Review of "EPCOT"
EPCOT (Experimental Prototype City of Tomorrow) was opened in 1982, becoming the 2nd of Disney's parks in Florida. The general plan behind the park was Walt's dream to have a self-contained city. Though this is not strictly what EPCOT is (Walt Disney died before this park opened), the park encapulates regions of the world and an emphasis on both the past and future.EPCOT is situated in the central area of the Walt Disney World (WDW) resort and is linked to Magic Kingdom via monorail. Once in the WDW area it is very easy to get to, though the roads become busy at peak times. Parking at the park costs $9 (c.£4.90) per day - though this fee allows you to park at any theme park within WDW on that day. Guests staying at official Disney hotels benefit from free parking / or free transportation from your hotel to the park. It is worth noting that the parking cost is expected to increase to $10 per day within the next few months (though this hasn't been confirmed).
I believe a one day ticket at EPCOT to cost $63 (c.£35). I use the words 'I believe' as I have never used bought a one day ticket on my many trips to WDW. For a UK visitor an Ultimate Ticket is probably your best bet. A 14 day Ultimate Ticket allows you 14 consequtive days entrance to any of the Disney parks (including the water parks and DisneyQuest). These cost approx. £185 per adult and £140 per child (aged 3-9).Park hours vary per day but it is worth noting that the front area of the park "Future World" normally opens at 9am, whereas the latter area of the park "World Showcase" doesn't open until 11am.
Upon entry to the park, you will see "Spaceship Earth" directly ahead of you. Inside the golfball type structure is a slow moving 16 minute journey through the technological developments of communication. It also shows how they think communication will change in the future. It is a good idea to leave this attraction until later in the day as many head straight here as it is the first thing they see.Bearing left at Spaceship Earth, you will reach "Universe of Energy". This is a 45 minute show, that starts every 17 minutes. Though somewhat educational (like many of the parks features) this is a fun attraction. The theatre splits into two sections and each is transported through prehistoric times - this is great for those kids who are dinosaur fans. Don't be put off that it takes 45 minutes from start to finish - on each of my visits to "Universe of Energy" I have never felt this ride has gone on too long.
Next up is Mission:SPACE. This is a new attraction at EPCOT. I am yet to ride this (bring on January!) but I have some information on it. This is seen as a realistic and intense simulation of a space flight. Due to this, motion sickness is felt by most people who ride this. Only time will tell how much this affects me and the rest of my day!!Innovations East and West are two large areas in the centre of the park. They are basically a hands on look at the future of computer games etc. It is play time for the boys in your party. It is hard for me to give much info on this area as I have only spent a very small part of my time in these buildings.
Next is Test Track. This attraction opened around 1999 - though I remember this being at least one year behind schedual. The general gist here is General Motors show you how their cars are built to withstand certain things - e.g you will do a suspension test, a brake test and a high speed test. You (and about 6 others) sit in one of their test cars as you are transported around the 'testing area'. The end of the ride is the 'high speed test' - the car hits speed of 65mph as you wizz around the building. This is a great ride and well worth the invariably long queues. Test Track does have a tendancy to break down regularly though.In the "Journey into the Imagination" building is two main attractions: "Journey in the Imagination with Figment" and "Honey I Shrunk the Audience". "Journey into the Imagination with Figment" is a somewhat whimsical ride that I can only describe as ridiculous. No matter how many times I go one it, I get off wondering why I bothered again!
"Honey I Shrunk the Audience" is a fantastic 3D show. (It is identical to the one at Disneyland Paris). Wayne Szalinski invites the audience to view the launch of his new invention, only the usual choas he brings mean things don't quite go as planned. The audience are 'shrunk' and everything seems to be a whole lot bigger to you - I hope you like dogs! I never tire of this attraction, its good fun and perfect for the entire family.
"Living Seas" has undergone a facelift recently - taking advantage of the Disney hit "Finding Nemo". This attraction is like a mini aquarium and is great to get away from the Florida heat. A new addition is "Turtle Talk with Crush" (one of the most popular characters from Finding Nemo. This is a 10 minute 3D show that is very popluar with the little ones - you really do think you are talking to the giant Turtle!The final attraction in "Future World" is "Living with the Land". This is a 14 minute gentle boat ride showing how Disney work with the land around them, and how their produce is grown. I doubt this is fun for kids, but I've always found it pretty interesting and will definately ride again.
At 11am, the second part of EPCOT opens - the "World Showcase". This is 11 different world countries all in one theme park. Please note: this is very interesting and great for the kids (and adults) to learn about other cultures - BUT it is very stereotypical! Though sometimes that adds to the fun of this area! For example, in the UK you will find a Rose and Crown pub, a Pringle shop, Cadburys chocolate, a herb garden, Georgian, Tudor and Victorian building. My favourite part is the Red Phone Boxes - I have previously read on an American website that the bright red phone boxes are identical to those found in the UK! Well yes, if you go back 50 years!!
I think that gives a pretty good overview of EPCOT. It might not sound like your cup of tea, but I would ignore this and squeeze a visit in if you are heading to Orlando. It is surprisingly good, fun for all ages and you might even learn something!!
Product Information : EPCOT
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Listed on Ciao since: 04/03/2006