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Walt Disney World Florida 

Disney EPCOT Center

The Disney EPCOT center was quite an experiment when it first opened. All of the sudden a Walt Disney World vacation was more than just the Magic Kingdom! And sometimes EPCOT is called "Disney for Adults" (well, I call it that at any rate) .

Spaceship Earth at the Disney EPCOT center captured everyone's attention. And at the time, EPCOT's World Showcase was a very novel idea. Oh, and let's not forget the light show and fireworks!

You may be wanting to know what EPCOT means. It's "Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow". The idea was not only would the past and the future be present, but also people of different traditions and cultures could live together in peace.

Spaceship Earth - Entrance to EPCOTThe Disney EPCOT Center has evolved over the years, adding more attractions and entertainment. It's a great Disney experience, with generally fewer crowds than most of the Disney theme parks (a big plus). Tickets for EPCOT are the same as any other the other theme parks (especially great if you have added the Disney Park Hopper option to your pass).

Come on, let's take a look at the Disney EPCOT center.

The EPCOT Pavilions

Instead of "lands" like the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World's EPCOT has pavilions. They are generally smaller, but there are a whole lot more of them! The pavilions are:

  • Spaceship Earth
  • Energy
  • Mission: Space
  • Test Track
  • Mexico
  • Norway
  • China
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • USA
  • Japan
  • Morocco
  • France
  • United Kingdom
  • Canada
  • Imagination!
  • The Land
  • The Living Seas


Disney EPCOT Center "Must See" Attractions

There are a lot of neat things to see and do at EPCOT. But attractions and rides top the list (in my opinion anyway). There are a whole bunch, at least one per pavilion, but sometimes there are long waits. So what are the you-gotta-see-this attractions? Don't miss the following:

  • Mission Space lets you blast off into space and do things like dodge meteors (among other things). Just a note -- if you easily get motion sick, you might want to avoid this attraction.  One thing more -- my husband went on this ride on our recent trip and he says it really feels like you go into outer space -- you feel the g-forces on takeoff and are momentarily weightless (or at least you feel that way).
  • Soarin' makes you feel like you are taking a hang-glider trip.  Complete with scent effects, too -- when you soar over the orange groves, guess what you smell?  There tends to be a long wait for this attraction, so you may want to utilize the FastPass.
  • Ellen's Energy Adventure takes you back in time and then forward to the present (and even into the future. Ok, it's kind of educational, but don't tell the kids that. because it's also a lot of fun.  A great ride when you're hot an tired as it lasts more than 30 minutes.
  • Maelstrom is located in the Norway pavilion and is a cool boat ride through the northern seas, complete with trolls!  Not to worry, this isn't a ride you have to worry about for motion sickness.
  • Test Track is a kind of roller coaster, except you are in cars that look like, well, cars! It's the longest roller-coaster-type ride in Disney.  This is a cool ride and you hit over 70 mph at one point.
  • The Living Seas never fails to thrill me. It's a huge saltwater, underwater experience. No need to worry, you won't get wet!
  • Honey I Shrunk the Audience is a cool 3-D movie experience - lots of fun!  It had the audience screaming and laughing when I was recently at the movie.

Naturally, there are a ton more attractions, and walking through the different pavilions is a blast!

Oh, I almost forgot -- remember to stay for the Disney EPCOT Center IllumiNations light show! Fireworks, lasers, music and other kids of lights abound. It's a different kind of show than you might normally see at Disney, and very much worth staying for.


Are You Hungry? Places to Eat in EPCOT

One thing for sure -- you won't go hungry -- at least, not from lack of choices at the Disney EPCOT center! There are a ton of quick-service restaurants everywhere you go, so I will list the casual, unique, signature and Character dining options for you to anticipate:

Casual restaurants are kind of a cross between the quick-service stands and the unique restaurants. Alas, there is only one casual restaurant in Disney's EPCOT Center - Tempura Kiku in the Japan pavilion.

Unique/Special restaurants are themed based on the pavilion. Yes, they are sit-down with wait service. They do get pretty busy, though, so put in your reservation ahead of time (or as much in advance as you can when you get to EPCOT). The unique and/or special restaurants are:

  • Teppanyaki Dining Room, Japan pavilion
  • San Angel Inn, Mexico pavilion
  • Rose and Crown Dining Room, United Kingdom pavilion
  • Restaurant Marrakesh, Morocco pavilion
  • Nine Dragons Restaurant, China pavilion
  • Le Cellier Steakhouse, Canada pavilion
  • Biergarten Restaurant, Germany pavilion
  • L'Original Alfredo di Roma Ristorante, Italy pavilion

Jasmine, Disney Character DiningSignature are the next step up the food chain (sorry, couldn't resist). And as you might imagine, they are a bit more expensive, Still, they are a great experience. Hint - go at lunch when it is less expensive to eat....

  • Coral Reef Restaurant, Living Seas pavilion
  • Les Chefs de France, France pavilion
  • Bistro de Paris, France pavilion

Character Dining is for when you just can't resist seeing the Disney characters! Here are your choices:

  • The Garden Grill Restaurant, The Land pavilion, serving lunch and dinner
  • Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, Norway pavilion, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Do think about this one -- I was a bit skittish, it being Norweigan and me not crazy about creamed fish (well, that's what I imagined).  Instead it was a delightful lunch and the food was great!  Not to mention we got to see Ariel, Snow White, Cinderella and (my husband's favorite I think) Jasmine.

Disney EPCOT Center Special Tours

Disney's EPCOT center certainly does not lack in the tour department! There are tons for you to take advantage of, and a few include:

    • Backstage Magic Whoa! This is a day-long adventure, not only at EPCOT, but also the Magic Kingdom and Disney-MGM Studios. Ages 16 years and up.
    • Dolphins in Depth invites you to wade right in with our favorite sea creature, the dolphin. You will be in the water with them, but only up to waist depth at most. Ages 13 years and up; guests under 18 must have a parent or guardian also participating.
    • Around the World at EPCOT is cool. You know those funky personal transporters -- the ones you stand on and they whisk you around? Yep, that's what you get to ride on! Ages 16 years and up, guests must weigh less than 250 pounds.
    • EPCOT DiveQuest is certainly unique; if you scuba dive, this is right up your alley! You will get to explore a 6 million gallon underwater kingdom. You do need to be a certified diver to participate (junior certification for the younger set). All equipment is provided, but bring your bathing suit to wear under the shorty. Ten years of age and up.
    • Hidden Treasures of World Showcase is a trip around the World Showcase, disclosing fascinating information about the lands and their cultures. Ages 16 years and up.
    • VIP is totally built around you! You'll discuss with the VIP team what you want to do and when, then leave them to do their magic.

There are even more tours than these, so as you can see you do not lack options!


Japanese Drummer EPCOTDisney World EPCOT Entertainment

The Disney EPCOT center does entertainment right. With all the different pavilions, there are various live entertainment presentations available throughout the day. Some of the must-sees include:

    • Dragon Legend Acrobats
    • World Showcase Players
    • Oktoberfest Musikanten
    • American Gardens Theater
    • JAMMitors
    • Japanese Drummers

If you want to meet and greet some characters, you'll have to read when and where in your park guide -- the times and places tend to change around from day to day.


Don't Forget...

You want to enjoy your vacation to Disney's EPCOT center, so here are a couple of tips.

The Florida sun is strong, so bring a long-sleeve shirt (yes, even in Summer) or slather on the sunscreen. A sunburn is not a fun way to spend your Florida Disney vacation! Remember to bring a rain poncho in the summer too -- it's very likely you'll run into showers.

Drink lots of fluids -- when you get thirsty, you're already a bit dehydrated.

When you are hot and tired...take a break!  Find a stand, get some ice cream or water and sit in the shade.  The EPCOT attractions will still be there when you are ready again.  There are also "personal coolers" around the park -- they spray a fine mist of cool water, great on a hot day!

Do you want the best prices on Disney EPCOT center tickets and resorts? The best piece of advice (aside from shopping around) is to make Walt Disney World reservations and get tickets as far in advance as possible.

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Have a Great Disney Vacation!

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Something Different About EPCOT

It's interesting that EPCOT is the only Disney World theme park that has set hours.

While all the other theme parks have hours that vary throughout the year, EPCOT remains the same.

Even the light show, IllumiNations is held at the same time every night - 9 PM!

Save Money at Disney!

You can save bundles of cash on your next Disney World vacation! (And saving money is good, right?) Check out the Ultimate Savings Guide!




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