Epcot is a one of a kind place where you can experience eleven different nations, participate in interactive presentations and view the latest in cutting-edge technology – all in one vacation. The name “Epcot” is an acronym for “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow,” and was originally envisioned by Walt Disney as a real community where residents would live and work in a technically advanced environment. However the end product turned out to be more of a theme park with a World’s Fair atmosphere. It is twice the size of the Magic Kingdom (300 acres,) and can easily keep a family busy for days on end. Over the years, a constant influx of new attractions within the park has kept it a favorite among visitors who are fascinated with the dazzling shows and amazing wonders from around the world. It is divided into two “worlds” or parks – Future World, which focuses on science and inventions, and technology from both the past and the future. The World Showcase features a variety of countries celebrating their culture, history and cuisine. Epcot is located within Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida and is easily accessible from several exits off I-4 and the Highway 192 exit off the Florida Turnpike. It is open 365 days per year from 9:00a.m. with various closing times during the year.
Epcot Address and Phone Number
Walt Disney World Resort
P.O. Box 10,000
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830-1000
Epcot Rides and Attractions
Epcot is made up of two major areas – Future World and The World Showcase, and is almost like visiting two separate theme parks. In addition, it is home to “Illuminations,” which is a nightly laser, music and fireworks show held over the World Showcase lagoon. It is important to remember that Epcot is geared towards adults and teens, and young children may be restricted from some attractions due to height and age requirements.
Future World begins with Spaceship Earth; the ride that is located inside the geosphere that is Epcot's icon. It is described as an audio-animatronic journey through the history of communications. Included in the scenery and narration are cave paintings, the development of written language, the Phoenician merchants, the Roman highway system and much more.
Mission: Space is the ultimate interactive thrill ride and as close as you can get to blast off into space without leaving Earth. You will feel the force of lift-off and have an exhilarating ride through space as you dodge meteors and navigate nebula. “Honey, I Shrunk the Audience,” has excellent special effects (with some rather frightening snake and lion 3-D effects that might not be suitable for young children.) It’s a full sensory attraction that goes beyond 3-D. Fast Track in at Future World takes you on one of the longest, fastest rides in Disney history as you enter the exciting world of auto testing. You are strapped in as you race up bumpy terrain, roar around hair-pin turns and rush on to 50-degree banked curves at 60 mph.
At The World Showcase, eleven nations display authentic wares and cuisine from their homeland along a 1.3-mile promenade. In addition, as part of the show, holidays and festivals are celebrated just as they are in each country, allowing guests to experience these international celebrations. Mexico offers an authentic marketplace with lively Mariachi bands and a six-minute boat ride through The River of Time, where passengers greet a Mayan high priest and watch performers dance. Norway allows visitors to travel through time beginning in a 10th century Viking Village. Guests board 16-passenger, dragon-headed long-boats that are inspired by the Vikings, on a five minute voyage that glides through a mystical forest complete with trolls and a maelstrom. Visitors to China will see the House of Whispering Willows, an impressive exhibit of ancient Chinese art and artifacts, along with a vast array of merchandise including silk robes, paper umbrellas, embroidered items and much more. Next be transported to authentic surroundings inspired by towns of Bavaria at the Germany exhibit. Shop for limited edition steins and glassware and visit a unique toyshop that offers one of the best selections of toys found at Walt Disney World. Germany also offers an all-year Christmas shop and shops that offer German chocolates, Austrian crystal jewelry, beer mugs, wine glasses, etc. You will find romance and beauty featured in a detailed reproduction of Doge’s Palace of Venice at the Italy display. Italian chocolates and pastries, fine leather goods, delicate Armani porcelain figurines and other fine wares are also available here. The American Adventure is considered the centerpiece of The World Showcase, which highlights important moments in U.S. history. Japan includes spectacular landscaped gardens and a small museum of cultural items, traditional Japanese art forms and other exhibits. The Mitsukoshi Department Store offers traditional Japanese kimonos in silk, cotton, and polyester, headdresses, and a vast selection of bowls and vases meant for flower arranging. The country of Morocco’s architecture was captured using nine tons of handmade and hand-cut tile, while an ancient working waterwheel irrigates beautiful gardens and musicians play western music with an Arabic twist. At the France display you can shop in fresh bakeries and boutiques, tour gardens and wine shops, and watch an enchanting film that tours France’s cities and peaceful countryside. At the United Kingdom, visitors can stroll lovely gardens and cobbled streets to visit the corner pub or the Sportsman Shoppe, which centers on clothing such as Wimbledon tennis garb and Rugby shirts. Finally, Canada has its’ own mountain and waterfall, a rushing stream, rocky canyon, mine and spectacular garden. Shop for Canada-themed collectibles, plush toys, items with an Anne of Green Gables theme, pewter and more items crafted by Canadian artists.
After many years of planning and development, and three years of construction, Epcot opened to the public on October 1, 1982. Walt Disney was very excited about his idea for a “city of tomorrow,” but unfortunately his health began to fail before seeing it to completion. He is quoted as saying, "But the most exciting, by far the most important part of our Florida project -in fact, the heart of everything we’ll be doing in Disney World - will be our experimental prototype city of tomorrow. We call it EPCOT, spelled E-P-C-O-T: Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow." Disney passed away in 1966, and while his original vision of an actual community of the future where real people lived and worked never came to realization, Epcot is indeed a unique place and has been listed as “one of the most popular theme parks in the world.”
Epcot Park Map (click on map for larger view)