Epcot was, by far, my favorite park at Walt Disney World. It’s divided up into two areas – Future World and World Showcase. We decided to spend our first full day here and then see if we wanted to come back for a second day. It’s a good thing we began here because the following days were much hotter, but the day we spent at Epcot was just gorgeous. We were able to cover about 75% of the park which was pretty good.
After we got in, I gathered everyone’s tickets and headed to Soarin’ to get Fast Passes. Then I walked back and met the rest of the group on the opposite side of Future World. As we walked about, we saw remnants of the Flower Expo that ended the weekend previous to our visit. From the leftovers we saw, that must have been amazing!
The first attraction we went to was Test Track. Wow, what fun! You are supposed to be testing a car and are subjected to various trials including heat, maneuvering, speed, etc. It is not necessarily a ‘thrill’ ride so most everyone can and will enjoy it.
Next was Mission: Space. This lets you simulate a space mission with each of the four riders being assigned a task. I was the Commander, hehe. If you are claustrophobic, do not ride this. We chose the ‘green’ mission instead of the ‘orange’. We didn’t want to risk getting headaches for the whole day as some had warned about. This was exciting and pretty realistic, well at least it seemed better than the one at Kennedy Space Center.
We all walked across to ride Soarin’. With our Fast Passes, we only waited some 5 minutes. All of us had ridden the one in California Disney and this was identical. You sit in these chairs and then are lifted a couple of stories, surrounded by a huge screen. The film is supposed to mimic hang gliding and you get bursts of wind and scents to bring the experience to life. There are no huge drops or corkscrews but you will hear a lot of ooh and aahs.
By this time we were hungry. We walked the World Showcase area and jumped on the ferry to Italy. We ate at Via Napoli – yum!
Before this I really had no idea what Epcot was all about. Even as I read that there were different ‘countries’ it seemed weird and uninteresting. It is anything but! Eleven countries were represented by replicas of their famous landmarks. The buildings and accents were so detailed. Some times it felt like they tried to squish too much into an area though. I’m glad we took the ferry earlier because it gave a good overview of how extensive each country’s pavilion was.
What really gave each area a hint of authenticity were the cast members in that section. Many of the cashiers, performers, cooks, waiters, and such were from the country they worked in. Apparently, young adults sign up for a type of internship here for one year. That means they carry the accent and attitude of their hometown. The Italian waiters were vivacious and jolly, the French staff were, uhm, less than friendly, and the British were a bit silly. Combine that with region-specific music, entertainment, and food and it really felt like you were in that country.
Here’s a quick summary of each (I know this post is already long enough):
Cool area inside the pyramid with restaurant and shopping. Didn’t go on the boat ride.
Didn’t get much out of Norway except for the really strange ride with creepy trolls.
The Reflections movie was interesting and was shown on a 360 degree screen.
Beautiful, detailed buildings. Shops had steins and restaurants served bratwurst. My husband wanted more sauerkraut.
Great spot for lunch and, though we didn’t get to try it, the gelato is supposed to be tasty. Loved the gondolas and hidden alleys.
This was a bit boring to us so we kind of just walked by. We did stop to listen to colonial-dressed men play Yankee Doodle.
The area in general was so serene. We loved the candy shop as well the koi in the pond. The rear gallery was out of place.
The belly dancer. Some stopped for coffee (just okay). I watched tons of people try on some fez hats. I could almost see the lice climbing on those – yuck.
The fountains were such a nice touch. We all had a bite at the bakery and enjoyed it in the adjoining (air-conditioned) dining room.
But this is Disney, right? You only saw the Disney influence in the gift shops and with the costumed characters. Marie, Aurora, Belle, and Beast were in France. Mary Poppins, Winnie the Pooh and friends, and Alice were in the UK. Snow White was in Germany (as was merchandise for Tangled) while Mulan was in China and Morocco featured Aladdin and Jasmine. There was also a Character Spot with Mickey and the gang and a section called Pixie Hollow Fairy Garden in Future World.
The sun began to set around 8:30pm. We all got something different to munch on then sat back to rest our feet. We ended our evening with the fireworks show, IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, which was breathtaking!