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Disney theme park
Epcot logo
Spaceship Earth at EPCOT.jpg
Spaceship Earth is the icon of Epcot
Resort Walt Disney World Resort
Opened October 1, 1982
Theme Technology, innovation and internationality
Operator The Walt Disney Company
Website Epcot's homepage
Walt Disney World Resort
Theme parks

Magic Kingdom
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Disney's Animal Kingdom

Other attractions

Disney's Typhoon Lagoon
Disney's Blizzard Beach
Downtown Disney
ESPN Wide World of Sports
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Walt Disney World resorts

Epcot is a theme park at the Walt Disney World Resort. The park is dedicated to international culture and technological innovation. The second park built at the resort, it opened on October 1, 1982 and was named EPCOT Center until 1994.

In 2008, Epcot hosted approximately 10.93 million guests, ranking it the third most visited theme park in the United States, and sixth most visited in the world.[1]




The planned community

Epcot has many flowers, lakes, and trees.

The name Epcot derives from the acronym EPCOT (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow), a utopian city of the future planned by Walt Disney (he sometimes used the word "City" instead of "Community" when expanding the acronym). In Walt Disney's words: "EPCOT... will take its cue from the new ideas and new technologies that are now emerging from the creative centers of American industry. It will be a community of tomorrow that will never be completed, but will always be introducing and testing and demonstrating new materials and systems. And EPCOT will always be a showcase to the world for the ingenuity and imagination of American free enterprise."[2]

Walt Disney's original vision of EPCOT was for a model community, home to twenty thousand residents, which would be a test bed for city planning and organization. The community was to have been built in the shape of a circle, with businesses and commercial areas at its center, community buildings and schools and recreational complexes around it, and residential neighborhoods along the perimeter. Transportation would have been provided by monorails and PeopleMovers (like the one in the Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland). Automobile traffic would be kept underground, leaving pedestrians safe above-ground. Walt Disney said, "It will be a planned, controlled community, a showcase for American industry and research, schools, cultural and educational opportunities. In EPCOT, there will be no slum areas because we won't let them develop. There will be no landowners and therefore no voting control. People will rent houses instead of buying them, and at modest rentals. There will be no retirees; everyone must be employed." The original model of this original vision of EPCOT can still be seen by passengers riding the Tomorrowland Transit Authority attraction in the Magic Kingdom park; when the PeopleMover enters the showhouse for Stitch's Great Escape, the model is visible on the left (when facing forward) behind glass. This vision was not realized. Walt Disney was not able to obtain funding and permission to start work on his Florida property until he agreed to build the Magic Kingdom first. Disney died before the Magic Kingdom opened.

Spaceship Earth illuminated at night.
The landscape of Epcot includes lots of water, grassy slopes, and many trees.
EPCOT Center's grand opening on October 1, 1982

After Disney's death, The Walt Disney Company decided that it did not want to be in the business of running a city. The model community of Celebration, Florida has been mentioned as a realization of Disney's original vision, but Celebration is based on concepts of new urbanism which is radically different from Disney's modernist and futurist visions. However, the idea of EPCOT was instrumental in prompting the state of Florida to create the Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID) and the Cities of Bay Lake and Reedy Creek (soon renamed Lake Buena Vista), a legislative mechanism which allows the Walt Disney Company to exercise governmental powers over Walt Disney World. Control over the RCID is vested in the landowners of the district, and the promise of an actual city in the district would have meant that the powers of the RCID would have been distributed among the landowners in EPCOT. Because the idea of EPCOT was never implemented, the Disney Corporation remained almost the sole landowner in the district allowing it to maintain control of the RCID and the cities of Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista; Disney further cemented this control by deannexing Celebration from the RCID.

The theme park

The theme park originally was known as EPCOT Center to reflect the fact that the park was built to embody the ideals and values of EPCOT the city. In 1994, the name was changed to Epcot '94 and subsequently Epcot '95 a year later. By 1996, the park was known simply as Epcot, a non-acronym, mixed-case word.

The original plans for the park showed indecision over what the park's purpose was to be: some Imagineers wanted it to represent the cutting edge of technology, while others wanted it to showcase international cultures and customs. At one point a model of the futuristic park was pushed together against a model of the international park, and EPCOT Center was born—a theme park with the flavor of a World's Fair.

Opening day

Before the park debuted on October 1, 1982, Walt Disney World Ambassador Genie Field introduced E. Cardon Walker, Disney's chairman and CEO, who dedicated EPCOT Center with a short speech:[3]

To all who come to this place of Joy, Hope and Friendship—Welcome.

EPCOT is inspired by Walt Disney's creative vision. Here, human achievements are celebrated through imagination, wonders of enterprise and concepts of a future that promises new and exciting benefits for all.

May EPCOT Center entertain, inform and inspire and above all, may it instill a new sense of belief and pride in man's ability to shape a world that offers hope to people everywhere in the world.
E. Cardon Walker, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Walt Disney Productions, October 24, 1982

Walker also presented a family with lifetime passes for the two Walt Disney World theme parks. His remarks were followed by Florida Governor Bob Graham and William Ellinghouse, president of AT&T.

As part of the opening-day ceremony, dancers and band members performed We've Just Begun to Dream. The Sherman Brothers wrote a song especially for the occasion entitled, "The World Showcase March." During the finale, doves and many sets of balloons were released.

Performing groups representing countries from all over the world performed in World Showcase. Water gathered from major rivers across the globe was emptied into the park's fountain of nations ceremonial containers to mark the opening.

Located at the front of the park is a plaque bearing Walker's opening-day dedication, as seen above.

Park layout

The park consists of two sections—Future World and World Showcase—laid out in an hourglass shape. Both sections are patterned after the types of exhibits found at world expositions. In its early years, Epcot was often called a "permanent World's Fair."

Future World pavilions

Glass pyramids of Imagination! with the jumping fountains in the foreground

Future World consists of a variety of pavilions that explore innovative aspects and applications of technology. Originally, each pavilion featured a unique circular logo which was featured on park signage and the attractions themselves. The logos, including that of Epcot itself, have been phased out over recent years, but some remnants still remain scattered throughout the park.

Each Future World pavilion was initially sponsored by a corporation who helped fund its construction and maintenance in return for the corporation's logos appearing prominently throughout the pavilion. For example, Universe of Energy was sponsored by Exxon, and The Land was sponsored by Kraft, then Nestlé. Each pavilion contains a posh "VIP area" for its sponsor with offices, lounges, and reception areas hidden away from regular park guests. In the years since the park's opening, however, some sponsors have decided that the branding wasn't worth the cost of sponsorship and have pulled out, leaving some of the pavilions without sponsors. Disney prefers to have sponsors helping to pay the bills, so pavilions without sponsors have an uncertain future. After General Electric left Horizons in 1993, it closed for a couple of years, then re-opened temporarily while neighboring attractions were renovated. Horizons closed permanently in January 1999 and was demolished in the summer of 2000 to make room for the opening of Mission: SPACE in 2003. MetLife abandoned Wonders of Life in 2001 and that area is closed. Test Track is sponsored by General Motors, Imagination! is sponsored by Eastman Kodak, and Mission: SPACE is sponsored by Hewlett-Packard. Spaceship Earth was sponsored by Bell System from 1982 to 1984, then AT&T (Bell System's parent company, following the Bell System Divestiture) from 1984 until 2003. It was not sponsored between 2003 and 2005. It is now sponsored by Siemens.

World Showcase

The World Showcase logo
The stave church at the Norway pavilion.
The Japan pavilion features a large pagoda.

World Showcase contains pavilions representing eleven countries—click on the links below for more information about each. In clockwise order, the pavilions are:

Of the eleven pavilions, Norway and Morocco were not present at the park's opening, and were added later. Each of these contains representative shops and restaurants and is staffed by citizens of these countries, as part of the Cultural Representative Program. Some also contain rides and shows. The only pavilion that is sponsored by the country it represents is Morocco. The remaining country pavilions are all sponsored by private companies.

Pavilions for Australia, Russia, Spain, Venezuela, United Arab Emirates, and Israel never made it past the planning phase. An Equatorial Africa pavilion was planned but was never built. It would have featured a large African presentation film hosted by Alex Haley. A small African themed refreshment stop is now in its place, known as the Outpost. After Disney's Animal Kingdom—an African-themed animal preserve and park—opened, any plans for an African Pavilion were dropped.

The World Showcase usually opens two hours after park opening and remains open later than the Future World section of the park, however most major attractions in Future World including Test Track, Soarin', Mission Space, The Seas with Nemo and Friends, and Spaceship Earth remain open until park close.

Unlike the Magic Kingdom, which does not serve alcohol, many stores and restaurants in the World Showcase do serve or sell alcoholic beverages from their respective countries, and beer is sold at refreshment stands throughout the park.

There is an entrance to the park between the France and United Kingdom Pavilions known as the International Gateway. Guests staying in a number of the Epcot Resorts and guests coming from Disney's Hollywood Studios can access this gate by walkway or boat.

Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure

Based on the Disney Channel animated series Kim Possible, the World Showcase Adventure is an interactive attraction taking place in several of the World Showcase pavilions. The attraction is an electronic scavenger hunt that has guests using special "Kimmunicators" (in actuality, stripped-down cell phones) to help teenage crime-fighters Kim Possible and Ron Stoppable solve a "crime" or disrupt an evil-doer's "plans for global domination." The "Kimmunicator" is able to trigger specific events within the pavilion grounds that provide clues to completing the adventure. Launched in January 2009 and presented by Verizon Wireless, the Adventure is included in park admission.

World Showcase Lagoon

World Showcase Lagoon is a man-made lake located in the World Showcase pavilion. It has a perimeter of 1.2 miles. Given the low elevation of the site and the relatively high level of the water table, the lagoon was not excavated but rather created by trucking in fill dirt to form the banks.[citation needed]

IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth

This award winning[4] night time show takes place in the World Showcase Lagoon every night at the park's closing time (usually 9:00 PM). The show features Fireworks, lasers, fire and water fountains timed to a musical score over the World Showcase Lagoon. A large rotating globe with curved LED screens is the centerpiece of the show and is used to display images of people and places. The current version premiered as part of the park's Millennium Celebration in 1999. The show tells the story of Earth and is divided into three movements titled "Chaos," "Order," and "Meaning." The music has an African tribal sound to it, to emphasize the idea of humanity as a single unified tribe on this planet; the lagoon is surrounded by nineteen large torches signifying the first 19 centuries of the common era, and the show culminates in the globe opening like a lotus blossom to reveal a twentieth torch, representing the now-completed 20th century.

The World Showcase Lagoon during IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth

Annual events

Epcot hosts a number of special events during the year that have proven very popular with guests.

  • The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, inaugurated in 1994, uses specially-themed floral displays throughout the park, including topiary sculptures of Disney characters. Guests can meet gardening experts and learn new ideas they can use in their own home gardens. The 17th annual event is scheduled for March 3–May 16, 2010.
  • The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival debuted in 1996. The festival draws amateur and professional gourmets to sample delicacies from all around the world, including nations that do not have a permanent presence in World Showcase. Celebrity chefs are often on-hand to host the events. In 2008, the festival featured the Bocuse d'Or USA, the American semifinal of the biennial Bocuse d'Or cooking competition.[5] The 14th annual event was held from September 25 to November 8, 2009.
  • Holidays Around the World is Epcot's annual holiday celebration. The World Showcase pavilions feature storytellers describing their nation's holiday traditions, and three nightly performances of the "Candlelight Processional" featuring an auditioned mass choir and a celebrity guest narrating the story of Christmas. During "Holidays Around the World," Illuminations: Reflections of Earth features a special extended ending.
  • New Years Eve, the park offers a variety of enterntainment on New Years Eve including live DJ dance areas throughout the park and a special edition of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.



  • October 1, 1978: Card Walker, CEO of Walt Disney Productions, reveals plans for the theme park
  • October 1, 1979: Official groundbreaking and construction of the park begins



  • 1994: Name changes from EPCOT Center to Epcot '94
  • January 30, 1994: CommuniCore closes
  • July 1, 1994: Innoventions opens
  • July 6, 1994: Captain EO closes
  • November 21, 1994: Honey, I Shrunk the Audience opens
  • 1995: Name changes from Epcot '94 to Epcot '95
  • 1996: Name changes from Epcot '95 to Epcot
  • January 2, 1996: World of Motion closes
  • September 15, 1996: Universe of Energy reopens, now starring Ellen DeGeneres and Bill Nye
  • October 10, 1998: Journey Into Imagination closes in its original form
  • January 9, 1999: Horizons closes
  • March 17, 1999: Test Track opens
  • September 29, 1999: The Mickey Mouse arm holding a wand is dedicated with "2000" (later changed to "Epcot") over Spaceship Earth. The wand and "Epcot" sign were removed in 2007
  • October 1, 1999: Journey Into Imagination reopens as Journey Into Your Imagination, Millennium Village opens, and Millennium Celebration begins


  • January 1, 2001: Millennium Village closes, marking the end of the Millennium Celebration
  • June 1, 2002: Journey Into Imagination reopens as Journey Into Imagination With Figment
  • May 22, 2003: Reflections of China replaces the former Wonders of China
  • August 15, 2003: Mission: Space opens
  • January 3, 2004: Food Rocks closes
  • May 5, 2005: Soarin' opens at The Land
  • October 2006: The Living Seas is refurbished and becomes The Seas with Nemo & Friends
  • January 2, 2007: El Rio Del Tiempo closes in its original form
  • April 6, 2007: El Rio Del Tiempo reopens as Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros
  • July 9, 2007: Spaceship Earth closes for major renovations
  • September 1, 2007: O Canada! re-opens in an updated form, hosted by comedian Martin Short
  • October 1, 2007: Epcot celebrates its 25th Anniversary with a rededication ceremony, special fireworks display, a gallery exhibition showcasing EPCOT Center memorabilia, and exclusive presentations by Disney Legend Marty Sklar
  • February 15, 2008: Spaceship Earth reopens with new sets, narration, soundtrack, and interactive ending
  • January 28, 2009: Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure opens

Facts and figures

  • Total cost: $1.4 billion (estimated)
  • Construction time: three years (at the time the largest construction project on Earth) [6]
  • Park size: 300 acres (more than twice the size of The Magic Kingdom)
  • Parking lot:
    • 141 acres (including bus area)
    • 11,211 vehicles (grass areas hold additional 500+ vehicles)
  • The pavement at Epcot was engineered by Disney and Kodak photography to be painted a specific custom color of pink that makes the grass look greener and pictures look brighter. In addition, the colored sidewalks give an overall cleaner look to the park.
  • Unlike the Magic Kingdom, Epcot only contains tunnels underneath the buildings that contain Innoventions East, the Electric Umbrella, MouseGear, Innoventions West, and the building housing Club Cool and Fountain View Ice Cream. The tunnels are used primarily for the support facilities necessary for the merchandise shops and restaurants contained therein (stock rooms, break rooms, prep kitchens, garbage disposal, etc). There is an entry/exit corridor that runs from the northeast corner of the tunnels (the area below Innoventions East/the Electric Umbrella restaurant) to a backstage area located between the Universe of Energy/Ellen's Energy Adventure and the east side of the main entrance complex. Because World Showcase is at the rear of Epcot, backstage areas simply run behind the perimeter of World Showcase.
  • Official dedication didn't take place until October 24, 1982.

See also


External links

Coordinates: 28°22′37″N 81°32′58″W / 28.376824°N 81.549395°W / 28.376824; -81.549395

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Walt Disney World/Epcot article)

From Wikitravel

Spaceship Earth
Spaceship Earth

At Epcot [1], you can visit Mexico, France, and China, all in the same afternoon; survive crash tests in an experimental car; soar over California with the wind in your hair; and learn all about human achievement and international cooperation.

Comprising World Showcase and Future World, this expansive theme park is located in the heart of the Walt Disney World Resort, close to several luxurious hotels as well as the dining and entertainment district called Disney's BoardWalk.

"To all who come to this place of Joy, Hope and Friendship—Welcome. EPCOT is inspired by Walt Disney's creative vision. Here, human achievements are celebrated through imagination, wonders of enterprise and concepts of a future that promises new and exciting benefits for all. May EPCOT Center entertain, inform and inspire and above all, may it instill a new sense of belief and pride in man's ability to shape a world that offers hope to people everywhere." — E. Cardon Walker, October 24, 1982

Walt Disney World's second theme park opened October 1, 1982, as EPCOT Center, joining the Magic Kingdom. Often likened to a "permanent world's fair", Epcot is divided into two distinct areas, Future World and World Showcase.

World Showcase features eleven different countries, focusing on authentic food and merchandise, each one hosted by citizens of that country. Don't miss the impossibly cheesy but fun Mexico ride, or the extravagant Maelstrom ride in the Norway pavilion.

Future World comprises a variety of attractions, each one highlighting one aspect of human progress. The "future" in this case is not the fantasy of the Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland, but the promise of a future in which communication, imagination, and conservation have become mankind's foremost values. Test Track and Mission: Space are the most thrilling of the attractions. The latest addition is Soarin', a simulated hang-gliding adventure through Californian landscapes.

Epcot is sometimes derided as an "educational park", and though it is perhaps the most cerebral of the four theme parks, it's all presented in the usual entertaining Disney style. It's true that Epcot may appeal more to adults and older children, but young ones aren't exactly left out; they'll enjoy the character greetings and the Kidcot Fun Stops.

Just outside Epcot's International Gateway is Disney's BoardWalk, a nightlife and shopping area themed as a mid-Atlantic beach community.

The original EPCOT

Learn more about Walt Disney's original EPCOT concept at [2], or ride the Tomorrowland Transit Authority in the Magic Kingdom, where you can see a scale model of the planned city.

The name EPCOT was originally an acronym for Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow, Walt Disney's last and most ambitious project. His grand vision for EPCOT was as the real centerpiece of Disney World—a living, working city of the future, with 20,000 residents using the most modern innovations in urban planning, transportation, and technology. The rest of Disney World, even the Magic Kingdom, would exist only to draw people in to see EPCOT and the promise it held for the future.

Walt died in 1966, and though the renamed Walt Disney World and its Magic Kingdom opened in 1971, EPCOT was off the table. The vision was just too grand, too ambitious, for anyone but Walt himself to see through to completion. With Walt Disney World an unmitigated success, though, the company soon began developing concepts for a second theme park, and naturally turned to Walt's original vision for inspiration. When two competing proposals—one for a set of pavilions highlighting the history and future of human progress, and the other for an international plaza that showcased cultures and cooperation—became the leading candidates, someone pushed the two scale models together to create a combined park. EPCOT Center was born.

The name, with which the park opened in 1982, was intended to show that the new park exhibited the ideals that were to be at the core, or center, of Walt's EPCOT. The park was renamed in 1994 to Epcot '94, then to Epcot '95 a year later. The yearly numbering scheme reflected the "world's fair" theme, but it inhibited consistent branding, so in 1996 the park became just "Epcot".

While the original EPCOT concept might now seem a bit far-fetched, today's Epcot is dedicated to creating the brighter tomorrow that Walt Disney envisioned.

The park-like setting of Future World West
The park-like setting of Future World West

Epcot's two areas are open at staggered times. Future World usually opens at 9AM, and World Showcase at 11AM. If you're heading to Akershus in Norway for the Princess Breakfast, you can get through the barriers earlier, of course. Despite being in World Showcase, the International Gateway opens at the same time as the main entrance; if you come in that way, you'll be able to walk past the United Kingdom and Canada on your way to Future World, although the shops won't be open.

Most of the attractions in Future World close down two hours earlier than World Showcase, although the area as a whole remains open to accommodate IllumiNations viewers, as do the restaurants and some of the shops. Some popular Future World attractions may remain open later. During peak seasons, Future World is usually open until 9PM and World Showcase until 11PM, but the closing times are usually two hours earlier in the off-season.

Epcot's Extra Magic Hours work a little differently than the other parks. For morning Extra Magic Hours, Disney resort guests can get into Future World an hour early; for evening hours, World Showcase closes to non-resort guests an hour earlier than normal, then remains open for resort guests for three hours.

By car

Epcot is in the middle of the Walt Disney World property, exactly where Walt planned EPCOT to be. Take World Drive or I-4 to Epcot Center Drive and follow the signs for the parking lot. Parking is $14.00 per car, although Disney resort guests can park for free—just show your "Key to the World" card at the toll gate.

If you're going to Disney's BoardWalk, you can park for free at the BoardWalk Inn or BoardWalk Villas.

By Disney transportation

From Hollywood Studios and Epcot-area resorts

Disney's Hollywood Studios, the BoardWalk, the Yacht and Beach Clubs, the Swan and Dolphin, and Epcot are all connected via the Friendship ferries. There is also a nice wide walking path that follows a similar route. In either case, you will enter Epcot through its back entrance: the International Gateway, located between the United Kingdom and France pavilions in World Showcase.

From the Magic Kingdom and nearby resorts

From the Magic Kingdom, the Contemporary, the Polynesian, or the Grand Floridian, take the monorail to the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC). (From the Polynesian, though, you may find it quicker to walk.) Transfer to the Epcot monorail, which runs between the TTC and the Epcot gates. When entering Epcot this way, the monorail makes a nice loop in the park before arriving at the station, giving a great aerial view of Future World and World Showcase.

From the Wilderness Lodge and Shades of Green, neither of which is connected to the monorail, it is possible to walk to the TTC. Both walks take about 10 minutes, and the walk from Shades of Green goes via the Polynesian Resort. However, the alternative and more convenient option is to take the direct Epcot bus.

To get to the BoardWalk, make your way to the Magic Kingdom and take the direct bus, or go to Hollywood Studios and walk or take the ferry. Taking the monorail to Epcot in this case is a bad idea, because you'll have to enter Epcot at the front and exit through the International Gateway at the back.

From other on-property resorts

From resorts not near Epcot or the Magic Kingdom, simply go to your resort's bus stop and wait for the Epcot bus to arrive. You will be dropped off in front of the Epcot gates.

To get to the BoardWalk, you'll need to make your way to a park and then to the BoardWalk. Disney's Hollywood Studios is the most convenient for this purpose, but late at night, you'll want to use Downtown Disney.

From Animal Kingdom

From Animal Kingdom, take the direct bus to Epcot or the one to the BoardWalk.

From Downtown Disney

Downtown Disney does not have direct buses to the parks; you will need to make your way to a resort, then go from that resort to Epcot. The best option here might be to take the bus to the Beach Club, which is the closest hotel to the Epcot, then take the Friendship or the walking path to the International Gateway. Another option is to walk or take the boat to the Saratoga Springs resort, then the bus to Epcot.

If you're going to the BoardWalk, just take the direct bus.

Map of Epcot
Map of Epcot

Epcot might be the easiest of the parks to get around, because it's very open and spacious. The spaciousness has a drawback, though; because the pavilions are spread out, it can be a long walk from one side of the park to the other. Spaceship Earth is visible from anywhere in the park and provides a convenient orientation landmark.

Future World is the northern half of Epcot and where the main entrance is found. From the main entrance, Spaceship Earth is directly in front of you, with Innoventions hiding behind it. Future World East—Universe of Energy, Mission: SPACE, and Test Track—is on the left side of Future World. Future World West is on the right and comprises The Seas with Nemo and Friends, The Land, and Imagination!

Go past Spaceship Earth and through Innoventions Plaza and you'll see the World Showcase Lagoon front of you, with the eleven nations of World Showcase arrayed around the far shore. From left to right (east to west), the pavilions are Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, The American Adventure, Japan, Morocco, France, the United Kingdom, and Canada. The International Gateway, Epcot's "back entrance", is between France and the United Kingdom; exit here to get to the BoardWalk and the other Epcot-area resorts, or to Disney's Hollywood Studios.

The World Showcase Lagoon has a circumference of roughly a mile. To make a long trip short, there are two more Friendship ferries (yes, just like the ones you took to get here from Hollywood Studios or the resorts) that traverse the lagoon.

Spaceship Earth

The icon of Epcot is Spaceship Earth, a 180 foot geodesic sphere. Both the name and the building were influenced by the work of R. Buckminster Fuller, though he was not credited for it. The name comes from Fuller's book Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth. The building has a similar texture to the Fuller-designed Montreal Biosphere (the former United States pavilion from Expo 67) in Canada, but in fact the two are not structurally similar. Spaceship Earth is a complete sphere supported on legs, while the Montreal Biosphere is three-quarters of a sphere.

When it opened, Epcot had no thrill rides at all. Although that's been changing, you'll find that the majority of attractions are still fairly sedate dark rides or straightforward films. That's not to say they're not worth doing, but you're in the wrong park if you just want to get your adrenaline pumping. Epcot does have two high-octane thrill rides, Test Track and Mission: SPACE, while the Maelstrom and Soarin' offer excitement in smaller doses.

Fastpass queues are available for Honey I Shrunk the Audience, Living with the Land, The Maelstrom, Mission: SPACE, Soarin', and Test Track. Soarin' is very popular, possibly the most popular ride in the park; Fastpasses are highly recommended. Test Track and Mission: SPACE are adjacent to each other, so your best bet there (if they're crowded) is to get a Fastpass for one of them and wait in line at the other; by the time you're done with that ride, hopefully your Fastpass time has arrived for the first one.

For parade and stage show performance times, which change daily, please see the Guide Map and the Times Guide you'll receive when you enter the park. You can also check the Wait Times Board in Innoventions Plaza, which lists current wait times for rides and show times for shows, as well as the current Fastpass return times.

The denotes rides with safety restrictions. See Stay safe in the main Walt Disney World article for more information.

Future World

Future World is an almost park-like setting, with broad expanses of grass and/or water separating the impressively large pavilions. Each pavilion is a monument to one area of human innovation, from communication and imagination to energy and transportation. Inside the pavilions you'll find some combination of a showcase ride, a theater presentation, and/or an activity area with a number of smaller hands-on exhibits. Each pavilion can be done in 30–90 minutes, depending on crowds.

Check the Times Guide to see when and where the JAMMitors will be playing—they're a percussion ensemble disguised as janitors, using their trash cans as drums.


Imagine what you might find underneath those glass pyramids!
Imagine what you might find underneath those glass pyramids!

The name says it all; the possibilities of imagination are on display here. The pavilion represents the importance of new ideas and innovative thought to the progress of humanity. Be sure to check out the jumping fountains and the backwards waterfall outside.

  • Journey Into Imagination with Figment. A classic Disney dark ride, starring Eric Idle and the iconic purple dragon named Figment. The ride is much improved since its 1999 revamp, but still pales compared to the original 1982 ride. Even so, it's still fun to explore the senses and what your imagination can conceive with just a little sensory push.  edit
  • ImageWorks. This is an interactive play area at the end of the Journey Into Imagination ride, allowing you to put into practice some of the imaginative ideas you saw in the ride. You'll explore the senses of sight and sound, using your imagination to take those sensory inputs and create something new.  edit
  • Honey I Shrunk the Audience. A 3-D movie based on the Honey I Shrunk the Kids films, with some extra special effects involved to simulate the titular audience-shrinking. The effects are harmless but effective; if you have an aversion to rodents, make sure you lift your feet when the mice come on the screen. Rick Moranis and Eric Idle star.  edit


Divided into two buildings, Innoventions East and Innoventions West, this pavilion sits in the middle of Future World, with the fabulous Fountain of Nations in its central plaza. The buildings contain a constantly-changing series of hands-on exhibits featuring the latest in cutting-edge technology and how it's finding its way into every aspect of our lives. The exact items you'll see depend on which companies are exhibiting at the time; as such, quality varies widely. Worth a walk-through, at least, since you never know what might pique your curiosity.

  • Fountain of Nations, (Innoventions Plaza). This large show fountain was christened in 1982 with water from 22 different nations. Every 15 minutes, it presents one of several music-synchronized shows; its powerful jets spray water up to 150 feet in the air. If it's windy, you may get damp.  edit

The Land

Mickey-shaped pumpkins don't just grow that way naturally, you know.
Mickey-shaped pumpkins don't just grow that way naturally, you know.

Perhaps the pavilion that most closely resembles Walt's original EPCOT concept, The Land is more than just a set of theme park attractions. The rear of the pavilion is actually a large working greenhouse, and it grows much of the food served at the pavilion's restaurants (and some items for other restaurants throughout Walt Disney World). The greenhouses are also involved in agricultural research, exploring new ways to grow food more efficiently.

  • Circle of Life. A straightforward movie about conservation, starring The Lion King characters Simba, Pumbaa, and Timon. It might teach kids a thing or two, and it has a bit of humor to keep parents from dozing off.  edit
  • Living with the Land. A slow-moving educational boat ride through Disney's hydroponic and aeroponic greenhouses, with a lesson on how we can live in peace with the land.  edit
  • Soarin'. A simulated aerial flight over California, imported from Disney's California Adventure. This is more than just a movie, though—your feet will be dangling with apparently open sky below, and you'll feel the wind in your face and smell the orange groves as you fly overhead. Likely the most popular ride in the park, so you'll probably want a Fastpass (although the regular queue does have some interactive shadow-games to while away the time).  edit

Mission: SPACE


The site now occupied by Mission: SPACE was formerly occupied by Horizons, a ride sponsored by General Electric that gave riders a glimpse of living in the 21st century (well, at least from a 1980's perspective). Horizons opened to the public in 1983 and closed in 1999; the building was razed afterwards to make way for a new space-themed pavilion—the one that stands here today. Learn more about the ride at Horizons at Epcot Center [3]

  • Mission: SPACE. A centrifugal flight simulator lets you feel what it would be like to train for a journey to Mars, but it's not just a passive ride—you and the others in your capsule have tasks to do during the flight. The spinning of the centrifuge is effective at generating g-forces, but it can induce motion sickness (bags are available). It helps if you keep your head back against the headrest and focus on the images on the screen, which show straight-line acceleration; looking away removes the visual cues and makes it feel more like rotation. If you really want to avoid the spinning and the g-forces, look for the "Green Team" queue, which will put you in a capsule that doesn't spin; it's still a fun ride but not as thrilling. Gary Sinise appears as your mission controller.  edit
  • Advanced Training Lab. If you didn't get enough training on the ride, try this interactive area with games and displays that highlight some of the challenges and innovations of space exploration. Mission: SPACE Race is especially fun, with large teams racing their spacecraft back to Earth using teamwork and puzzle-solving.  edit

The Seas with Nemo & Friends

Where's Nemo?
Where's Nemo?

The aquarium within this pavilion was once the largest saltwater aquarium in the world; it's still impressively huge. Like the greenhouses at The Land, this is more than just a theme park attraction—the aquarium staff is engaged in research that is helping to maintain marine environments and protect ecosystems around the world. Two rescued West Indian manatees, members of one of Florida's most critically endangered species, can be found here.

  • The Seas with Nemo & Friends. The title attraction is a slow-moving but cute ride; the finale uses state-of-the-art display technology to show characters from Finding Nemo swimming with real fish. After the ride, you'll head into the Sea Base.  edit
  • Sea Base. This is a representation of an underwater base and serves as the primary viewing location for the main aquarium. Turtle Talk with Crush is located here, along with a number of exhibits and displays typical of what you might see in other aquarium buildings. One of the best sights into the aquarium is from a circular platform that sticks out into the tank, so you're surrounded by fish on almost all sides. Aquarium staff give presentations periodically, including dolphin training sessions.  edit
  • Turtle Talk with Crush, (inside Sea Base). Part of Disney's Living Character Initiative, this is an interactive show featuring the sea turtle character. Kids get to ask Crush questions, and he responds in real time. Great fun, especially for young kids, but very popular.  edit

Spaceship Earth

Yes, the ride really does go all the way up to the top inside that giant "golf ball", the geodesic sphere that is the icon of Epcot. This pavilion is centrally located because its focus is on human communication, without which all of the other innovations in Future World would be meaningless.

  • Spaceship Earth. This dark ride through the history of communication was revamped in 2007 with new scenes and new narration by Dame Judi Dench, but its message is the same as it was when it first opened in 1982: communication is the key to all human achievement. Kids might get bored; keep them occupied looking for humorous vignettes scattered among the Audio-Animatronic scenes.  edit
  • Project Tomorrow. After riding Spaceship Earth, you'll end up here. This space houses several inventive games based on technology from communications company Siemens AG, which sponsors the pavilion.  edit

Test Track

World of Motion

The circular building, meant to symbolize a wheel, that now houses Test Track previously hosted World of Motion, a ride through the history of transportation. Revisit it at the World of Motion Memorial Website [4]

  • Test Track. Get an idea of what it might feel like to be a crash-test dummy in this unique thrill ride. Your test vehicle gets put through its paces and to its limit, all with you inside. Perfectly safe, but the 60 mph (100 km/h) speed your car gets up to feels a lot faster. Lots of fun and quite popular. Because the cars seat six, there's often room left over from parties of two or four; the single-rider line, from which the cast fills those spaces, can get you on the ride quicker if you don't mind splitting your party.  edit

Universe of Energy

The very construction of this pavilion exemplifies its message regarding the importance of energy. Look up at the sloped roof of this building before you go in; those are solar panels, and they partially power the attraction inside.

  • Ellen's Energy Adventure. This attraction starts off as a film with Ellen DeGeneres dreaming she's on Jeopardy! and facing a question about energy. Bill Nye, "the Science Guy", drops in to show her, and you, all about energy. Suddenly you find the very theater in which you sit is moving, and it takes you and the rest of the audience into a large animatronic replica of the Mesozoic Era. (That's why a lot of people just call this "The Dinosaur Ride".) If you like Ellen's humor, this is a great ride; otherwise, it's still worth it for the amazing dinosaur scenes. And you might learn something along the way. Also stars Alex Trebek and Jamie Lee Curtis.  edit

I can show you the world

Some of your favorite Disney characters can be met at their respective home countries represented in World Showcase:

  • United Kingdom: Winnie the Pooh
  • France: Beauty and the Beast
  • Morocco: Aladdin
  • Italy: Pinocchio
  • Germany: Snow White
  • China: Mulan
  • Mexico: The Three Caballeros

World Showcase is the back area of the park, with pavilions representing eleven countries from around the world, all themed with architecture, food, drink and culture to match. Most of the pavilions have a ride or a film (or both) designed to highlight the nation's attractions, but the real attractions are sampling the authentic food, conversing with the cast members who come from each nation, and browsing the imported goods.

The host nation's pavilion—the American Adventure
The host nation's pavilion—the American Adventure

World Showcase is where you'll find the International Gateway, Epcot's back entrance, located between the United Kingdom and France pavilions. If you're coming in from Disney's Hollywood Studios, the Swan/Dolphin, Yacht/Beach Clubs, or BoardWalk, you can walk or take the ferry to Epcot and enter here.

Each of the pavilions will have some sort of entertainment occurring periodically throughout the day, from jugglers and "living statues" to musical groups and dancers. Some of the highlights are noted below, but check your Times Guide for the details of what's happening on any particular day.


The Mexican pavilion is dominated by a pyramid, loosely modeled after the pre-Columbian pyramid in Teotihuacan known as the Temple of the Feathered Serpent, dating back to 150-200 CE. Its use is still a mystery, but more than 200 sacrificial burials have been found around the original temple. The head of the mythical serpent creature Quetzalcoatl has been included in this replica along the entrance stairs. Inside the pyramid is a nighttime square with stars twinkling above, some Spanish-era colonial buildings, a restaurant, and a market selling various Mexican items.

  • Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros. A recent much-needed update to this gentle boat ride added the Three Caballeros, from the 1944 Disney film of the same name. Join Panchito and José Carioca on a gentle boat ride across all of Mexico, searching for Donald Duck, the last member of the trio, who has been distracted by all the commotion and gone missing.   edit


The Stave Church at Norway
The Stave Church at Norway

This area is built as a square representing a few Norwegian towns. The fortress-like restaurant building is modeled and named after the Akershus fortress in Oslo, guarding the sea approach to the city. The huge wooden church is a replica of the traditional Stave Church in Gol in Western Norway, dating back to 1212; the original is one of very few surviving ancient wooden churches left in the world. A mock-up of a Viking longboat sits outside and serves as a playground for kids.

  • Maelstrom. Ride a Viking boat through Norway's storybook lands, with Vikings, cursing trolls and oil platforms! Mostly indoors. The ships are loosely modeled after those sailed by Eric The Red, who colonized Greenland and was central to the Vikings' discovery of North America, five centuries before Christopher Columbus. You can enjoy a travel film afterward.  edit


Walk through the large Paifang gate. These gates were used in ancient China to mark entry into a new division (called Fang in Chinese), and this one is a replica of one in Beijing's summer palace. The courtyard is dominated by a large recreation of the Temple of Heaven in Beijing; it was used by the emperors to pray for a good harvest. The 12 columns supporting the roof represent the 12 months of the Chinese year, and the four columns in the center represent the four seasons. Many of the smaller buildings are recreations of the Forbidden City, also in Beijing. If all the Asian culture gets you in a meditative mood, the rough Chinese gardens are one of the most peaceful spots in Epcot.

  • Reflections of China. A Circle-Vision 360, 13-minute travel movie of China's most well-known sights, from Shanghai and Inner Mongolia, to the Forbidden City and the Great Wall.  edit


Germany is a federation of 16 states, each with a separate and distinct culture and identity. The architecture of the German pavilion reflects styles from various regions of the country; for example, the Biergarten restaurant is Bavarian, but the statue of St. George slaying the dragon represents the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. On an interesting side note, Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, commissioned in 1869 by King Ludwig II, was the inspiration for Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle.

There are no rides here, and the only show is the band inside the Biergarten, but there's plenty of shopping to be had.


The Italian pavilion is a scaled-down replica of St. Mark's Square in Venice, right down to the bell tower (one-fifth scale) and the gondolas floating in World Showcase Lagoon. The original Doge's Palace makes heavy use of marble; Disney recreated the effect with fiberglass. In addition to the Venetian architecture, a stucco building with tile roof represents Tuscany.

The pavilion has no rides or theater shows; the main attractions are the shops and the restaurant. You might also catch the World Showcase Players performing their audience-participation comedy skit Kiss Me Shrew.

The American Adventure

The United States of America pavilion is housed in a building inspired by the colonial period of the 18th century. Inside, keep an ear out for the Voices of Liberty chorus, who perform throughout the day.

  • The American Adventure. It turns out that the best show in World Showcase is the one for the host nation. This inspirational and informative presentation combines film and Audio-Animatronics to take you through every era of American history, with Ben Franklin and Mark Twain as your hosts. Don't mistake this show for the Hall of Presidents; the latter is impressive for putting 43 presidents on stage at the same time, but The American Adventure has a wider variety of on-stage effects and scenery. The theater is cavernous (and air-conditioned) but never crowded.  edit
  • America Gardens Theater. Across from the main building, on the shores of the lagoon, is this amphitheater, where any number of events might be scheduled. Check your Times Guide for details.  edit


Mitsukoshi, a Japanese retailer founded in 1673, is the sponsor of the Japan pavilion. All the touristy classics of Japan recreated, in a way that has little to do with reality. Start your visit by walking through the Torii gate. In Japan you walk through these gates before entering a Shinto shrine, to mark the passing into the spiritual world. The five-story Goju-no-to Pagoda was inspired by the Horyuji Temple in Nara, Japan's ancient capital. Rather oddly, it is named after the five Chinese elements, but built in five stories to represent the 5 Japanese elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Wind and Void. Surrounding it all is a large Japanese inspired garden, complete with koi fish swimming around in the ponds.

  • Bijutsu-Kan Gallery. Inside this replica of the White Heron Castle, modeled after part of the famous Himeji castle in Japan, are changing exhibits on Japanese culture. Temporarily closed for installation of a new exhibit.  edit


The recreation of the Koutoubia Minaret at Morocco
The recreation of the Koutoubia Minaret at Morocco

Morocco's is the only pavilion sponsored by a government. King Hassan II was heavily involved in the construction, and he dispatched native craftsmen to build the pavilion. The minaret (or tower) towering over the area is a recreation of the unique Koutoubia Minaret in Marrakech, which has inspired thousands of church towers across Europe. In Muslim countries priests call for prayers (fard) from these towers five times a day. The pavilion also holds a small recreation of parts of the Chellah necropolis, a burial place located in Rabat that is actually an ancient Roman structure. There is also a replica of the Nejjarine fountain in Fez, a very intricate mosaic fountain. Also from Fez, the evenly-tiled Bab Boujouloud gate marks the border between the old town (Medina) and the new town. Inside the Medina, there is a bustling market place, or bazaar. Because many of the structures, even as replicas, holds great religious significance to Muslims, the buildings are not lighted during the IllumiNations show.

  • Gallery of Arts and History. This gallery features exhibits of Moroccan science, music and technology.  edit


The French pavilion re-creates a Parisian street scene, complete with a miniature Eiffel Tower that uses forced perspective to appear as if it's off in the distance. Designed to represent Paris during La Belle Epoque, the pavilion features many of the typical Parisian sights—a sidewalk cafe, beautiful fountains, and distinctive architecture. There's a park, next to the International Gateway canal, based on Seurat's A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. Le Petit Rue, The Little Street in the back of the pavilion, represents rural France.

The World Showcase Players stop by France now and then, performing their comedic audience-participation skit, Cyranose de Bergerac.

  • Impressions de France. A travel movie through the French countryside with a classical music soundtrack.  edit

United Kingdom

This pavilion's street contains one building for each century of British history. The largest structure, a recreation of the royal Hampton Court Palace in southwest London, is massive patchwork of different periods' architecture, since it was successively expanded to compete with the French palace of Versailles. Elsewhere the adorable little thatched roof house is a model of Anne Hathaway’s cottage in Stratford-upon-Avon. Anne was the wife of William Shakespeare. There is also a traditional hedge maze, modelled after the the Somerleyton Hall Maze in Lowestoft, which dates back to 1846. Don't forget to get a photo of yourself in front of the iconic red British phone booths.

Keep an eye out for the World Showcase Players, who perform either King Arthur & The Holy Grail or My Unfair Lady, which are audience-participation comedy sketches.

The United Kingdom stage is where you'll find the British Invasion, a Beatles tribute band (now playing hits from other British pop groups as well). Check the Times Guide for the schedule.


The mountains, Indian wood carvings, and the (fake) hotel all represent various regions of Canada. Victoria Gardens was inspired by Butchart Gardens in Victoria in British Columbia, while the Hotel du Canada features a 19th-century chateau-style design. Around the base of the hotel is a village-like atmosphere evoking the Maritime Provinces. The totem pole was carved in 1998 by David Boxley, working "on-stage" in front of guests at the Canada pavilion.

  • O Canada!. A Circle-Vision 360 travel movie narrated by Martin Short, named after Canada's national anthem.  edit

Between the United Kingdom and Canada pavilions is the stage for Off Kilter [5], a hard-driving Celtic rock band with kilts and a bagpiper. Well worth a listen; check your Times Guide for the schedule.

  • IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. At park closing, enjoy this extravagant display of fireworks, lasers, fountains and electric lighting over World Showcase Lagoon.  edit
  • Kidcot Fun Stops. Designed for preschoolers, there are 13 of these craft stations throughout the park; there's one at each World Showcase pavilion, plus one at The Land and one at The Seas with Nemo & Friends. Kids can meet cast members from around the world and decorate their own colorful masks with elements specific to each location. Great fun for the littlest visitors, and it allows them to connect with the message of Epcot in a way more suited to their level of understanding.  edit
  • Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure. An interactive adventure, designed to be both entertaining and educational. Use your official "Kimmunicator" (distributed at kiosks throughout the park) to receive messages from Kim and other members of Team Possible to help with your assignment: save the world from villains in one of seven World Showcase pavilions (Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Japan, France, United Kingdom)  edit

Annual festivals

Epcot is home to two annual festivals and an annual holiday presentation. Both of the festivals have things to see and do throughout the park, while the Candlelight Processional is a nightly event at one location. All three are quite popular; some people make it a point to attend one or more of these each year, sometimes without even visiting the rest of Walt Disney World.

  • Candlelight Processional, (at the America Gardens Theater in World Showcase), [6]. 27 Nov - 30 Dec 2009; 5PM, 6:45PM, 8PM. Every night between Thanksgiving and New Year's, a celebrity narrator reads the Christmas story accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra and a choir. The 2009 narrators will include Andy Garcia, Abigail Breslin, and Whoopi Goldberg, among others. Disney's theatrical flair is applied well to this celebratory but sedate event.  edit
  • Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, [7]. Mar 3-May 16 2010. With millions of flowers on display—rotated three times during the festival to account for different blooming times—Epcot is a sight to see in the spring. Check out the butterfly garden, attend horticultural demonstrations and instructional programs, or just wander around—nearly every pavilion has a special event or feature during the festival. Weekend nights, the Flower Power Concert Series at the America Gardens Theater features classic rock and pop musicians from the 60s and 70s. Dozens of other special events are on the schedule, too many to list here.   edit
  • Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, [8]. 25 Sep - 8 Nov 2009. The centerpiece of this festival is the international marketplace and promenade, with more than 25 kiosks serving dishes and drinks from six continents. Seminars, demonstrations, wine tastings, and all sorts of shopping are also available throughout the festival. The evening "Eat to the Beat!" concert series at the America Gardens Theater focuses on jazz, funk, and R&B.   edit

Disney's BoardWalk

Disney's BoardWalk is just a short walk or ferry ride beyond Epcot's International Gateway. It's a resort, yes, but the side facing Crescent Lake is themed as a 1920s Eastern Seaboard boardwalk, with shops, amusements, dining, and nighttime entertainment. Rent a pedaled "surrey bike" and circle the lake, purchase a caricature of yourself, watch an impromptu magic show, buy some cotton candy, or just sit on a bench and watch the people go by. Be sure to check out the Buy, Eat, and Drink sections for all the details.

  • Bayside Marina, (at the Yacht Club). 10AM-5PM. Just around the bend from the BoardWalk is the Yacht Club's Bayside Marina, where a huge array of boats are available for rent or charter. Rental options range from single-person Sea Raycers ($24/half-hour) to 10-passenger pontoon boats ($42/half-hour). Chartered options run the gamut, from fishing and dining cruises, to a cruise down the way to Epcot to watch IllumiNations from the World Showcase Lagoon. Send the kids on a treasure-hunting pirate cruise, or customize your own excursion. (Advance reservations strongly suggested for any chartered excursion; call +1 407 WDW-PLAY to make them.) $24 and up.  edit
  • Fantasia Gardens, (walk west, then south from the Swan), +1 407 560-8760, [9]. 10AM-11PM. Just southwest of the Walt Disney World Swan hotel is a whimsical pair of 18-hole miniature golf courses. True to the name, the area is themed around the 1940 animated feature Fantasia. The "Fantasia Gardens" course is the more traditional of the two, with big, colorful courses and obstacles and a few special surprises to boot. The "Fantasia Fairways" course is like a real golf course in miniature—rolling fairways, sand traps, and no rails to keep your ball from going off into the rough. It's much harder, too; young kids should stick to the Gardens course or head to Winter Summerland at Blizzard Beach. Adults $12, children $10 per 18 holes (second round, same day, is half price).  edit
A street in the United Kingdom pavilion; the buildings look different, but they all contain the same thing: retail.
A street in the United Kingdom pavilion; the buildings look different, but they all contain the same thing: retail.

World Showcase is a paradise of international shopping. Every pavilion is chock-full of authentic merchandise imported from the host countries. Genuine German cuckoo clocks, British toys, Canadian maple syrup, Japanese kimonos, Chinese furniture, Mexican leathers, Italian wines—and that doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of what's available. The variety of items available is nearly endless. The racks are full of products normally available only overseas, including many handcrafted by native artisans. Dedicated shoppers could spend hours at World Showcase; it's safe to say there's no other place in the world that you could find goods from so many countries in such close proximity, and you can buy it all with just your U.S. credit card.

Note that in the pavilions, what appears to be multiple separate shops from the outside are usually interconnected inside and can be treated as departments of a single store. Germany, Morocco, France, and the UK have the most extensive shopping complexes.

  • Mitsukoshi, (Japan pavilion), +1 407 827-8513, [10]. 9AM-11PM. Japan's 325-year-old retailer has only one location in North America, and this is it. Toys, cosmetics, clothing, housewares, and even food—everything you'd expect from a department store, all imported from Japan.  edit

Some World Showcase stores, including Mitsukoshi, sell real knives and swords. For safety, these stores are required to ship such purchases to your home (free to U.S. addresses).

While World Showcase is like a huge international shopping plaza, Future World is considerably less interesting to the intrepid shopper. It has only two stores of note:

  • The Art of Disney, (inside Innoventions West). A store for Disney art lovers; illustrations, paintings and sculptures range from $25 prints up to $5000+ statues.  edit
  • Mouse Gear, (inside Innoventions East). This may be the largest single store outside of Downtown Disney. You can find almost any kind of character or park souvenir here.  edit

The Mission: SPACE, Test Track, Imagination!, and The Seas with Nemo & Friends pavilions have smaller themed gift shops.

Epcot-area resorts

Resort shops are generally open from mid-morning until late at night, though this can vary seasonally.

Disney's BoardWalk

There are a number of small shops and boutiques scattered along the BoardWalk. A couple of the more notable:

  • Screen Door General Store. 8AM-11PM. A small but adequate general store with enough supplies to stock a kitchen in the BoardWalk or Beach Club Villas. Prices aren't great, but you're paying for the convenience.  edit
  • Wyland Galleries, +1 407 560-8750 (fax: +1 407 560-8752), [11]. Underwater-themed prints and paintings, featuring the work of the artist Wyland. Very expensive, but very beautiful to browse.  edit
  • The Yard, (next to ESPN Club). Sports-themed and ESPN-branded merchandise. A video game arcade fills half the space.  edit

Other resorts

Each of the resorts has a small sundries shop with essentials you might need during your stay and resort-branded merchandise. The Walt Disney World Dolphin, though, has a number of other shops with upscale merchandise.

  • Fittings & Fairings, (at the Yacht Club). Nautical wear from big name brands like Polo and Nautica.  edit
  • Galleria Sottil, (at the Dolphin). High-end artworks from Luis Sottil and others.  edit
  • Lamont's, (at the Dolphin). An upscale boutique selling high-end resort wear, like Ralph Lauren swimsuits and handmade jewelry.  edit
  • Sugar³ (pronounced 'Sugar Cubed'), (at the Dolphin). Chocolates and candies. Yum!  edit
Epcot Resorts Area
Epcot Resorts Area

As with their shopping options, the international flavors of the World Showcase pavilions really come to the fore when it comes to dining. Each of the World Showcase pavilions (except the United States) has a table service restaurant, featuring authentic dishes prepared by native chefs. In addition, some of the restaurants even have live entertainment, such as belly dancing in the Morocco pavilion or teppanyaki cooking in the Japan pavilion. World Showcase restaurants are almost universally among the most popular at Walt Disney World, due to their authentic cuisines; Advance Dining Reservations are highly recommended, at least for evening dining.

Future World pales in comparison, dining-wise, but there are still a few good options.

See Eat in the main Walt Disney World article for information on the Disney restaurant pricing system, character dining, dietary restrictions, and advance dining reservations. The telephone numbers below are for extraordinary circumstances only; for reservations and most health or diet issues, call the main Disney Dining number at +1 407 WDW-DINE (939-3463).

Please note that exact opening and closing times may vary with the park hours—and that World Showcase's operating hours are generally two hours later than Future World's. Check your Times Guide for official restaurant hours. Breakfast is usually served until 10:30AM, and dinner usually starts between 3:30PM and 4:30PM.

  • Boulangerie Patisserie, (France pavilion). Park open-park close. This bakery presents an array of fresh-baked pastries and treats. Ham and cheese sandwiches and quiche are available if you want something you could call a meal. $2-$5.  edit
  • Electric Umbrella, (Innoventions East). Park open-park close. Nothing special here, just burgers and chicken. High capacity, centrally located. $7-$9.  edit
  • Kringla Bakeri og Cafe, (Norway pavilion). Park open-park close. Primarily a bakery, but you can also find some sandwiches here, including peanut butter and jelly for the kids. Try the Kringla Sweet Pretzels for a unique treat. $2-$10.  edit
  • Liberty Inn, (The American Adventure). Noon-park close. The American Adventure has no table-service restaurant, instead choosing to represent local cuisine with this: the American fast-food restaurant. Burgers, chicken, and pulled pork are supplemented by veggie burgers and at least one kosher option. $7-$9.  edit
  • Lotus Blossom Cafe, (China pavilion). Noon-9:30PM. Potstickers, egg rolls, fried rice... you get the idea. $4-$8.  edit
  • Sunshine Season Food Fair, (The Land, lower floor). Park open-park close. This might be the best food court at Walt Disney World, with a wide variety of fresh, healthy selections that are a little more interesting than the typical counter-service fare. Choose from Asian entrees, soup & salad, sandwiches, grill items, and baked goods. The fruits and vegetables come straight from The Land's greenhouses. $4-$10.  edit
  • Tangierine Café, (Morocco pavilion). 11:30AM-9PM. Mediterranean specialties: shawarma or wraps featuring lamb and chicken, hummus, couscous on side, and falafel. $8-$14.  edit
  • Yakitori House, (Japan pavilion). Noon-9PM. A few Japanese classics here: teriyaki chicken, sukiyaki beef, California rolls, and combinations thereof. Oddly enough, yakitori (skewered grilled chicken) is not on the menu. $7-$9.  edit
  • Yorkshire County Fish Shop, (United Kingdom pavilion). Noon-9PM. There's only one entree on the menu here—fish and chips. Even though the food comes from Harry Ramsden's, the venerable UK restaurant chain, the quality is rather disappointing. For good fish and chips, Cooke's in Downtown Disney beats this hands down. $8.  edit
Profiteroles au Chocolat at Chefs du France
Profiteroles au Chocolat at Chefs du France

Note: if two prices are separated by a slash, the second price is for children ages 3-9.

  • Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, (Norway pavilion). 8:30AM-11:10AM, 11:40AM-2:50PM, 4:20PM-8:40PM. The Royal Banquet Hall is the best place in Epcot to see the Disney Princesses, but you'd better bring an Advance Dining Reservation if you want to get in. The Princess Storybook meals—breakfast, lunch, and dinner—are exceedingly popular. Don't bet on Cinderella showing up (she's usually at her Royal Table in the Magic Kingdom), but any of the other Princesses might be on hand to chat and pose for pictures. The food is served family-style. Fixed price: $29/$18 breakfast, $31/$19 lunch, $36/$20 dinner.  edit
  • Biergarten, (Germany pavilion). Noon-park close. It's eternally Oktoberfest inside the Biergarten, where a grand German all-you-can-eat buffet awaits. The spread is magnificent, with virtually any German dish you could name available in some form or another. Grab a plate and a beer, and sit down for some rousing "oom-pah" music from the stage; if you can stop eating long enough, you can even sing along. This is the place for boisterous, extravagant fun, not a quiet, relaxing meal. $20/$11 lunch, $29/$14 dinner.  edit
  • Bistro de Paris, (France pavilion, upstairs). 6PM-8:45PM. This is the fancy French restaurant, probably the most upscale experience in any of the Disney parks (that is, excluding the resorts). The cuisine is complex and high-quality, and priced accordingly. The menu is more limited than at Chefs de France, but the wine list is extensive. $32-$43.  edit
  • Chefs de France, (France pavilion, downstairs). Noon-3PM, 5PM-9PM. This is the less fancy French restaurant, but that's only in comparison to the Bistro upstairs. You still get white linen, fine French entrees, and a detailed wine list; the food is just a bit more straightforward. Oh, and don't freak out if you see a rat—that's just Remy from Disney/Pixar's Ratatouille, coming around to see how you like your meal. $20-$35.  edit
  • Coral Reef, (The Seas with Nemo and Friends, side entrance). noon-8PM. Don't go in the main entrance of the pavilion; head around to the right and find the side entrance that leads to this unique restaurant. Here you can eat with the fishes (and the occasional diver), in a dining room that shares a wall with the main aquarium tank; huge windows let you see the action while you eat. Let the cast members know if it's a special occasion, and they'll try to seat you up close. $20-$30.  edit
  • Garden Grill, (The Land, upper floor). 4:30PM-park close. Revolving circular restaurant above the Living With The Land ride. "Chip 'n Dale's Harvest Feast" is the name of the meal here, featuring home-style meat-and-potatoes food served family-style, much of it grown right there in The Land's greenhouses. In addition to Chip 'n Dale, you'll find Pluto and Farmer Mickey coming by to say hello. Despite the characters' presence, it's fairly quiet due to the shape of the restaurant, with the seating arrayed around the perimeter and the kitchen in the middle. Fixed price: $29/$14.  edit
  • Le Cellier, (Canada pavilion). 11:30AM-park close. Le Cellier has a reputation for great steaks, and although some might dispute that reputation, there's no disputing that the restaurant draws a big crowd. It seems like everyone wants to eat here at least once per trip, so getting a reservation is as tricky as it is for character meals. If you can get in, though, you'll enjoy a variety of hefty meat entrees in a cozy wine-cellar setting. The free breadsticks—sourdough, multigrain, and pretzel—are to die for. $20-$35.  edit
  • Nine Dragons, (China pavilion). Noon-park close. This restaurant features diverse cuisines from all corners of China, from Szechuan to Mandarin. The food is authentic but not too exotic; even non-adventurous diners should be able to find something they can eat here. $16-$26.  edit
  • Restaurant Marrakesh, (Morocco pavilion). Noon-9PM. Kebabs—with beef, chicken, or lamb—and couscous are the specialties here. True gourmands (with large stomachs) can try the Marrakesh Royal Feast, which includes soup, chicken, lamb, couscous, and several breads for $43. Those who prefer different sensory delights can watch the belly dancing demonstrations. $25-$28.  edit
  • Rose and Crown, (United Kingdom pavilion). Noon-park close. An old-fashioned English pub with dining room; the pub side is a bit livelier. All the stereotypical English meals are on the menu, from fish and chips to bangers and mash, and other dishes not joined by "and". There's a vegetable curry for a slight taste of India, too. This is a popular place around closing time, as the outdoor patio offers great views of IllumiNations. $13-$25.  edit
  • San Angel Inn, (Mexico pavilion, inside). Noon-park close. It's always twilight at this "outdoor" cafe, providing a romantic atmosphere any time of day. For people-watchers, the Gran Fiesta Tour ride floats right past the dining area. The menu has a wide variety of entrees prepared with traditional Mexican spices and sides. $24-$34.  edit
  • Teppan Edo, (Japan pavilion). 11AM-10PM. This is a teppanyaki steakhouse, where chefs grill up your meal right next to your table, providing a little entertainment before you eat. They're friendly and will enjoy interacting with you as they show off their skills. $16-$27.  edit
  • Tutto Italia, (Italy pavilion). Noon-park close. The name means "all of Italy", and that describes the cuisine here: from the heavy bolognese sauces of the north to the lighter oil and garlic of the south. Quite popular, since it's probably the best Italian restaurant on the property. $24-$36.  edit
Nothing like a twilight stroll along the boardwalk.
Nothing like a twilight stroll along the boardwalk.

Here you can find plenty of traditional boardwalk fare: corn dogs, cotton candy, funnel cakes, popcorn, ice cream, and so on. If you're in the mood for something more substantial, though, you have a wide range of restaurant options, too.

  • Big River Grille & Brewing Works, +1 407 560-0253, [12]. 11:30AM-midnight. This chain restuarant is one of those that's just what it says on the sign—in this case, a casual grill with a working microbrewery. You can even take a look into the glass enclosures to watch the brewing process as it happens. No ADRs are accepted for this restuarant; it's strictly first-come, first-served. $11-$30.  edit
  • Boardwalk Bakery. 6:30AM-11PM. Mostly, you'll go here for snacks in the form of breads, sweets, and pastries, but they do have a few sandwiches, wraps, and paninis as well. $8-$9.  edit
  • ESPN Club, +1 407 939-1177. 11:30AM-1AM. A sports-themed bar and grill, but there's a whole lot more to do than eat. Watch the big game (over 100 screens to choose from), play video games right at your table, or shop for sports-themed merchandise; there's a little bit of everything in here. It does get crowded, especially if there's a big event to watch on TV (including any Sunday afternoon or Monday night during the football season). No ADRs are accepted for this restaurant; it's strictly first-come, first-served. $10-$15.  edit
  • Flying Fish Cafe. Su-Th 5:30PM-10PM, F Sa 5:30PM-10:30PM. An upscale seafood restaurant, the Flying Fish Cafe features an open show kitchen. You'll have to make a request at the podium and cross your fingers if you want a good view, whether into the kitchen or out onto the boardwalk. Very popular; ADRs are strongly recommended. $27-$42.  edit
  • Kouzzina by Cat Cora (formerly Spoodles). 7:30AM-11AM, 5PM-10PM. Newly opened, the exact hours and pricing for Kouzzina are subject to change as details are worked out. The restaurant takes Mediterranean cuisine in a new direction by featuring Iron Chef Cat Cora's unique blends of Southern and Greek flavors. The breakfast menu incorporates some Greek flavors but has plenty of American standards as well. Becoming very popular, with a strong early buzz. $16-$28, subject to change.  edit
  • Beach Club Marketplace. 7AM-11PM. A very basic cafeteria-style restaurant with a few made-to-order sandwiches but mostly pre-packaged a la carte items. Some people have reported less than stellar service from the cast members here. $6-$8.  edit
  • Beaches and Cream. 7AM-11PM. A 50s-style soda shop, specializing in fountain drinks and ice cream, but with an array of light entrees like burgers, chicken, salads, and sandwiches. Now serving breakfast until 11AM. Very popular. $7-$12.  edit
  • Cape May Cafe. 7:30AM-11AM, 5:30PM-9:30PM. The cafe hosts two totally different meals, both buffets. Breakfast is Goofy's Beach Club Breakfast, with Goofy, Minnie, and Donald getting ready for a day at the beach. Dinner is modeled after a seaside clam bake, with barbecue and pasta on one side and seafood on the other. No characters at dinner, just a lot of good food. Breakfast $19/$11; dinner $27/$13.  edit
  • Captain's Grille. 7AM-9:30PM. This casual restaurant offers a wide variety of entrees, including some excellent breakfast options. Lunch and dinner feature a selection of American dishes. Great place for families looking for familiar kid-friendly foods. $15-$30.  edit
  • Hurricane Hanna's Grill, (at Stormalong Bay). 11AM-6PM. Basic burgers, hot dogs, and wraps. The food isn't particularly unique, but Hanna's is located poolside next to Stormalong Bay, making it very convenient for folks who don't want to give up a prime beach chair. $6-$9.  edit
  • Yachtsman Steakhouse. 5:30PM-10PM. An upscale steakhouse. Fairly straightforward, with several steaks and a few other types of meat (chicken, tuna, rack of lamb). Quality is high, but so are the prices. Less crowded than Le Cellier in Epcot. $24-$47.  edit

Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin

Note that these restaurants do not participate in the Disney Dining Plan. The Swan and Dolphin restaurants share a web site [13], reservations phone number (+1 407 934-1609), and e-mail address (

  • The Fountain at the Dolphin, (at the Dolphin), [14]. 11AM-11PM. A variety of casual entrees, including build-your-own burgers and hot dogs. Sort of a 50s-style diner atmosphere but with a contemporary feel. $9-$14.  edit
  • Fresh Mediterranean Market, (at the Dolphin), [15]. 6:30AM-2PM. This is a bit of a non-traditional buffet. Emphasizing the "Fresh" part of the name, the food is prepared fresh as you order it from one of several stations; it's not sitting out in a help-yourself tray. Lunch is seasonal—call ahead to make sure they're open—and some a la carte breakfast entrees are also available seasonally. Breakfast $18; lunch $19.  edit
  • Garden Grove Cafe, (at the Swan), [16]. 6:30AM-9:30PM. The lineup at this park-like buffet restaurant changes daily. For breakfast, Disney characters are on hand on Saturday and Sunday, but not on weekdays. For dinner, Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday are Mediterranean nights, with Italian, Israeli, Greek, and Moroccan selections; Monday and Friday feature a "Fisherman's Wharf" theme, with seafood predominate; and "Southern Barbeque" is on the menu Wednesday and Saturday. (The children's buffet stays the same each night, though.) $32/$13 dinner.  edit
  • Il Mulino New York Trattoria, (at the Swan), +1 407 934-1199, [17]. 5PM-11PM. Traditional upscale Italian cuisine in a sleek contemporary atmosphere. Family-style entrees start at $11 a person (minimum 4 diners), but you'll probably want more than one to choose from. $20-$45.  edit
  • Kimonos, (at the Swan), [18]. 4PM-11PM. Experience the fine art of sushi preparation in an intimate atmosphere. And what would Japanese cuisine be without karaoke? You can sing your heart out in the later hours each evening. Menus are highly customizable—basically a la carte. $4-$9 per two pieces; $15+ total.  edit
  • Picabu, (at the Dolphin), [19]. 6AM-1AM. In many ways, a standard run-of-the mill cafeteria, but then again, there's strip steak and glazed salmon on the menu. Not to say it's gourmet quality, but it's not just pizza and sandwiches, either. $7-$19.  edit
  • Shula's Steak House, (at the Dolphin), +1 407 934-1362, [20]. 5PM-11PM. That's "Shula" as in "Don Shula", the longtime coach of the Miami Dolphins football team. The portions are as gigantic as the prices—check out the 4 lb. Maine Lobster or the 48 oz. Porterhouse steak. Only for serious eaters. $24-$85.  edit
  • Todd English's bluezoo, (at the Dolphin), +1 407 934-1111, [21]. 5PM-11PM. Enjoy upscale coastal cuisine from celebrity chef Todd English. Might be worth going just to see the positively stunning interior, although you'll certainly get a good meal out of it. $15-$60.  edit
Japan pavilion in World Showcase
Japan pavilion in World Showcase

Some Epcot visitors enjoy an unofficial adventure known as "Drinking Around the World": sampling a local libation in each of the eleven pavilions. From Mexican margaritas to German beer to French wines, there's no shortage of variety here.

All of the table service restaurants in the World Showcase pavilions serve native alcoholic beverages. Some World Showcase gift shops (such as Weinkeller in the Germany pavilion) sell alcohol in bottles; your selection will be sealed in a gift box that must not be opened if you want to remove it from the park. You can arrange for shipping to your hotel room or back home if you don't want to lug it around.

For a sober version of "drinking around the world" visit Club Cool in Innoventions, which gives away free samples of products marketed internationally by Coca-Cola.

  • La Cava del Tequila, (Mexico pavilion, inside). noon-park close. With a little redesign of the interior of the Mexican pyramid, a new space opens up for truly dedicated imbibers. Seventy different types of tequila will be on hand for the tasting, complete with a Tequila Ambassador to guide your selections and provide a little education with your libation. $8-$50 per drink.  edit
  • Atlantic Dance Hall, +1 407 939-2444, [22]. Tu-Sa 9PM-2AM. Don't let the BoardWalk's Roaring 20s decor fool you; inside the Atlantic Dance Hall, it's all modern. This is your standard off-the-shelf dance club with all the attendant noise and crowds, even moreso now that Pleasure Island's nightclubs have closed. Must be 21 or older. No cover.  edit
  • Jellyrolls, +1 407 560-8770, [23]. 7PM-2AM. Dueling pianists take requests and try to one-up each other all night long. Get here early, or you won't get a seat, which you'll need after dancing to exhaustion. Must be 21 or older. $10 cover.  edit
The Walt Disney World Dolphin
The Walt Disney World Dolphin

Five upscale resorts are clustered between Epcot and Hollywood Studios, all of them connected by wide, scenic walkways and by the Friendship ferries that ply the waterways. The BoardWalk and the Yacht and Beach Clubs sit on opposite sides of Crescent Lake, while the Swan and Dolphin sit a little closer to the Studios, facing each other. Staying at any of these resorts means you have easy access to both Epcot and Hollywood Studios, as well as to the many attractions on the BoardWalk and the small marina on Crescent Lake.

You'll pay for the privilege of location, though, and rooms do fill up fast. This is especially true at the Yacht and Beach Clubs, which share Stormalong Bay, the best hotel pool at Walt Disney World. Featuring sandy, zero-entry beaches, twisting and turning water channels, gentle waterfalls, and a water slide fashioned out of a shipwreck, Disney has had to carefully restrict access to this pool; don't even think about getting in if you're not staying at one of the Clubs.

All of the resorts provide the highest level of service and amenities available at Walt Disney World. You'll find dedicated concierge services, mini-bars and refrigerators, turn-down service, upscale restaurants and shopping, and everything else you'd expect from luxury hotels. Each hotel also has some high-end suites available, all the way up to "Presidential"-level.

  • Disney's Beach Club Resort, 1800 Epcot Resorts Blvd., +1 407 934-8000, [24]. Let the elegant lakeside accommodations of this sand and surf motif hotel take you back to the good old days of an 1870s New England beach holiday. The Beach Club shares most of its amenities with the Yacht Club, but it has a more casual feel than its sister resort. Think hammocks on the beach, barefoot strolls along the promenade, and light, airy guest rooms. Be warned that lake-view rooms also come with a view of the BoardWalk, which remains festively lit all night and into the early morning hours. The Beach Club is the closest resort to Epcot, but it's the farthest from Hollywood Studios. $335-2,500.  edit
    • Disney's Beach Club Villas, [25]. These Disney Vacation Club villas are on the "back" side of the Beach Club, connected by a covered walkway to the rest of the resort. As such, they're a fairly long walk from Stormalong Bay (they do have their own pool, but it's nothing special) and from the marina area of Crescent Lake, where the boat to Hollywood Studios is. As one of the newest DVC resorts, and with access to Stormalong Bay, these villas fill up very fast. $340-1,175.  edit
  • Disney's BoardWalk Inn, 2101 Epcot Resorts Blvd, +1 407 939-5100, [26]. Check into a lively turn-of-the-century Atlantic City resort complex. The biggest attraction is of course the BoardWalk itself, a lively entertainment, shopping, and dining district along the shores of Crescent Lake. You can get rooms with a gorgeous view of the lake, but sounds and scents from the boardwalk below may distract you late into the night. The inn is on the east side of the BoardWalk, fairly close to Epcot. $340-2,700.  edit
    • Disney's BoardWalk Villas, [27]. These villas, on the west side of the complex, are only slightly less popular than the Beach Club's. A couple of very nice pools are found here, one with a dragon-themed water slide. As with the BoardWalk Inn, be aware that lake-view rooms are also very close to the activity on the boardwalk below. $320-1,140.  edit
  • Disney's Yacht Club Resort, 1700 Epcot Resorts Blvd., +1 407 934-7000, [28]. checkin: 3pm; checkout: 11am. A nod to the Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Island seashores of the 1880s, the Yacht Club is more stately and less casual than its sister resort, with which it shares amenities. The theming evokes the feeling of being on a ship at sea, with lots of neutral colors interspersed with brass and wood. The Yacht Club has a convention center and is popular for business gatherings. The rooms here are much closer to the marina, the Friendship docks, and the BoardWalk than Beach Club rooms are, but they're also farther from Epcot. $290-2,050.  edit

Swan and Dolphin

These two buildings face each other across a narrow waterway, each whimsically designed by architect Michael Graves to compliment each other without looking like twins. These hotels are great choices for visitors who want a more traditional (that is, less "themed") hotel experience but retain most of the benefits of staying on-property at Walt Disney World.

The Swan and the Dolphin are not owned or operated by Disney; they are owned by Starwood Hotels. As such, you will miss out on many of the normal amenities granted by staying at a Disney resort: the Disney Dining Plan and Disney's Magical Express are unavailable, and you can't charge purchases at Disney shops and restaurants to your room. On the other hand, you still get many of the other advantages of staying on-property, including free transportation, guaranteed park admission, Extra Magic Hours, and package delivery. The hotels also offer character meals at their restaurants, just like the other Disney resorts.

In short, you won't forget you're staying at Walt Disney World—but you won't be reminded of it constantly, either.

  • Walt Disney World Dolphin, 1500 Epcot Resorts Boulevard, +1 407 934-4000 (fax: +1 407 934-4099), [29]. checkin: 3PM; checkout: 11AM. The distinctive shape of the Dolphin, with its 27-story triangular central tower, can be glimpsed from areas of World Showcase. Centrally located among the Epcot resorts, it has easy access to Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and the BoardWalk. The Dolphin is the more upscale of the two hotels, but only slightly; it has the most expensive restaurants and the higher-end boutiques. Operated by Starwood Hotels as a Sheraton. $270-2,700.  edit
  • Walt Disney World Swan, 1200 Epcot Resorts Boulevard, +1 407 934-3000 (fax: +1 407 934-4499), [30]. checkin: 3PM; checkout: 11AM. The Swan is slightly more casual than its counterpart across the way. While still a luxury resort hotel, its smaller height and less distinctive design mean it often gets overshadowed by the Dolphin. One big advantage, though—it's the closest hotel to Disney's Hollywood Studios. Operated by Starwood Hotels as a Westin. $250-2,700.  edit
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Simple English

Epcot (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow) is part of Disneyworld in Orlando, Florida. There are many trees and lakes there. There are different parts of Epcot that represent different countries.


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