SATURDAY SIX: The Six Best Kept Secrets at EPCOT

by on August 20, 2016 9 Comments

Filed under: Adults, Epcot, Saturday Six, Walt Disney World (FL)

This week’s SATURDAY SIX looks at the Six Best Kept Secrets at EPCOT. Yes, we love the awesome rides, the incredible resorts, and the mouth watering restaurants at WDW, but the more trips we take, the more we appreciate all the little details throughout The World. While most guests know of Hidden Mickeys, there are many other “Easter eggs” to discover, with many of these secrets being hidden in plain sight. We’ve previously looked at some great details at the Magic Kingdom (including references to Mr. Toad and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea), and today we are going to look at some of our favorite “secrets” at EPCOT. So sit back, pour a out a 40 for Horizons, and let’s begin our countdown starting with…

# 6 – The Hollywood Tower of Terror at DHS Blends in with the Morocco Pavilion in World Showcase

The Hollywood Tower of Terror is one of the greatest rides in Walt Disney World – in fact it took first place in our very own Best WDW Attractions Poll – but one of its most amazing features is that the ride not only fits thematically into Disney’s Hollywood Studios, it fits into EPCOT. The attraction is so tall that – from certain angles – it is one of the few things that you can see from inside a WDW park, but the Tower’s facade was ingeniously designed so that it would fit into the theming of the Morocco Pavilion in World Showcase.

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If Guardians of the Galaxy replaces the Tower of Terror in DHS, Morocco may have to be rethemed to the Knowhere Pavilion.  (photo by Brian Carey)

# 5 – Future World Lights Up At Night

This is one that kids will probably notice well before adults, but at night some of the pavement in Future World takes on new life thanks to a fiber optic lighting package. In an area in-between Spaceship Earth and Innoventions Plaza, some of the pavement tiles have tiny lights that sparkle, making for a magical appearance. Meanwhile, over by Innoventions West, there are larger sections of pavement completely lit up with designs that “move” and change colors. Don’t feel bad if you’ve been to EPCOT 1,000 times and never noticed any of these lights, as most guests don’t even come near this area on their dash out of the park. As always, one of our best tips when it comes to touring the WDW parks is to slow down, and give yourself time to take it all in.

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Future World, who may want to consider suing Pandora: The World of Avatar for gimmick infringment. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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Stacey, enjoying another magical night at EPCOT. (photo by Ryan Pastorino. Instagram @disphotomagic)

# 4 – Inventor’s Circle

At the SATURDAY SIX we often tell guests to “keep their head on a swivel” as there are some amazing details pretty much everywhere you look. Just as EPCOT has lights in the pavement that you can see at night, during the day you also may want to literally look where you are walking. In Future World West there is a courtyard which contains Inventor’s Circle. In many ways Inventor’s Circle is a “big bang” representation of mankind’s greatest achievements throughout history. Surrounding the innermost circle is a tribute to some of most important scientists and pioneers in human history including Marie Curie, Thomas Edison, and Sir Isaac Newton. From there we have circles marking huge breakthroughs in discovery, including markings for the wheel, the printing press, the telephone, the world wide web, and many, many more. Next time you’re in EPCOT, spend a minute or two checking out this neat area and try to comprehend just how much we take for granted in a world where we pretty much have the entire history of Earth’s accumulated knowledge at our fingertips on our phone.

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Inventor’s Circle in Future World. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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Inventor’s Circle. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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I’m pretty sure Jim Hill on the Disney Dish podcast told a story of Marty Sklar saying it came down to “Sir Isaac Newton or Len Testa and his algorithms” for the final spot. Disney went with Sir Isaac because they assumed he invented Fig Newtons. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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Without the printing press we would not have The Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando, written by Yours Truly (with a little help by Seth Kubersky. Okay, maybe more than a little help. In fact, he pretty much wrote the whole thing, but there is an exclusive SATURDAY SIX in that book!) (photo by Brandon Glover)

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Inventor’s Circle. (photo by Brandon Glover)

# 3 – The “Seasons” at Sunshine Seasons

Thanks to the incredible success of Soarin’, The Land Pavilion at EPCOT may be the most visited place in WDW outside of the Magic Kingdom. We’ve all been there, and over the years most of us have stopped into Sunshine Seasons to get something to eat or drink. However, most guests don’t even pick up on the actual “Seasons” at Sunshine Seasons. There are four separate sections to dine in, and they are themed to Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. These are the “little things” that make Disney Disney and why we all come back again, and again, and again. The big thrill rides may get us to the table, but it’s the complete immersion – much of which we don’t even consciously notice – that compels us to return.

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Sunshine Seasons. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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Table top in Summer Season. Tatooine has two suns, but this table accurately represents what it is like in Florida in the summer where we enjoy the heat and humidity of a thousand suns. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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Table top in Fall Season. (photo by Braodon Glover)

# 2 – The Use of Forced Perspective

Walt Disney Imagineers have a lot of tricks up their sleeves, but one they use to spectacular effect is the use of forced perspective. An optical illusion, forced perspective is used in the parks to make things look bigger, or smaller. For example, the American Adventure Pavilion in World Showcase is designed to look like a three story building. Believe it or not, the building is actually five stories tall, but because of how the doors and windows were designed our minds see it naturally as a three story building without even questioning it. Conversely, over in the Canada Pavilion the Hotel du Canada building appears to be five stories tall, when in fact it is only three.

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America (photo by Brandon Glover)

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With the use of overly large doors and windows, this five story building appears to only be three stories tall. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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The Hotel du Canada is only three stories tall, but through the use of forced perspective looks much larger. (photo by Brandon Glover)

# 1 – EPCOT Center Logos

We recently did an article on why we love EPCOT and no one can deny that it is a truly original park. There is nothing like it and it was even more revolutionary when it opened back in 1982. Those of us of who are a certain age have a fondness for EPCOT Center that borders on the love SoCal residents have for Disneyland. The park spoke to us in a way no other has since. While EPCOT Center attractions such as Horizons, World of Motion, and Communicore have been lost over the years, there are references to them throughout the parks. This small nod to history is certainly appreciated, and the nostalgia that Disney can tap into is something no other theme park can do.

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Communicore logo outside Fountainview (photo by Spencer Coleman)

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World of Motion logo on a trash can outside Test Track. (photo by Julia Mascardo)

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Spaceship Earth logo in fencing. (photo by Julia Mascardo)

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Horizons logo inside the queue of Mission: SPACE. (photo by Julia Mascardo)

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Living Seas logo on second floor of The Seas with Nemo and Friends. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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The Living Seas pressed penny design available at The Seas With Nemo. (photo by Julia Mascardo)

 

So there you have it: Six Easter Eggs in EPCOT. See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! articles, or, for your listening pleasure, check out the E-Ticket Report podcast. You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan)

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Hidden Mickeys are everywhere in EPCOT, including this control box in the Mission: SPACE gift shop. (photo by Brandon Glover)

If you enjoyed this article, you will surely like the following:

The Six Most Unusual, Most Interesting, and Strangest Souvenirs in EPCOT’s World Showcase

Six Best Snacks in EPCOT’s World Showcase

Six Reasons We Love EPCOT!

Six Hidden Mickeys at the Universal Orlando Resort

Inaugural 2015 Theme Park Awards (AKA ” The Burgys”)

Special Thanks to crack staff photographer Brandon Glover, stunning Disney photographer Ryan Pastorino, outlet intern and Best Week Ever’s own Jammin’ Julia Mascardo, the leading generator of Error 404 pages on the net – Tim Grassey of WDWThemeParks.com, the man who gave Electric Umbrella three thumbs up Brian Carey, our pals over at WDWFanboys, and blogger to the stars Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. Be sure to also check out Brandon on The Park Blogger podcast with co-host Aengus Mackenzie along with Meg’s Yeti To Be Named Disney Podcast.

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It came down to “Man Walks On Moon” or this. Sorry Neil Armstrong. Too bad, so sad.

Posted on August 20, 2016

9 Responses to “SATURDAY SIX: The Six Best Kept Secrets at EPCOT”

  • re: that last photo: Moonwalk, schmoonwalk. It’s the bloggers’ contributions to civilization we should honor! 🙂
    (Not sure if it’s still true, but the “muzak” playing at Sunshine Seasons used to be a collection of songs each featuring a season’s name in the title. To the Nth degree!)

  • Anybody know what’s in those 3 stories of the Hotel Du Canada? Besides the store I picture secret Canadian offices on the other levels. Maybe it’s just empty space?

  • Personally, I agree with the Inventor’s Circle decision. Neil was a braggart who had to be first at everything. So annoying. And don’t get me started on Neil’s involvement in that Whole Transformers debacle! Oy vey!

  • by Chloe De Vil on August 20, 2016, at 6:49 pm EDT

    NUMBER 1 BEST KEPT SECRET AT EPCOT. THE DANNY KAYE INCIDENT. The very first celebrity A-List and EPCOT Host to be BLACKLISTED From Disney AND ABC. Could not do advertisements or endorsements with the Founding Sponsors of EPCOT. Danny Kaye could never return to Walt Disney World or Disneyland. It was Lillian Disney’s and Ron Miller worst nightmare and had to deal with an irrational, demanding, foul mouth Host. They knew Danny Kaye did not want to come to WDW for Grand Opening of EPCOT. Find Tink and Cinderella, 2 Service Dogs which ERRT uses for TBI, PTSD, and Mobility in EPCOT if you want the Danny Kaye Disasterous Incident Tour in the words of Ron Miller.

  • Had to double check that ToT wasn’t photoshop’d into Morocco. We love the Morocco pavilion and eat there every trip. How did we miss this???
    Thanx for always having interesting reads. Loved The Simpsons last week B)

  • We’ve seen ToT from World Showcase and haven’t noticed the blending with Morocco, maybe depends on the time of day?

    Just noticed the hidden Mickey at the gift shop last trip! I wanted to check under the cover plate to see if the cabling was 3-wire with a very large gauge center wire.