Epcot opened it’s gates on October 1, 1982, and spans more than 300 acres, which is more than twice the size of the Magic Kingdom Park. While there are many jokes for what the acronym stands for, a funny one being Every Person Comes Out Tired, the acronym really means the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. Epcot was designed as a Utopian city of the future envisioned by Walt Disney himself, and a celebration of human achievement in technological innovation, imagination and international cultures.
Often referred to as a Permanent World’s Fair, Walt described Epcot as a “Community of tomorrow that will never be completed, but will always be introducing, testing, and demonstrating new materials and new systems.” The second of the resorts parks to open, Epcot was designed to educate and entertain.
Epcot is divided into two main circular sections – Future World and World Showcase. Future World consists of a variety of pavilions that explore innovative applications of technology and science. Future World also serves as the park’s main entrance where the highlight is the park’s iconic landmark, Spaceship Earth, the large geodesic sphere structure that resembles a “golf ball” and houses a themed attraction inside. World Showcase is the largest area of the park that contains eleven pavilions each representing different countries of the world and surround World Showcase Lagoon, a large man-made lake located in the center of World Showcase.
Future World– Future World was designed to be a showcase for the future, demonstrating the possibilities of what cutting edge technology can do. As present times are quickly catching up to the future, attraction themes were rapidly becoming obsolete so there has been a shift to more education-based attractions rather than futuristic. Future World is a collection of attractions each focusing on a different theme or topic. Spaceship Earth Attraction, located in the heart of Future World, for example, is home to a ride that explores the history of communications.
World Showcase – The World Showcase is home to eleven pavilions, each rich in culture representing the countries of Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, American Adventure, Japan, Morocco, France, United Kingdom and Canada. Each country contains themed architecture, landscapes, streetscapes, attractions, shops, and restaurants representing the country’s culture and cuisine. The pavilions are primarily staffed by citizens of the respective countries keeping with the authenticity of the countries.
Epcot Special Tours
Backstage Magic – Spend your day on a 7-hour tour of all four theme parks to get an inside look and see firsthand how the thousands of dedicated Cast Members make magic happen every day and to discover some of the secrets of the daily operations.
Behind the Seeds – Go behind the scenes of The Land’s massive greenhouses to explore the future of agriculture. This hour long trip takes you on a walking tour of the the greenhouses that grow various fresh vegetables used in Epcot’s restaurants.
DiveQuest – Scuba dive in the 5.7 million gallon saltwater aquarium with over 6,000 sea creatures. Must be SCUBA-certified.
Dolphins in Depth – Meet the dolphins of The Seas with Nemo and Friends in this 3-hour intimate encounter. Guests get to go backstage to see how the dolphins are trained and also interact with them in waist deep water for 30 minutes.
Seas Aqua Tour – Snorkel with over 65 species of sea creatures, including sea turtles, angelfish, eagle rays and sharks in our massive aquarium
Undiscovered Future World – Take a trip back in time to see how Walt Disney himself envisioned the futuristic utopia of the Epcot we know today.
Character Meet & Greets
Meeting characters has become an attraction all in itself in all of the parks. While character dining is a popular ways to meet your favorites and Epcot offers several options, Epcot also offers designated areas and even buildings specifically for character meet and greets. Click here for a listing of character appearances and experiences.
Nighttime Spectacular: IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth
IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth: Witness the incredible history of our planet during this stunning nighttime extravaganza that celebrates the spirit of humanity and the nations of our world through fireworks, laser lights, neon and moving music. Gather around the World Showcase Lagoon as the story of our planet is told in 3 parts – past, present and future.
The show starts off with colliding stars that represents the Big Bang Theory as Earth’s fiery birth begins and flames and fireworks erupt form the lagoon and chaos represents the creation of the planet Earth from a cosmic event.
The spouting flames are reduced as The Earth Globe glides across the lagoon as water effects emanating from the fountain barges. As the Earth cools, it changes from hot white to red to blue and images of humanity appear on the Globe of including countries, famous landmarks, objects, and people. The exterior buildings of the countries around the lagoon are illuminated followed by laser lights, spot lights, and more fireworks in the center lagoon. The scene includes high-launch fireworks celebrating the life and spirit of the world.
As the song “We Go On” is played, the torches around the lagoon are re-lit and the Earth Globe opens revealing a final unity torch with emanating fireworks followed by a launch of 1,000 white fireworks brightly illuminating the lagoon. The scene concludes with a final launch of fireworks and a set of brilliant white flashes illuminate the sky.