Hello, and welcome back to another installment of our Walt Disney World Honeymoon. For the last couple of weeks, I shared everything I did at Disney’s Animal Kingdom as well as everything I ate. Today, we move on to Epcot! Epcot was the second park constructed in Walt Disney World (WDW) and is two times the size of the Magic Kingdom. The purpose of Epcot is to celebrate human achievement, technological innovation, and international cultures. Epcot is primarily made up of two main sections: Future World and the World Showcase. Since these are two pretty distinct areas of Epcot, and both have a lot to cover, I am going to split it up into two posts, starting with Future World.
Future World consists of multiple pavilions that provide opportunities to explore science, innovative technologies, and human advancements in these areas. It is the main entrance to the park and hosts Spaceship Earth, which is the giant sphere that serves as the symbol of Epcot (pictured above). In general, Future World could definitely use some love and is starting to look dated. Similar to Tomorrowland in Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom, the “future” theme can actually do a disservice to the park because it needs constant updating in order to truly look futuristic. Instead, it’s more of a vintage interpretation of what we imagined the future to look like in the 1980s when the park was constructed. There are plans to completely redo the entrance of Epcot, which is great news for the park, as the current entrance is a bit lackluster.
Regardless of looking a bit dated, both Zach and I genuinely enjoyed our time exploring Future World and most of the rides. Out of the two areas, we definitely prefered the World Showcase, but we’ll dive into that more in the next post.
If you’re curious about everything we did in Epcot’s Future World, keep reading. Unfortunately, I did not get a single picture of any of these rides (this trip was before I got used to posting on the blog regularly!). All the images used, except for the one for Spaceship Earth, are from the official Walt Disney World website and can be found if you click the headings for each ride.
Spaceship Earth is a dark ride inside of the large spherical structure. The ride takes you on a journey through time with installations illustrating the advancement of human communication. It begins with a view of prehistoric men and continues to show the creation of the alphabet, printing press, and finally more modern communication advancements such as telecommunication and mass communication.
The most impressive part of Spaceship Earth is the moment your car makes it to space. This is when it becomes very apparent that you’re inside the ball, as you enter a huge dark dome that is filled with stars. It’s really beautiful, impressive, and just so big that it takes you aback when you first enter. At the end of the ride, we were able to design our future on touchscreens embedded in the car. It asks you a few questions about your life and how you like to do things before taking a photo of your face and creating a little animation of your future. It’s very cute and a good way to keep guests entertained as the ride is a bit slow (a full 15 minutes!) and exiting can take some time.
Overall, we really like Spaceship Earth. Some of the installations in the ride look a bit dated, but it’s really cool to be inside the sphere and especially to get the incredible view of “space”!
Mission Space is a flight simulator that’s intended to make you feel like you’re actually an astronaut taking off in a spaceship, flying around in space, and landing on Mars. Riders are trainees at the fictional International Space Training Center (ISTC).
There are a lot of warnings at the entrance of this ride, which makes it a bit uncomfortable to enter. Both Zach and I were getting nervous that this was going to be too intense and even asked a cast member, who also made it sound terrifying. To mimic the experience of a spaceship taking off, the pods you are in spin VERY fast, so those prone to motion sickness may get sick. Before boarding, each rider is given a job. The jobs include the navigator, pilot, engineer, and commander. Each job then has its own task to be completed during the simulation (so no pressure, right?). I was assigned as navigator, and Zach was the pilot.
The feeling of liftoff was a bit intense, but overall it was fun and not horrifying like we anticipated. The spinning almost takes your breath away, pushing your entire body back into the seat. You really feel like you are in a vessel lifting off the ground. Mission Control narrates and guides you through the entire experience and lets you know when it’s your time to shine and complete your task. The ride will do it for you, though, if you miss it. The inside of the ship also had a lot buttons and levers that riders can play with ― they don’t actually do anything, but they do add to the realism of being inside a spaceship. Luckily, we had a successful mission and had a lot of fun. I don’t think it’s something I could do more than once a day, but it’s not nearly as scary as all the warning signs make it out to be. There is also a less intense version for riders who can’t handle the extreme movements of the ride. Zach rode it once while I was off doing something else and said it was fine, but he didn’t like it nearly as much as the more intense version.
Test Track is a futuristic car-themed ride where you design your own vehicle and then test how it performs. The actual process of making your car is pretty fun. There are touchscreens where you can pick the body, wheels, engine, paint color, etc. We made a pretty absurd car, not really taking it seriously. For the ride itself, you get into a race car, and you and the other passenger’s cars are displayed on a screen. The car then whips you around, taking you on different “tests” ― testing out different terrains, speed, braking, etc. For the speed portion, you are sent out on a track and speed up to about 60 mph. Overall, the ride was kind of lame and dated. The ride portion wasn’t even that fun, and other than the short speed test, it’s slow and boring. It would not be missed if they decided to convert this into something else.
This is an undersea Finding Nemoㄧthemed dark ride in Epcot's Future World. You sit in a clam shell and make your way through the story of Finding Nemo. I mentioned this in my post on Animal Kingdom, but I am very tired of just being retold the story of Finding Nemo with nothing else interesting being added to it. It’s mostly screens with a few real animatronic characters. There is also a horrifying scene where you are in a dark room with giant jellyfish and then in another dark room with the freaky-looking angler fish. It’s also very tightly enclosed, with your vehicle going through a cramped tunnel. It’s a very lazy, boring, and uncomfortable dark ride, and neither of us enjoyed it.
The Land is a pavilion in Epcot that focuses on human interactions with the Earth with an emphasis on agriculture and travel. It explores how humans can use the Earth to their benefit, ways to protect it, and ways that technology can be used to preserve the environment. It includes a few attractions, including Living with the Land, Soarin’ Over the World, and the Behind the Seeds Tour.
We rode Living with the Land, which is an educational narrated boat tour. It begins as a dark ride, with the narrator describing various advancements in technology that has contributed to farming and agriculture, with a few illustrative displays. The second portion of the ride takes you into Epcot’s greenhouse and hydroponics lab. This is a functioning lab and greenhouse used for research, and all the food grown is used in restaurants throughout Disney World. They also do some fish farming, which are then used for the restaurants, as well. It was a really relaxing ride, and though educational, it was fun and interesting. Seeing the greenhouse and all the food grown on-site was especially interesting. The Behind the Seeds Tour gives you an even closer look at the greenhouse and research going on at Disney, but we didn’t have time to do it.
We also sat in on a showing of Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable, which closed in February of this year. Circle of Life is a film shown in the Harvest Theater and is hosted by Simba, Timon, and Pumba. In the film, Timon and Pumbaa are chopping down trees and damming rivers in order to create the Hakuna Matata Lakeside Village. However, damming the river is preventing water from reaching other animals. Simba notices this and intercedes, explaining that their actions are causing harm to others. Simba uses humans as an example of another species that took more than they needed from the earth and in turn caused significant environmental damage. It ends with a positive message, noting that when humans realized the damage they were causing, they began to repair it with recycling, renewable energy, and conservation programs. We were surprised how intense some of the footage was, which provided an interesting contrast to the goofy Timon and Pumba chiming in. This is no longer showing at Disney World, and it was obvious it was time for it to retire. It was very dated, and the video quality just wasn’t up to snuff with modern technology.
Alright, the time has finally arrived to talk to you about the weirdest part of Epcot, and probably all the Disney Parks: Figment. As you probably know, Disneyland is my home park and has never given me any clues that there was this purple creature named Figment who was an iconic Disney character. Needless to say, I was not prepared for this.
Journey Through Imagination is a dark ride that takes you through the Imagination Institute’s five laboratories, which is based on the five human senses, with Dr. Nigel Channing (who also appeared in the 3D show Honey I Shrunk the Audience) narrating. Figment, a purple dragon, joins you on your tour of the labs, much to Nigel’s chagrin. Naturally, Figment causes chaos during each part of your tour. Throughout this entire journey, you are also graced with the song “One Little Spark,” which just adds to the weirdness and absurdity of this ride. With each room, each new sense, and commentary from Figment, I became more shocked that this was actually a Disney ride. There is also SO MUCH FIGMENT MERCHANDISE at Epcot.
Apparently, Figment has a long history, as well as this ride. The original version featured the “Dreamfinder” who created Figment with his imagination, and together they filled their idea bag with dreams. I don’t think this helps make the whole thing less bizarre, but apparently it was loved by Disney purists who hate the new version.
Figment is such an iconic part of Epcot that I don’t imagine he will be leaving us anytime soon, but let’s all hope and pray he never makes his way to the West Coast.
And just so everyone can hear the beautiful song, please turn up your volume and hit play: