Disney World Thoughts Part 3: Epcot

I know that is has been a little longer than you would expect for me to get back to posting part 2 of this about Epcot, but here it is.

One of the best parts of Epcot for us was that the shuttle that we took from our hotel (off site) dropped us off right at Epcot. This also allowed us to ride the Epcot Monorail line to the Magic Kingdom when we were going there. I love the monorail at Disney World.

I wasn’t sure what to expect at Epcot, because we don’t really have anything like it at Disneyland and, really, anywhere else. The entrance was problematic for us because we were chosen almost every time for “additional screening” when entering the park area or just trying to get on the monorail as it was behind the security checkpoint.

Spaceship Earth was about the size that I expected, but the attraction inside was completely unexpected. All I knew about it was the name when we got there. The wait was usually less than 20 minutes the few times we went on it and it was narrated by Judy Dench! How freaking cool!?! It basically takes you through time, showing the evolution of (mostly) written communication. The top of Spaceship Earth was like a planetarium and I though it was really neat.

Spaceship Earth is part of Epcot called Future World. The other part is called World Showcase. The way that they operate Epcot makes it feel like two separate parks. Future World has a lot of the typical “attractions” that you would think of when you think Disney Park. World Showcase is more like a World’s Fair that showcases different countries all around the world. There is usually one show, attraction or major point of interest in each country.

I will finish wrapping up Future World before going around World Showcase.

Past Spaceship Earth and to the right is a couple of pavilions called The Land and The Seas. The Seas (technically The Seas with Nemo and Friends) includes a Finding Nemo attraction similar in technology show wise of the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. The real neat thing here is that unlike Disneyland, the projections are shown in tanks with real sea life. Which brings me to the other part of the Seas which is, basically, an aquarium. Pretty cool to see inside of a Disney park.

In the Land pavilion, there is a restaurant which was a great place to have breakfast. On the ground level there is an attraction called Living with the Land which was a boat ride through green houses and showed a bunch of growing techniques for plants and stuff. We really liked this one, even though at first, we didn’t even know it was there!

Also in the Land is Soarin’. When we went there, it was still the original Soarin’ Over California version that I had seen a bunch of times. The wait for this one was crazy long and if it wasn’t the last time that we would see this version of it, we would have skipped it.

Continuing around Future World was Journey Into Imagination with Figment. This attraction was OK, but after I did some online research, I discovered that it is a shell of what it once was, which was a really great and beloved attraction.

On the other side of Future World, starting towards World Showcase was Test Track. This uses the same ride technology as Radiator Springs Racers and was pretty awesome. The biggest downside to this one was the wait. It ALWAYS had a long wait of 45 minutes plus. I have since seen video of the attraction before the remodel and I think I would have preferred that version, but this version was still a great time.

Mission: SPACE was next. I was worried about this one, as there are two intensities, so we made sure to pick the higher intensity one first so I wouldn’t chicken out later. The story was a pretty good one, the ride experience was also pretty awesome. If you have the choice of the less intense or the higher intensity, I’d say go with the higher intensity. It really made a difference in how I experienced the attraction and what I thought about it. Plus, it is “hosted” by Gary Sinise!

Last in Future World was Ellen’s Energy Adventure which is hosted by Ellen and Bill Nye The Science Guy. Now, for me, I was excited by this. This attraction is 45 MINUTES LONG! What? Yes. It is mostly video that you watch in 2-3 different theaters as your ride vehicle moves you between them with one big audio-animatronic scene thrown in for fun. If you want to cool off for 45 minutes, go on this. Otherwise, you can skip it.

There were some other experiences in Epcot Future World that I didn’t talk about, but they weren’t anything to really talk about. The meet and greets were ok, Innoventions was interesting, but nothing spectacular.

Onto World Showcase. We typically started in Mexico, so that is where I will start.

Mexico was pretty cool. There are a couple of restaurants that people online enjoyed, but we didn’t have the time to check out. We did eat at the San Angel Inn Restaurante which had the ambiance of the Blue Bayou in Disneyland. We got some lunch dining reservations there and had a great meal.

Next to this restaurant is the attraction that floats by while you eat, the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros. This was a mix of its a small world and Pirates of the Caribbean in feel. There wasn’t too much of a cohesive story line and in the end, would only suggest riding this for the atmosphere.

Next was Norway. At the time we were there, much of Norway was closed so they could refurbish the attraction there into something Frozen.

Onto China. China’s big draw was to a Circle Vision 360 video of the people and places of China, called Reflections of China. Stunning visuals. There is also a restaurant and a shop that we quickly walked through.

Germany! James was really happy here, because, as I failed to mention above, each country in World Showcase employs people from those countries to work the attractions, shops and restaurants. James knows German and loves speaking it, so when we got food at the Biergarten Restaurant, he was able to order and converse with the cashier in German. She thought his German was great! The food here was pretty good. We had what almost amounted to a buffets amount of food between the two of us, but it was worth it.

Italy was next. There wasn’t much there other than a restaurant (of course) and a pizzeria.

The American Adventure had an attraction by the same name which I thought was good. The way they changed scenes for the animatronics especially sticks out in my mind.

Japan was one of the fun places in World Showcase because of their shops that all connected. You could get clothing, video game figurines and FOOD. A lot of the food in this place was neat looking even though I had no idea what it was! We ended up buying some stuff and liked most of it. There was also a sushi place here that we never ended up making it to.

Morocco had a couple of Aladdin meet and greets and some restaurants. There was also a small museum that was interesting to look at.

France had another Circle Vision show that we skipped on, but did catch a street entertainment duo that did some cool acrobatics on wine bottles and chairs.

International Gateway is an area where you can leave Epcot and go to some of the near by hotels as well as walk over to Hollywood Studios, which we did do one day and enjoyed the walk.

The United Kingdom. There was a couple of shops and a fish and chips place, but we mainly walked right past this area.

Canada. Canada! Canada also had a Circle Vision 360 movie that we got a kick out of with the final song. If you are interested in the song, please click here and listen to it all.

That completes the World Showcase loop and we are back at where Future World and World Showcase meet. This is a great spot to watch Illuminations, their nighttime fireworks spectacular.

Overall, I found Illuminations pretty underwhelming as far as Disney fireworks and things go. There is a whole section of the show that is just music and some graphical stuff on the illuminated planet barge thing. I wanted more pyrotechnics.

That about does it for Epcot. Next post will be about Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

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