Why Epcot has a special place in my heart...
For those who don't already know, Epcot is the second theme park to open at Walt Disney World, and it celebrated its 35th anniversary on this past Sunday, 1st October 2017 (which is also Magic Kingdom's 46th anniversary too!). Epcot is like no other theme park in the world, and therefore holds a truly special and magical place in my heart.
Now don't get me wrong, I love every single inch of Walt Disney World, Epcot is just that little bit different. Its nothing like the UK theme parks such as Thorpe Park or Chessington. Its really not comparable to anything. So what actually makes Epcot something different?
Travel the World
Epcot is split into two lands, Future World and World Showcase. Future World features high tech rides showcasing everything from farming and agriculture (in 'Living with the Land') to the history of time (in 'Spaceship Earth'). World Showcase on the other hand shares the cultures of 11 countries around the world. Situated surrounding the World Showcase Lagoon, each pavilion endeavors to share the; food, arts and overall culture of each country. This is done through attractions and films, traditional cuisine and exhibits, all enhanced by the fact that each and every Cast Member (Disney's term for worker) is from the country they are representing (i.e. each Cast Member working in the Rose & Crown Restaurant in the United Kingdom Pavilion will be from the UK).
Learn and Have Fun
Most theme parks today offer some sort of education in some form or another, but how many offer edu-tainment?! Epcot, and all the Disney Parks for that matter, have got educating entertainment down to a tee. Where else can you experience a ride featuring a purple dragon, whilst learning about imagination? Or head on a high speed vehicle test whilst learning about car design? Or even learn about human civilization and our past whilst still enjoying every single second? A lot of Epcot attractions offer an educational aspect, and most of the time you don't even realise! "Remember how easy it was to learn your ABC's? Thank the Phoenicians, they invented them!"
Eat and Drink around the World
Epcot offers the most diverse range of dining options I have ever seen. Whether you are looking for something healthy, something Chinese, or French, or Norwegian, Epcot has the lot. One of the best dishes I have ever had at Epcot is a traditional Italian pizza from Via Napoli. As there were a few of us, we decided to get some large pizzas to share, and boy oh boy were they big - half a metre wide infact! The pizzas are authentic, so much so that they actually import the water used in the dough - can you name another theme park that goes to those lengths?
A Fireworks Finale
Well ok, a lot of theme parks around the world now offer fireworks displays on select nights, but Epcot's current show - IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth - is performed nightly and features nearly 3000 firework shells which launch from 34 locations around the World Showcase Lagoon. All synchronized to a musical score, IllumiNations is the only way to finish off a night at Epcot. Here are a few more IllumiNations facts to give you a bit of an idea about how extreme (and amazing) this show is;
- A 100,000 pound inferno barge sends fire balls 40-50 foot into the air from 37 nozzles, and uses around 300 gallons of propane per show.
- A 28ft diameter earth globe, dubbed one of Disney's most complicated pieces of show equipment, is piloted out into the middle of the lagoon every night. The giant spherical video screen uses 15,000 LED's and takes 6 synchronized computer processors to play the near-300 images.
- 104 fountain heads pump 5000 gallons of water per minute, up to 40ft into the air.
- It takes 4 off-duty firefighters over 6 hours to assemble and install the 870+ fireworks used in each show.
If that isn't enough to convince you that Epcot's fireworks are some of the best, i'm not sure what will......
So there you have it, a few reasons why Epcot holds a special place in my heart, and why it is one of my favourite Disney parks. It is hard to believe that if Walt himself had seen the Epcot project through, we would not be experiencing what we are today. His original concept for EPCOT was a futuristic concept city - hence the name, which is actually an acronym for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.