bonus, WDW Planning

Planning a WDW holiday | part 5

Another post, another park. This time, EPCOT. A little bit of trivia for you, EPCOT stands for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow and was a longtime dream of Walt Disney. He wanted it to be an actual community for people to live in, it eventually evolved into a theme park and was opened in 1982.

The park itself is big, more than twice the size of Magic Kingdom, so to experience it properly you should give yourself two days here.There are two main sections to the park, Future World and the World Showcase. Future World is home to many of the bigger attractions along with some wonderful interactive exhibits showcasing technology and nature. The World Showcase is a selection of 11 countries arranged around a large lake. Small snippets of the food and cultures of these countries are shown off here.

At the time of writing this Epcot is implementing a tier system for it’s FastPass+.

Tier A

  • Frozen Ever After
  • IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth
  • Soarin’
  • Test Track

Tier B

  • Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival
  • Epcot Character Spot
  • Journey Into Imagination with Figment
  • Living with the Land
  • Mission: Space (both green & orange)
  • Spaceship Earth
  • The Seas with Nemo & Friends
  • Turtle Talk with Crush

Out of your three pre-book fastPass+ choices per day, you are allowed to choose only one from Tier A, and the other two must be from Tier B.

My own recommendations for the Tier A choice would be Frozen. This is purely because personally, I’ve not been on this ride and would not want to miss out. If princesses aren’t really your thing, then go for Soarin’ or Test Track. I’m happy to give Soarin’ a miss after riding it once, but for others, it’s an essential at every trip. Test Track has had an update since the last time I rode it so my plan of action would be to try and get there as early as I can and save the Tier A slot for Frozen later in the day.

Tier B is a good mix. Some of the rides in this tier rarely get long lines so you could still experience them without using up a slot. Mission: Space and Spaceship earth will probably be my choices. If you’re going to spend two days here, you can, of course, get a FastPass+ for different rides on your second day.

Future World

This part of the park opens earlier than the World Showcase, giving you time to explore here before spending a large chunk of the day walking around the lake. This section is split into East and West with the central plaza containing Spaceship Earth and the fountains in the middle.

Florida 2012 447
Photo by me: Spaceship Earth

Off to the left-hand side, as you enter, is Innoventions East, Universe of Energy, Mission: Space and Test Track. Over to the right is Innoventions West, The Seas, the Land and Imagination. Inside the Land and Sea pavilions, you’ll find many more attractions and exhibits. The Seas is home to a large aquarium and a ride through an underwater tunnel. The Land can get quite busy as it contains three attractions and two restaurants. Living with the Land is a slow boat ride which looks at agricultural practice, honestly not as dull as it sounds. Circle of Life is a film about how to care for the environment, remember to pack some tissues, it always makes me cry. Then, of course, there’s Soarin’. Imagination is a fun pavilion where you can explore the senses. The Captain EO show was closed in December 2015 and has been replaced by a Pixar Shorts film.

I know people who would spend a whole day in Future World, and there certainly is enough to keep you occupied. I also know people who would skip straight to the World Showcase and miss Future World completely. In my opinion, you have to do both, or you’re not doing the park justice, hence my recommendation for a 2-day visit to Epcot.

World Showcase

As I mentioned before, this is a series of pavilions based on 11 countries from around the world. In clockwise order they are

  1. Mexico
  2. Norway
  3. China
  4. Germany
  5. Italy
  6. USA
  7. Japan
  8. Morocco
  9. France
  10. United Kingdom
  11. Canada

The main focus of the World Showcase is to ‘showcase’ the cultures of the countries, this may not appeal too much to younger visitors, and Disney knows this. To make it more engaging for children there are a couple of interactive experiences aimed at children of varying ages.

Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure – Those familiar with Phineas & Ferb will know who Agent P is here’s a playlist of “Perrysodes” on YouTube if you don’t. (I’m 33, and I still love Phineas & Ferb). You get given a mobile phone-like device and it gives you clues to solve in each of the participating seven pavilions.

Kidcot Fun Stops – These signposted areas of each pavilion have arts and crafts for younger children to take part in. While they are free to join in if you buy a World Showcase Passport Kit (around $10 from any of the outlets in the park) your children are able to get their passport stamped and signed in every location and are great to keep as a souvenir.

Not all the country pavilions have “attractions”, but all have great theming and shops and dining. Here’s a list of the countries that have attractions:

Mexico – Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros

Norway – Frozen Ever After

China – Reflections of China

USA – The American Adventure

France – Impressions de France

Canada – O Canada!

This is a selection of photos I took on our visit to Epcot. It rained, A LOT, that day!

An honourable mention should go to Cool Club. Located in Future World, attached to Innoventions West you’ll find this sponsored exhibit where you can get free samples of Coca-Cola products from around the world. Some are delicious, others…not so much, but that’s part of the fun.

cool club

The IllumiNations nighttime show is lovely. It incorporates fireworks, lasers and music and pays tribute to each of the countries which make up the World Showcase. Definitely worth watching, if you decide to use a FastPass+ slot, you can get an excellent view, although you can also get good views from various locations around the World Showcase.

Next post will be about Hollywood Studios

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