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Last revised Mon, 26-Nov-2007 15:08
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At A Glance EPCOT received 11.2 Million visitors in 1996.
Futuristic Disney theme park, divided into two main areas, with much to see and do. Some thrill rides, but nothing too white-knuckle. Car parking charged ($6 USD) for non on-site residents, Entrance fee includes all rides and attractions. Food/Refreshments extra. Some rides carry min/max height restrictions. Time required - 2 Days (1 day each at FutureWorld and The World Showcase) Evening firework display (IllumiNations) is well worth seeing.

EPCOT, the second oldest of Disney's Floridian theme parks was opened in 1982, and will probably need two days if you want to see and do everything within the park, (One day in Future World, and one day around the World Showcase, however many may find it less interesting than The Magic Kingdom or the Disney MGM Studios.

EPCOT, or the Experimental Protoytpe Community Of Tomorrow was Walt Disney's visionary idea comprising a huge transparent dome containing an entire city of harmony and progress, however with Walt's death in 1966, many of the original ideas for EPCOT were lost, and the resulting EPCOT Centre built by the Disney imagineers is a compromise between the parts of the dream laid out by Walt, and what could be achieved in practice. It is subdivided into two main sections, Future World, and The World Showcase.

Future World

Future World which opens (and closes) earlier than the World Showcase, pretty much covers the area between the main entrance to EPCOT, and the large lagoon. It is themed into distinct pavillions, and is dominated by Spaceship Earth, a large 180ft geodesic sphere made from white aluminium. As well as providing a focus for the park, Spaceship Earth contains a slow ride, which winds its way along a track through the dome itself, tracing the history of human communication from cave drawings through satellite and television.

Behind Spaceship Earth is the Showcase Plaza with the EPCOT fountain, and flanked on either side by a curved "Innoventions" building, containing examples of "technology from tomorrow", though in reality almost everything on display has been with us for a few years in one form or another.

The Wonders of Life contains "Body Wars", a turbulent simulator ride through the human body. Other attraction include the Wondercycles, where you cycle through the EPCOT park which is presented in front of you on a television display, along with distance travelled and energy expended etc.

The recently refurbished Universe of Energy, features "Ellen's Energy Adventure", presented by Ellen DeGeneres.

In The Living Seas, you can explore a large man-made coral reef, teeming with tropical fish, or view sharks and manatees

The Land features The Ciricle of Life, and environmental fable with the characters from The Lion King, whilst Living with The Land is a sedate boat ride and walk with an agricultural theme, demonstrating examples of soil-free gardening, plant biotechnology, fish farming, and pest management.

The Journey into Imagination pavillion houses the Honey I Shrunk the Audience 3-D theatre presentation, located in the Imagination Institute.

The World Showcase

The World Showcase covers the area around the lagoon at EPCOT, and it provides a view of the cultural heritage of 11 varied nations including Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, America, Japan, Morocco, France, The United Kingdom and Canada, though each should be taken with a large pinch of salt!

Each individual pavillion houses various attractions, including restaurants, rides, cinema presentations, live shows, and shops selling articles from the country concerned. The Rose & Crown Pub in the United Kingdom for example sells a range of typical British Beers (Bass, Guinness, Harp) in a traditional British Pub environment at very untraditionally high prices ("Innit Guvnor, Cor Blimey Mate!"), whilst in The American Adventure an audio-animatronic show depicting America's "incredible struggles and triumphs" can be seen.

Overall there is much less of a focus on the classic Disney characters within EPCOT, with character appearances very rare, although character dining with Mickey and other characters is available at the Garden Drill restaurant in the Land pavillion.

Diving at The Living Seas

For anyone who is a certified diver, it is possible to make arrangements to perform a dive in the Living Seas exhibit at Epcot at a cost of around $140 which includes a video tape taken of the dive.

How to see the EPCOT Fireworks without a ticket

The EPCOT IllumiNations firework display is held around the World Showcase Lagoon usually starting at 21:00. This is the same point that the park normally closes, with the fireworks display marking the close of the park. At this time, the main turnstiles are usually wide open so that people can enter and leave at will, so it is often possible to enter EPCOT at exactly 21:00 in order to see the IllumiNations firework display, without having to use a day on a pass.

Having said that though, it's quite a long drag from the main turnstiles to the World Showcase Lagoon, so unless you're seriously fit it is usually better to try and get into the park at the International Gateway instead, which is much closer to the World Showcase Lagoon.

For those with a consience that won't permit them to attempt entry without a pass the closest place to see the fireworks without actually entering EPCOT at all is standing on the bridge between the BoardWalk and the Yacht & Beach Club Resorts.


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