A MAGIC DISNEY TRIP THROUGH SCIENCE AND CULTURE
Featuring amazing attractions, international pavilions, and award-winning fireworks display, Epcot Center is one of Florida's premier theme park ince 1982, Epcot standing for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.
Located 20 miles away from Orlando, Epcot is the brainchild of Walt Disney who seeked to create a modern and enduring World Fair to celebrate its best scientific and cultural achievements, as well cast a positive look on the future of humankind.
Created to provide both entertainment and education, Epcot is the second of the four theme parks that make up Walt Disney World, spanning over 300 acres (120 ha) and consisting of two distinctive areas: Future World and World Showcase.
Dedicated to showcase the human technological genius, both past and future, Future World presents a host of pavilions and attractions, and is home to the Epcot's most iconic landmark, the world-famous geodesic sphere named Spaceship Earth.
At the other end of the theme park, World Showcase focuses on human culture, arts, and architecture around a large manmade lake called the World Showcase Lagoon.
WALT DISNEY EPCOT CENTER MAP
INSIDER TRAVEL TIPS
- Walt Disney Epcot Center is located 20 miles South West of Orlando, a 25-minute car ride under normal traffic conditions. Count 1h30 with a WDW Transportation bus ride from Orlando's Lynx Central Station, including 20-minute walk to the entrance of the park.
- Given the size of the park (300 acres) and the number of attractions available, it is reasonable to plan a whole day of visit at Epcot (4 hours is a bare minimum), especially since early morning hours are less crowded and that you don't want to miss the nighttime show.
- Regular Epcot Center park opening hours are from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm.
- Lines are notably shorter at Epcot Center than at other Walt Disney theme parks, but to ensure minimum queuing times you may consider purchasing a FastPass+. Visit Walt Disney World Fast Pass Plus for more info or call (407) 939-5277.
- There are more shops in Epcot than you can count, but as a Disney fan you may want to save for MouseGear, a great 2-story memorabilia shop considered by some as one of the best of all Walt Disney World Parks.
- Epcot is definitely of the most picturesque of all Walt Disney World theme parks, so get ready to take lots of pictures. Make sure to have backup batteries and memory cards, and that you know how to snap night time pictures as the Epcot fireworks show is one of the best you'll see in your entire life!
Future World Attractions & Rides
- Staple landmart of Epcot, and the first attraction on sight passed the park's main entrance, Spaceship Earth (inside the geodesic sphere) is a visitors's favorite at Epcot, featuring a slow-moving ride punctuated by "audio animatronics" telling the compelling history of communications technology.
- Following the path circling Spaceship Earth clockwise, Mission: Space simulates a thrill-ride ending up with a spacecraft crash on Mars. Two versions are available, green and orange, the latter offering the most thrills and spinning action.
- Very popular with park visitors, educative and interactive, Test Track lets you design a SimCar and take it on a thrilling test ride as in Disney's Tron movie.
- Inspired by Disney-Pixar heartwarming blockbuster, The Seas with Nemo and Friends is a short and fun ride that takes you on a chase after Finding Nemo characters all the way into the Living Seas’ aquarium.
- Other attraction areas at Future World include the free-flying gliding adventure The Land, as well as Imagination!, Universe of Energy, and Innoventions, a showcase of tools and toys of the future.
- A major attraction at Epcot, Soarin' lets you experience the feeling of flight raised 40 feet in the air with a 180-degree, 80-foot IMAX projection dome.
IMPORTANT NOTE: due to refurbishment works, Soarin' is closed until June 17, 2016.
EPCOT WORLD SHOWCASE ATTRACTIONS & RIDES
- Epcot's World Showcase is built like a World Fair hosting impressive pavilions representing major countries and cultures around the world.
- First and foremost pavilion, The American Adventure is a patriotic and mesmerizing 30-minute animatronics show going through important moments of American history under the guidance of Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain.
- Impressions de France features an 18-minute wide-format film showing the natural beauties and cultural wonders of Europe’s most romantic destination, underlined by a powerful score.
- Focusing on Mexico’s culture, Gran Fiesta Tour is the only bonafide ride in World Showcase, taking you on an interactive search for Donald Duck with the help of the Three Caballeros and other well-known Disney characters.
- O Canada and Reflections of China are educational and entertaining 360° circle-vision films that will take you for a virtual spin through their respective country.
- Other Pavilions are mostly worth a visit for exotic dining options and the nicely done reproductions of each country's most famous features and monuments.
Entertainment & Dining
- Strolling around the World Showcase Lagoon is probably the best way to enjoy some of the many entertainment shows in Epcot without disrupting your visiting plans, as the most notable shows happen around each countrie's pavilion.
- Among the most notable and fun-to-watch shows, get ready to enjoy:
Serveur Amusant (France): funny acrobatic show with a duo of waiters;
American Music Machine (American Adventure): 5-person a cappella marathon;
Matsuriza (Japan): 15-minute Taiko percussion and drum show;
Mariachi Cobre (Mexico): Mariachi band performing the traditional mexican tunes.
- Dining has always been an important component of Epcot, as outlined by the sheer number of options available. Epcot features dozens of counter and table service restaurants, countless food carts, and at least eight bar or lounges.
- Depdending on your budget and visit time, you can enjoy fine dining at the lavish Coral Reef (The Seas) or Monsieur Paul (France), go for cheaper and more entertaining options at Biergarten (Germany), Via Napoli (Italy), or La Hacienda de San Angel (Mexico).
Events & Tours
IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth is by far the most impressive entertainment show at Epcot, and considered one of the greatest fireworks show in the whole world. Telling the story in humankind through three successive parts - The Earth Is Born / The Triumph of Life / Hope for the Future - IllumiNations is a must-do show watchable from anywhere around the World Showcase Lagoon.
Although not specifically a marine theme park, Epcot does feature several fun water-based and underwaters tours, the Epcot Seas Adventures.
The Aqua Tour ($145) will let you snorkel in a giant aquarium with over 6,000 sea creatures (turtles, eagle rays, sharks...).
For more experience divers, DiveQuest is a scuba experience touting calm seas and perfect visibility to enjoy marine life and corals.
- Dolphins in Depth promises an intimate experience with dolphins of The Seas with Nemo & Friends Pavilion, letting you swim along and learning more about this fascinating sea mammal.
- Annual event running through the entire month of March, the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival is a renowned spring festival featuring many events, culinary experiences and animations, such as outdoor kitchens, musical playgrounds for kids, Disney-themed topiaries, exhibits, seminars, demonstrations, and the Garden Rock Outdoor Concert Series.
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