Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Epcot Must-Do Experiences for a First Time Visitor!

One of Walt's biggest dreams for his Florida Project was the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, also known as Epcot.  Here dreams of the future have taken place and come true since it's opening day October 1, 1982.  Now, over 30 years later, Epcot is still delighting guests with its unique experiences and attractions.  Everyone who visits will find something they love, whether it be a high-speed attraction in Future World or a stroll through World Showcase.  Today I want to shed some light on some must-dos for guests visiting Epcot for the first time!

Travel in Time
When you hear the name Epcot, chances are the image of a giant, silver geosdesic sphere come to mind.  While many people refer to it as the giant golf ball, Spaceship Earth is the park's icon, and does it ever make itself present!  Standing tall and proud at the front of the park, it's unmissable.  Some people are surprised to find out that there is actually a ride inside of the sphere.  For a first time guest, Spaceship Earth is a right of passage into the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.  Dame Judy Dench narrates the story of the way our communications and recorded histories began and how we communicate today.  It's a slow, omnimover-style ride which lasts a little over 15 minutes.  It's not only a great attraction, but also a nice way to give your feet a break and your brain a history lesson!

Become a World Traveler
Beyond Future World, Epcot is home to one of the most wonderful theme park experiences - World Showcase.  Situated around World Showcase Lagoon, 11 pavilions represent the countries of Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, America, Japan, Norway, France, United Kingdom and Canada.  Some of these pavilions have their own attractions (such as boat rides in Mexico and Norway) and others have films showcasing their countries (Canada, France and China).  However the experiences you will find in these pavilions don't stop with attractions.  Not by a long shot!  Merchandise, music, people and food from the pavilion's respective countries come together to bring you an experience that could only be more authentic if you were actually there.  Be sure to set aside several hours for your World Showcase experience.  The details in the pavilions are impeccable and can be easily overlooked by those in a hurry.  Slow down, take it all in and enjoy!



Land, Sea and Air

Located in Future World West are some experiences that must be experienced by both first timers and veterans.  Dive in to The Seas with Nemo and Friends to an aquarium and board a clam-mobile and go on a journey with everyone's favorite clownfish.  Marlin, Dory, Crush, Squirt and all their friends invite you to grab shell and go with them as they find - you guessed it - Nemo!  And the fun doesn't stop there!  After you're journey you can explore the rest of The Seas and see dolphins, manatees, sharks, sea turtles and so many other underwater species!  Turtle Talk with Crush is also a great family attraction in which Crush interacts with little ones!  When you're done with your underwater adventures, go straight ahead and to the right you'll see The Land.  Inside of The Land you will find dining options (both quick service and table service), a movie about the circle of life and two attractions.  First of these two attractions is Living with the Land.  Now, some people overlook this ride but it happens to be one of my husband and I's favorites.  Guests step on to a slow moving boat and first travel through scenes of rainforests, desert and farms.  Beyond that is our favorite part of the ride in which you ride through greenhouses and past tanks with fish, alligator and shrimp.  These are real plants and animals that Disney uses for research to help the environment.  They even use some of the vegetables grown in their theme park food!  By far the biggest reason people visit The Land is for the breathtaking attraction known as Soarin'.  Ever been hang gliding?  Me neither.  And for those like me with a phobia of heights, it will probably never happen.  Thankfully there is Soarin'.  Here guests can fly over the most beautiful scenery of the Golden State, including the Golden Gate bridge, citrus groves, crashing ocean waves and of course - Disneyland!  The scenery, sights, sounds and even smells all come together to make one of the most exhilarating attractions in Disney history. 

Be Entertained!
The live entertainment in Epcot seems to be endless.  Future World East hosts the JAMMitors using metal trash cans to strum up the beats of their music.  Around World Showcase you can find live music with the sounds of bagpipes from Off-Kilter in Canada or the rocking and rolling of the British Revolution in the UK Pavilion.  Speaking of rocking, check out MO'ROCKIN with their unique style of world beats and belly dancing!   In America, the Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps march proudly to the patriotic sounds of the beating drum.  Also, inside of the entrance to the American Adventure, the Voices of Liberty acappella group is one of Epcot's best entertainments.  I have yet to walk out of one of their performances without goosebumps and a tear in my eye. They are not to be missed!


Reflect
My last not-to-be-missed experience for a first time Epcot visitor is IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.  The story of IllumiNations is one of our past, present and future and brings together fireworks, flames, lasers and music to inspire all of us.  The show takes place nightly on World Showcase Lagoon.  Be sure to grab a seat about an hour early to be sure you have a good viewing spot.  This is one show you'll want a front row seat for!


As you can see, Epcot is a park full of must-dos.  Some even find it surprising.  And on top of these experiences you can the thrills such as the newly redesigned Test Track and the out-of-this-world experience on Mission:SPACE.  There are also countless characters to meet, places to shop and foods to try.  In my opinion the whole park is a must-do!  My suggestion is plan ahead by looking at maps and maybe a planning DVD.  There is so much to see an experience at Epcot it's no wonder that it is a favorite of Disney fanatics all over the world!

What are your Epcot must-dos?

Jessica



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