Saturday, September 22, 2012

Discover the World at Epcot

Where can you travel to four continents, soar over the richly diverse landscape of the Golden State, take a rocket ride to Mars, explore land and sea adventures, experience future technologies today and journey into your imagination — all in one vacation?  Epcot, the Walt Disney World celebration of human achievement and discovery, is a one-stop vacation spot for all of that.
From the moment you enter Epcot you are instantly transported into two distinctive worlds:
  • Future World, a high-energy, high-tech land where guests thrill to the pulse-racing liftoff of Mission: SPACE, take a high-speed spin on the hairpin turns and straight-aways at Test Track and experience Soarin’, an exhilarating aerial adventure that immerses guests in a multi-sensory experience, complete with sights, sounds, scents and the caress of warm breezes.
  • World Showcase, a world of multi-cultural enchantment, featuring marketplaces bustling with international flavor and a dazzling display of countries that transports guests through the magical worlds of 11 nations with just a few steps.
And every day ends with a spectacular performance of “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” — a thunderous fireworks finale like no other.
Epcot is the site for one-of-a-kind world entertainment and special events, including the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, one of the world’s largest outdoor festivals of its kind; Epcot International Food & Wine Festival; and Epcot Sounds Like Summer Concert Series, featuring popular live entertainment.
There’s more to discover at Epcot:

Epcot for Kids

Epcot spells kid-friendly fun.  From toddlers to teens, “Epcot kids” will discover hands-on activities, high-tech adventure and thrills at every turn.
In World Showcase, young guests can create their own Epcot souvenirs at the park’s Kidcot Funstops.  Craftsmen teach the budding artisans how to create one-of-a-kind material or a musical instrument using their own magical touch.
Using the latest technology, Disney Phineas & Ferb: Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure invites guests of all ages to become secret agents and look for clues, evil “Inators” and – with a little bit of luck – help Agent P defeat his nemesis Dr. Doofenshmirtz.
Want to meet your favorite Disney character?  At Epcot Character Spot, located in Innoventions West, Mickey Mouse is joined by longtime Disney character friends such as Minnie Mouse, Goofy and Pluto.  They host and present five themed areas — brightly colored cartoon settings depicting transportation, space, energy, land and communication — for meet-and-greets and photos with guests during Future World operating hours.
At World Showcase, you might spot Mickey and his friends at The American Adventure, Belle at France, Snow White in Germany (home to a miniature train and village), or Jasmine and Aladdin in Morocco.
In the Mexico pavilion, during “Gran Fiesta Tour starring The Three Caballeros,” Donald Duck guides guests on an excursion by tour boat through a festive and colorful celebration that is fun for all ages.
The Disney princesses — Belle, Snow White, Aurora and Ariel- are among special guests at Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Norway.  The World Showcase eatery, inspired by the famous 14th century Castle Akershus in Oslo, Norway, is the perfect setting for a “royal” breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Make reservations through 407/WDW-DINE.
In Future World, at The Seas with Nemo & Friends pavilion, kids can interact with the animated sea turtle Crush and join Nemo and his friends on an underwater adventure, or explore their imaginations with Figment at the Imagination! pavilion.
Soarin’ gives Epcot guests a bird’s-eye view of California with a breathtaking glide over the majestic natural wonders and varied terrain of the Golden State.  This exciting, wind-in-your-hair adventure takes riders above towering redwoods, picturesque snow-capped mountains, expansive sun-kissed deserts and the crashing waves of the Pacific coast.  Soarin’ is located at The Land pavilion.
Thrill-seekers, prepare for liftoff!  Mission: SPACE rockets stargazing guests into deep space.   Located in Future World, Mission: SPACE uses the same technology created by NASA to train their astronauts.  The result is a thrilling liftoff and spectacular trip through space sure to bring guests back for more.
Thanks to Disney’s FASTPASS, featured at Soarin’, Mission: SPACE, Test Track, Maelstrom and Living with the Land, kids and their parents can reduce wait time and enjoy more time in the park — and there’s no additional charge.

Future is Now

Future World takes guests to new dimensions with high-energy passports to excitement:
  • Spaceship Earth is Future World’s landmark adventure.  On a time-travel journey, guests discover how each generation of mankind has invented the future for the next generation, and how the spirit of innovation has moved people from the caves to the cosmos.  An exciting finale provides guests the opportunity to imagine their futures.
  • Soarin’ offers guests a bird’s-eye view and an extraordinary sensation of free flight.  Using stunning cinematic artistry and Imagineering-developed motion-based technology, the experience is intensified with sweeping winds and the fragrance of orange blossoms and pine trees.
  • Mission: SPACE presented by HP offers guests a one-of-a-kind Advanced Training Lab adventure — from exhilarating liftoff to the weightlessness of outer space.
  • Test Track presented by Chevrolet, immerses guests in the fascinating world of automotive design and includes an exhilarating experience around the Test Track circuit.  Reopens late Fall 2012
  • Universe of Energy featuring “Ellen’s Energy Adventure” with Ellen DeGeneres, Jamie Lee Curtis and Bill Nye the Science Guy.  DeGeneres plays a woman who dreams she’s on the popular game show “Jeopardy!”  As part of the show, guests venture into a re-creation of the primeval world complete with moving, roaring, life-size dinosaurs.
  • Imagination! includes Journey Into Imagination with Figment, featuring the playful purple dragon demonstrating the power of imagination, a 3-D movie called Captain EO starring Michael Jackson and ImageWorks Labs filled with activities to stretch the imagination.
  • The Land, features Soarin’; the motion picture “Circle of Life,” an environmental fable starring several characters from Disney’s “The Lion King”; and the Living with the Land boat ride through greenhouses of the future.
  • The Seas with Nemo & Friends includes an undersea voyage aboard “clamobiles” with the clownfish Nemo and his pals; “Turtle Talk With Crush,” a real-time animated character that talks, plays and jokes with guests; and one of the world’s largest saltwater aquariums, featuring a two-story viewing area of a coral reef filled with colorful marine life.
  • Innoventions, a dazzling showcase where guests can be among the first to experience the technologies of today that will shape their lives tomorrow.

Discover Your World

Across World Showcase Lagoon, 11 nations display authentic wares, ethnic cuisine, shows, entertainment and architecture representing their cultures.  World Showcase ambassadors come from across the globe to represent their homelands.  As part of the show, holidays and festivals are commemorated by the ambassadors in ways they would be celebrated “back home,” allowing Epcot guests to join in these international celebrations.  Even the landscaping changes from country to country around the 1.3-mile promenade. Clockwise around the promenade:
  • Mexico, with an authentic marketplace, lively Mariachi bands and “Gran Fiesta Tour starring The Three Caballeros” — a boat ride through a festive Mexican celebration.
  • Norway, where guests embark on “Maelstrom”, a voyage through time beginning in a 10th century Viking village.
  • China, with unique live entertainment and a Circle-Vision 360 film, “Reflections of China,” that showcases past and present China and takes guests to seven cities around the country.
  • Germany transports guests with authentic surroundings inspired by towns along the Rhine and in Bavaria.
  • Italy, romance and beauty featured in a reproduction Doge’s Palace of Venice.
  • The American Adventure showcases important moments in U.S. history.
  • Japan, featuring spectacular gardens and outdoor entertainment.
  • Morocco, where Moroccan artisans spent months re-creating the intricate, colorful tile masterpieces of this North African country.
  • France, the setting for aromatic bakeries, beautiful shops and gardens, artists and “Impressions de France”, an enchanting film tour through its cities and countryside.
  • United Kingdom, with lovely flower gardens, cobbled streets and corner pub.
  • Canada, with entertainment by a bagpipe band and “O Canada!”, a Circle-Vision 360 film through some of Canada’s most picturesque regions.

World-Class Dining at Epcot

The restaurants of World Showcase offer authentic cuisine from around the globe from chicken couscous in Morocco’s Restaurant Marrakesh, to chocolate soufflĂ© in France’s Bistro de Paris.  Guests can make dining reservations for nearly two dozen restaurants by calling 407/WDW-DINE.
In Future World, restaurants feature regional American favorites from gourmet pizza to fresh seafood.  All Epcot restaurants have children’s value meals and can accommodate special dietary needs with advance notice.

Important Collections in Epcot Galleries

Five World Showcase countries display treasures from international collections:
  • The Mexico pavilion’s La Vida Antigua features the daily life in Ancient Mexico.
  • The Vikings: Conquerors of the Seas exhibit in Norway’s Gol Stave Church Gallery showcases a rare collection of Viking artifacts.
  • Japan’s Tin Toy Stories is an exhibit featuring over 350 tin toys on loan from a private collection.
  • The Gallery of Arts and History in Morocco showcases artisan-crafted jewelry, ceramic pottery and ancient musical instruments.
  • The gallery in the China pavilion features authentic tomb sculptures from Ancient China and a miniature re-creation of the tomb of China’s first emperor.

Epcot Tips

If you want to dine at Epcot, reservations are recommended through 407/WDW-DINE. If a fast bite is in order, there are plenty of quick-service outlets, such as the waterside dining area in Mexico for quick entrees and snacks.  Sunshine Seasons at The Land features four shops offering a diverse selection of fast-casual dining options.
Because the entertainment in World Showcase countries is an important part of the experience, pick up an Epcot guidemap at the theme park entrance and time the day around “don’t-miss” shows.  One of the best is “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth,” a nighttime spectacular filled with the fiery glow of torches, a high-energy sound track, sky-piercing lasers and thunderous fireworks.

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