Review of "EPCOT"
Been away, everything's changed :(
I have recently returned from 2 magical weeks at Walt Disney World in Florida.Walt Disney World is situated in Orlando and includes 4 theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom and Epcot), 2 water parks (Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach) and a number of different resorts. We stayed in one of the Disney resorts and visited all of the Disney theme parks and water parks. We visited Epcot on day 7 of our holiday. Epcot was the second Disney park to be built at Walt Disney World and first opened in 1982.
Our park tickets were included in our package, so we didn't have to worry about entry costs to any of the parks. We could come and go as we pleased. However park prices are generally very expensive at Disney. A one day adult pass (10+ years) at Epcot costs $89.00 and a one day child pass (3-9 years) costs $83.00. These prices are quite high but I still think it's definitely a park worth doing. Parking is available for $14.00 per day.The park opening times vary throughout the year. During our visit the opening hours were 9am - 9pm. If you are staying in the Walt Disney World resort, then you are entitled to 'Extra Magic Hours'. Extra Magic Hours allow you in to all the Disney parks either an hour before the parks open to the public or a couple of hours after the parks close to the public. Extra Magic Hours are definitely worth taking advantage of. We used a lot of our Extra Magic Hours to get on rides that usually have huge queues. Another perk definitely worth taking advantage of is Fastpass. Fastpass is a free service that is available to everybody visiting the Disney parks. The majority of the most popular rides and attractions allow you to use Fastpass. They have Fastpass ticket machines outside - just pop your park ticket inside and you'll get your ticket back, along with a Fastpass ticket which gives you a time to come back later on in the day and jump straight to the front of the queue. We used Fastpass on most of the big rides which normally have 1+ hour long queues! I recommend using Extra Magic Hours or Fastpass for Sourin' and Test Track at Epcot (Fastpass is also available on Living With The Land, Mission: Space and Maelstrom).
Each Disney park has an iconic structure - Magic Kingdom has Cinderella's Castle, Animal Kingdom has the Tree Of Life etc. Epcot is home to a giant silver ball called Spaceship Earth. Epcot is split in to two halves - 'Future World' and 'World Showcase'. Future World is quite varied and focuses on things such as imagination, space, technological advancements and much more! World Showcase is set around a big lake and is home to 11 different countries (Canada, France, Germany, China, Italy, Mexico, Morocco, Japan, Norway, UK and US).When we visited the International Flower & Garden Festival was on. This runs from March to May (I think it's on every year but I'm not too sure) and I would definitely recommend visiting when the Flower & Garden Festival is on. They had hundreds of beautiful topiary sculptures of different Disney characters scattered throughout the park. They looked absolutely stunning and included Snow White & The Seven Dwarves, Cinderella and Prince Charming, Minnie Mouse, Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Pluto, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Toy Story characters (Buzz, Woody, Lotso), Bambi characters, Lady and The Tramp, Tinkerbell fairies, Peter Pan, Captain Hook, Tik Tok Crocoidle, Mike and Sully from Monsters Inc, Lightning McQueen and Mater from Cars, Belle and The Beast, Lion King characters. I could go on! It was very impressive.
Our day at Epcot began in Future World with a ride called 'The Seas With Nemo & Friends'. It was a slow moving ride in which we sat inside clam shells. It's a lovely ride for children and fans of Finding Nemo. There is a part where you pass by a real-life giant fish tank and the actual Nemo characters can be seen 'swimming' around inside the tank! There is also a nearby attraction called 'Turtle Talk With Crush' which is a 15 minute long interactive show with Crush (the sea turtle from Finding Nemo). It uses advanced real-time technology which allows people to talk to Crush, ask him questions and hold conversations with him. Each show is completely different and is so much fun - it's a must do in my opinion. Outside both of the Nemo attractions is an area with shark facts scattered around, as well as statues of all of the sharks from Finding Nemo. You can even have your photo taken inside Bruce the sharks mouth! There is also a Finding Nemo gift shop for all your fishy needs.Next we used Fastpasses to ride Sourin'. Sourin' is unlike anything I've ever experienced before and is a ride that I highly recommend. You sit in rows and when the ride begins, the seats lift up and you are suspended in front of a giant screen. It's similar to a simulator ride and makes you feel as though you are flying on a hang-glider. Scenes change throughout the ride and include the Golden Gate Bridge, river rapids, snowy mountains, the ocean and even Disneyland! Wind blows through your hair and you get different smells at different points of the ride - I absolutely loved the smell of pine trees when flying over a forest and the smell of oranges when flying through a field of oranges! I thought this was quite a thrilling ride and actually rather beautiful in places too. Other attractions around this area include Living With The Land (a boat voyage) and The Circle Of Life (a short film featuring Lion King characters), which we didn't get round to doing. There are a couple of nearby restaurants too.
There is small section of the park called 'Imagination'. This is home to 'Journey Into Imagination With Figment' and 'Captain EO'. Journey Into Imagination With Figment is a slow moving ride, set inside a big pyramid shaped building. You sit in carts and take a tour through sensory labs (which include sound, sight and smell) with a funny little dragon called Figment. This ride is all about imagination and is really fun for little ones. Us adults enjoyed it more than we expected too! There's a part near the end (which I don't want to spoil for anyone) which I thought was very clever. As you exit the ride there is an interactive area called ImageWorks. Here children are encouraged to use their own imaginations and can take part in various activities, including making their own music by jumping on squares on the ground. I had a hard time trying to remove my daughter from this area! Captain EO is a 3D show featuring Michael Jackson. It originally opened at Walt Disney World in 1986 and closed in 1994. The attraction was replaced by Honey I Shrunk The Audience for a number of years, until Captain EO reopened in 2010. It tells the story of Captain EO (Jackson) and his space crew who are captured by the rather evil 'Supreme Leader'. It's full of singing, dancing and seat shaking! I remember this attraction from when I was a child which made me really enjoy it. However for those who have no memory of it, it may seem a little too retro and dated (the pre-show is quite long too).One of my most favourite rides in Epcot is Test Track. This was another ride that we Fastpassed. I thought the build-up to the ride was a little bit drawn out, but my daughter seemed to enjoy it. You are required to use a computer to design your own car before you board the ride. You can give the car different features and save it on to your park card. When you board the ride, you then swipe your card and your car is put in to action. Your statistics (how well your car done) are given to you at the end of the ride. You are strapped in to race cars (of up to 6 people) and test out your car against different elements. Suddenly you then find yourself zooming off outside and doing a lap around the test track, reaching speeds of up to 65mph! It's very fast and really thrilling, particularly on the turns. We all really enjoyed this ride. At the exit is a Chevrolet showroom with a bunch of cool cars for the men and some car themed activities for the kids! Nearby Test Track is a little Cars themed playground. This is a good place for young children to play whilst adults/older children ride Test Track (although I suspect most children would prefer to be riding Test Track!). My little one enjoyed playing on the playground for a little while whilst I rested my poor feet!
There is a ride inside Spaceship Earth (the big silver ball). It takes you through our past, up to our present and shows you how life and technology has changed and evolved through the years. I didn't really like it - it felt a little long, boring and dated. My daughter didn't seem too keen either (although she was ecstatic to be inside 'the big ball'). There was a brilliant part at the end of the ride which we all enjoyed very much though. I don't want to give away the surprise but it's interactive and you are the star! Other attractions in Future World that we didn't get round to doing include Ellen's Energy Adventure and Mission: Space (in which you feel as though you're blasting off in to space. Really wish we had done this one but my daughter was a little too small unfortunately).Characters can be found throughout Epcot, so don't forget to bring your autograph book! My daughter managed to meet Alice (in Wonderland), Mulan, Donald Duck and Silvermist just whilst wandering the park. There is also a 'Character Spot' where you can meet a number of different characters in one place, although the queues seemed quite long during our visit.
We began our trip through World Showcase at Canada and ended at Mexico. I really enjoyed this area of the park. It doesn't rely on rides or attractions, it focuses on atmosphere. There are a few slow moving rides and 360-degree films in some of the countries, although we decided not to do any of them. We were quite happy to just walk around and see the sights. Most of the countries are easy to identify, although you can also pick up a park map to avoid any embarrassment! Each country serves traditional cuisine. We ate in Mexico and the US (I couldn't help it!). Each country also sells their own traditional merchandise. I particularly liked the merchandise in China which included lucky cats, fans and Bonsai trees. This area of the park is likely to appeal to adults more than children. My daughter seemed to enjoy herself but got quite tired with all of the walking and seemed to enjoy Future World more. I remember visiting Epcot as a teenager and not really appreciating it as much as I did as an adult (I must also point out that Epcot has improved a lot since then).Overall we had a great day out at Epcot. It's a very varied park, with lots to see and do. I'd say it's one of the better parks for adults and older people (although there is a lot of walking involved). However it's also very enjoyable for children and I'd say that children 5-10 would probably most enjoy Epcot. Some teenagers may find it a little boring (due to the educational aspects and such) and may want to seek bigger thrills in the other Disney parks. I remember Epcot not having very many exciting attractions and I still don't think it's the most thrilling Disney park, however I think newer attractions such as Test Track and Sourin' (and the Nemo attractions) are now appealing to wider audiences. I'm excited to see what future plans Epcot has up its sleeve! On the flip side there are also a few attractions which aren't so impressive and could do with a bit of updating. There were so many different dining options, we were spoilt for choice. There were also plenty of places to do a spot of shopping. Although we visited on a weekend, the queues weren't bad at all (although we did Fastpass the 2 most popular rides) and we managed to walk straight on to many of the rides. I would highly recommend a trip to Epcot, Orlando.
Summary: A brilliant Disney park.
Product Information : EPCOT
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Listed on Ciao since: 04/03/2006