating. There were so many different dining options, we were spoilt for choice. There were also plenty of places to do a spot of shopping. Although we visited on a weekend, the queues weren't bad at all (although we did Fastpass the 2 most popular rides) and we managed to walk straight on to many of the rides. I would highly recommend a trip to Epcot, Orlando.
Before setting off on the holiday of a lifetime to Disney World, Orlando with my wife (Sue), our two daughters (8 and 16) and Sue's son and partner it had been suggested by many (including Sue) that EPCOT was the park they enjoyed most when they had visited Florida.
We spent in excess of £12,000 on our vacation which included 14 nights at Disney's Port Orleans (French Quarter) on the Riverside resort, 14 day Ultimate Disney passes, 14 day Universal Studios passes (including Sea World), a day tour to The Kennedy Space Center, car hire, free Disney dining plan and a trip our 16 year old and Sue's son's partner would never forget - swimming with dolphins at Discovery Cove. The holiday was booked through Virgin holidays and also included Virgin Atlantic flights and use before taking off from Gatwick of their V Lounge.
Well, the only thing I knew before arriving at EPCOT was that it had what appears to be a massive golf ball within its grounds so I was going with an open mind and no idea what I would find. Our Disney Ultimate tickets were £265 (adults) and £235 (child). The tickets were issued on arrival at our resort and included our Disney dining plan and room keys on plastic cards similar to credit cards and known as the Key to the World and could also be used for charging whilst at Disney parks and resorts.
From our resort EPCOT was only a very short journey by car. As a guest on one of their resorts we were issued a pass which gave us free car parking at Disney parks which would normally be $14 for cars. The car park is massive and a shuttle operates from a number of stops to the main entrance. We could also have taken Disney's free bus service that operated from our resort to all parks and Downtown Disney. Additionally, from the Magic Kingdom and a number of resorts a monorail takes you to the main entrance.
Temperatures throughout our stay ranged from 34 to 39 degrees centigrade and apart from 3 days were split mid/late afternoon by a daily thunderstorm many of which were reasonably short. In fact we arrived to a thunderstorm and when we exited the airport it was like being blasted by the heat.
EPCOT (experimental prototype community of tomorrow) was opened in October 1982 and was a creation that Walt Disney had planned in 1965 only a year before he died. EPCOT is part of a massive 27,000 acre site that makes Disney World a city within the city of Orlando - with its own roads and was first opened in 1971.
We visited EPCOT twice although the second (the following morning) was literally to try out the coke machines that offered free tiny samples of how different countries tastes can be both in colour and taste - these were Mozambique, Costa Rica, Italy, Germany, Japan, Israel, Mexico and China. Well to say they were disgusting was an understatement and we would spend the rest of the day making up for it with retail therapy at Orlando's Premium Outlets.
Our visit to EPCOT the day before began in the same way as all Disney and Universal parks by putting your ticket in the machine and fingerprint scan (or would have if I remembered which finger I had used previously) and bag search by Disney's mass of security staff.
The front of the park separates into Future World East and Future World West.
Future World East begins with Spaceship Earth which starts with a gentle 2 seater ride inside the golf ball which starts with a glimpse of how our world developed - through the use of writing and some of the developments that have us to where we are now, and where we could go with the ride ending with a view of the sky. At the end of the ride are numerous hands on displays and screens where your face appears on a map of the world. We spent a few minutes there before heading for the next attraction.
Universe of Energy (Ellen's Energy Adventure) begins with a brief talk before entering the main seating area where you watch Ellen starting her dream in which she plays a game of Jeopardy against her brainy former school friend and Albert Einstein and after losing the first half her friend takes Ellen back in time to the age of dinosaurs which is a surprise as the seats divide into individual sections and travel separately around the theatre returning when Ellen has learned about energy and where it comes from - and wins her game of Jeopardy. The ride is the best part of this attraction.
Mission Space was a ride we did after visiting attractions in Future World West and having had our lunch and by this time were in the middle of a thunderstorm. This is a simulator that is supposed to show you what it would be like to leave the space station on a mission to Mars where you are in modules of four and given tasks as you attempt to land on Mars. There are two missions - green which we took which has movement but no spinning, or the orange which is a more intense ride. Whichever mission we chose queues were in excess of 30 minutes, but we did feel a little dejected when we finished the mission because it didn't seem very long or feel like you had done very much.
The final attraction in Future World East was Test Track which was closed - whether it had been opened or not prior to the thunderstorm we couldn't tell, but no Disney crew members were in the area.
We had our first meal at EPCOT in the Electric Umbrella where we had a couple of salads, couple of burgers and chicken kids meals, with chips (crisps), cookies and soft drinks including coke, chocolate milk and bottles of water which were all included as part of Disney dining plan. The meals were good and the burgers were massive and included mushrooms and were so big that you couldn't take a full bite down the whole of the burger!
The first attraction in Future World West is a chance to take photos and get autographs of some of the Disney characters although we didn't see any there at the time of our visit.
The Seas with Nemo and Friends is another gentle ride in 2 person clamobiles on the search for Nemo. At the end of the ride you arrive in the shop, and it was full of cuddly toys of Nemo and all his friends from about $15+. There were other items on sale but who can resist a shark? Well me anyway and after leaving the shop we entered an area where you can have your photo taken inside the mouth of Bruce. There is also a Turtle Talk with Crush as part of this attraction that we didn't visit.
Soarin' was the only ride at EPCOT that we didn't go on although it was probably the one we all wanted to do. I'm not sure if it was just its popularity or a result of the thunderstorm but Soarin' had waiting times of nearly 90 minutes and all fast track tickets had been issued for the day by the time we arrived, so we hoped queues might die down by visiting the other two attractions within the building - Living With The Land and The Circle Of Life. Soarin' is a ride where you are supposed to experience flying in the form of a 2 seater hang glider over California.
Living With The Land is a very gentle boat ride which attempts to show how the world is changing and the many ways scientists are trying to adapt to drought and increasing population - by genetically modifying crops! By this point I switched off because this and The Circle Of Life were trying to teach us to suck eggs in fact the US is one of the countries that is causing the problems they were trying to deal with! In addition, many of the genetically modified crops were being used in their on-site restaurant at rather hiked up prices.
The Circle Of Life is a movie which sets out to teach you about how your actions affect the lives of many others through animation (Lion King characters) and real life events. I am not one to make my feelings known but I felt disgusted that the US with all their faults believe that they are making a difference - without banning CFCs which were in all their sprays or their over exaggerated high pollutant cars - like the one we had been given that eat fuel at the rate of 13 miles per gallon.
There were plenty of water fountains around the park including upside down one and water jumping from one spot to another and back again. These unusual fountains were in an area next to the last two attractions in the main park area - Journey Into Imagination with Figment and Captain EO.
Journey Into Imagination like all the rides at EPCOT was gentle and aimed at using your senses. It starts with the professor (Eric Idle) who wants to show you what he has created to test your hearing, smell and sight and very quickly Figment takes over and takes you on his own ride. The ride is quite good and there are the odd surprises. Again like all the rides there is a shop selling a wide variety of toys, t-shirts etc. There is also a hands on area where you can make music by changing air pressures or colours. We spent a good 20 minutes or so in the area trying out some of the equipment.
The last of the attractions in the front area of the park was Captain EO, a 3D version of an attraction that had been at EPCOT for approximately 20 years starring Michael Jackson as a space captain whose crew were fighting the cause against an evil enemy but preferred to do it their own way instead of following orders. Captain EO eventually lands on the planet of the evil emperoress and quickly starts converting her subjects through music and dance. This is only a very short film and the film shown while in the waiting area of how they created the film to my mind was actually longer. This is quite a good film, but not his best.
By the time we left Captain EO it was starting to get dark and we walked into the World Showcase area surrounding the lake at the back of the park. Starting with Canada with its totem poles, followed by the UK with its many pubs and the expectation that we all live in castles theme! Well I can't moan too much about the UK because I managed to buy myself a Manchester City top for about $27 which I though was quite good value and there was a proper fish and chip shop (Yorkshire County Fish Shop) and The Rose and Crown Pub selling traditional beer. There's a number of other shops selling tea and UK chocolate, biscuits etc and another selling traditional knights in their armour - yes exactly what we wear on a daily basis. Still I managed to find Winnie The Pooh and Tigger as they were trying to take off after a busy photo shoot and we all broke out in song as an American rock band started singing Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody after playing Billy Idol and a number of other artists songs that our children had probably never heard of from the 70's and 80's.
The World Showcase area is aimed to show you the cuisine and culture of 11 countries - Canada, UK, France, Morocco, Japan, United States, Italy, Germany, China, Norway and Mexico and includes a number of attractions - mainly film base and each country has its own range of shops. I was surprised not to see Australia or even Russia amidst the countries on display, and I'm sure there are better ways to show the culture than were on display.
By the time we had left the UK zone it was already 8pm and the light had faded fast, there were the odd buildings that were identifiable like the Eiffel Tower and pagodas but at this point we simply walked slowly along the edge of the lake looking at a variety of shops as we went.
We decided to wait to eat our final meal of the day until after we had watched EPCOTs firework and laser finale IllumiNations that took place around the lake. It was quite a site when the lights of all the attractions and shops turned off automatically except from a number that were used to highlight the buildings and a massive globe moving across the edge of the lake as though it was travelling across the water.
We had decided shortly after we arrived at the park (with the aid of a map) that we would eat Chinese as our 16 year old daughter had been starved of it for months! Our Disney dining plan included the Lotus Blossom Café and so we walked in to find a rather limited choice of meals and not the hundred or so you can choose from at the local takeaway. My wife decided to have some dim sum and we ordered shrimp rice and egg roll, orange chicken, sweet and sour chicken with chips (crisps), desserts and cold drinks. The food was dry and tasteless which I am led to believe is how Americans like their Chinese food - yuk!!!
We thought by about 3pm that our day at EPCOT may be over especially as we all had lost interest in some of the attractions, but we held out and made it into a full day. The day had been specifically chosen to make the most of Disney Magic Hours where resort guest / ultimate ticket holders can continue using the park after other guests had left, but what we were to find was that our Magic Hours were worthless as the majority of attractions and shops closed at 9pm when the park closed.
We left the park at about 9.40pm feeling a little disappointed and one of the reasons we went back the following morning to test the coke.
There was plenty of eateries and a wide choice which is a welcome change from that offered at the other parks.
Would I go back to EPCOT if we had the opportunity? Well, paying a day's full admission price I would probably say no, but I would like to go back to see the bits we had missed (mainly World Showcase) and would like to try Soarin' and try the Orange route of Mission Space. This certainly wasn't the best park in Disney World for me, but it did have its moments.
-I also host this review on Tripadvisor.com-
Epcot is a theme park within the "Walt Disney World Resort" in Orlando Florida, originally opened in 1982 it is the second theme park built within Disney World after Magic Kingdom, Epcot is an acronym of Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow and was Walt Disney's vision for a utopian community which he originally planned to host 20,000 residents, however it was not realised before his death and instead Walt Disney corporation decided it was not in the business of creating cities, and instead created a theme park around his vision, Epcot is the 6th most visited theme park in the world
The park consists of two sections Future World and World Showcase, Future world is where most of the "Rides" are contained, and World Showcase is where the different countries of the world are represented, below you'll find reviews of mine next to the rides / attractions I had the pleasure of experiencing while there.
FUTURE WORLD : Containing a variety of pavilions and "Expo's" that explore innovations and technology, its meant to be more than a theme park, but also educational as well, some of the rides are based around high speed thrills, but some are meant to expand your mind and also to better mankind.
Spaceship Earth: The iconic symbol of Epcot and one of the most recognisable structures in Orlando, within its dome shape which can be seen from all over the park, is the Spaceship Earth ride, it is a 13 minute dark ride which takes guests on a voyage of discovery and shows how mankind has progressed, particularly in the field of technology and communication, while not a thrilling ride, its iconic and must be experienced.
Universe of Energy.
Mission: SPACE : Ugh, Mission SPACE is a motion simulator ride that simulates the experience of being in a space shuttle, before partaking in the ride, guests are given the option of being on the Orange Team ( the original experience ) or the less intense Green Team, of course being as I want all the thrills available to me, I opted for the Orange team, you go through a mission briefing introduced by your Mission Commander ( portrayed by Gary Sinise ) and are strapped into your "Cockpit", from there you blast off and experience forces up to 2.5G and they warn you to keep your head flat against the headrest and even keep sickbags close by, honestly both my wife and I did feel sick after the ride and while its impressive and certainly intense, if you suffer from motion sickness, even slightly, I would recommend the less intense "Green Team" !!!
GM Test Track: Here you take the part of a Crash Test dummy and sit inside a test vehicle, I remember it being alot more thrilling when I was younger, and while fun being taken through the various twists and turns, it wasn't as thrilling as I expected.
The Seas with Nemo & Friends.
The Land: Contained within the Land is the Ride "Soarin" and Living With the Land, we didn't experience Soarin' but did go on Living with the Land, which is a boat ride and part Dark Ride and Greenhouse tour, it both educates the rider on the effects we're having on our planet and also shows how Epcot is developing with scientists new technology to assist with agriculture.
Imagination!: Featuring attractions such as Captain EO ( A 3D film featuring Michael Jackson ), Journey into Imagination with Figment and ImageWorks.
WORLD SHOWCASE : Featuring 11 pavilions, each representing a particular country of the world, Each country features attractions, shopping and dining from that particular country, all the employees within that particular pavilion originate from that country.
World Showcase also surrounds a lagoon which at the end of the night features the incredible fireworks show, "IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth"
Norway: Featuring the Maelstrom ride, which is a dark ride on a boat which contains a brief 28 foot drop and follows the Vikings and Norwegion history.
Italy: Representing parts of Italy, and in particular a representation of St Marks square, Venice and also Gondola's
The American Adventure : The host pavilion and probably the largest.
Morocco: probably features the best architecture of all the pavilions and there are sections of it where you feel like you may be walking through the backstreets of Marrakesh, also we dined at Restaurant Marrakesh and it was excellent ( although expensive )
United Kingdom: My favourite pavilion ( of course ) designed to look like villages in the UK, while it may be more stereotypical than accurate it is still a good looking pavilion and makes me proud to be British, there is also a Beatles tribute band called " the British Invasion" who are actually quite good and play at times throughout the day.
I remember first visiting Epcot around 12 years ago and being in my early 20's and with a large group of friends, breezed past alot of the attractions and ended up just walking around the World Showcase and getting drunk ( looking back it must have cost me a fortune as looking at the prices now for a beer there its extortionate ), however now visiting as a 33 year old married man I can appreciate Epcot for what it is, very educational, very impressively efficient and while obviously touristy with the World Showcase, you can get lost in yourself for a brief moment and imagine yourself as a world traveller while walking around.
One of the big reasons to visit Epcot is the Illuminations! fireworks show, I remember watching it first time I visited and being impressed, but this time around my wife and I staked out some good seats around 30 minutes before the show and once it started I was impressed all over again, I do love a good fireworks show and it is impressive as hell, it lasts around 12 minutes but believe me its well worth the stay and you won't be disappointed.
Like everything else Disney does, Epcot is the peak experience, while it may not have the rides of Universal Studio's Islands of Adventure, or Disney Hollywood studios, or even Magic Kingdom, its really about the experience, Customer service is first class, the park is immaculately clean and everything is run very very well, I said it to my wife while visiting, if anyone has any doubt as to why Disney is expensive, just pay close attention to the details and watch the fireworks show, it is worth every penny and we'll always make it a point to visit Epcot when visiting Orlando.
Epcot is one of four Disney theme parks in the Walt Disney World Resort, Florida; the others being Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. Epcot was the second of the four theme parks to be built, it opened in 1982. There are also water parks, shopping areas, sports arenas and all sorts of entertainment going on in Disney World.
Epcot is an acronym of Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, it is how Walt Disney viewed the world of tomorrow. Walt Disney had planned for it to be a city but he died before those plans could be worked out with the authorities and so it became a theme park.
I visited Disney last year in September/October which meant it was hot but not too hot and there were practically no queues. Most rides had a 5 minute wait, so much better than going in the height of summer when you can expect to wait at least an hour.
The theme park is split into two areas: Future World and World Showcase. These two areas do break down further. Within Future World there are eight different pavilions. World Showcase is broken down into eleven countries. Epcot is a bit strange in that half of the park is mostly attractions and the other half is mostly dining but both are equally as entertaining.
This is the attraction heavy half of the park, when you enter the park this will be where you start your Epcot journey. As you walk in, the first thing you will see is the Spaceship Earth 'golf ball' (as I like to call it). As with the other Disney parks there is a central icon and the Spaceship Earth building is Epcot's icon.
The most obvious place to start is Spaceship Earth. This ride has changed a lot over the years to keep it up to date and because of changes in the sponsors. You ride through time, starting in prehistoric times and going right through to space and the future. The ride is narrated by Dame Judi Dench. It is interesting and worth a go, don't expect to be blown away though.
After departing the ride, you will go through into Project Tomorrow: Inventing the Wonders of the Future. This is an exhibit that features a few different games. I didn't have a go at any of the games, one that kids would enjoy though.
Universe of Energy
The attraction here is Ellen's Energy Adventure. This is a 45 minute show starring Ellen DeGeneres (the voice of Dory in Finding Nemo). You ride back in time to the dinosaur era, the show itself was good but the preshow was way too long. People can walk in anytime until the preshow ends so I assume it is long so they can get in as many people as possible. I found that a little boring and uncomfortable, staring up at a massive screen isn't comfy whether you stand up or sit on the floor (I tried both). If they cut down on the time it would be a much better experience as the ride itself was actually really good.
There are two attractions in this pavilion. Firstly, Mission: SPACE which is a motion simulator. You will get to experience what it feels like to be an astronaut. You can choose from two different missions, orange is intense and green is milder, it's the same but with no spinning. I went for the orange because I wasn't sure how much spinning the ride actually did. Being sick wasn't part of my plan. They brought in the green team mission in 2006 as a lot of people were complaining of nausea after the ride so I assume there is a lot of spinning involved.
It's a fun ride (if you go green!) but beware if you are claustrophobic, you're strapped into a small space. Every one on the mission has a job to do (pilot, navigator, engineer, commander) so it involves every person on the ride which is good. Definitely take notice of the warnings with this ride though, a lot of the time the warnings seem a bit extreme given the ride but this will probably make you feel queasy if you go for the orange and it is in a small capsule. Take extra care if you have pre-existing conditions.
The other attraction is the Advanced Training Lab which features Mission: Space Race (team challenge), Space Base (interactive crawl area), Expedition: Mars (game), Postcards from Space (create your own space video). I didn't spend too long in this area, more of a kid's thing.
This ride was a disappointment. I thought it was going to be much better. You are in a car which takes you over bumps and through cones and whatnot, testing it out (hence the name). At the end the car hits speeds of 65 mph. It's an ok ride but I thought it would be going fast for a lot longer. The bumps were just uncomfortable.
Innoventions East & Innoventions West: Innoventions is a mix of the words innovation and invention, clever eh. It is basically a collection of games and exhibits showcasing technology. I had a quick walk around but that's all, it's not really my thing. Too much to look at to spend all my time playing games!
Dining: Electric Umbrella (burgers, sandwiches)
The Seas with Nemo & Friends
The first attraction in the building is titled 'The Seas with Nemo & Friends'. You get on a 'clamobile' and get taken around the seas trying to find Nemo. It's a fun little ride, one that kids will love. It's your typical Disney ride really but it's enjoyable nonetheless.
There is also Turtle Time with Crush. This is an interactive show where an animated Crush talks to and answers questions from the audience. It's clever how they do this sort of show, if I was a kid I really would believe that Crush was alive, how else could he possibly answer questions?!? It may be somewhat obvious to adults but it is a good show.
There is also a walk through attraction Bruce's Shark World where you can look at fish and get your photo taken with Bruce! (A plasticy version anyway...).
Overall the Nemo attractions are great and definitely worth a visit.
Dining: Coral Reef Restaurant (seafood, steaks)
The main attraction here is Soarin' which I didn't get to go on :( I think I got to Soarin' about 1ish in the afternoon, at that time there were no fast passes left and the queue was hours long. It seems to be the ride everyone wants to go on so when you get to Epcot, go straight to Soarin' and get a fast pass if you can. Soarin' is a free-flying hang gliding ride which is supposed to be amazing, very sad I missed out.
Another attraction in The Land is Living with the Land. This is a boat trip through greenhouses and a fish farm. I didn't go on this as it was closed at the time of my visit, but I probably wouldn't have gone on it anyway as it sounds a bit rubbish quite frankly. I might be wrong, maybe next time I'll have a float around.
The final attraction here is The Circle of Life which is a film starring The Lion King characters. The film is basically about protecting the environment; probably a good one to take the kids along to but adults probably won't find it that enthralling.
Dining: Sunshine Seasons (soups, sandwiches), The Garden Grill (Chip N Dale's Harvest Feast)
There are three attractions in this pavilion, firstly Journey into Imagination with Figment. This is a car ride which takes you through the senses. I honestly have no memory of this even being there, it must be in the same area as another one of the attractions ImageWorks. This has different play areas in it, so I'm guessing the Figment ride is tucked up in a little corner somewhere.
The final attraction that was there when I visited was Honey, I Shrunk the Audience which was a rather dated 3D film/show. Now they have replaced it with Captain EO, a 3D film starring Michael Jackson. This was originally shown during the 1980s and 1990s at the Disney parks. Personally I think they should have come up with something new, yes Michael Jackson has arguably become more popular since his death but replacing an aging ride with a 30 year old film is an odd move. I would have liked a new 3D film to have been made for the attraction but hey ho, it might be good.
Now onto what is possibly the more interesting half of the park, the World Showcase. Featuring eleven different countries, it might not sound that exciting reading about a few dining carts here and there but it is nice to walk around and see the (often stereotypical view of the) different cultures. The cast members working in the different countries are actually from that country, so there are Mexicans working in Mexico and British people working in the UK. That makes it a little more authentic and does (kind of) make you feel like you're really in the different countries.
Every autumn, World Showcase hosts The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. There are more food outlets than usual open during this time so I'm not sure if everything I saw will be there all year round or not.
There is an attraction that takes place throughout the World Showcase and that is Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure. I think it is a kind of scavenger hunt, you're given a 'Kimmunicator' that interacts with certain things in the different pavilions, this gives clues that help you save the world, or something like that. I didn't really understand it and I don't watch Kim Possible so I didn't try it out, it might make kids more interested in the different countries though.
In the centre of the country pavilions is the World Showcase Lagoon, this is a massive man made lake. This is where the IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth firework display takes place. People wait hours in a good spot to see this. It lasts 12 minutes and is supposed to be very impressive. I only saw a bit out of the window of the Nine Dragons Chinese Restaurant (more on that later) and it seemed to last about 30 seconds so I obviously missed a lot of it!
The Mexico pavilion is designed to resemble a Mesoamerican pyramid (Google it if you don't know what one looks like). When you first walk into the building, you will see an art collection entitled Animales Fantasticos. There will also be artists creating different models and things that you can buy there and then. You walk through further into a marketplace, selling your usual Mexican items-hot sauces, sombreros, flags, all sorts really. Walking around the shops in the different country pavilions is one of the best parts of the World Showcase; there really is something for everybody.
It's very dark and dim inside the pavilion, I assume it's supposed to add to the atmosphere but I would have liked it to be a bit brighter. The darkness made it seem like a bit of a hole to be honest.
There is a boat ride inside the Mexican pyramid, Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros. Donald Duck, Panchito and Jose Carioca are your hosts on this musical boat ride. I didn't go on this ride but I think it's like the "it's a small world" ride; I'll probably go on it next time just to find out what it's all about.
Dining: San Angel Inn Restaurante (Mexican cuisine-tacos, mole...)
Cantina de San Angel (tacos, churros)
Taqueria Del Lago (taquitos, quesadillas, tostadas)
I ate at the Cantina de San Angel and it was amazing; I am a big fan of Mexican food so I had high hopes and as usual, Disney didn't let me down. Nachos, burritos, tacos, quesadillas nom nom nom. Gorgeous food. Try a churro, they are massive!
I also tried the food from the Taqueria Del Lago, very very good. This serves quick snacks rather than the more hearty food of the Cantina de San Angel and the San Angel Inn, so if you just want a light bite this is the place to go!
The Norway pavilion has been made to look like a classic Norwegian village. Most if not all of the pavilions in the World Showcase portray their countries as they were many years ago. I imagine this is to show the various countries different origins and character but the reality is most countries look very similar nowadays. It may feel like you're stepping back in time walking around the World Showcase but I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. Most of Norway is taken up by shops, selling traditional Norwegian goods-clothes, trolls, sweets, loads of random stuff. It's nice to have a look around even if you're not quite sure what everything is.
The attraction in Norway is Maelstrom, a 5 minute Viking boat voyage which takes you through Norway's history. I didn't go on this as I was tight for time, too much to do in Disney World even if you have two weeks!
Dining: Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (dine with Disney Princesses)
Kringla Bakeri og Cafe (pastries, sandwiches)
I had a chocolate mousse cake from the Kringla Bakeri og Cafe and it was gorgeous, a little sickly but amazing. All of the pastries looked great in there, get yourself one, it is definitely not somewhere to be overlooked.
The Chinese pavilion is one of the nicest looking areas in my opinion, it is done up in the style of an ancient Chinese city and it replicates that look very well.
The attraction here is Reflections of China, a circle vision 360 degree film which lasts for 14 minutes. It shows famous Chinese landmarks such as The Great Wall and The Forbidden City. I actually don't remember seeing this, a lot of the attractions in the World Showcase are hidden away and not that well signposted unless you're searching for it. I know they want it all to blend in to look like a city but it would be helpful if I could see everything that is on offer.
Mulan and Mushu will be at a character greeting point in China throughout the day.
Dining: Nine Dragons Restaurant (Chinese cuisine)
Lotus Blossom Cafe (eggrolls, stir fry)
Joy of Tea Stand (tea, ice cream)
I ate at the Nine Dragons Restaurant and I would highly recommend it. It's actually quite swanky inside despite all the sweaty tourists. I would suggest the dinner set menu for $24 a person (can be used as 1 table service on the dining plan) for three courses. I had the hot and sour soup, honey-sesame chicken (To.Die.For.) and strawberry red bean ice cream. The honey-sesame chicken is $19 alone so the set meal is worth the extra few dollars.
As with most of the other pavilions, Germany looks like an old village, with a mix of architecture from different eras. The main square area has a clock tower and a statue of St George and the dragon; the biergarten is decked out like it's Oktoberfest all year round. The shops sell traditional German fare including cuckoo clocks. There is also a model village and railway in Germany if that's your sort of thing.
Expect to see Snow White and the seven dwarfs making appearances at various times of the day.
Dining: Biergarten Restaurant (hot and cold buffet)
Sommerfest (bratwurst, pretzels)
The Italian pavilion replicates the beautiful architecture of Italy; there are musicians and actors that come out to entertain throughout the day in the main plaza. Italy is only a small part of the World Showcase; it's next to the American pavilion and seems to have lost some of its allotted space to the US showcase.
Pinocchio is the character available for pictures and autographs in Italy.
Dining: Tutto Italia Ristorante (pasta, meat)
Via Napoli (pasta, pizza)
The American Adventure
The American pavilion has the biggest pitch and is also the only country that has a fancy name 'The American Adventure' not simply 'America'. But it's their country and their theme park so I guess they can do what they like. A single building dominates the area making the pavilion look very grand and impressive.
The attraction is also named The American Adventure, Disney describe it as the 'inspirational story of America and its people'. It is a 30 minute show; there is also an American Heritage Gallery, a National Treasures Exhibit and The Liberty Inn in the same housing as the main attraction. The American Adventure takes you through the history of America, it may be a little long but it is interesting nonetheless.
Dining: Liberty Inn (burgers, chicken)
Fife & Drum (turkey legs, hot dogs)
Funnel Cake Kiosk
Japan is another country that I think has been made beautifully; the traditional Japanese buildings, gardens and pools are excellently recreated.
The attraction here is an art collection named 'Spirited Beasts: From Ancient Stories to Anime Stars'. However, the main draw for me was the massive shops, there is such a wide array of goods for sale. The department store sells clothes, toys, jewellery, food, everything you could possibly want! I spent way too much time looking round here.
Dining: Teppan Edo (steak, seafood)
Tokyo Dining (sushi, seafood)
Yakitori House (beef, noodles)
Kaki Gori (shaved ice)
I had a bit of the shaved ice, not my thing, sensitive teeth and ice = bad combination.
The Moroccan pavilion is all about food and shops. There are a lot of shops here selling rugs, ceramics, instruments, clothes, baskets and more. Morocco is famous for its markets and Disney has tried to recreate this with their indoor and outdoor bazaars. I didn't spend too much time here so I don't remember that much about it, I didn't have room in my baggage allowance for a rug!
There is a belly dancing show in the evening which provides the entertainment.
You might spot Aladdin and Jasmine hanging around Morocco waiting to sign autographs.
Dining: Restaurant Marrakesh (lamb, couscous)
Tangierine Cafe (chicken, lamb)
The French pavilion has been made to look like a quaint French village with the Eiffel Tower in the distance (I imagine they didn't want to have to build a full sized one!). As ever the shops are lovely to wander round, perfumes being one of their main produce here.
The attraction in France is Impressions de France, a 20 minute film showing the beauty of the French countryside. I didn't watch this, as lovely as the French countryside is, I didn't really want to spend 20 minutes watching it go by.
Characters from Beauty and the Beast, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Aristocats can be found at the French pavilion.
Dining: Chefs de France (snails, beef)
Bistro de Paris (gourmet cuisine-read expensive!)
Boulangerie Patisserie (pastries, quiche)
Crepes des Chefs de France
Les Vins def Chefs de France (wines, beer)
The UK is just over the water from France (sounds familiar eh). Personally, I found the UK pavilion quite humorous mainly for the fact that this weird mix of old English buildings is how many people from other countries still view England today. I liked how they had traditional buildings staffed by cast members wearing clothes from years and years ago, and yet they were selling the latest football strips. Seemed an odd mix to me. They also sell tea, toys, chocolate bars, memorabilia of various British bands and more. There is also a Beatles tribute band (no they really couldn't get anymore British clichés in).
I imagine this is how many tourists feel walking around the pavilion of their own country, it is hardly a representation of the UK today and it really couldn't be littered with anymore stereotypes but I guess they had to make it different somehow. It's amusing and it was weird to see British people working there. It's worth a wander round, might give you a bit of a giggle.
Characters from Mary Poppins, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland and Winnie the Pooh can be found at various times in the UK pavilion.
Dining: Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room (fish & chips, steak)
Yorkshire County Fish Shop (fish & chips)
The Canadian pavilion is a little different from most of the other countries, rather than recreating a town, it is supposed to recreate the great outdoors. Featuring canyons, totem poles, gardens etc. The shops in the pavilion sell everything, NHL jerseys, moose hats, what more could you want?!?
Characters from Brother Bear and Pocahontas can be found milling about in Canada.
The attraction here is O Canada! which is (surprise surprise) a film. It's a 14 minute 360 degree film showing Canada's cities and scenery. My one criticism of the World Showcase is the lack of variety in the attractions, so many films, there really is only so many you can sit through without getting bored. Surely there is something else they could do!
Dining: Le Cellier Steakhouse (steak, pork)
Snack Cart (popcorn)
Worth a Visit?
Definitely! There is so much to see and do, make sure you have a few days to explore everything. As I said before, my one problem with Epcot is the lack of variety in the attractions in the World Showcase. But apart from that I love it, there are so many different parts of the park to look around, kids and adults will be entertained all day!
If you want to have a glimpse at full restaurant menus and prices, check out this link:
If you are staying at a Disney Resort I would recommend the Dining Plan, it does seem expensive but it's so much easier when you are there. You do save money by being on the plan; the amount you save depends on what Dining Plan you choose. Pick the expensive items like me and you'll save a packet ;)
More information can be found here:
Also posted on ciao under the username shabbating.
Over the years that I have been visiting Orlando, Epcot has slowly become one of my favourite parks. The first few times I visited, although I enjoyed it I got bored quite easily but I was quite young then so perhaps this was something to do with it.More recently I have discovered that there really is a lot more to Epcot than you originally see.
Firstly an overview of the park, EPCOT stands for Experimental Prototype community of tomorrow. The park is devided into 2 areas, Futureworld and World Showcase.
Futureworld has the main attractions of the park and as the name would suggest has a futuristic theme about it. The main attractions here are Mission Space - a Simulator that simulates the first mission to Mars, Test Track - a ride that puts you in the test car as you go through hairpin turns, break tests and the crash barrier test! There is also Soarin' which is a motion simulator that makes you feel as though you are hang gliding over southern California. There are also a variety of smaller attractions that are also really good although some of them are open seasonally - Honey I Shrunk the audience is a 3D show, there is a Nemo ride, Living with the Seas attraction with Dolphins and Manatee's. There is also a living with the land boat ride which shows you how different areas manage to work with the land to produce and grown food.
There is also Innoventions - this is a large walk through area which houses loads of different "inventions" of the future. Many you can test out yourself which can be great fun. Spaceship earth is my personal favourite ride in Epcot - it has recently been updated and refurbished too so its better than ever - you sit in a slow moving train that travels through time to show how communications have evolved through the decades.
The other section of Epcot is World Showcase. World Showcase is a group of pavilions set around a large lake. Each pavilion represents a different country. There are 11 in total. Each country usually has a shop, a restaurant and a counter service serving the food specialities for that country. Many of the countries also have a show or attraction based on the country - e.g Mexico has a boatride and France has a 360 degree show. Each country is so well themed and is usually staffed by people from the relent countries which adds to its charm! World Showcase is a wonderful place to explore. Its easy to just walk around the lake but then you miss all the little things - If you wander deeper into each country you will find little things you never knew existed such as the gardens in Japan and the art work in morocco.
Personally I find Epcot much more fun at night - they have a nightly firework show which is amazing! Its about 15 minutes long and is on every night at 9pm - it's the one thing I would never miss on a trip to Disney! - Although I may be a bit bias in my opinion as i was lucky enough to have my wedding reception in Epcot with the Fireworks!
Epcot is the second of 4 parks in Walt Disney World. It was opened Oct 1st 1982.
The park is an adaptation of Walt Disney dream. The dreamed of a community where there were no unemployment, not homeless, clean and beautiful surroundings and dedicated services.
These were never realized due to Walt Disney's Passing but some of the ideas were brought forwards to form this park and the community of Walt Disney World.
EPCOT stands for Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow.
The parks main icon is Spaceship Earth (Of the big Golf ball) Standing a massive 180ft tall at the entrance of the park. In side this ball is a ride of the same name which takes you back and through time of communication.
To get to the rest for the park you have to walk under Spaceship Earth and into Future Land. Hear they have 5 pavilions which hold various rides, shows and shops.
On this side you have 3 of the main attractions are:
Mission Space - a G force ride that shows and lest the rider feel what its like to ride in a spaceship.
Soarin - A Han glider ride.
Test Track - The fastest ride in Disney world where you board a test car and go through a series of tests and high speeds runs.
The second part for the park is the World showcase which houses many Countries pavilions showing of there Culture and food. Some of the pavilions have shows and shops.
At the end of the night, gather round the showcase Lagoon to see IllumiNations Reflections Of Earth. An amazing night time firework show.
This is a great park that is prices at around $50 a ticket for all.
EPCOT (Experimental Proto-type Community of Tomorrow) is split into two areas that have differing opening times. Future World opens at 9am and is first as you enter the park and World Showcase opens at 11am.
Entrance to EPCOT is dominated by the shiny golf-ball that is the Spaceship Earth. It stands 51metres high and can be seen from most of the park. The ride that is housed inside has been completely re-invented since its original opening and was relaunched last year. Passengers travel in a time capsule that takes them along a journey discovering the progress of communication and technology. This is now an interactive experience and you get to design yourself into predictions of the future which is quite fun.
Future World houses several interactive exhibits that allow use of technology to make music, photographs and to send enhanced e-mails to friends and family. It is worth taking a note of friends e-mail addresses with you and they will be able to see what a fantastic time you are having. The area also contains some fantastic rides.
EPCOT is the home to the largest single tank aquarium in the world. There are lots of fish to observe and there are also educational exhibits for the children to enjoy. After watching the fish then its time to visit Turtle Talk with Crush, this is a brilliant interactive experience involving the character from Finding Nemo. Children ask the animated film questions and they are answered by the character on screen. My children have both thoroughly enjoyed this and were delighted to be chosen to ask Crush a question. This area also houses a pleasant little ride through the" sea with Nemo and friends" where you get to have a much needed sit down.
Soarin' is EPCOTs newest attraction and this ride lifts you 40ft in the area before giving you a birds-eye view of California. You feel like you are flying as the film moves and you are bombarded with the aromas of the places you visit. In the same building you will find the boat to take you through the greenhouses to see experimental work to increase crop production and there is also a film about conserving the planet, presented by the characters from the Lion king this is not as dry as it sounds.
Test Track is probably the most well known of EPCOTs rides. You are strapped into a car that does a lap of various test road conditions such as extreme heat and cold and you are then thrown out to 97km/h around an outside track. This ride is exhilarating and also great fun as there are several near-misses along the way that have you screaming. I have ridden this about 20 times and I still jump at the potential collision. The cars seat 6 people so there is usually a single rider queue that moves quite quickly. The Fast Passes for this ride often run out very early in the day so if you want to ride it is worth getting there early.
Mission Space is housed in the most amazing looking building with an image of Mars outside. As you enter you take an Orange ticket for the extreme ride and a green ticket for the less extreme version. You enter capsules in teams of four and you are then held by a shoulder harness and the screens move towards you. You are then sent on a mission to Mars and you are all given buttons to press depending on the job you have been assigned. The ride works by centrifugal force making you struggle to reach in front. The sensation is fantastic and really makes you feel that you could be in a rocket. This ride was by far my favourite until we ended up being stuck in it for about 10 minutes before it would start. The claustrophobic conditions caused me to have my first ever panic attack as I couldn't get out (or even see out) and I have not been able to get back on it since.
There are also some very child-friendly attractions such as Honey, I Shrunk the Audience which is a 3D film (little children may be scared of the huge snake and dog). Journey Into Imagination will take you through a carriage ride of brightly coloured room settings and talks about senses and imagination and you will alight with an annoying little song in your head that stays there for weeks! Ellen energy adventure takes nearly an hour so plan when to fit this into your day, this is great for late afternoon when your feet are very tired and a good long sit down is required. You are taken on a trip through history to discover all about energy, this is a pleasant experience and educational as well.
EPCOT is very different in appearance to the other parks. It looks very "concrete" and has lots of flower-beds and fountains. Some of the fountains are musical and are very impressive and there are also several that "jump" which children really enjoy. There are some very "Disney" characteristics though. In the main plaza you will find Pin-trading and an enormous Disney shop but this does sell many items that you will not see elsewhere in Disney. There is a character "meet and greet" area inside. Several years ago there used to be a bus which toured around with the characters which was great and I find the room a little clinical but it does mean that little ones can always find a character for their autograph books.
Overall Future World has some great entertainment but is a large area and you will find yourselves criss-crossing the main area to get the most from your visit. There are time-boards around telling you the wait times at each attraction so it is wise to use these to save yourselves some walking. Once you have completed Future World you then get to go to the World Showcase.
This is arranged around the World showcase lagoon and there are recreations of different countries. Each area has themed shops, restaurants, exhibits and sometimes rides or shows that relate to that area. It is an attractive place to walk around and also an educational experience for children and adults alike. Onviously these are all generalisation but they do give you a feel for a country and the areas are manned by people from that country who are always happy to talk about their homeland. Starting in a clockwise direction you will begin with:
Mexico- An Inca inspired temple is home to a recreated night market, the atmosphere is brilliant and this is also where children can collect their mask. This mask is free and the children decorate it then in each country they visit they will be given a plastic ornament to hang off it. This gives them a great souvenir and for once at Disney it is something for nothing! There is a water ride in here that takes you on a musical journey through Mexico.
Norway- timber, Viking style structures welcome you to Norway which hosts a Viking Longboat ride. Once off the longboat you may want to make your way quickly to the exit doors or there is a 20minute film on Norway which is probably the most boring thing at EPCOT.
China- decorative buildings abound here and there is often a Chinese acrobat display too. There is a 360 degree presentation of the Wall of china which is quite impressive even if it makes you a little dizzy!
Germany and Italy show recreations of town buildings and there is a pretend gondola harbour.
USA- there is often a marching band here and a film show on the history of America. Opposite the USA is a concert area where well-known artists often play so check your map for details as you will need to arrive early if these appeal to you.
Japan- peaceful gardens and buildings and a small recreation of the Terracotta soldiers.
Morocco- another indoor market with lots of craft products to buy. It is worth exploring the other buildings to see the beautiful mosaic tiles.
France- a recreation of a Parisian street with the Eiffel Tower in the background. A beautiful patisserie can be found here too.
United Kingdom- a chocolate box recreation of the UK with thatched timber buildings and a concert stand in the park. We have seen a great Beatles tribute act here whilst eating Fish and Chips.
Canada- native carvings and wooden buildings give the impression of a wilderness country.
All area have various food options and some of the best dining in Disney is to be found at EPCOT but there are also plenty of fast food options if your budget is smaller. Exploring the small streets in each area is very absorbing and it can take several hours to make your way around them all. A lot of walking is involved as the lagoon is extremely large.
The firework show at EPCOT is shown every night at 9 p.m. . . . It is called Illuminations of earth and should not be missed. People start staking out the best vantage points at least an hour before it starts. We have found good viewing spots all around the lagoon and also by the bridge before you enter the World showcase. The only advice I would give is to look out for where the islands are in the lagoon and make sure they are not blocking your view. The globe appears near the UK part of the lagoon so try to be opposite that to get the best impression. The show consists of lasers, a huge LED globe and lots of fireworks. The lights are dimmed about 15 minutes before it starts and the atmosphere is electric.
Once it finishes the park is closed so be prepared for a slow exit but you will be so exhausted you will not have the energy to run anyway!
Every Person Comes Out Tired!
Epcot was my most vivid memory of Disney as a child and it has not changed!
The entrance is simply spectacular and really sets the scene. If you have never been to Epcot I recommend you head for Soarin first. This is a simulator type ride of being in a hang glider soaring high over various different parts of the world. It is fantastic and atmospheric and i would ride it again and again. It was one of the few rides I was prepared to queue for 50 minutes for!
For children I recommend the Kim Possible missions. They are given a mobile telephone,place to meet and then must solve clues in each of the different worlds within World Showcase - we did about 6 missions one day!!
If you get the chance, return at night or stay for the fireworks at night - they will simply blow you away!! No-one does fireworks quite like Disney!
Welcome to Walt Disney's Experimental People's Community Of Tomorrow or EPCOT for short.
This was the second Theme Park to open in Walt Disney World. It is possibly Disney's most grown up (& educational) park.
I will stick to reviewing the attractions as I the shops & restaurants are very similar to the rest of Walt Disney World.
EPCOT is split into 2 sections. FUTURE WORLD is where the vast majority of the rides are. WORLD SHOWCASE is a trip around the world with the sights & sounds of 11 different countries.
When you arrive, you walk into FUTURE WORLD through leave a legacy. This is an opportunity to leave a small engraved plaque on the entrance to EPCOT. Good idea, although on my second visit in 2009, all sites had sold out.
The first ride you come to is SPACESHIP EARTH. This inside the Giant Geosphere (more commonly known as the Golf Ball) It is a ride through the history of communication & technology of mankind. It is good although the recent update which asks you questions at the begining & then shows you a custom film with you in it at the end based on you responses is very entertaining. You can even e-mail it to yourself & keep it. I still have mine.
Walking left from the Golf Ball you come to three rides
On the left is UNIVERSE OF ENERGY. This is a 45 minute (yes that is not an error - 45 minute) show & ride in which Ellen DeGeneres takes you back to the age of the Dinosaurs to explain the origin of Fossil Fuels (told you this was eductional). It is a good ride & worth a go, but try to turn up just as it's about to start & you won't have to queue. The ride holds around 100 people all at once. I'll say this though DINOSAUR in ANIMAL KINGDOM is a better ride.
In the middle you have MISSION SPACE. A simulator ride in which teams of 4 (which you'll be put into) train for a Mission to Mars in simulators. A very entertaining ride. Great fun & realistic feeling (although I'm not an Astronaut so what would I know!). There are two versions of the ride. GREEN TEAM has just the motion simulator aspect of the ride. It is easier on people with motion sickness like me. ORANGE TEAM is on a Gravitron Wheel which spins like a genuine Atronaut training excersise & is very realistic. Not recommended for people with motion sickness & I didn't go near this.
On the right is TEST TRACK. This is a car ride which is similar to a roller coaster without the drops or rolls. The plot is that you are riding in a car that is going through a proving ground. Your car goes through bumps, skids & then a speed test where you get up to around 60mph. Great fun for everyone without big scary drops. I really like this ride.
In the middle of FUTURE WORLD between these & the other ride is where you find the shops. I have to mention this though. If you're thirsty & running low on Dollars - go in the Coke Shop. They have drinks from all over the world which are all FREE to drink. Great stuff.
To the right of the Golf Ball you are greeted with three Pavillions.
On the right is THE SEAS. This has two FINDING NEMO attractions.
One is THE SEAS WITH NEMO & FRIENDS in which you board a clam & ride through the sea (an aquarium) where NEMO & his friends swim with the fishes. This is OK. Didn't mind it but hardly thrilling for an adult. Good for kids though.
The second is TURTLE TALK WITH CRUSH. A comedy show in which a video of CRUSH converses with the Audience. Great for the kids.
In the middle is THE LAND pavillion. This has three attractions inside plus the foodhall. Come here first thing for breackfast and to ride the best ride in Florida - SOARIN'. This is a smilulator ride which represents you flying in a hand glider through Californian Landmarks. It works by hoisting you up on a carriage in front of a massive video screen. The screen plays video as your carriage gently sways & moves in time with the film. While this is happening you get a gentle breeze & the smells of what you are flying over. I could ride this over & over again. I defy anyone not to like it. It's fantastic. The only downside would be the massive queue. Get here early or use FASTPASS to avoid them.
LIVING WITH THE LAND is the second attraction. Another educational ride which you travel on a small boat through Green Houses & a Fish Farm. Most of the produce is used in the restaurants throughout DISNEY WORLD. Mildly entertaining. The highlight is MICKEY MOUSE shaped watermelons. Worth a look if you done everything else or want the little ones to learn something.
THE CIRCLE OF LIFE is an animated film featuring the characters from THE LION KING advocating looking after the environment. I wasn't really up for this one & was happier on queueing for SOARIN' lol.
The pavillion on the left is the IMAGINATION! pavillion. It has two rides.
JOURNEY INTO IMAGINATION WITH FIGMENT is another one for the kids. It's about boosting their confidence & teaching them about senses like smell & sound. I've got no kids so again I didn't bother with this one.
HONEY, I SHRUNK THE AUDIENCE is a 4D feature with "feelers". You watch a 3D film in which the characters from the Disney Honey, I ... films shrink you the audience. "Feelers" make you feel like what is happening is real. Like wind in you hair if someone sneezes behind you. I'm not going to spoil it but there are quite a few of these. Great attraction. Very popular with all my family.
WORLD SHOWCASE is a great area. Although to be fair, with the exception of shops & restaurants there isn't that much of substance in there. There are three CIRCLE-VISION films on offer. This is where you go into a 360 Degree cinema with screens all around you. Films are shot with a special system of cameras which record on all sides. The three films are on offer in & about the countries on CANADA, CHINA & FRANCE.
GRAN FIESAT TOUR STARRING THE THREE CABALLEROS is a river ride through the pyramid in MEXICO. It's EPCOT'S answer to IT'S A SMALL WORLD and could be described as it's a small Mexico. A bit of fluff for the kids, with THE THREE CABALLEROS (DONALD DUCK, JOSE CARIOCA & PANCHITO) singing their them song. It's not too bad though.
MAELSTROM is a boat voyage through the Viking Era in NORWAY. It's a log flume ride which is tries to be scary with it's set decor as opposed to with a stonking great drop at the end like, say, SPLASH MOUNTAIN. It's suitable for everyone & is good fun. It tries to fool you too.
THE AMERICAN ADVENTURE is in AMERICA & tells the story of the nation & it's people.
There is also a new attraction for 2009. KIM POSSIBLE is an interactive game that can be played in anyone of the 11 Countries in the WORLD SHOWCASE. You can't choose which country you start with but once you have completed your first mission you can pick the country of your choice. You are given a small mobile telephone where the characters from the KIM POSSIBLE TV show give you a mission to complete & tell you to go to certain points in the country you are in & do something. Things around you happen & then you move on to the next clue. they take around 20 minutes. I played NORWAY. I'm glad that I played one although with me not having kids I didn't bother with any of the others. You could spend a day doing all 11. The final act of the mission was great too & worth the wait. My only problem is that the kids this will appeal to the most might be a bit too young to work the handset & the kids who can, might be a bit too cool for it.
As with any DISNEY park. You finish your day with FIREWORKS. EPCOT is no let down and ILLUMINATIONS - REFLECTIONS OF EARTH is spectacular. taking place over the lake with fireworks & a laser show it's a great way to end the day.
Overall the park has a great deal to offer. You can probably fit in what you are interested in over one day. Two or more might be better though to try to get it all done.
Epcot is very different from most other Orlando theme parks. It's not so tiring for one thing and it has a lovely, relaxed kind of feel rather than the hustle, bustle and general chaos of most of the others.
It doesn't have as many rides as the other parks but then that is what a holiday to Florida is all about: variety. I think it's a great place and one to visit when you've had a few hectic days and need a slower pace for a bit!
The rides that are here are excellent, like most American theme park rides. The best I think is Test Track. It's hilarious and such fun - it looks like a giant toy car race track (you know the one I mean) and you get in and are put through a series of tests in your vehicle, just like a real vehicle on a real test track. It exposes you to different temperatures, rolls you up a steep incline and various other things and then it tells you it's going to test the brakes by hurtling you towards what looks like a wall! You can see it's a set of double doors which open at the last second and off you whizzing around outside. It's great! It does have huge queues though so either turn up at the park early and go on it straightaway or make use of the FastPass facility; this will give you a ticket with a time to return and you can get straight on then. All of the very popular rides at all of the Disney parks have the Fast Pass feature and it's a good idea to make use of it.
World Showcase was closed for re-furbishment when I visited in January 2007 which was hugely disappointing so that's a definite must for next time. In fact, something I noticed during my holiday was that a lot of the parks in Florida undertake "operational maintenance" during January and so many rides and attractions are closed. A bit annoying but I suppose they have to do it at some point!
Despite World Showcase being closed, I still really enjoyed Epcot and would have no hesitation in recommending it - don't expect it to be the same as the more hectic parks, take it for what it is, relaxing and slower. A good thing at times!
Epcot is a theme park at the walt disney world resort in orlando florida. Its is brokn into two sections: the world showcase and future world.
As you walk into the park you enter future world which house test track, a car testing centre where you are the dummies, the living land and seas, which houses Finding nemo ride and crush turtle talk, which is a very unique real time chatt show with the turtle crush. Mision Space which is a simulator that gives the experience of going into space, there are two options the not so extreme and the extreme version. And space ship earth which is inside the big "golf ball" is a journey through communication and how it has evolved. And finally the innovations centre, which has a figmetn imagination ride, his does receive mixed reviews but i do really like this ride, it takes you through all the different senses and how to use your imagination, at the end of this is a big centre with furturistic activites to do manily for the kids i would say but its is fun and a good place to go if its raining.
The world showcase has many different countries throughout, and is a walk through experience, some have rides and movies but most are walk throughs.
In the evenings there is a fireworks show called IlumiNations which is one of the best shows out of the whole parks in my opinion.
For british visitors there are a number of options availbale to you for buying tickets, the best value for money option is the 14 day ultimate ticket which gives you unlimited access for 14 days into all of the disney parks including the water parks and disny quest (large in door amusement area) loacted at down town disney!prices start for this ticket from about £244
Education is not something that the average family may be looking for on a trip to Orlando, Florida but it is something that can be found at Epcot, one of the larger of the Disney World parks.
Epcot opened in 1982 and was one of the last parks Walt Disney himself had a hand in before his death, although he originally imagined it as a town - hence its acronym EPCOT, which stands for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, though there is a grain of truth in the urban myth that it stands for Every Visitor Comes Out Tired - they certainly do!
Epcot has two main areas - Future World and World Showcase, which will both be reviewed separately.
Entering Epcot via the main gates the first thing that is immediately noticeable is a structure that loks like a giant golfball. Indeed, my children referred to it as such during the entire holiday, instead of by its given name. The structure is officially called SPACESHIP EARTH and is the symbol of Epcot. Inside the enormous golfball-shaped structure is an educational ride on tracks that takes visitors through the history of communication. It seems a bit tedious - and my six year old fell asleep while we were on it - but it's not as bad as it sounds, plus it's a cool place to escape the sun and take the weight off your feet for a while.
Past Spaceship Earth are two buildings - INNOVENTIONS EAST and INNOVENTIONS WEST, which have a variety of technological exhibits and hands-on experiences. My children found this area quite dull, though I suppose it's somewhere to go if the weather is bad as it's all inside.
To the right of the East building is a ride called UNIVERSE OF ENERGY, which again sounds less than exciting but it's hosted by comedian Ellen DeGeneres, who is quite entertaining, plus it has huge audio-animatronic dinosaurs, always a hit with most children, although possibly frightening for toddlers. I quite enjoyed this ride but the children were slightly less impressed.
Beyond this ride is the Wonders of Life pavillion which was unfortunately closed while we were there so I can't comment on how good it was. From browsing various forums it appears that it is still closed and no-one appears to know if, or when, it will reopen.
This is the point at which our children really started to show interest as the very next ride to be found is MISSION SPACE, a simulator that is supposed to make you feel like you are aboard a mission to Mars and not that I've ever been on a mission to Mars but that ride is exactly what I imagine it feels like! Not for anyone who is claustrophobic or suffers from motion sickness and there is a height restriction (3ft 8). The children and I loved it - though I was stamping on an imaginary brake as we were "coming in to land" - but my husband swears he wouldn't ever set foot on it again!
The same can't be said for the next ride in the park, TEST TRACK where you get the chance to see what it feels like to be a crash test dummy and take a car on a test run. The whole family loved this one, although again it had a height restriction(3ft 4).
On the opposite side of Future World behind Innoventions West lies a pavillion called THE SEAS with NEMO AND FRIENDS. Devoted to all things oceanic, it includes a huge aquarium, a shark-themed children's play centre and my absolute favourite TURTLE TALK WITH CRUSH, featuring Crush the turtle from Finding Nemo. I'm not sure how the technology works but the animated turtle on the screen is able to "see" members of the audience and can respond to their questions.
The next pavillion in Future World is THE LAND, which includes a Lion King themed film about the environment which is educational but very watchable, a boat ride through different methods of farming which isn't as boring as it sounds and Mr Chocaholic110's favourite ride in the whole of Florida - Soarin'. This is basically a simulated hang-glider ride over the sights of California and has lots of effects such as the wind in your hair and the smell of orange trees. One problem we found though was that twice we queued for it and the ride was suffering technical problems and was closed down. We were given FASTPASS tickets though to come back and ride again without having to requeue. It isn't a wild ride at all but does have a height restriction (3ft 4)
The final pavillion in Future World is the IMAGINATION PAVILLION, with two rides. JOURNEY INTO IMAGINATION with FIGMENT is a very child-friendly journey through the different senses and HONEY, I SHRUNK THE AUDIENCE is a 3D theatre presentation with a difference. Despite the fact that you know you haven't really been shrunk it is quite an un-nerving experience, especially with all the creatures "released" into the theatre.
The other area of Epcot, as the name suggests, is themed around different countries of the world. Surrounding a huge lake are areas built to look like different countries with shops and restaurants featuring authentic food and products and rides and films gving information about the country in question. Each area is staffed by people who actually come from that country and they are all happy to answer any questions or just chat in general about their home.
Travelling in a clock-wise direction the countries are Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, USA, Japan, Morocco, France, united Kingdom and Canada. We would have liked to have seen more of this area but firstly it seemed to rain every time we got to the lake, and secondly our children were bored stiff by the films, although my husband and I found the whole area very interesting and it definitely stimulated wander-lust, making me want to see everywhere for real! My husband got especially excited in the UK area when the person serving in the shop was a Leeds United fan (as he is) - honestly, you can't take him anywhere!
**IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE TO DO?**
Food is big thing at Epcot. Many of it's highest starred restaurants are here and all of the countries in World Showcase have an eating place with traditional food, so if you're looking for Chinese, Moroccan or Japanese food, or even craving fish and chips, then this is the place for you!
As with all Disney parks, there are characters to have photographs taken. According to many websites I have looked at since we visited characters can be found on a bus visiting Future World or in World Showcase hanging around the their country of origin, for example Pooh Bear in the UK or Mulan in Japan. I can't actually recall seeing any characters at Epcot though. Maybe we didn't look hard enough, or maybe they don't come out in the rain as it was pretty wet when we were there.
Lights and fireworks - at the end of the day Epcot puts on a pretty spectacular fireworks and special effects show. It's definitely worth seeing although we had to wait a pretty long time for it to start.
**MY HINTS AND TIPS**
Plan which rides you want to do most. Some, like Soarin', Test Track and Mission Space have really long queues. Try to do these early in the day or get a FASTPASS. Other rides don't seem to build up such huge queues and can wait until later in the day.
Use FASTPASS. By feeding your park ticket into a machine by each ride you can get a ticket to come back later in the day at a pre-determined time and ride with virtually no wait. Don't wait too long to get one though as they do run out.
Try to visit over two days if you can. Epcot is huge and there is loads of walking to do. I don't think anyone could cover it properly in only one day.
Get there early! Beat the crowds to the best rides by getting there when the park opens...or even before.
If you have children you can get a child's passport to use when travelling World Showcase. There are places to get it stamped in each country and little activity stations and it can make World Showcase a little more interesting. Our children thought it was the most boring place in Florida and I would definitely say it's more adult orientated.
Take water bottles and fill up at water fountains. There's even a talking fountain there that asks you not to drink it all up!
Overall, I would say that Epcot, while certainly not my favourite park still has a lot to offer in terms of rides and entertainment and who knows you might just learn something as well.
having gone to epcot looking forward to the rides which offer entertainment and education i was not dissapointed, epcot delivers much in which must be seen.
I am sorry to tell you that i do not remeber the ticket prices.
Attractions (that i went on) -
Test Track: Definitely the most popular attraction boasting limits of above 80mph!!! This ride is based on a car going through a test track... Oh yeah; and you're in it! Beware that it is a thrill ride that will have you drifting, going at incredible speeds and basically just all the things that you would expect from a test track! 10/10
Mission Space: My favourite ride at epcot however i am a thrill seeker, infact this ride is a stimulator, a very violent too. This ride sees you going to space and to mars feeling all the g-force that you would feel in real life, NOT for the claustrophic, faint of heart or wimps (joking). 9/10
Soarin: This attraction is based on a (what do you call it? - massive kite) that flies over California. It is a lovely experience for the whole family, this attraction truely desserves your attention. As you are soarin over California you will feel the cool wind blowing through your head, and you will smell the enviroment that you are flying past e.g. as you fly through the oranges you smell them. The quese are usually very long however there are games to be played in the crowd. They do keep you entertained
Food & Drinks
There is a large range of food to be eaton in epcot, surprisingly you can eat sushi and other foreign foods as well as burgers, hot dogs etc
Sorry i did not get round to finishing the review however Epcot is massive and gives 2 days of 10/10 entertainment!
Ok so having written my last review on my visit to Universal Studios Florida, this review still focuses on Florida, but rather more on the other attraction known as Disney Epcot Centre. Now you maybe asking yourself never heard of this place, well just think back to seeing a huge golf ball shape tourist attraction, picture it?, well that's Epcot. Like my Universal review, this review will focus more on the sites and attractions I visited and therefore apologise if I forget to mention some of the obvious things. Hopefully this review will get more people to visit the Epcot centre. I feel it has such a negative perception, and most people seem to think it's boring, which is certainly not the case.
Well it must be said that the Epcot centre does have a huge history, some of which people may not have known. The park was officially opened on October 1st 1982, at the time it was the largest theme park worldwide, however this was then overtaken by the Disney Animal Kingdom. The construction costs were estimated at over $1.2 billion, and took over three years to construct. The park is approximately 260 acres long.
The unique history of the development of Epcot is not known to many people, particular the millions that visit it every year. During the 60's the original idea was to create a model community. This community would be twenty thousand residents strong, all of whom would have jobs of some form working in the park as attendants, cleaners, and merchandise sellers and so on. The community would have had houses, schools, medical centres and forms of entertainment. The idea was to create a futuristic environment that would change the way people lived. No one would have voting rights; they would not need money as all aspects of social welfare would be covered. People would be able to commute to and from work by using the monorails much like the ones seen in Universal Studios or Disney Magic City. The plan however, was scrapped as it was seen to be too risky and unpredictable. Instead, the Epcot centre was created, a place for people to explore learn and have fun.
Well like the Universal tour, Epcot really needs to 2 day tour to cover the whole ground, the sheer size of the area means if you really want to experience everything you should take your time and visit it in two days. We went all the Disney tours, which included Disney land and magic kingdom and that being said we got a ticket pass for all the Disney resorts the prices were as followed;
We paid $62 for two day pass to Epcot and we booked directly through the Disney website.
Online sellers usually offer a discount of some sort, especially if you bulk buy.
If on the other hand you only have one day to spare the prices for adults are $30 and for children (3-9) is $24. I would recommend booking direct from Disney, unless you booking a package tour.
The Epcot Centre:
We were very lucky to be in the Epcot centre on July the 4th, we were told that the evening would offer a spectacular firework show with free barbeque food for all paying guests; the park had even extended its opening hour by some 4 hours, lucky us hey. We got to the Epcot centre by a rental car my friend has hired, it took us about 30 minutes from our Holiday Inn hotel to get to Epcot, the direction were really straight forward as most the road signs are pointing to the location in big bold letters. One must point out if you bring cars into the theme park, there is a small parking fee that must be paid, but this is standard in most parks. However, you can also take a Disney bus that picks guests up from certain locations around the Disney area, you would have to ask the tour organisers for more info regarding this matter. (407) WDW-MAGIC (939-6244)
You seemingly come out of the car on a sunny morning and the first thing that stands out is the huge golf ball figure, its something unreal. I had been to the park before and thus I wasn't new to the experience of seeing something big like this. But my friends just stood their, minutes went buy and they were really just trying to figure out what this circular object was. Was it a ride, was it a building or was it a sculpture, I kept them guessing.
We had booked out tickets well in advance and thus didn't have to wait in the long line to buy a ticket, felt sorry for those people waiting in line for hours considering how hot it was. You get pass the security, much like that of Universal Studios and you enter the magical Epcot centre. As a kid I really enjoyed this park, most people have such negative perceptions of it because it doesn't really have any huge rides, but from a scenic point of view and a relaxing calm nature its something that most defiantly appealed to me.
One of the first attractions that any guest must go on is the "Spaceship Earth" tour, which yes is inside the golf ball figure. The original ride was actually constructed in the late 80's and since then the general theme of the ride as stayed the same to some extent. The ride had obviously changed since I went some 8 years before my latest visits, but I have to say it's more of an educational and innovative ride, added with a big of rollercoaster drama. The ride takes you through different sections of the Earth show, which show the medieval ages, the ancient Egyptians ages, and son on. The total lists of scenes that you visit during the tour are listed below;
* Face-Recognition Program
* Prehistoric Man
* Egyptian Temple
* Phoenician Merchants
* Greek Math Teacher
* The Roman Road Network
* Islamic Empire
* Cathedral Abbey
* Gutenberg Press
* Renaissance Italy
* Industrial Revolution
* The Age of Invention
* The Age of Information
* Tunnel of Facts and Figures
* Spaceship Earth Planetarium
* Infinite Stars
* Descent Tunnel featuring Starfield and touch-screens within the Omnimover vehicles that allow guests to create their future
This is defiantly a tour that young children would love, I actually quite liked it too, and it was very informative and was something different to the normal rides you see when in a theme park. The tour does have some scenes were all the lights turn off and the carriage starts moving faster and in one instance it moved backwards. This was a brilliant feeling, because it was something unexpected, people were getting the feeling it would be an education tour, then all of a sudden it switches into something more electric and exciting. The sound effects, the indoor sculptures were done perfectly.
Most people say this ride is quite boring, but I beg to differ. It's got the rollercoaster type element, but at the same time it's got a calm period, which educates and informs you. Something bold and innovative in my opinion, they broke the stereotypical perception of theme parks. They can be exciting and fun as well as a learning curve. How often can you say you've been to Alton Towers and come back wiser about the Greek Empire? Parents with young kids will love this.
Our next attraction was the Test Track area, which was not open during my first visit and thus was excited about seeing something new, I had hard this ride was quite good and more to the point once you have got out of it, you have a totally different view about your own car. The waiting time for this ride varies, we waited about 25 minutes, which wasn't too bad. During the waiting time we got to see test performed on certain car parts, i.e. how the engine works the wheels etc. The ride itself lasted over 5 and a half minutes and was quite unique to say the least. The test performed on a car, a quite brilliant its both educational and yet exciting, I felt like I was Jeremy Clarkson on Top gear. The car we were in was testing the breaks, so in one instance they stopped the brakes and tested the reaction time of the car at 65 mph, considering the breaks didn't work the curve turned left rights and centre. They then tested the tires and purposely shot one tire to shot the effects this has on the car. The final surprise was the car driving at 65 mph into a wall, showing the effects of a car crash. I was scared to say the least, it actually felt so real, and out me off ever going into a car again.
Again like the previous ride, this one had both excitement and educational features, which was good. They informed and educated us in a way that also made it exciting, I tell you something the Epcot organisers should start opening up schools, I sure the students would love it.
The final ride that im going to talk about was the best one, it was called Mission Space. Yes it's got something to do with space, it was a simulator that showed what it felt like being an astronaut going into space and the effects of being in space. The ride covers all aspects include simulating the effects of travelling into space at a speed of above 2G's, the mental and physical affects this may have one one's body, and they also had a weight free simulator, which meant you flowing into space. We get to experience what it would be like when the spaceship is taking off and landing back to earth. I really enjoyed this ride, its exciting features and out of body felling was brilliant.
The end of the ride would take us to a stage were people can pretend to be mission control in NASA. We also got a chance to play a two way game, in which you would race your opponent to see who comes back to earth the fastest. When we were their we also had a chance to try and land an aircraft, it was so hard, because the simulator takes into consideration wind speed, the weight of the aircraft and so on.
Any budding space man would enjoy this ride.
The other rides we visited, but will not talk about are;
- Universe of Energy
- The seas with Nemo and Friends
The rides pretty much took use to the evening period, and we were finally ready for the huge 4th of July fireworks display that was promised to us. The actual show was brilliant, the choreography along with the scenic view, the low lit blue and red lights, with the American National Anthem being played in the background made you feel really warm and welcomed. It showed just how proud the Americans were about their culture. The food wasn't half bad too, the hot dogs, burgers and beer went down a nice treat.
The second day, which again was a fantastic morning, clear blue skies and no clouds saw us taking on the second leg of our tour, which focused more on the World Showcase. The world showcase, takes us through eleven countries, all with their traditional architecture and scenery. The countries, which are currently there are;
Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, USA, Japan, Morocco, France, UK, Canada.
This leg of the tour was more about getting a different perspective of the architecture and feeling of what is might be like visiting each of these countries. Each area having some setting that best describes that country. For instance, the long Chinese building, the quite wooden house of the UK and so on.
Another great aspect is that in each area, they sell food that is made in that region, in the Chinese region we had sushi, America was Hot Dogs, and UK was Tea and Cakes, and so on. Each country would also sell their traditional beer, we managed to try beer from every region and as you can imagine we were very merry by the end.
Like the whole Epcot centre, this area is again about informing, educating its visitors. It's a place to simply chill out and relax, enjoy some tranquil peaceful time with family and friends. The views are simply breathtaking, plants and wildlife you haven't seen before,, green green grass which simply looks GM modified and the cool crystal lakes that are so clear you can see the fish inside. Too bad you can't fish their hey.
If you want to take some time out from a busy and hectic holiday, this is the place to go. Its family friendly, has great picnic areas, has something for the kids, the couples and even the teenagers would actually enjoy it. I must applaud the parks easy access for disabled people. They have got everything covered from the rides, to the restrooms, to the food courts, job well done.
Epcot is one of Walt Disneys Resorts in Florida and is mainly recognised by the Golf Ball Shaped Icon topped off with Mickeys Famous Hat as seen in the Sorcerers Apprentice.
Epcot is supposedly the least popular park out of them all but it ranked pretty high in my opinion, combining two parks in one with the futuristic theme to one side and the World Showcase on the other side of the Lake this park is definitely not one to be shunned.
When visiting Walt Disney World the best advise I can give to you is to purchase your tickets before you go, so many people visit Disney without purchasing tickets and there is an really great value ticket that is exclusive to UK visitors that can only be purchased in the UK for use in Florida, this is the Ultimate ticket valid for 14 or 21 days it offers great value for money and can be used to access all of the Disney parks as many times as you like within the validity of the ticket. We opted for the 14 day ticket which currently costs £115 from reputable suppliers such as Keith Prowse and Attraction Tickets Direct and they also tend to through some goodies in as well, with us we received Disney Dollars which could be used in any of the parks.
Entry to all Disney parks is the same insert your ticket into the turnstile and you will then be prompted to leave a fingerprint, this is so that should you lose your ticket it can be identified back to you should it be lost.
The ticket will then be returned and you will be allowed to proceed through the turnstile, if you have any bags you will be asked to show the contents to the security at each entrance, this can be quite a lengthy queue, so whenever possible try not to carry too much baggage, you really wont need it.
If you want to leave the park and be re admitted than you must present your ticket to the staff member who will advise you on the process. We found that with the tickets we had we had unlimited visits so just used our card each time, different tickets however have different regulations so if you are unsure, check with a team member.
As you enter Epcot you are greeted by Leave a Legacy When you participate, your image is etched in steel and incorporated into the new Leave a Legacy Sculpture at Epcot's threshold. Mark my partner had previously purchased one for his Dad and we were able to locate the small tile about the size if a stamp with their individual message.
I wanted to get one done for Mark and I as we had gotten engaged on this trip and here would always be a reminder of my dream come true at Disney, all you have to do is visit the imaging station near Spaceship Earth any time during your stay at Epcot and your legacy will be left.
This is a slow moving ride inside the Epcot sculpture, weighing 16 million points and located 180 feet in the air this really is an experience. The ride takes you slowly through the centuries of time in a constantly moving car and in each car are speakers that give you a guided tour as you start your slow ascent to Spaceship Earth before slowly descending back down to earth and the present day. A great ride and ideal if you want to learn a little history not so great for the younger children as they could get bored easily.
*~*Ellens Energy Adventure*~*
Definitely not one of the best rides to be experienced in Walt Disney World, I actually found this the most boring ride in all of Disney. The ride is based on the infamous Jeopardy Game show starring Ellen De Generes as she travels back to the dinosaur era a very slow moving ride that you can afford to skip that is unless you have a thing for dinosaurs.
One of the newer rides at Epcot this ride is amazing and allows you to experience what it is like to be an astronaut. The ride even comes with sick bags as this experience really seems unreal. The ride comes with a role and facilitates 4 riders, each rider will have a role of either pilot, navigator, engineer or commander in which you will be required to press a button when it flashes, I forgot so I have to say I spoilt the secret as to whether it actually needs to be pressed!!
This ride is not ideal for those that do not like being in confined spaces as the ride actually moves in around you so that you can sense what it is like to be inside a space capsule.
This is a great ride but if you dont like jerky rides this should possibly be skipped. Test Track is a great ride when you experience the vigorous tests that cars have to go through, it is the longest and fastest ride in Disney and is the best ride at Epcot so be prepared for long queues and take advantage of the Disney Fast Pass.
Always get to the busiest rides first and if you want to go on them again use the Disney Fast Pass system, where you enter your park entrance ticket and a fast pass will be printed and both tickets returned to you via an automated system , this will provide you with a return time for you to access the ride with minimum waiting.
*~*The Living Seas*~*
This attraction is designed to show you how the world relies on mother nature. The Living seas contain all the stars of the sea including Nemo!
Turtle Talk with Crush is an interactive show that is great for children where children and adults alike can interact with Crush with questions from the audience, the children will be amazed and really enjoy this attraction but again be prepared for fairly long waiting queues.
This ride in my opinion was a let down, it had been built up to be a really great ride when in fact it was very poor for Disney standards. The ride is based around a large swing which lifts you off the ground and gives you the sensation that you are Soarin over forests, seas and experience the feeling of free flying, in my opinion long queues for a ride that is just not worth it.
*~*Living with the Land*~*
This was a very interesting attraction and one I was a bit apprehensive of at first but was glad that Mark had persuaded me to go on. This is a slow moving boat ride that takes tou into various greenhouses which is full of fantastic fruits and vegetables and show you how they grow without soil.
*~*Journey into Imagination with Figment*~*
This ride definitely caters for the younger children but was fun all the same for those young adults!! This ride is designed to alert you to your senses as you experience sight, smells and taste in this fun ride.
World of Showcase to me is the best part of Epcot offering so much packed into the one half of the park featuring the following countries:-
Mexico is contained within a fantastic building as you enter you are immediately in a traditional marketplace selling authentic items from Mexico including sombreros!! Here is a fantastic restaurant offering some great food but there can be very long waiting times so I do recommend either making a reservation or getting there early for lunch.
In Mexico there is a slow moving boat ride which takes you on a tour of Mexico.
Norway is home of the Vikings and also the Maelstrom adventure cruise which similarily to Mexico is a slow moving water ride that tells the story of Norway. Dine inside a castle and enjoy baked goods and sweets in the shops surrounding this country.
Experience the tranquil gardens of China and enjoy the refletions of China presentation and finish off with a traditional Chinese meal, we opted to eat at the Lotus Blossom Café and enjoyed a fast food version of Chinese which was different to the usual burgers and chips sold at many of the other eateries.
Germany was the country that Mark had gotten so excited about as here you could get a huge drink of beer and in quite possibly the biggest glass I had seen! Here there are many exclusive shops that offer hand painted eggs and adorable teddy bears and gorgeous crystal jewellery with great characters representing the company.
Italy is not one of the most memorable countries that stands out after visiting them all, replicas of the Campanile of St Marks Square and the replica street pavilion do make you feel like you have stepped into Italy but the atmosphere is not all that traditional compared to the other countries. L'Originale Alfredo di Roma Ristorante offers some mouth watering items on the menu and always looked to be busy although we never actually ventured inside.
America, the one country both Mark and I managed to fall asleep in whilst watching The American Adventure theatrical show! The voices of Liberty however were amazing and definitely a sight to be seen. The Liberty Inn is an ideal place to have a pit stop and a nice refreshing drink.
Japan is one of my favourite locations and was yet another stop for my fiancé to grab a drink. Koi filled pools and water features are just some of the attractions that can be found in Japan and who would have thought that you find it at one end of a theme park! We were drawn into Japan by the astounding Taiko drummers, Matsuriza this really is a great sound and what was more I could even buy my own Bonsai Tree although I dont think it would have passed through immigrations on the way home!
Morocco was the location for many of our photographs namely because they had a fabulous fez house! Mark especially liked the belly dancers that were present in this country and there are plenty of leather goods and carpets traditional of those found in Morocco.
France was almost the location for my engagement to Mark as I had a distinct feeling that this was where he had planned to propose after his first failed attempt and the fact that he offered to get me a second glass of champagne was a dead give away so I managed to quickly drag him away so I couldnt be proved right.
United Kingdom is the home to traditional 1500s style thatched cottage and also to the Rose and Crown pub where we both nipped in for a pint of Strong bow costing almost £5.00 a pint each, but they were ever so refreshing.
Traditional British toys can be purchased from the authentic toy shop offering gifts from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Canada did not have all that much to offer in terms of attractions, offering Maple Syrup and great value leather goods Canada was a little disappointing for me having visited the Country itself offering only a Steakhouse to its name and a presentation entitled O Canada this can certainly be missed.
Epcot really offers a great deal of attractions before you visit this park I would recommend visiting the website of if you can get hold of a map of the park before you go and plan you day in advance, if you want to watch the shows work them around visiting the rides and attractions that you want to see and try to get to the most popular parks first thing in the morning and this will avoid the longer queues that build up towards the afternoon.
Illumications Reflections of Earth is a fantastic light show with over 1100 pyrotechnic bursts as the lasers provide a fantastic show! Find out from your park map what time the show starts and find a great place to park your bum until the show starts it really is amazing.
Epcot has plenty to offer and if you follow some of my tips I am sure you will have as great a time as I did!!
As with all Disney parks they offer a complimentary transport system between the parks and also to Downtown Disney this saves a fortune and you should certainly take full advantage of this.