The Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (Epcot) opened on October 1st 1982. It is the most educational theme park of Disney World and a lot of the attractions are about the future, science and learning. There are two sections to Epcot, Future World which is where the majority of the rides are and World Showcase, which encircles the large beautiful lake and takes you around 11 countries.
The Epcot ball is the park’s most recognisable feature. It is relatively close to the entrance and one of our favourite rides is inside the ball – Spaceship Earth. We went on this slow moving educational ride twice. It led us slowly upwards into the ball and with the narration from Judi Dench we were told about the history of communication from the stone age to the computer age. I loved going through the different periods of history, such as ancient Rome and the Renaissance, with the soothing voice of Judi Dench telling us interesting facts. It ends magnificently at the top of the ball, then as we headed down again, backwards, we got to choose our own future on the screen in front of us, which leads to a video of animated people with our faces on, which was rather funny.
Mission: SPACE was a ride I was slightly concerned about because of possible motion sickness. But there are two versions of the ride, the green is a tame version and orange is the intense version with proper g-force! We played it safe and went for green. Like so many rides in all of Disney World, we were immersed into a story to make the experience more realistic and enjoyable. Gary Sinise is the control commander for NASA for this mission to Mars. The simulator is for four people and you even get given roles. I was the navigator and Emma was the pilot! It was a fun and realistic ride. If you are claustrophobic I would think twice about going on this as the simulator is very closed in. Emma wanted to do the more intense experience, I didn’t. But the opportunity never presented itself.
Test Track is next to Mission: SPACE and again it has a story to lead you into the ride. Here it is probably done to help pass the time before the ride though. We had to design a car and ours was so much worse than everyone elses! Other people had pimped up their cars with everything possible. Ours looked like a badly designed electric car. However, it did perform well on the test score shown at the end of the ride. Probably because I gave it some sort of plasma turbo engine! The cars were seated for six and it starts off inside with breaking, skidding and basic testing of the car’s abilities. The best part was when the car was outside and surpassed 60 mph!
The Seas with Nemo & Friends was an okay slow ride. We sat in a slow moving clam-mobile and watched a story line unfold with Nemo. Once it was over we found ourselves in a marine world. There were fish, turtles, a dolphin and other marine animals. There were some divers in the tanks too, one rather closely followed by a sting ray!
Living with the Land is another slow ride, as several are in Epcot with it being an educational theme park. This one was on a boat and we got to see all kinds of plants and fruit in the greenhouses of The Land Pavilion. It was really interesting and good to know that Disney are doing helpful things for the world.
Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival surprised me, as foolishly I wasn’t expecting much from it. There were three 4D short films. The first one involved Mickey and Minnie and was really entertaining and well made. It was a lot of fun to see the characters in a black and white 2D picture, then to burst out of the screen in 4D colour! The other two films weren’t specifically designed for 4D, but were enjoyable and classic Pixar shorts.
Emma’s favourite ride in Epcot and in all of Disney World was Soarin’, but this closed in January 2016 for refurbishment. We hoped it would open by the time we visited, but it didn’t, much to Emma’s dismay. We found out after we went home that it did reopen the day before we left, with an opportunity to experience the old ride before the new one starts in mid June 2016. This was slightly heartbreaking that we could have gone on it, but hey ho.
Epcot is my second favourite park, I think. The combination of the rides and the World Showcase makes this an exciting and fascinating place to visit.