EPCOT

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EPCOT

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97% positive

19 reviews from the community

Review of "EPCOT"

published 09/09/2010 | shabbating
Member since : 22/01/2010
Reviews : 107
Members who trust : 3
About me :
Hiya, I am 22 yrs of age and my name is shabbating. I'm from Coventry and I am currently at university, I enjoy spending my time watching movies at the cinema so you'll see a lot of film reviews from me :) I'm new at this so be nice ;)
Excellent
Pro World Showcase, some good rides.
Cons Attractions can be a little samey.
very helpful
Prices
Is it worth visiting?
Transport links
Family Friendly

"Brilliant!!!"

Epcot is one of four Disney theme parks in the Walt Disney World Resort, Florida; the others being Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. Epcot was the second of the four theme parks to be built, it opened in 1982. There are also water parks, shopping areas, sports arenas and all sorts of entertainment going on in Disney World.
Epcot is an acronym of Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, it is how Walt Disney viewed the world of tomorrow. Walt Disney had planned for it to be a city but he died before those plans could be worked out with the authorities and so it became a theme park.

I visited Disney last year in September/October which meant it was hot but not too hot and there were practically no queues. Most rides had a 5 minute wait, so much better than going in the height of summer when you can expect to wait at least an hour.

The theme park is split into two areas: Future World and World Showcase. These two areas do break down further. Within Future World there are eight different pavilions. World Showcase is broken down into eleven countries. Epcot is a bit strange in that half of the park is mostly attractions and the other half is mostly dining but both are equally as entertaining.

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Future World
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This is the attraction heavy half of the park, when you enter the park this will be where you start your Epcot journey. As you walk in, the first thing you will see is the Spaceship Earth 'golf ball' (as I like to call it). As with the other Disney parks there is a central icon and the Spaceship Earth building is Epcot's icon.

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Spaceship Earth
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The most obvious place to start is Spaceship Earth. This ride has changed a lot over the years to keep it up to date and because of changes in the sponsors. You ride through time, starting in prehistoric times and going right through to space and the future. The ride is narrated by Dame Judi Dench. It is interesting and worth a go, don't expect to be blown away though.

After departing the ride, you will go through into Project Tomorrow: Inventing the Wonders of the Future. This is an exhibit that features a few different games. I didn't have a go at any of the games, one that kids would enjoy though.

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Universe of Energy
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The attraction here is Ellen's Energy Adventure. This is a 45 minute show starring Ellen DeGeneres (the voice of Dory in Finding Nemo). You ride back in time to the dinosaur era, the show itself was good but the preshow was way too long. People can walk in anytime until the preshow ends so I assume it is long so they can get in as many people as possible. I found that a little boring and uncomfortable, staring up at a massive screen isn't comfy whether you stand up or sit on the floor (I tried both). If they cut down on the time it would be a much better experience as the ride itself was actually really good.

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Mission: SPACE
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There are two attractions in this pavilion. Firstly, Mission: SPACE which is a motion simulator. You will get to experience what it feels like to be an astronaut. You can choose from two different missions, orange is intense and green is milder, it's the same but with no spinning. I went for the orange because I wasn't sure how much spinning the ride actually did. Being sick wasn't part of my plan. They brought in the green team mission in 2006 as a lot of people were complaining of nausea after the ride so I assume there is a lot of spinning involved.
It's a fun ride (if you go green!) but beware if you are claustrophobic, you're strapped into a small space. Every one on the mission has a job to do (pilot, navigator, engineer, commander) so it involves every person on the ride which is good. Definitely take notice of the warnings with this ride though, a lot of the time the warnings seem a bit extreme given the ride but this will probably make you feel queasy if you go for the orange and it is in a small capsule. Take extra care if you have pre-existing conditions.

The other attraction is the Advanced Training Lab which features Mission: Space Race (team challenge), Space Base (interactive crawl area), Expedition: Mars (game), Postcards from Space (create your own space video). I didn't spend too long in this area, more of a kid’s thing.

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Test Track
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This ride was a disappointment. I thought it was going to be much better. You are in a car which takes you over bumps and through cones and whatnot, testing it out (hence the name). At the end the car hits speeds of 65 mph. It's an ok ride but I thought it would be going fast for a lot longer. The bumps were just uncomfortable.

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Innoventions
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Innoventions East & Innoventions West: Innoventions is a mix of the words innovation and invention, clever eh. It is basically a collection of games and exhibits showcasing technology. I had a quick walk around but that's all, it's not really my thing. Too much to look at to spend all my time playing games!

Dining: Electric Umbrella (burgers, sandwiches)

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The Seas with Nemo & Friends
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The first attraction in the building is titled 'The Seas with Nemo & Friends'. You get on a 'clamobile' and get taken around the seas trying to find Nemo. It's a fun little ride, one that kids will love. It's your typical Disney ride really but it's enjoyable nonetheless.

There is also Turtle Time with Crush. This is an interactive show where an animated Crush talks to and answers questions from the audience. It's clever how they do this sort of show, if I was a kid I really would believe that Crush was alive, how else could he possibly answer questions?!? It may be somewhat obvious to adults but it is a good show.

There is also a walk through attraction Bruce's Shark World where you can look at fish and get your photo taken with Bruce! (A plasticy version anyway...).

Overall the Nemo attractions are great and definitely worth a visit.

Dining: Coral Reef Restaurant (seafood, steaks)

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The Land
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The main attraction here is Soarin' which I didn't get to go on :( I think I got to Soarin' about 1ish in the afternoon, at that time there were no fast passes left and the queue was hours long. It seems to be the ride everyone wants to go on so when you get to Epcot, go straight to Soarin' and get a fast pass if you can. Soarin' is a free-flying hang gliding ride which is supposed to be amazing, very sad I missed out.

Another attraction in The Land is Living with the Land. This is a boat trip through greenhouses and a fish farm. I didn't go on this as it was closed at the time of my visit, but I probably wouldn't have gone on it anyway as it sounds a bit rubbish quite frankly. I might be wrong, maybe next time I'll have a float around.

The final attraction here is The Circle of Life which is a film starring The Lion King characters. The film is basically about protecting the environment; probably a good one to take the kids along to but adults probably won't find it that enthralling.

Dining: Sunshine Seasons (soups, sandwiches), The Garden Grill (Chip N Dale's Harvest Feast)

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Imagination!
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There are three attractions in this pavilion, firstly Journey into Imagination with Figment. This is a car ride which takes you through the senses. I honestly have no memory of this even being there, it must be in the same area as another one of the attractions ImageWorks. This has different play areas in it, so I'm guessing the Figment ride is tucked up in a little corner somewhere.

The final attraction that was there when I visited was Honey, I Shrunk the Audience which was a rather dated 3D film/show. Now they have replaced it with Captain EO, a 3D film starring Michael Jackson. This was originally shown during the 1980s and 1990s at the Disney parks. Personally I think they should have come up with something new, yes Michael Jackson has arguably become more popular since his death but replacing an aging ride with a 30 year old film is an odd move. I would have liked a new 3D film to have been made for the attraction but hey ho, it might be good.

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World Showcase
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Now onto what is possibly the more interesting half of the park, the World Showcase. Featuring eleven different countries, it might not sound that exciting reading about a few dining carts here and there but it is nice to walk around and see the (often stereotypical view of the) different cultures. The cast members working in the different countries are actually from that country, so there are Mexicans working in Mexico and British people working in the UK. That makes it a little more authentic and does (kind of) make you feel like you're really in the different countries.

Every autumn, World Showcase hosts The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. There are more food outlets than usual open during this time so I'm not sure if everything I saw will be there all year round or not.

There is an attraction that takes place throughout the World Showcase and that is Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure. I think it is a kind of scavenger hunt, you're given a 'Kimmunicator' that interacts with certain things in the different pavilions, this gives clues that help you save the world, or something like that. I didn't really understand it and I don't watch Kim Possible so I didn't try it out, it might make kids more interested in the different countries though.

In the centre of the country pavilions is the World Showcase Lagoon, this is a massive man made lake. This is where the IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth firework display takes place. People wait hours in a good spot to see this. It lasts 12 minutes and is supposed to be very impressive. I only saw a bit out of the window of the Nine Dragons Chinese Restaurant (more on that later) and it seemed to last about 30 seconds so I obviously missed a lot of it!

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Mexico
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The Mexico pavilion is designed to resemble a Mesoamerican pyramid (Google it if you don't know what one looks like). When you first walk into the building, you will see an art collection entitled Animales Fantasticos. There will also be artists creating different models and things that you can buy there and then. You walk through further into a marketplace, selling your usual Mexican items-hot sauces, sombreros, flags, all sorts really. Walking around the shops in the different country pavilions is one of the best parts of the World Showcase; there really is something for everybody.
It's very dark and dim inside the pavilion, I assume it's supposed to add to the atmosphere but I would have liked it to be a bit brighter. The darkness made it seem like a bit of a hole to be honest.

There is a boat ride inside the Mexican pyramid, Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros. Donald Duck, Panchito and Jose Carioca are your hosts on this musical boat ride. I didn't go on this ride but I think it's like the "it's a small world" ride; I'll probably go on it next time just to find out what it's all about.

Dining: San Angel Inn Restaurante (Mexican cuisine-tacos, mole...)
Cantina de San Angel (tacos, churros)
Taqueria Del Lago (taquitos, quesadillas, tostadas)
Margarita stand

I ate at the Cantina de San Angel and it was amazing; I am a big fan of Mexican food so I had high hopes and as usual, Disney didn't let me down. Nachos, burritos, tacos, quesadillas nom nom nom. Gorgeous food. Try a churro, they are massive!
I also tried the food from the Taqueria Del Lago, very very good. This serves quick snacks rather than the more hearty food of the Cantina de San Angel and the San Angel Inn, so if you just want a light bite this is the place to go!

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Norway
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The Norway pavilion has been made to look like a classic Norwegian village. Most if not all of the pavilions in the World Showcase portray their countries as they were many years ago. I imagine this is to show the various countries different origins and character but the reality is most countries look very similar nowadays. It may feel like you're stepping back in time walking around the World Showcase but I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. Most of Norway is taken up by shops, selling traditional Norwegian goods-clothes, trolls, sweets, loads of random stuff. It's nice to have a look around even if you're not quite sure what everything is.

The attraction in Norway is Maelstrom, a 5 minute Viking boat voyage which takes you through Norway's history. I didn't go on this as I was tight for time, too much to do in Disney World even if you have two weeks!

Dining: Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (dine with Disney Princesses)
Kringla Bakeri og Cafe (pastries, sandwiches)
Beer Cart

I had a chocolate mousse cake from the Kringla Bakeri og Cafe and it was gorgeous, a little sickly but amazing. All of the pastries looked great in there, get yourself one, it is definitely not somewhere to be overlooked.

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China
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The Chinese pavilion is one of the nicest looking areas in my opinion, it is done up in the style of an ancient Chinese city and it replicates that look very well.

The attraction here is Reflections of China, a circle vision 360 degree film which lasts for 14 minutes. It shows famous Chinese landmarks such as The Great Wall and The Forbidden City. I actually don't remember seeing this, a lot of the attractions in the World Showcase are hidden away and not that well signposted unless you're searching for it. I know they want it all to blend in to look like a city but it would be helpful if I could see everything that is on offer.

Mulan and Mushu will be at a character greeting point in China throughout the day.

Dining: Nine Dragons Restaurant (Chinese cuisine)
Lotus Blossom Cafe (eggrolls, stir fry)
Joy of Tea Stand (tea, ice cream)

I ate at the Nine Dragons Restaurant and I would highly recommend it. It's actually quite swanky inside despite all the sweaty tourists. I would suggest the dinner set menu for $24 a person (can be used as 1 table service on the dining plan) for three courses. I had the hot and sour soup, honey-sesame chicken (To.Die.For.) and strawberry red bean ice cream. The honey-sesame chicken is $19 alone so the set meal is worth the extra few dollars.

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Germany
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As with most of the other pavilions, Germany looks like an old village, with a mix of architecture from different eras. The main square area has a clock tower and a statue of St George and the dragon; the biergarten is decked out like it's Oktoberfest all year round. The shops sell traditional German fare including cuckoo clocks. There is also a model village and railway in Germany if that's your sort of thing.

Expect to see Snow White and the seven dwarfs making appearances at various times of the day.

Dining: Biergarten Restaurant (hot and cold buffet)
Sommerfest (bratwurst, pretzels)

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Italy
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The Italian pavilion replicates the beautiful architecture of Italy; there are musicians and actors that come out to entertain throughout the day in the main plaza. Italy is only a small part of the World Showcase; it's next to the American pavilion and seems to have lost some of its allotted space to the US showcase.

Pinocchio is the character available for pictures and autographs in Italy.

Dining: Tutto Italia Ristorante (pasta, meat)
Via Napoli (pasta, pizza)

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The American Adventure
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The American pavilion has the biggest pitch and is also the only country that has a fancy name 'The American Adventure' not simply 'America'. But it's their country and their theme park so I guess they can do what they like. A single building dominates the area making the pavilion look very grand and impressive.

The attraction is also named The American Adventure, Disney describe it as the 'inspirational story of America and its people'. It is a 30 minute show; there is also an American Heritage Gallery, a National Treasures Exhibit and The Liberty Inn in the same housing as the main attraction. The American Adventure takes you through the history of America, it may be a little long but it is interesting nonetheless.

Dining: Liberty Inn (burgers, chicken)
Fife & Drum (turkey legs, hot dogs)
Funnel Cake Kiosk

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Japan
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Japan is another country that I think has been made beautifully; the traditional Japanese buildings, gardens and pools are excellently recreated.

The attraction here is an art collection named 'Spirited Beasts: From Ancient Stories to Anime Stars'. However, the main draw for me was the massive shops, there is such a wide array of goods for sale. The department store sells clothes, toys, jewellery, food, everything you could possibly want! I spent way too much time looking round here.

Dining: Teppan Edo (steak, seafood)
Tokyo Dining (sushi, seafood)
Yakitori House (beef, noodles)
Kaki Gori (shaved ice)

I had a bit of the shaved ice, not my thing, sensitive teeth and ice = bad combination.

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Morocco
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The Moroccan pavilion is all about food and shops. There are a lot of shops here selling rugs, ceramics, instruments, clothes, baskets and more. Morocco is famous for its markets and Disney has tried to recreate this with their indoor and outdoor bazaars. I didn't spend too much time here so I don't remember that much about it, I didn't have room in my baggage allowance for a rug!
There is a belly dancing show in the evening which provides the entertainment.

You might spot Aladdin and Jasmine hanging around Morocco waiting to sign autographs.

Dining: Restaurant Marrakesh (lamb, couscous)
Tangierine Cafe (chicken, lamb)

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France
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The French pavilion has been made to look like a quaint French village with the Eiffel Tower in the distance (I imagine they didn't want to have to build a full sized one!). As ever the shops are lovely to wander round, perfumes being one of their main produce here.

The attraction in France is Impressions de France, a 20 minute film showing the beauty of the French countryside. I didn't watch this, as lovely as the French countryside is, I didn't really want to spend 20 minutes watching it go by.

Characters from Beauty and the Beast, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Aristocats can be found at the French pavilion.

Dining: Chefs de France (snails, beef)
Bistro de Paris (gourmet cuisine-read expensive!)
Boulangerie Patisserie (pastries, quiche)
Crepes des Chefs de France
Les Vins def Chefs de France (wines, beer)

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United Kingdom
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The UK is just over the water from France (sounds familiar eh). Personally, I found the UK pavilion quite humorous mainly for the fact that this weird mix of old English buildings is how many people from other countries still view England today. I liked how they had traditional buildings staffed by cast members wearing clothes from years and years ago, and yet they were selling the latest football strips. Seemed an odd mix to me. They also sell tea, toys, chocolate bars, memorabilia of various British bands and more. There is also a Beatles tribute band (no they really couldn't get anymore British clichés in).

I imagine this is how many tourists feel walking around the pavilion of their own country, it is hardly a representation of the UK today and it really couldn't be littered with anymore stereotypes but I guess they had to make it different somehow. It's amusing and it was weird to see British people working there. It's worth a wander round, might give you a bit of a giggle.

Characters from Mary Poppins, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland and Winnie the Pooh can be found at various times in the UK pavilion.

Dining: Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room (fish & chips, steak)
Yorkshire County Fish Shop (fish & chips)

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Canada
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The Canadian pavilion is a little different from most of the other countries, rather than recreating a town, it is supposed to recreate the great outdoors. Featuring canyons, totem poles, gardens etc. The shops in the pavilion sell everything, NHL jerseys, moose hats, what more could you want?!?

Characters from Brother Bear and Pocahontas can be found milling about in Canada.

The attraction here is O Canada! which is (surprise surprise) a film. It's a 14 minute 360 degree film showing Canada's cities and scenery. My one criticism of the World Showcase is the lack of variety in the attractions, so many films, there really is only so many you can sit through without getting bored. Surely there is something else they could do!

Dining: Le Cellier Steakhouse (steak, pork)
Snack Cart (popcorn)

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Worth a Visit?
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Definitely! There is so much to see and do, make sure you have a few days to explore everything. As I said before, my one problem with Epcot is the lack of variety in the attractions in the World Showcase. But apart from that I love it, there are so many different parts of the park to look around, kids and adults will be entertained all day!

If you want to have a glimpse at full restaurant menus and prices, check out this link:
http://www.wdisneyw.co.uk/menus.html
If you are staying at a Disney Resort I would recommend the Dining Plan, it does seem expensive but it's so much easier when you are there. You do save money by being on the plan; the amount you save depends on what Dining Plan you choose. Pick the expensive items like me and you'll save a packet ;)
More information can be found here:
http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/resorts/benefits/disney-dining-plan


Also posted on dooyoo under the username shabbating.

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Comments on this review

  • KarenUK published 14/09/2010
    Sounds a fun place to visit!
  • MEL0611 published 09/09/2010
    Great read x
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Product Information : EPCOT

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