This week you’ll probably see a lot of blog posts around the Disney community about Epcot as we gear up for the 30th anniversary of this amazing park. Today I’d like to take a look at Epcot since it is my favorite park, but it may not be the angle you’re expecting. I’m a relative newcomer to Disney World fandom. I hadn’t been to Florida between the ages of 4 and 22 so I don’t remember a lot of the things some of the die hard Epcot miss. I know a fair amount about the history of Epcot, but I’m not an expert on the subject by any means. So, instead, I’ll be writing all about what makes this my favorite park today and I’ll throw in some tips for touring too. There is something majestic about this park for me. So what makes Epcot so special?
Atmosphere: Although Horizons is gone I still feel a sense of “if we can dream it, we can do it” around Epcot. I’m not sure if it’s the architecture or the music in Future World, but I always feel uplifted when I walk through the main gates. Over in World Showcase, I just adore the celebration of culture brought to life through the designs of the imagineers. As an added bonus the gardens in Epcot are some of my favorites anywhere.
Attractions: There are some really great headliners here, but I also really appreciate some of the less popular attractions too. Sure, I love to ride Soarin’, but I don’t always love getting there for park opening to get a Fastpass. I go to Disney World so often that I’m just as happy riding Living with the Land without having to wait in a huge queue. I also like to be reminded of how revolutionary this park was with a journey through time on Spaceship Earth. While, I’m not as in love with the current version, I still have a soft spot for the smell of Rome burning. And in World Showcase I’ll take in the American Adventure for a good cry. Epcot is so much more than Test Track, so take advantage of all it has to offer!
Entertainment: The live entertainment options seem to be endless at Epcot. Almost every where you turn you might stumble upon a band, an acting troupe, or an amazing a cappella group. I could make and afternoon of wandering around listening to the likes of Off Kilter in Canada, the Voices of Liberty at the American Adventure, and watching all of the other acts around the World Showcase Lagoon. Be sure to grab a Times Guide when you head into the park or consult Lines for performance times each day.
Food: Epcot is my favorite park to eat in Disney World. There is a ton of variety for every taste and budget. Want a really great table service meal? There are plenty of choices around World Showcase for your dining enjoyment. Want a quick bite before running off to the next attraction? You’re covered there too. Maybe you’d like to sample snacks from all over the world? This is the place to do it. Not only do I love to eat in Epcot, I like to relax with a nice glass of the drink of the day. I can lounge in Cava del Tequila or roam around with a German beer and pretzel and be really, really happy.
World Showcase: If I’m really being specific I’d have to say World Showcase is my favorite place to hang out in all of Disney World. It just feels like home to me. I’m usually taking things at a relaxed pace when I’m there and just enjoying my time with my friends and taking it all in. I rarely do the same things in two visits here, but I always have a great time. The range of activities available in this area is sure to please any traveler. Everything from shopping to dining, attractions to shows are available here to give a glimpse into life around the world. I just can’t seem to get enough of it.
IllumiNations: Oh, IllumiNations. This is by far my favorite night time spectacular in all the parks. The combination of beautiful music, fireworks and effects, and story move me every single time I see the show. It never gets old for me and I’ve been know to get a little teary while watching it on occasion (especially during the holiday tag). I could watch it every night of my vacation and be a very happy camper. I have a lot of great memories of watching Illuminations with great friends at the end of a great day that I wouldn’t trade for anything.
I think what I love most about Epcot is that that I can tour at with gusto or just relax and take it all in here. I have just as much fun getting there for park opening and take on a Touring Plan or getting there in the afternoon and wandering around with a beer in my hand without doing a single ride. It seems Epcot can be what you make of it depending on how you approach it. First time visitors will enjoy running around from attraction to attraction and veterans can stop and smell the roses and both enjoy their experience. I like being able to personalize my Disney experience and I think there’s a lot of value in that.
Now that I’ve gushed about Epcot,how do you feel about it? Is Epcot your favorite too? Or maybe you long for vintage Epcot? Let me hear your thoughts in the comments!
A special thanks goes to Don Sullivan for providing this week’s photos!