Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow. This was the second of the theme parks to join Walt Disney World. The park opened on October 1, 1982, and was named EPCOT Center from 1982 to 1993. It was the largest Disney theme park in the world until 1998, when Disney's Animal Kingdom opened. The park consists of two sections, Future World and World Showcase. Epcot has become a permanent display of the world's nations. EPCOT combines education and entertainment both together very well.
Future World consists of a several areas called pavilions that explore innovative aspects and applications of technology. Spaceship Earth. The eighteen-story-tall sphere covered in over 11,000 triangular silver panels, is the gateway to Future World. Situated inside is a slow-moving continual dark ride through the history of communication, focusing on the development of different cultures and the future of technology. On the top of the sphere, the Sorcerer Mickey's hand and wand point to the name Epcot. At 256 feet (78 m) high, the hand and wand is the tallest structure at any Walt Disney World park.
Innoventions, located in two pavilions (named Innoventions East and Innoventions West), houses hands-on exhibitions from various science and technology oriented companies such as IBM and Segway. There are the latest computer games and you can even send a themed E-mail to someone back home. Very good for all the family. Universe of Energy. Showing Ellen's Energy Adventure, a show starring Ellen DeGeneres, Bill Nye, Jamie Lee Curtis, Alex Trebek, and " Albert Einstein" in an episode of Jeopardy!. The categories are about energy and how we generate and harvest it. (Michael Richards, "Kramer" from Seinfeld, has a brief cameo in the show as a caveman who discovers fire.) The audience's seats are actually large vehicles which move slowly through the attraction and are partially powered by solar cells on the building's roof. Mission: SPACE: Simulates the training required to be member of the space program. Gary Sinise is the guide through a "mission to Mars" in a spinning centrifuge gravity simulator, which lets guests feel what it's like to blast off in a rocket. Can be a bit intense, though, they now have a version of the ride that doesn't use the centrifuge..
Test Track: Guests sit in six-seater cars and experience the wide range of testing that automobiles must go through before they are approved for mass production. Cars in the ride pass through extreme temperatures, over rough surfaces and around high speed turns, exhilarating.
The Living Seas: One of the largest indoor aquariums in the world, setup to appear as the deep-sea research station Sea Base Alpha. You can view many different aquatic animals such as manatees while learning about the preservation of the Seas. For a fee, guests with certified diving credentials can join a group dive in the aquarium itself. The pavilion is also home to Turtle Talk with Crush, a show starring Crush, the Sea Turtle, from the film Finding Nemo. The Land: Contains various attractions dealing with human interaction with nature. Living with the Land takes you on a boat ride through a working greenhouse. The Garden Grill Restaurant slowly rotates, offering views of the Living with the Land ride, and serves meals containing food grown in The Land. Soarin', a copy of Soarin' Over California from Disney's California Adventure, opened here in May 2005, along with a remodeled pavilion. Be warned as this is a new attraction queues/lines for it are very long. Get there early for a fast pass. Also there is a showing of the movie called The Circle Of Life, starring the characters from The Lion King.
Imagination! Contains Journey Into Imagination, a light-hearted ride starring Eric Idle and the Epcot mascot Figment. It encourages guests to use their senses and their imagination. Imagination! also contains Honey, I Shrunk the Audience: a 3-D short film featuring Eric Idle, Rick Moranis, and the rest of the cast of the film Honey, I Shrunk The Kids. A demonstration of a new invention inadvertently shrinks the entire theater. It is a great attraction for all the family.
World Showcase consists of eleven pavilions, in clockwise order, Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, United States of America, Japan, Morocco, France, the United Kingdom, and Canada. Norway and Morocco were added after the parks opening. Each "Country" contains representative shops and restaurants and is staffed by people from these countries, many of them college students. Some also contain rides and shows. Each pavilion is paid for by the country it represents. Disney opens World Showcase late (usually 11:00 AM) and closes Future World early (usually 7:00 PM, except for Test Track, Mission: SPACE, Spaceship Earth, and Soarin' which sometimes remain open until park closing). Unlike other Disney parks, which do not serve alcohol, restaurants and stores in the World Showcase do serve alcohol from their respective countries, and beer is also sold at refreshment stands throughout Epcot. Each Pavilion sells food from their homeland normally 3 or 4 choices of eating places from high priced gourmet food to quick snacks.
A thirteen-minute fireworks show takes place in the World Showcase Lagoon every night at the park's closing time, normally 9:00 PM. Fireworks and lasers fill the sky above Epcot while a stirring musical score plays over the loudspeakers. The current show is titled IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth and premiered as part of the park's millennium celebration in 2000. Reflections of Earth tells the story of the planet and is split into three movements titled "Chaos," "Order," and "Meaning." the lagoon is surrounded by twenty torches of fire signifying the past twenty centuries, and the show climaxes with the globe opening up like a lotus blossom to reveal a twenty-first torch, representing the new century. This really is excellent and should not be missed!! TIP: Be prepared for a mass exodus from the park once the show is over. Although you can get a good view of the show all around the lagoon, it is easier to get out of the park when you are closer to the exit.