|Walt Disney World's Epcot
Lake Buena Vista, Florida
History of Epcot
Walt Disney World's Epcot opened in October, 1982, as Disney's first theme park not modeled after California's Disneyland. Built to resemble a permanent World's Fair, Epcot is divided into two main sections: Future World, featuring modernistic exhibit halls devoted to nature and science, and World Showcase, featuring pavilions from several partner countries.
Epcot takes its name from Walt Disney's original vision for the Disney World complex, an "Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow." Walt envisioned a community where people would live and work, in addition to dropping money at Disney theme parks. But virtually no one lived at Disney World until the company built the Town of Celebration in the late 1990s.
Political junkies should note that Celebration is no longer part of Walt Disney World. As a concession to the Disney Company, the Florida Legislature in the 1960s created the special Reedy Creek Improvement District, run by Disney, to govern the Disney World complex. When Disney built Celebration, it ceded the community to Osceola County to avoid having its residents eligible to vote for Reedy Creek officials.
How do you get to Epcot?
Epcot is located 30 minutes south of Orlando, off Interstate 4. The Orlando International Airport is the closest to the Walt Disney World resort. Take the GreeneWay toll road from the airport for quickest access to Epcot. Along I-4, take the Epcot exit and follow the signs to enter the park.
When is the best time to visit?
The least crowded seasons are from Labor Day to Thanksgiving and from the week after the President's Day holiday (in mid-February) to the start of Spring Break, in mid-March. Mondays and Tuesdays are often the best days to visit Epcot, as Disney World's many out-of-town visitors travel on the weekends, and hit the Magic Kingdom first thing during the week.
Epcot usually staggers the opening times of its attractions, with Future World opening and closing before World Showcase, which stays open late to support its many restaurants as well as the nightly performance of the Illuminations laser and fireworks show.
Where should I stay?
You can read reader reviews and check room rates for hotels in and near Epcot on our Walt Disney World hotels page.
How do I get tickets to Epcot?
In January, 2005, Disney changed its ticket structure for Walt Disney World, introducing the "Magic Your Way" plan that added more options and increased prices for most selections. You can choose a ticket length from one day to seven, then add a variety of options at additional cost, including the ability to visit multiple parks on each day and the ability to have your unused days not expire within 14 days of the ticket's first use. Please take a look at our analysis of "Magic Your Way."
Disney sells Disney World tickets on its website, but you cannot print the tickets at home, meaning you must order early enough in advance to have the tickets mailed to you.
You can also buy tickets through your local auto club, Disney Store or through a school or work activities office. Many offsite hotels also sell Disney passports at their front desks.
Whatever you do, though, buy your tickets before you get to the park. No sense wasting the first couple hours of your first day's visit waiting in line at the ticket booths.
What's new at Epcot?
Soarin', a clone from the California Adventure attraction, opened in The Land pavilion in May, 2005.
Plan your day at Epcot
Few Epcot attractions attract long lines, even on busy days. Those that do include Mission: Space and Test Track, both in Future World. Hit those first in the morning, then work you way through Ellen's Energy Adventure and the Living Seas while waiting for World Showcase to open.
Ride and restaurant reservations at Epcot
Call (407) WDW-DINE 90 days in advance to make dining reservations.
Is Epcot safe?
Like at all major theme parks, you'll be safer in Epcot than you'll be on the highway driving there. Check our Accident Watch section for recent injury accidents at Epcot.
Parents should also be sure to take a look at our list of rides with height restrictions at Epcot. For more tips to help ensure that you and your family stay safe, visit our theme park safety tips page.
What's coming next to Epcot?
Rumored new attractions include StormRider, a clone from Tokyo DisneySea, as a replacement from Spaceship Earth in the park's signature Geosphere. No word yet on when Disney will remove the atrocious Mickey hand that lords over the sphere, though.
In Cnada Pavilion,some people say that they will build a new attraction there.I heard that it will be a large project.
The Living Seas will be closed for rehab from August to November.Rumors said that they will build a Nemo-themed ride and will be opened in 2006.Maybe it will be Nemo's Submarine Voyage just like Disneyland's.
The unpopular Norway film which is at the exit of Maelstorm will be replaced with a new film and will be shown this year.
This article was submitted by Adriel Tjokrosaputro on August 30, 2005.