Hi! It’s Annie!
I can’t just talk about a theme park I’ve never been to without also talking about the ones that I have been to! I’ve been to all of the Disney parks in the US, meaning just the two. But I have been to each several times (the one in California possibly hundreds of times), and I want to talk about the park that I perceive to be the most underrated. When I was a kid Epcot was probably my least favorite park. I was absolutely not appeased by the fact that there weren’t many rides and my parents always wanted to walk all the way around the entire park for reasons that I could not comprehend. There were only a few places with rides, so why not just stay there? Because what Epcot has to offer is so much more than theme park rides. So, while this isn’t the best park to choose to take your small children to if you’re trying to decide on one park, this is probably the one you’ll enjoy the most as an adult. Let’s get into why Epcot is my personal favorite!
The World Showcase:
This is the main reason to go to Epcot for me. If you walk all the way behind the giant golf ball and fountain, you’ll see a wide stretch of land spaced out around this body of water in the center. This is the world showcase, an attraction in itself that features several places around the world all in this one very large section of the park. Here you can experience architecture from all over the world as well as several attractions unique to each place. For example, Norway features the ‘Frozen’ ride because of the setting of that movie. France will in the future have a ride based off of the Pixar movie ‘Ratatouille’, but more importantly it is home to a French bakery. This is one of my favorite stops around the entire showcase. Any type of French pastry that you wish you could go to France for is probably in this bakery. My favorite is actually this raspberry mousse that they serve with strips of chocolate cake. In China they have explanations and statues for each year in the Chinese zodiac. Because of this and going when I was so young, I knew I was year of the Rabbit long before I ever knew that I was a Taurus. They also have an amazing tea shop in this part of the showcase that I have to go to every single time now. In Canada there’s this entire show starring Martin Short. This doesn’t include the entertainment unique to each culture that the showcase highlights. It’s a giant place to walk around and adventure in. There’s always new stuff to see no matter how many times you go.
I should also mention under this, as I have already talked a little about food, the different events that the World Showcase often hosts. On one occasion we were there during an arts festival. This included several big names from Broadway performing on a stage and places to buy Disney paintings lining the showcase. There was an entire booth for Paige O’Hara the voice of Belle from ‘Beauty and the Beast’ who now spends much of her time painting. I was, unfortunately, not there for when she was manning her own booth, but it was amazing to see so many of the pieces she had painted by hand up close for myself. There’s also a flower festival that my family was there for that made the entire park absolutely beautiful. The most popular of these events, however, is easily the Food and Wine Festival. Each place offers delicious food selections that are, once again, unique to the culture of the place they are showcasing. Though I can’t necessarily speak to the quality of the wine (I don’t drink much and the last time I was there I was under the legal drinking age), I can say that the food is some of the best I’ve had in my entire life. It’s completely worth planning your entire Disney World trip around.
Journey To Imagination:
I have to admit here that the ride used to be much better, but I still love it with all my heart. Unfortunately, when Disney recently released plans for the new red-do of Epcot, the mention of this ride was no longer there. It does very much look like it won’t be there for much longer, which will make me very sad because I love Figment. I grew up with Figment, and he’s also become one of the identifying characters for the park. I’m sure they’ll keep him in the park in some capacity, but I’m not sure I think that’s good enough. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this ride, it features Eric Idle taking guests through different experiments to scientifically test their senses. He accidentally brings to life Figment, a figment of the imagination who is a purple dragon with orange scales and wings. Figment completely derails the tour to show the audience the fun of imagination. The ride initially also featured the Dream Finder, the creator of Figment, but the entire ride changed over time. Even though it is worse than the original, that doesn’t make it bad. Especially because the line for this ride features the only blatant tribute to Robin Williams left in the parks. Because the theme of the ride is science based, a large portrait of Robin Williams from the movie ‘Flubber’ greets guests at the entrance. I can no longer see it without crying, but that doesn’t mean I want it gone.
This is probably the most A-list ride in the entire park. This attraction has also seen a not-as-recent but still really recent refurbishment. Guests are put into a Tron like test for a car that they now design themselves. The ride is very futuristic and even has coaster elements to it at points. There are hot and cold effects as well as night time effects that make this even better. If you’ve been to the California Adventure park in Disneyland, California you’ll probably see similarities between this and their ‘Cars’ themed ride. This one is definitely better. It’s like if you took that ride and turned it up to eleven.
This is the ride that is inside the giant golf ball. If you were expecting some sort of thrill ride, I hate to disappoint you. This is much more like a traditional Disney dark ride. But it is still amazing. You ascend through a night sky filled with stars to time travel to the past, where the ride showcases several different moments of interest in history. This attraction is also receiving a bit of a facelift, but from what I understand the nature of the ride will remain unchanged. There’s also a feature where you answer questions about yourself including where you’re from. When you get off the ride there’s a giant virtual map so that you can see how many places the guests from that day come from.
Though the theming has changed and will continue to do so, that’s kind of the point of Epcot. Epcot is there to show a bit of the world we know today as well as to showcase the future. The soundtrack is probably my favorite part of the theming for this park and, yes, I am listening to it as I type this. It features several pieces that makes you hope for the future and really captures the futuristic parts of the park. I do wish that some of the theming for this park would be more cohesive and I’m really not sure any of the new plans will help with that, but some of the theming is still there and done well.
Those are only a few parts of this amazing park that I love so much. I really hope that the park will only continue to grow without getting rid of too much. But Epcot is definitely the park to go to if you want an adventure. The World Showcase is beyond words.
See you across the pond!