Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Epcot

Epcot was Walt Disney's greatest dream, it was in fact his vision for the future. Epcot is an acronym for 'Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow'.

We were given a couple of alternative meanings by one of the staff at Epcot, 'Every paycheck comes on Thursday' or 'Every person comes out tired'.

We had our reservations about this park as Jessica was only 4 years old at the time and thought she may become bored with it, as it is the most adult oriented of the Disney theme parks. However we need not have worried as she absolutely loved it.

Epcot was about 30 minutes ride from the hotel, this included several stops to pick up passengers from neighbouring hotels. The first thing you notice as you approach the park is the giant golf ball like structure that dominates the skyline.

Spaceship Earth, Epcot
The large iconic sphere that houses the 'Spaceship Earth'
ride dominates the skyline at Epcot
As with all theme parks, there is a quick bag inspection prior to entry. Once you grab a free map and park guide you are free to make your way into the park.

The first ride you encounter is 'Spaceship Earth' which is housed in the giant golf ball like structure. This ride depicts how communication has evolved and shaped our lives from the early days of the ice age to the present day. As the queue was relatively short we decided to take advantage of this and this became the first ride of the day.

Future World
Epcot is split into two sections, Future World and World Showcase. Future World is the area in which you enter the theme park and is very popular with the younger children. This area celebrates the technological breakthroughs and achievements made by mankind.
Nemo
Undersea adventures with Nemo & Friends
Some of the attractions and rides in the Future section include:
  • Test Track
  • University of Energy
  • Honey. I shrunk the Audience
  • Nemo and Friends
  • Mission Space
  • Soarin
  • The Living Seas
  • The Land
  • Innoventions
  • The Sum of all Thrills
Future world is split into two main areas, east and west. The rides in the east section are faster rides, more suitable for older children and adults. 

While the rides in the west section are more laid back and relaxing, ideal for younger children, who aren't permitted to ride on many of the faster rides due to the height restrictions in place here.

For this reason we skipped the east section and concentrated on the west section as the rides were more suitable for Jessica. Jessica's favourites were Soarin and Nemo and Friends as well as Spaceship Earth.
Mickey & Minnie celebrate Christmas at Epcot
Mickey & Minnie get into the Christmas spirit at Epcot
Tip: As you enter the east section of Future World there is a Disney Character Photo & Autograph building on the left hand side. Here you can grab see 5 Disney Stars in a single stop, which can save considerable time. We managed to get photos with Mickey & Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy & Pluto.

World Showcase
When you leave Future World you enter the next section which is aptly called World Showcase. This is a 1 kilometer plus circular walk around the perimeter of a large a lagoon.

It consists of 11 pavilions, each showcasing the architecture and cultures of  the country. The countries represented in the World Showcase are:
  • Mexico
  • Norway
  • China
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • United States of America
  • Japan
  • Morocco
  • France
  • United Kingdom
  • Canada
The French Pavilion, Epcot
Don't try this at home
Many of the pavilions have restaurants, rides, shows, shops, entertainment and attractions, each depicting the culture and heritage of  each country. We personally found some of the pavilions more interesting than others. 

Our particular favourites were Norway, Japan, Morocco, France & Canada, however everyone who visits will have their own favourites that will differ from ours.

To fully explore Epcot, a couple of days is really needed, due to the size of the park and the number or rides and attractions. 

Just before the park closes at 10pm there is a firework and laser display called 'IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth'. This show can be seen from anywhere in the World Showcase section.