Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (Epcot)
Epcot, an acronym for the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, was Walt Disney’s dream of a technologically replete, living community. It was intended to represent a utopian vision of the future but, by the time it opened in 1982, several changes had been made to the original dream and Epcot opened as an educational center and permanent world’s fair.
The 250-acre (100-ha) park is divided into two distinct halves: Future World with an emphasis on entertainment and education and World Showcase which represents the art, culture, and culinary expertise of different countries around the globe.
TACKLING THE PARK
Epcot is two and a half times the size of Magic Kingdom, which means that at least a day and a half are needed to cover most of the attractions here. World Showcase is not normally open until 11am so the earlymorning crowds fill Future World and then gradually migrate to the rope between the two parks waiting for World Showcase to open. As with everything Disney, arriving early is the key to a successful visit. If you are entitled to early entry privileges, arrive one hour and 40 minutes before the official opening time.
Although there are really only a small number of rides in Future World, two of these – Test Track and Mission: SPACE – are besieged from the outset, so it’s best to get to them early. Pick up a Fastpass for one and ride the other. To reach them, bear left through the huge Innoventions East building. It sometimes helps to think of Future World as a clock face; if the main entrance is at 6 o’clock, then Mission: SPACE is at 9 o’clock and Test Track at 11 o’clock. This is roughly the equivalent of walking from the entrance of Magic Kingdom right through to Splash Mountain/Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
After leaving the Mission: SPACE/Test Track area, retrace your steps back through Innoventions East, cross immediately through Innoventions West, and emerge to the Imagination Pavilion to see Honey, I Shrunk the Audience (clock face position roughly
1 o’clock). After this, you can return to Spaceship Earth (6 o’clock) if the lines have shortened or make your way back across to the excellent Ellen’s Energy Adventure (7 o’clock) and Wonders of Life (8 o’clock) pavilions. Though this seems like a lot of backtracking, you should enjoy a little glow of satisfaction when you see the lines later in the day.
Visit Soarin and the Seas with Nemo & Friends later in the day after a visit to World Showcase, which is more interesting for adults than children. However, there are Kidcot Fun Spots in several pavilions where kids can draw and have fun, and the diversionary tactic of buying each child a “passport” to have stamped can prove a blessing.
There are minor rides – usually boat rides – in some pavilions and several others show films.
The dining at some pavilions is excellent and can be booked ahead through your hotel. The transportation system in the park is not very efficient – you’ll always get where you want faster by walking, so good, comfortable shoes are essential.
There is also not much shade, so be sure to wear a hat.
This answer to many a parent’s prayer was introduced when Disney noticed that the lapel pins it had produced for special events were re-selling at several times the market value. In a flash of inspiration, they created Pin Stations, small booths in every park selling the hundreds of different Disney pins. Epcot’s Pin Station Central, near Spaceship
Earth, is the largest booth. The pins usually cost $6–$15 each. Following this with a stroke of genius, Disney created Pin Traders – cast members who could be persuaded to swap pins with guests – and surmounted the whole idea with a set of very simple trading rules, which cast members could break in favor of the guest. This has captured the imagination of children who happily spend hours tracking down the pin they don’t have and swapping another for it.