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Epcot Disneyworld: Discover Future World, Then and Now

Epcot Disneyworld is by far my favorite theme park. It may not be where people go when they want thrill rides like Busch Gardens. It may not be the magical place of fairytales like Magic Kingdom. However, since I first visited in 1984, this park has sparked my imagination more than any other. Back then, visiting the futuristic exhibits opened up my mind to endless possibilities. The most amazing thing is that I have now lived long enough that I am in the future and get to experience the technology first hand!

Years back, I read a book called Devil in the White City. It was part documentary about the Chicago World Fair and part murder mystery based on a series of real murders that took place in Chicago during that time. The documentary segments were full of amazing trivial facts about the first Ferris Wheel, the invention of shredded wheat cereal, etc.

However, the thing that really made an impression was a story about a father that worked building the fair. At night he would come home and tell his child about all the amazing inventions for the future and about people dressed in wild styles of dress from foreign lands. According to the book, the child was Walt Disney. This leads me to believe that Epcot is more than just a theme park but a place where the past, present, and future are mingled together with all nations of the world. It is a place where everyone can live in harmony. It is a small world after all.

Let’s journey into Future World at Epcot Disneyworld.

Spaceship Earth at Epcot Disneyworld

the ball at spaceship earth at epcot disneyworld

The first thing you see when entering Epcot Disneyworld is the iconic golf ball dome reaching up to the sky. This is Spaceship Earth Epcot. This is usually packed near park opening since it is the first attraction, but if you wait until mid day there is usually no line, and it is a must see. This experience takes you through the history of the earth from the time of the caveman to the present, hitting amazing discoveries of fire, ancient Greece, Rome, the dark ages, and the invention of the printing press.

The first time my family went on this ride, my mom was nervous because we kept traveling further up inside the ball. She wasn’t sure how fast we would come back down. However, this is more of an inspirational journey rather than a thrill ride. For the journey back down from the 180 feet at the top, your car turns backward and reclines returning you to earth at a slow relaxing pace. Parts of the ride are very dark. So just be aware that this might scare small children.

The funny thing about this ride for anyone that went on it originally is that it hasn’t changed much. I remember going on this journey which ends in the future. A young child was talking to a mom at bedtime from another country via a computer screen. I remember wondering what that would be like and if I would be alive to see it. Thankfully due to the quick pace of modern technology I was a young parent when this technology came about.

scenes from spaceship earth at epcot Disney world
shows 3 men sitting around in a tent as a scene from spaceship earth epcot disneyworld
shows Socrates teaching in ancient Greece, a scene from spaceship earth at epcot disneyworld

The Seas with Nemo & Friends

Out front is a great photo op. This pavilion was originally just titled the Living Seas. In 2007, they revamped this pavilion to focus on the Nemo movie theme. The walk through tunnels inside offer amazing views of sea creatures swimming around you. There is also an area of shark themed play sets with lots more educational information for young an old alike. My favorite is viewing the live jellyfish and watching how they glow.

The Seas with Nemo & Friends

This is a fun ride on clam-mobiles following along with the movie theme. During the ride, the movie characters are projected onto the actual aquarium window so you can see all the real sea creatures swimming in the background. If you are lucky you might even get to see someone scuba diving in there.

Turtle Talk with Crush

This interactive show has a computer generated Crush who actually converses with the audience. During the show, Crush will call on audience members to answer questions. Kids love this because they get to talk with a beloved character. Adults love it because we think it is cool how a computer animation is able to know what clothes we are wearing and interact as if he were really alive.

Epcot Disneyworld’s The Land

Soarin’

Originally this ride was a hang gliding experience over California where you could actually smell the pine trees and orange blossoms as you flew overhead. A few years ago they updated this ride to include flying over the whole world. Now you will soar over the Great Wall of China, the Matterhorn, and Sydney Harbor to name a few sights. While not a thrill ride, this may bother some people that are afraid of heights. Otherwise this is an exhilarating experience that I never tire of.

Epcot Disneyworld Living with the Land

This is an educational boat ride that takes you behind the scenes to indoor plant growing areas. The ride also passes through several ecosystems. During the ride you will learn about sustainable agriculture, irrigation techniques, fish farming, and imaginative ways to grow plants without soil. While this may seem like it could be boring, it’s not. We go on this ride every time. It inspired us so much that my husband and I actually paid extra one time for the Behind the Seeds tour. During the tour, the guide went into additional detail about the techniques they use to grow food for the Epcot Disneyworld restaurants.

In 2020, a new film called Awesome Planet opened in the Land. It explains the importance of the balance of the ecosystems. Unfortunately, we have not been to Epcot Disneyworld since this opened, so I do not have a first hand report on this.

The Imagination Pavilion at Epcot Disney world

shows the reverse fountain outside journey to the imagination at epcot Disney world

Everyone knows the iconic fountain with the colorful lights outside the Imagination Pavilion. However, many pass by quickly without viewing the amazing technology that makes the fountain run backwards. Instead of the water cascading down, it goes up from the pool into the fountain.

Journey into Imagination with Figment

figment from Epcot disneyworld

Learn about your senses on a family friendly journey with Figment who has been doing his impish antics since the beginning. However, my favorite part is at the end of the ride when you come out in Imageworks, an interactive play area for kids and adults. Try your hand at conducting a Disney symphony. Create sounds by jumping on floor tiles. These are some of the exhibits at Epcot Disneyworld that have stood the test of time. A new addition in this area is a character meet and greet with Joy from Inside Out and Ralph and Vanellope from Wreck it Ralph.

Magic Eye Theater

One of the great things about Epcot Disneyworld is that many of the attractions are indoors. Even in the sweltering Florida summers you get a reprieve from the heat. This is the only theme park I will visit during the summer season. Inside the Magic Eye Theater you will experience The Disney Pixar Short Film Festival. The preshow area gives information about creating animation, and you will be standing for about 15 minutes while you wait for the doors to open. The Disney shorts are 3D/4D fun films for all ages. Afterwards in the lobby you might get the chance for a meet and greet with Mickey Mouse himself.

When my kids were small and we had season passes, we bought the Disney autograph books. Throughout the year we collected so many signatures from meet and greets in the book. However, I wanted to put the signatures in an album next to the pictures. I ended up using some techniques I had learned in art class for transferring designs. I was able to transfer them into our scrapbooks. Now it is much easier. You can just take a picture and upload it with your photos into a digital album. How great is technology?

Epcot Disneyworld’s Test Track

In Test Track you will learn about cars of the future as you wait in line. Then you will design your own vehicle to test drive. This part is near the end of the line so you will get the opportunity to design a car whether you use a fast pass for this ride or not. You will then board a “SIM Car” to test your design through the darkness, illuminated with neon lights. After the ride you have the chance to preview and buy your photo. You then enter into a futuristic showroom where you can experience simulators , games, and participate in numerous photo ops.

This is one of my kids’ favorites. That being said, it is most visitors’ favorite as well. You will need a fast pass for this ride which you will need to book as soon as you buy your tickets. Also, riders must be over 40″ high. One of the great things about Disney is that they allow parents tradeoffs at rides like this. One is allowed to stay with the kids while the other one rides. Once the first parent exits the ride, the second skips the stand by line for a shorter wait. Also, for larger riders, the front cars have a bit more leg room. I did hear that there is also a sample car prior to boarding if you aren’t sure you will fit. Just ask a crew member if you want to try it.

Mission Space at Epcot Disneyworld

Mission Space is located in what was originally the Horizons Pavilion. Here you get to experience a simulated space ride. The ride offers two options. The Green/Earth, introduced in 2017, is a more milder ride and does not use centrifugal spin. This mission orbits around the earth for a more family friendly experience. I chose this one because I became a wimp once I had kids. The Orange/Mars Mission is more intense. Guests must complete tasks while traveling at high speeds as in a real space journey. As with typical Disney, after getting off the ride there is an interactive area with several additional fun activities.

Coming Soon to Epcot Disneyworld

Guardians of the Galaxy

This is scheduled to open in 2021. It is based on Guardians of the Galaxy series and focuses on space travel. It is supposed to be a storytelling rollercoaster where the cart swivels. I watched a brief video. It seems like the cars turn like in Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin instead of facing forward in one position for the entire ride. The ride will be in a new building, but the line will wind through the building that was once Universe of Energy.

On a side note, I was very sad to see the dinosaurs go. As a child, way before Epcot was created, I had a view master reel with these lifelike dinosaurs. I cannot explain the awe I felt years later when I saw my childhood fantasies come to life inside the Universe of Energy. Luckily I got to see them in action one last time in 2017. We went back two months later with my teenage son. His main thing he wanted to do at Epcot was see those dinosaurs, but sadly, by then they were gone. Hopefully, this Guardians of the Galaxy will be so spectacular it will take away some of the loss of the extinction of these dinosaurs.

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Play Pavilion at Epcot Disneyworld

This will be built in the festival center that was once the Wonders of Life pavilion. This is supposed to be an interactive city with games and hands on experiences . In addition you will have the chance to interact with characters. This is supposed to be an innovative entirely new concept.

The Perfect Travel Insurance

While there are several restaurants in Future World at Epcot Disneyworld, I recommend eating somewhere in World Showcase, the second half of the park. With so many countries to choose from, you are sure to find something to fit your tastes. Branch out. Try something new, like black bean ice cream in China, or escargot in France. Really, you can get a burger anytime. This is the time to be adventurous. And if you go during the Food and Wine Fest in the fall, you will have even more options.

I can’t wait to go back!

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