Epcot

Welcome to the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow: EPCOT
Today is all about my favorite Walt Disney World park: EPCOT!




Nostalgia
There's a lot of information out there about EPCOT's rich history, but for this post I'm going to keep it more personal. EPCOT is my favorite Walt Disney World (WDW) park and it only feels right to talk about it from the heart! I don't know exactly why I've loved this park so much, there's just something.... special. From childhood, I have nothing but the fondest memories of all of my visits to EPCOT. For any readers that know "vintage" EPCOT well, the former attraction HORIZONS used to be my favorite Disney ride! EPCOT was just so alluring since it was Disney's take on the future. It was also always so fun to "see the world" in one day with their World Showcase pavilions.

The Future Meets the World
So how would one describe EPCOT? Well it's literally two park concepts put into one. Upon entry into the park you're transported to the future in Futureworld. Here you'll find an array of attractions that span from undersea adventures, space wonder, imagination journeys, and more!
The second half of EPCOT is called the World Showcase and features 11 different countries from around the world. Each country has it's own "pavilion" and showcases replica version of their country's famous moments, food, entertainment and more.

At EPCOT you can literally go to the future and eat, drink and explore your way around the world... all in one theme park!

Futureworld
I have a strong love for Futureworld. I'll break down a brief description of what you can find here:
Spaceship Earth It's the large geometric looking ball that is the icon for the entire park. Inside this "ball" houses Spaceship Earth, a ride that takes you through the history of communication. It's a fan favorite, unique and a must see if you've never been! I feel like this ride is a forever classic and embodies what EPCOT is all about.

** EPCOT is currently undergoing a massive transformation which will include a revision to this classic attraction. Not many details have been posted yet, but hopefully they keep the same charm that so many Spaceship Earth fans gave grown to love**

The Seas with Nemo and Friends
This is a great experience for little ones! In fact, this was Ben's first WDW ride! You start your journey boarding little "clam shells" and journey under the sea with Nemo and friends. It's part Disney dark ride with projections and fun ride sets, but then transports you to an underwater adventure! You disembark inside the main pavilion which houses large aquarium (don't miss the manatees!) and Turtle Talk with Crush, a fun interactive show, similar to the one over at Disney California Adventure in Anaheim.

The Land
Here you will find two attractions, 1) the crowd favorite Soarin' (same as Disney California Adventure) a high flying flight simulation ride and Living with the Land, a boat ride that takes you into a living greenhouse with a focus on agriculture.  I will fully admit that riding the latter (Living with the Land) as a child, I didn't fully appreciate the beauty of this ride. But now as an adult I've come to love it! Its always so magical to see what fruits, veggies and plants are currently growing in here. PB and I loved it so much on our last WDW visit we even took the "Behind the Seeds" tour that takes a closer look at the attraction.

Journey Into Imagination
One word: Figment. If you know, you know. This adorable ride has been a staple at EPCOT for decades! The main star and arguably the true mascot for EPCOT is Figment. A purple dragon like  character that is a "figment" of imagination. The ride itself is a cute dark ride that moves through of an imagination laboratory that Figment ends up taking over. It's actually a revamped version of the original ride, but still keeps some of it's original charm that I loved so much during my childhood.

**DVC lounge**
For my readers that may happen to be Disney Vacation Club members, there's an exclusive lounge on top of the Imagination Pavilion for you to check out. You check in at the podium at the exit gift shop of the ride and head upstairs. It's a fun little lounge with free Coca Cola Freestyle machines to use, phone charging stations and just a nice (Air Conditioned!) place to take a break from the parks.

Test Track
This one is for anyone that likes to go fast, lol! Test Track is a  thrilling car adventure that simulates a car testing facility. It's super futuristic and can't be missed. I won't give too much away, but it's a ton of fun and probably one of the best rides at EPCOT and WDW.

Mission Space
This attraction was once known to be one of the the most intense Disney attractions ever made. So much so that they had to create an alternate "less intense" version. Currently the attraction houses two versions of the ride, GREEN for the less intense experience, it still gives you the gist of the attraction, although with a different space mission storyline and the original ORANGE mission that has you blasting off to Mars. I will say that my previous two rides on this were on the orange version and I can confirm that YES it was crazy. Intense enough that the first time PB and I rode this he was so sick after he vowed to never ride this ride again and for me... I almost blacked out.
Why the fuss? It simulates the same G forces an astronauts feel during their own space training. It's a surreal feeling and definitely extremely intense. It goes without saying that this isn't for the weak stomachs out there. I did try the green version with my sister on our most recent trip and I found that more pleasant both storyline and motion wise!

The World Showcase
Travel the world and never leave Orlando? Sold! No passports needed at EPCOT's World Showcase. Featuring 11 different countries, park guests can literally hop from Mexico to Japan, to the UK all in one afternoon.
Undoubtedly, the biggest draw here for many visitors is the chance to "Drink Around the World' since each different country features a special kind of alcoholic beverage. I don't drink, but my sister does! So as my birthday gift while visiting the park she volunteered to drink around the World Showcase for me. It was hilarious and she eventually completed the challenge at 13 drinks!

**Drinking tips from a non-drinker's drinking sister**
My sister managed to drink 13 drinks "around the world" and thankfully didn't pass out. She said that with the heat and all the walking she could easily see how people wouldn't be able to finish the drinking fun around the entire showcase but she did say to mention that it helps to 1) pace yourself. She drank a drink every hour or so until the end of the night. 2) get the mixed drinks! She said that if she had drank straight alcohol like beer or wine, she'd be done before she'd even get 1/2 through. But she mentioned that the mixed and slush type drinks weren't too bad and actually quite refreshing in the heat.

Now onto the WORLD
Going into detail about each country would turn this post into a long novel, so I'll list them below, along with some highlights that we love about specific countries:
  • Mexico: One of my favorites to visit as the main attraction is a beautiful nighttime market scene and best of all? INDOORS.  Perfect for those hot days and wanting a little getaway from the heat outside. This country also features one of the few rides in the World Showcase at the moment: The Gran Fiesta Tour starring the Tres Caballeros! It's a cute, slow moving boat ride that features Donald Duck and his amigos with a fun look at the sights around Mexico!
  • Norway: Don't miss Norway as it houses one of EPCOT's top attractions, the Frozen ride. It's a fun little boat ride through the most famous scenes from the film Frozen. There's also a little meet and greet with Anna and Elsa near by. Besides the attraction fun, my favorite thing about this stop is the bakery Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe and features some yummy treats, including my favorite: the School Bread. Try it! Trust me... it's GOOD.
  • China: Inside this pavilion is a 360 screen show about the beauty of China. One highlight of here is the little tea stand across from the main area. It offers PB's favorite EPCOT find, a lychee milk tea! He literally had 3 of them the time we were there.
  • Germany: Germany has lots of good eats. Don't miss the Karamell Kuche, featuring some of the most delectable caramel treats and the little snack stand in the back serving up yummy bratwursts and tasty apple strudel.
  • Italy: Perhaps the most picturesque of the countries since it literally transports you to a piazza in Italy! Be sure to snap some pics here and if you're craving some yummy pizza, Via Napoli is an excellent food option.
  • U.S.A: Disney's take on our own country. There's a classic animatronic show showcasing the "American Adventure". Across the way is a large concert stage that features live music, mini concerts and the holiday favorite: the Candlelight Processional. Check the entertainment guides for anything the might be happening during your trip,
  • Japan: We love the real Japan in general, so having a replica version in some form in Orlando is pretty neat. Be sure to check out the art exhibit in the back of the pavilion. There's also a fun market selling Japanese goodies and merchandise attached. We love the quick service restaurant here, too! They serve up some yummy noodle dishes.
  • Morocco: This past trip was my first time actually getting to wander the immersive Morocco area of the showcase. It's set up like a pseudo bazaar market and it literally transports you into another world with its details.
  • France: Eiffel Tower? check! Another gorgeous take on a beautiful country. There's a yummy patisserie located in the back.
  • United Kingdom:  I'll be honest and say I haven't spent much time exploring this country since we always seem to run out of time before we head here. We tend to start our "World Showcase" treks starting at Mexico so we usually end up breezing by the U.K. From what I have seen in the past is beautifully landscaped gardens and some prime photo spots with the detailed street settings. Something that was new when we went was that Winnie the Pooh actually meets with guests here. We missed out on meeting him, but it'd be a fun touch for the little ones or Pooh fans.
  • Canada: Oh Canada, eh? The highlight here: Le Cellier, a Canadian steakhouse that serves up some of the yummiest dishes we've had at WDW. It's actually one of PB's favorite restaurants at Disney.
Festivals!!!
During our October visit, one of EPCOT's special events was taking place, the Food & Wine festival.  There were dozens of themed booths set up all over the park and featured a wide variety of gourmet menus and alcohol pairings. We could have spent an entire day (or more) just eating from all of the different booths. They were all so good. I'll let our food photos do the talking below:

EPCOT also hosts an array of other festivals throughout the year like the Festival of the Arts, the Flower and Garden fest and more! If you can manage to schedule a trip during one of these fun events, it'll be well worth it for the additional fun.

Epcot for Kids
Years ago, Epcot got a bad rep for being the "educational park" since most attractions had strong education or lesson like themes. But over the years Epcot has evolved and there's so much for the littlest of your bunch to see, eat and do a the park.
KidCot: We unfortunately ran out of time before we could partake, but we've heard this was a ton of fun. There are different "activity centers" stationed at the different countries in the World Showcase where children can collect stamps as you "travel" around the world. We're bummed we missed out but can't wait to try it on our next trip with our little guy.

Characters: There's characters galore here at Epcot and in the most unique of ways. Besides catching the classics in Futureworld, you can find your favorite princesses in their "home" countries around the World Showcase. While we didn't meet them, we saw that you could meet Mulan in China, Anna and Elsa in Norway, Snow White in Germany, Jasmine and Aladdin near Morocco and Belle in France. You can also find some of your favorite character pals like Donald Duck in some festive wear near the Mexico pavilion.

Baby Care Center: for the littlest of the littles, a good to know spot is the Baby Care Center. Located between the Odyssey Center (currently the Epcot preview center) and the Mexico pavilion, here you'll find a quiet and comfy place to change your little one, an area to feed them, and just a getaway from the hustle and bustle of the parks outside.

Epcot Forever!
EPCOT is currently undergoing a major transformation so we experienced a few construction walls here and there. Nothing to dampen visit plans, but a heads up for those who may not be in the know. I'm excited to see what new magic the park plans to add in the future! I know no matter what's in store, it's going to be absolutely beautiful.
As you can see, theres a ton to see, eat, drink and do around the world and the future with EPCOT. I guess that's why this part has always been my favorite! It's so unique in concept, there's truly a little something for everyone. I hope you've enjoyed this look at my favorite Walt Disney World park! 💜


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