In 1982, the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow opened to guests. As we get ready to celebrate 40 years of EPCOT, consider this your EPCOT appreciation post! Here, we share 10 reasons to love EPCOT and why you should never skip this park during your Walt Disney World vacation!
The theme park icon at EPCOT holds the well-known attraction, Spaceship Earth. The geosphere has been the park’s symbol since it opened in 1982 and is affectionately known by many as the “giant golf ball” or the “EPCOT ball”. It is a popular place to grab photos and now, at dusk, each evening features a brief show where it comes to life with music and lights.
Inside, the attraction takes guests on a journey through time to see how technology has evolved. This attraction is very fitting for the overall theme of EPCOT, as it explores the future. Although it needs some updates, this attraction is still a staple at the park, both from the outside and the inside!
EPCOT stands for the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. When Walt Disney discussed the concept of EPCOT, he noted that it would be a “community of the future” and he imagined a place where people would not only visit but live! Although the theme park looks different than what he initially described, it was adapted from many of Walt Disney’s ideas and themes for the park.
The park embraces forward-thinking and the future, as well as unity and cultures around the world. As the park is reimagined, there are different “neighborhoods” being developed:
- World Celebration
- World Discovery
- World Nature
- World Showcase
The park continues to evolve and allows guests to explore these different neighborhoods with amazing attractions and fun for all.
Last year, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Walt Disney World Resort, a new nighttime show debuted at EPCOT. This new show, Harmonious, celebrates how Disney music and stories bring people together from around the world. It features a beautiful medley of Disney songs performed by a culturally diverse group of artists, as the World Showcase Lagoon comes to life with fountains, lights, and pyrotechnics. Guests can enjoy a 360-degree view of the show throughout the World Showcase.
Coming in 2023, it was recently announced that another new nighttime spectacular will debut at EPCOT. This show is coming in honor of the 100th celebration of Disney. If this show is anything like Harmonious, it’s sure to be spectacular. It will no doubt fill park guests with wonder, which appears to be a theme of the 100th anniversary!
Oftentimes, as people are planning their trips to Walt Disney World, I hear them say “Oh we will just skip EPCOT. There’s nothing for kids there.” I can’t tell you enough how inaccurate that assumption is! Visiting EPCOT with kids is always a great idea for many different reasons.
First, even the youngest children can experience almost all the attractions. Most of the attractions at this park do not have a height requirement. For those that do, be sure to use Rider Swap so that the individuals who want to experience the attraction can easily do so!
There are also a variety of activities for kids to do at EPCOT. Make sure that they stop at each country to participate in the Kidcot Fun Stops and also to meet many different characters throughout the park. During each festival, there are fun scavenger hunts, complete with maps and a prize, that kids will love! Each has a different theme as guests search for a familiar character!
Then, stop into Club Cool and try different beverages from around the world. It’s fun for everyone to rate the different options and choose their favorites.
Also, there are many opportunities at EPCOT to enjoy indoor spaces. Whether you need a break from the Florida heat, looking to escape some rain, or want a quiet space for a little one to rest, this is the park to do it! There are plenty of opportunities for kids to explore, such as at the Seas Pavilion or ImageWorks.
There is always something fun happening at EPCOT. In the World Showcase, there are several performances for guests to enjoy. Whether you sit under the dome in the American Adventure pavilion to listen to the Voices of Liberty or stop in Italy to watch Sergio and all of his antics, you will find plenty of entertainment throughout the day. These shows are sure to bring smiles to every member of the family!
Be sure to check the My Disney Experience mobile app for details about show times and available options. There are brief shows in several of the pavilions in the World Showcase. In addition, during the festivals, there are additional options to choose from.
There are so many opportunities to see characters at EPCOT. As mentioned above, it’s certainly a reason that EPCOT is quite kid-friendly. In nearly every country in the World Showcase, look for a meet and greet with a beloved Disney character. Check out this list:
- Donald Duck (Mexico)
- Anna & Elsa (Norway)
- Mulan (China)
- Snow White (Germany)
- Jasmine (Morocco)
- Belle (France)
- Aurora (France)
- Alice (United Kingdom)
In addition to these characters, look for more friends throughout the park. Near the theme park entrances, both the main entrance and the International Gateway, look for several Disney friends. You may find Minnie, Daisy, Pluto, or Goofy throughout the day. Head to ImageWorks to see Joy from “Inside Out” or Vanellope from “Wreck-It Ralph”. Finally, don’t miss Mickey Mouse at the Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival! He is waiting inside to say hello and get all the hugs!
There are several characters here that you cannot meet anywhere else at the Walt Disney World Resort so that is yet another reason to love EPCOT!
There are many amazing restaurants at EPCOT and the options are sure to please every palate! Whether you want characters or a fancy dining experience, you are sure to find it here. In each country throughout the World Showcase, there are unique quick-service and table service restaurants for guests to enjoy. In World Nature, Garden Grill is one of the best character meals on Disney property, and in World Discovery, Space 220 offers a unique out-of-this-world dining experience!
Did you know that there are even specialty dining packages available? Throughout the year, guests can enjoy dining and priority seating at the shows in the park. Plus, there are also options that include a special, designated view of the fireworks.
Plus, there are a few resorts that are a short walk or ride away from the park with even more amazing dining options. For example, Topolino’s Terrace offers a delicious character breakfast or signature dining experience at dinner.
Throughout the year at EPCOT, there are four different festivals for guests to enjoy. Each one offers a different theme with entertainment, food kitchens, and fun for all ages.
EPCOT International Festival of the Arts
This festival takes place in January and February each year. It is the shortest festival at EPCOT but celebrates the arts. Look around you as you see a variety of artistic expressions throughout the park. From chalk pain to a mural that encourages guests to participate. Don’t miss the festival kitchens too, where food and artistry meet to create tasty, and beautiful, bites!
EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival
Nothing says springtime like the Flower and Garden Festival at EPCOT! The park is transformed with beautiful topiaries and displays of beloved Disney characters. Festival kitchens feature a variety of dishes, with several options inspired by nature, and music fills the stage at the America Gardens Theatre during the Garden Rocks Concert series.
EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival
EPCOT is known for its ability to eat and drink around the world! This festival is the perfect time to enjoy a variety of flavors at Festival Kitchens from around the globe! Plus, the Eat to the Beat Concert Series features popular artists performing on select nights throughout the festival.
EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays
The Festival of the Holidays celebrates holidays from around the world with storytellers, music, and more. The staple of this festival is the Candlelight Processional, which features a beautiful retelling of the story of Christmas with a celebrity narrator and a full orchestra with a choir.
Check out our full guide to the four EPCOT festivals here.
Some of this professor’s favorite attractions at the Walt Disney World Resort are found at EPCOT. The newest addition to the park, Guardians of the Galaxy – Cosmic Rewind, is like nothing you’ve ever experienced!
In addition, you don’t want to miss popular attractions such as Soarin’ Around the World and Frozen Ever After. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is another newer attraction, having opened last year when the 50th-anniversary celebration started.
As previously mentioned, many of the attractions are quite family friendly too! While some do have height requirements, young children will love riding The Seas with Nemo and Friends or Journey into Imagination with Figment.
New Things Coming
Currently, EPCOT is a work in progress. As the new neighborhoods continue to be developed, there have been many changes over the last few years. With the addition of two wonderful new attractions, and more coming soon, there is so much to look forward to!
In 2023, guests can look forward to seeing the newest attraction, The Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana. This attraction will be interactive for guests of all ages. In addition, a beautiful new location, known as Dreamers Point, is the place to enjoy gardens, listen to music, and celebrate dreamers, including Walt Disney himself.
In addition, guests will have an exciting opportunity to meet and interact with the park’s icon, Figment.
Finally, as mentioned above, there is another new nighttime spectacular coming to EPCOT in 2023!
As you can see, there is plenty to love about EPCOT right now and there will be even more to love in the near future! You don’t want to miss this park during your visit to the Walt Disney World Resort!
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