Epcot (Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow) at Walt Disney World provides a variety of entertainment options for park guests, though first-time visitors may not know what to expect. It was initially imagined as a futuristic community to be showcased to the world. Unfortunately, Walt passed away before his concepts could be realized, so Imagineers created this theme park based upon the few ideas he shared. In one sense, the park functions as a permanent world fair that exhibits new technology, shares culture, and throws a few thrill rides into the mix. With that in mind, here are ten sensational experiences you must have at Epcot to really get the most out of your visit.
Epcot landscapers are some of the best in the world, designing attractive gardens of all types. In the World Showcase, landscapers fashion outdoor scenery to complement the host countries. Therefore, you’ll find a lush forest in Mexico, rooftop grass in Norway, and water lilies in China. The landscaping craft rises to the nth degree during the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival in the spring, where you can even see sculpted shrubbery in the form of Disney characters.
9. Land and Sea
Nature lovers will be wowed by attractions at both the Land Pavilion and The Seas with Nemo & Friends. Ride Living with the Land to learn about new techniques in agriculture and aquaculture. You’ll be amazed at what they’re growing, and you can even feast upon some of it at Sunshine Seasons or the Garden Grill Restaurant. At The Seas with Nemo & Friends, you can encounter coral reefs, sharks, fish, sea turtles, and more. Your little ones will love talking with their favorite sea turtle at Turtle Talk With Crush. Adding a tour or diving experience makes your visit even more sensational.
8. Cuisine Tour
If you love food, try eating a bit of something from every pavilion in the World Showcase. Many guests like to fill up with one or two meals at Epcot, but ordering cuisine from each pavilion and sharing it with your family and friends truly enhances the dining experience. Grab some fish and chips in the United Kingdom, a pretzel in Germany, and a pastry in France. Adults of legal age can refresh themselves with libations from around the world…just don’t overdo it. Visitors in autumn can catch the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival and sample delicious menu items from even more regions.
7. Soda Time
Located next to Fountain View (think Starbucks) in Futureworld, Club Cool offers big refreshment at no cost. The fountains here don’t spray you with water, but they do offer you sodas from around the world. The shop at Club Cool sells merchandise from its sponsor, Coca-Cola. Even though you have to pay for your Coca-Colas here, you can sample as much fountain soda as you’d like!
6. Circle-Vision 360° Films
As you travel around the World Showcase, consider watching Reflections of China and O Canada! Both films delight the senses with surround cinematic viewing that immerses you in the rich culture of both nations, but be careful when craning your neck around to soak in all the images. Impressions de France is a sensational film, too, but only provides semicircular viewing.
5. Test Track
Would you like to design your own automobile? Test Track give you the chance. Every decision you make modifies the power, responsiveness, capability, and efficiency of the vehicle you’re creating. Once you’ve made your decisions, you’ll hop onto the ride and test your car in the four categories mentioned above. After enduring thrilling tests and high speeds exceeding 65 miles per hour, you can create a commercial, race around a virtual track, and take a promotional photo with your automobile.
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No visit to Epcot is complete without soaring above California. Soarin’ creates a thrilling experience that imitates hang-gliding over the Golden State. You’re lifted up before a concave screen with aerial videos simulating flight and special effects of music, wind, and aromas enhancing the sensory experience. In 2016, Disney plans to upgrade the attraction to a flight around the world, so check it out before the changes arrive.
3. Mission: SPACE
The idea of joining a space mission may be farfetched for most of us, but Mission: SPACE brings us a bit closer to the dream using flight simulation technology. While lining up for a mission, you’ll wind through displays that pay homage to the history of space exploration with related quotes, a 35-foot-tall gravity wheel, and a NASA Lunar Roving Vehicle. After joining your team as a navigator, pilot, commander, or engineer and receiving your orders, you’ll blast off into space, heading towards Mars. Mission: SPACE offers two levels of intensity; thrillseekers can choose the Orange Team, but those prone to motion sickness should choose the Green Team.
2. The Sum of All Thrills
Found in Innoventions East, The Sum of All Thrills is an interactive attraction where you digitally construct a roller coaster and test it in a simulator. Anything goes with this roller coaster, as long as it obeys the laws of physics. You can include drops, loops, and corkscrews, or not…the choice is yours. The simulator uses high-definition video, audio tracks, and motion to create realism. From the outside, it appears to be a robotic arm twirling around an enclosed cockpit, but on the inside, it’s the ride of your dreams.
IllumiNations not only features Disney’s excellent pyrotechnics, but also video displays on the Earth Globe, plumes of fire, and epic music. The show includes three parts, entitled The Earth is Born, The Triumph of Life, and Hope for the Future. IllumiNations takes place in the World Showcase Lagoon, so any spot around the lake provides good viewing. For a premium view, try using Fastpass+, booking dinner on the patio at Rose & Crown Dining Room, or standing on the balcony at Tokyo Dining. For the best possible view, consider booking a fireworks cruise aboard a pontoon boat that anchors near the International Gateway.