Greetings from beautiful Pasadena, where I write not from a cute coffee shop, but from a jury assembly room. The great thing about this is that I can continue with the fourth post in my Disney 2K17 Vacay series in relative quiet, though without a macchiato. Today’s focus is on the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, known simply as Epcot.
Epcot was fabulous! While various television shows have poked fun at how ‘nerdy’ and ‘boring’ Epcot is (I’m thinking “The Simpsons” here), I loved Epcot. Spoiler: it was my favorite of the Disney World parks. It was spacious, well laid-out, and just beautiful. It had the Disney feel while offering a completely different experience from the other parks. And while it is true that there are fewer rides at Epcot than at Magic Kingdom, there were many attractions and sights worth visiting.
We began the day at Future World West. The ‘Living with the Land’ boat ride was informative and interesting to the kids, as it showcased the real work that goes on at Disney in the areas of hydroponics, aeroponics, and aquaculture. These areas actually supply some of the food prepared at the park. The kids particularly liked seeing and smelling the tropical plants being grown along the route. Soarin’ is a recommended ride, and I would also recommend checking out ‘The Seas with Nemo and Friends.’ As the name suggests, this contains the Nemo ride and the aquarium at Epcot, which is said to be the second largest saltwater tank in the world. We were able to view manatees, a dolphin, and many other sea animals. The kids were disappointed when we had them scuttle along so quickly… but not for long.
Future World East houses the area that we think of as Epcot: the giant “golf ball” structure. This is actually the Spaceship Earth ride. My youngest daughter could not get enough of this ride. Sponsored by Siemens, it was interesting to follow the history of human communication, however being that we’re now in 2017, the ride is pretty dated. Sami liked the activity at the end, whereby answering a short series of questions, you’re presented your ‘future’ at the end of the ride. But it is likely that your Disney experience will be different from mine. According to news reports, Siemens will be ending their sponsorship with Disney. It’ll be fun to see what goes in next. I think I’ll have to plan another trip to Epcot…
The World Showcase:
The World Showcase was tres amusant. It was so much fun to walk around and visit the different countries represented from Mexico to England and beyond. And we ate so much! Each country had at least one dining option, many offering adult drink options. We had a delicious lunch in Germany with the world’s second best potato salad (after my mother-in-law’s), a frozen snack in Japan, and a gourmet dinner at Les Chefs de France. Where else can you go and do that all in a day? Disney characters are incorporated into their respective countries/cultures. Sami loved the Frozen Ever After ride in Norway, and we all enjoyed ‘O Canada! in Circle Vision.’ This is all just a glimpse into what there was to do and see at the World Showcase.
We stayed for the Illuminations: Reflections of Earth evening show. It was a very good show, for the most part, barring a three minute portion with light and music that seemed rather dull after its fiery opening. It is worth staying for but is also sponsored by Siemens, so that might be changing soon as well.
What’s with all the not-so-hidden Mickeys?
Here is the story behind the “old school” Mickey Mouse plush, and why he means a lot to me:
I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t a Disney fan. Ever since I was a little, I had a Mickey Mouse plushie I would carry everywhere. In a way, Mickey was my first friend. I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I would even dress him up in my sister’s baby clothes. To be fair, I was three at the time. At some point in elementary school, this original Mickey got lost or more likely stolen. I was heartbroken. So for my 10th birthday, my dad stopped at Disneyland on the way from work at the reserve base at Los Alamitos. I was overjoyed! And this Mickey has been with me ever since- through high school, college, kids, life- and he’s been waiting 25 years to visit Walt Disney World.
The kids had some fun with this old Mickey when we were at Epcot. At the character meet and greet, the Disney photographer noticed my old plushie. Mickey was excited to meet this much older version of himself and gestured tears when we all, my Mickey included, had to move onto Goofy. I think the kids will never let me live down how I made Mickey ‘cry.’
For many, Disney evokes some great memories. And in some ways, Disney evokes the best memories of our travels to California and time spent as a family. What’s your favorite Disney memory? Share in the comments below.