Epcot is more than twice as big as either the Magic Kingdom or Disney-MGM Studios. It rarely sees the congestion so common to the other parks but the big attractions have lines every bit as long as those of Space Mountain or Rockin’ Roller Coaster. All this is to say be prepared to do a lot of walking and standing in line, but all at your leisure and that’s the big difference.
Epcot’s theme areas are distinctly different. “Future World” examines where humankind has come from and where it’s going. Epcot’s second theme area is a World Fair exploring the culture, history and architecture of approximately a dozen countries.
Future World has definitely progressed over the years and with the addition of the not to be missed “Soarin” and “Test Track”, your little guys are going to have a lot more to keep them entertained. “Soarin”, is a flight simulation ride, where you embark on a hang-glider tour with IMAX images all around you. There are terrific special effects like wind, sound and even smells to enhance your journey. A beautiful ride for all ages but note, see it before 10:00am or use your fast pass, and if you opt for the fast pass do so by noon or there won’t be any left. We found that the “traditional fast pass” used in other parks was limited in its value at Epcot because you can only use a second fast pass 3 hours after the first.
We also enjoyed the Land Pavilion with its focus on environmental concerns. It was an indoor boat ride through the past, present and future of farming. Sounds a tad dull but to see the latest agricultural technologies and new fruits and vegetables in the making, was very educational and strangely inspiring.
Heading over to the “World Showcase” and at the request of a friend, I made a special effort to check out the Canadian Pavilion. My childhood recollection was that of a 360 film showcasing Canada as a barren wasteland of snow and ice, and very much promoting ‘igloo’ architecture. Since my prior visit and lucky for us, Martin Short was recruited to dispel the myth of Canada, “The Great White North” or homeland of only “Celine Dion”. Marty did us proud and man, I wanna visit all of Canada myself, to heck with promoting it to the tourists!
In about 2 kilometers you can stroll along a beautiful promenade and see popular country landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, and St Mark’s Square in Venice. To be strategic in your approach you can work it for Dim Sum in China, Espresso in Italy, Fish and Chips in Britain and a little French Crepe in France. We happened to be there during the Food and Wine showcase which was a real bonus for us, but somehow my 8 year old’s perception of dining around the world ranked right up there with liver and broccoli! I know Disney has introduced “Passport kits” for the kids, where they get their books stamped at the different pavilions, but I know that even that would not have changed my 8 year old’s outlook. I did however test his sense of humor as I tried every bribe under the sun to have him take his picture with Sleeping Beauty, No Way!!! Ironically my 10 year old daughter was right up there with the 3 year olds for the big picture and autograph signing. I loved every minute of that, knowing that she was still my 5’1” little girl!!
Everyone raves about Epcot’s “Illuminations” show. A huge fire works, laser light and music all in a beautiful tribute to the countries of the world. We really struggled with anything happening later in the evening and missed this one too. I can only say that anyone who has seen it has never been disappointed.
So another day comes to an end in Disney, and after the kids have crashed for the evening, I spend the evening by the pool thinking about the beautiful memories these 5 little days have given me.