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A Visit to Disney’s Epcot Center

I love to visit Epcot Center, even more than I love The Magic Kingdom. I guess being interested in science and travel makes it perfect for me. This theme park is much more educational than The Magic Kingdom and has some fascinating things to see. Epcot, although no longer used frequently as an acronym, originally stood for Experimental Prototype City of Tomorrow.

After traveling from Interstate-4, parking at Epcot is easy. Disney does know how to handle crowds of people parking; no one will argue that point. We park, note the location (signs indicate lot and row), and hop a trolley to the main gate. While buying tickets, we see the huge white geodesic dome ahead which houses Spaceship Earth.

We pass by the 'Leave a Legacy' site where visitors can have (for a fee) their photos taken and imprinted on a metal card which will be displayed on marble slabs at this site. You can stop and look for friends or family if you want, but we just want to get to the real fun!

Epcot is divided into two sections: Future World, which is in front nearest the ticket booths and World Showcase, which is across a large lake and showcases various countries. We decided to head straight to World Showcase. In the lake during our boat ride across the river, we spot swans and other water birds. Everywhere there are landscaped areas with beautiful flowers.

Getting off the transport craft at the World Showcase we see just ahead of us the showcase of Morocco. Each country showcase has dancers, entertainers, food, displays, and shops with everything including architecture based on what you would experience in that country. Some have rides as well. We wander through Morocco where Moroccan dancers and musicians display their art. We backtrack a little to visit Canada, United Kingdom and France then pass back through Morocco to continue on to Japan’s Japanese garden and all the interesting Oriental items in their shops. The restaurant in Japan is very popular I understand but I’ve not eaten there. The American Adventure features Old Time Bandstand bands and music. Italy displays great Italian architecture but not a lot else. The German showcase with clocks and architecture is interesting. The Chinese pavilion is an amazing Chinese garden with a House of Prayer. It is actually a 360 degree theater where a great 10 minute show on China is presented. Chinese acrobats, folk musicians, and food complete the China pavilion. Norway, with its camphor trees and stave church replica, is interesting. Mexico comes next and it is my far and away favorite of the showcases. Passing up a flight of stone steps into a step pyramid reminiscent of the Mayan culture, we immediately go to the El Rio del Tempo (River of Time) water ride showing some wonderful exhibits of Mexican history. Small shops and several restaurants are contained within the pyramid. The landscaping in this area is intentionally unkempt to reflect the jungle-like areas where pyramids in Mexico would be found.

Walking back over to Tomorrowland (it’s a short walk from the Mexican pavilion), we stop at the Test Track where a ride in a “test car” takes you through the steps to test a new car before production, including safety testing information. Next we stop at 'Mission: Space' where an astronaut-like experience is provided as well as wonderful information on the space programs. Wonders of Life’s Body Wars takes us through a tour of the body and another ride called The Making of Me takes us through an informational tour about DNA, pregnancy and how people come to be. Other information displays teach about other aspects of health. Universe of Energy, a triangular building, explains how the energy we use today originated with dinosaurs. The shrubs around the building are clipped into dinosaur shapes. Journey into Imagination provides us three fun and informational rides: Honey, I Shrunk the Kids…with Figment, Journey into Imagination and the What-if Labs. Lots of the displays here are interactive and the rides are all fun and informative. The Living Seas provides an educational film and a chance to walk through the Aquarium which houses many aquatic species in naturalistic settings. The Living Seas is not to be missed!

The Land is another of my favorite spots. The Land teaches about growing food in better, more efficient ways, including how food may be grown in space in the future. Aquaculture is displayed and you can learn how we can grow our own fish for market. I always stop in The Land’s Garden restaurant where you can eat food actually grown in The Land exhibit. Try a salad, they are organic and tasty! Before leaving, we have to visit the big white dome in the front and center of Tomorrowland. This isn’t a thrill ride; it is an educational ride which covers the entire history of communications by mankind.

We could stay until 9 pm for the Illuminations Parade with fireworks over the water, but we are tired and want to go home after our fun day in the sun. We’ve walked several miles, eaten healthy food, and reminded ourselves of lots of educational facts. Maybe next trip we will stay for the fireworks. Departing, of course, we are already planning our next visit to Epcot!

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