Epcot Center - See the World of Yesterday, Tomorrow and Today
At Epcot Center, as it was originally called, you can see the whole world in just one day. Lots faster than Jules Verne did. Plus, you can see how technology has changed the world and how it will impact the world in the future.
And have a whole lot of fun in the process.
There are two "Worlds" here. Future World and the World Showcase. The two "Worlds" don't seem to have a lot in common, but together, they make one great theme park. Let's see why this park so special.
I love the colors of Journey to Imagination
Photo by Disney Photo Snapper
Epcot is divided into 2 worlds. Future World (Dad's favorite part) which looks at technology and the future, and the World Showcase (Mrs. Mom's favorite part) which highlights countries from around the real world.
Future World looks at the future of the world. (Tell us something not so obvious. OK.) Each of the pavilions in Future World showcase a different technology that is prevalent in our world today. From The Seas, all the way around to Test Track, technology and innovation (and some really fun rides) are on display.
Future World has evolved over the years from the slightly boring exhibits that Epcot Center started with. Now, with the addition of Soarin', Mission Space and Nemo, this park is really a great place to spend a day (or two).
There are eight active pavilions in Future World (the Wonders of Life Pavilion is pretty much closed). They are centered around the big, main pavilion which is called Innoventions. It's not near as beautiful as Cinderella Castle, but is functional as the Center of Epcot Future World.
Here is a list of the pavilions with the attractions in each -
- The Seas with Nemo and Friends
- Sea Base Alpha
- Turtle Talk - Starring Crush
- The Manatee Exhibit
- The Land
- Journey to Imagination
- New Test Track
- Mission Space
- Universe of Energy
- Spaceship Earth
Some of the best and most thrilling rides anywhere can be found in Future World. You could spend a whole day in this part of the park and not see everything. It's not to be missed.
The attractions in Future World are some of the most innovative in all of Walt Disney World. Test Track and Mission Space have some mind-blowing technology and Soarin' may be the most popular ride in the park (it sure has the longest lines).
Lines at the Electric Umbrella
Photo by WDW Shutterbug
Dining in Future World
Fine Dining is really not what Future World is known for. For really good food, you have to go across the lagoon. There are a couple of nice stops on this side, but most of the food in Epcot Future World is just OK.
Here are the restaurants you'll find in Future World -
- In The Seas - Coral Reef Restaurant
- In the Land - Sunshine Seasons Food Court and the Garden Grill
- In Innoventions - Electric Umbrella
Sunset over the World Showcase
Photo by Mike Billick
Epcot's World Showcase is Disney's tribute to the concept of a World's Fair. It has offerings from a number of different countries and cultures. Each of the countries is staffed by cast members from the country, which brings a real authenticity to the experience.
There are 11 World Showcase Pavilions. (For years there have been rumors of a 12th pavilion, but sadly no new pavilions have been added since Norway in 1988.) Yes, for almost 25 years the World Showcase has stayed the same while the other side of Epcot has changed considerably.
The World Showcase, unlike most of the other parks, is not about the rides. It's about showcasing other parts of the world. Each country brings the best it has too offer in food, goods and entertainment to share with the world.
Here is the list and the attractions in each -
- Reflections of China
- United Kingdom
The attractions in the World Showcase aren't the stars of the show. The World Showcase is all about the best of each country. Each pavilion is full of authentic items from each country. It really is something special.
Eat at Teppan Edo
Photo by Matthew Cooper
Dining in the World Showcase
If you are going to eat in Epcot, this is the place to do it. Dining is the star of the World Showcase. Some of the best restaurants in the whole world are located here. Each country has at least one Table Service restaurant and one Quick Service restaurant.
Here's the current list -
- Mexico - San Angel Inn, La Cava del Tequila, La Hacienda y La Cantina (outside)
- Norway - Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, Kringla Bakeri og Kafe
- China - Nine Dragons, Lotus Blossom Cafe
- Germany - Biergarten
- Italy - Via Napoli, Tutto Italia
- America - Liberty Inn
- Japan - Teppan Edo, Katsura Grill, Tokyo Dining
- Morocco - Restaurant Marrakesh, Tangerine Cafe
- France - Chefs de France, Bistro de Paris, Boulangerie Paitisserie
- United Kingdom - Rose and Crown, Yorkshire County Fish Shop
- Canada - Le Cellier
There are some real surprises and a couple of consistent disappointments, but every restaurant is part of the story.
Uncle Walt's Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow
Photo by Don Sullivan
Uncle Walt had a grand idea for Epcot. He proposed an Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow. This would be the center and heart of the new Disney World. It was to be a place where new systems would always be added and would be, in Walt's words, "a showcase to the world for the ingenuity and imagination of American free enterprise."
Unfortunately, Uncle Walt died before Epcot was started. For years the Disney Imagineers struggled with Epcot. They couldn't figure out what to do with Walt's dream. They had 2 models. One of a theme park with educational rides and one of a grand World of Nations. Finally one day they shoved the two models together and the Epcot of today was born.
More than history, there are secrets that nobody but Dad (and a few thousand other Disney geeks) know about Walt Disney World. Check it out.
Every successful park visit come down to The Details. No one is better than Dad about The Details. Here are some things you need to know about Epcot.
No Crowds are Better
Photo by Disney Photo Snapper
This is the second busiest theme park in the world, so it's natural that there are crowds at times. Dad is an expert on Disney World Crowds. There are some thing you need to know about how to deal with the natural (and sometimes unnatural) throngs that sometimes overwhelm the park.
Really Great Events
Photo by WDW Shutterbug
EventsMore than any other park, Epcot host events. Almost year around there is something big going on at and it's usually something big. Here is the semi-complete list.
- International Flower and Garden Festival
- Sounds Like Summer
- Food and Wine Festival
- Holidays Around the World
These events are some of the best things that happen during the year. Make sure to check you schedules for times and dates.
Uncle Walt was always looking for the Perfect way to end the day. Every night on the World Showcase Lagoon a very special closing show happens. It's called Illuminations. It involves music, fireworks, lasers, a barge that spews fire and a magical globe that dances and brings images to the show.
Make sure you take time to see some of the little things. The Rose Garden in the United Kingdom pavilion is spectacular. Uncle Walt loved toy trains, and you can see a really interesting toy train exhibit between Germany and Italy. There are wonderful artists in Japan and Mexico and lots, lots more.
A day at Epcot video
Here is a video from Disney Parks that shows a day at the park. This is cool.
Epcot is a great place to see things you can't see anywhere else. From new technology to wonderful culture from around the world it's a great experience.