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Disney’s Epcot: The Happiest Place on Earth?

The big question on every-ones mind when we were home visiting was “have you been to Disneyworld yet?” The answer at that time was NO but we would be going the weekend we returned to Florida. With a forecast of rain for Saturday we pushed our trip up a day and headed out early Friday morning to visit Disney’s Epcot.

Going into the place the expectations had been built up really (really) high. After hearing about how great all the “countries” are and how there was “no way” we could see the whole park in one day we were ready to have our socks knocked off. Instead of leaving the place with smiles and jubilation we left the resort disappointed for what we imagined, and had been built up, never materialized; so much so that we decided to not waste anymore money at Disney Orlando. Maybe the problem is that we lived in Southern California and had visited and enjoyed Disneyland many times before… Epcot had big shoes to fill.

Parking at Boardwalk

Starting out the day we decided to park near the Disney Boardwalk complex since it would be open late and offered something to do after Epcot closed at 9. The advantage here is that parking is free in this area which saved about $15 right off the bat. Epcot park was scheduled to open at 9am and after allowing extra time that we did not need for traffic we were one hour early. Epcot is a short 10 minute walk along the Boardwalk so we leisurely strolled along the water front snapping a few pictures and stopping at the small coffee shop for hot chocolate and pastries.

Entering Epcot

Entering from the Boardwalk we were effectively coming in the back way. Including the 2 of us, there were exactly 5 people waiting to get in the gate. After purchasing tickets for $85 per person (!!!!!), passing through the gentle security guards (they wore rubber gloves), and providing a thumb print verification for the tickets (hello Big Brother) we were in the park. To our right was France and the other countries, closed for another 2 hours, so we headed left.

The Rides

Our plan was to hit Soarin’ first and then over to the other rides. Back in California at Disney’s California adventure they have a ride called Soarin’ California. It is based on a really cool concept where you sit in front of a super large screen projector with your legs dangling below a seat that moves. While the action takes place in first person on the screen you move around as if you were part of the action and cool/ warm air hits you appropriately to create the sensations of really doing the activity. Unfortunately the ride in California is awful. Rather than tell a story or create any semblance of beginning and end the video you move to is a series of 30 second glider flights over various areas in California. The sequences abruptly begin and end and the entire ride ends suddenly.

Soooo… fast forward to Epcot’s Soarin’ and we are hoping they have something different and more fun to offer. We walked right into the ride and upon lining up we got that all too familiar feeling. Yup it was the same lame ride; at least we got it out of the way early. Mark joked as we rode the escalator down to leave the building that they really should put a line up for “this great ride”… he was referring to the escalator. As he explained the escalator was a far superior ride since it: has a beginning, middle, and end; it also takes the rider on a journey through space and time to another location altogether! Quick call the patent attorney or at least trademark the idea.

The remainder of the rides went pretty much the same way. The longest line we waited in was 20 minutes for the ride inside the famous bubble. By noon we had ridden every single ride in the park and walked the rides area 2 times around. By now the much anticipated countries area was open so we headed over to get a feel for the various cultures of the world…

The Countries

To start off whoever it was that told us that Epcot gives you a “real feel” for various cultures was either being a comedian or they do not travel very much. Here is the basic concept that Disney utilizes for their “countries”:

  • Build 3 large buildings that resemble famous places from said country into a giant courtyard
  • On two sides install a gift shop that sells Disney branded “authentic” items from said country
  • On one side install a food court that serves “authentic” dishes from said country (all of which costs extra)
  • Sparingly sprinkle around some authentic performers and maybe a weird ride

That in a nutshell is the rest of Disney’s Epcot. We “took in” every country and as you will notice by the volume of pictures below spent a majority of our time hanging out waiting for the fireworks show that evening. It was a beautiful day so we did capture some amazing shots of the beautiful grounds, the one thing Disney does right.

What we really liked

In the French area we watched two acrobats do some amazing stunts utilizing a dining room table and chairs. In the photos below you will notice that one gentleman is doing a handstand on top of that balanced pile… there were no nets or ropes.

The firework show was worth the wait.

Spending the day together trying to keep ourselves amused. At one point we had a great conversation with another couple; the ducks in the pictures :).

Overall

Unless you are a Disney fanatic or have never been to a Disney Park Epcot is not worth the price of admission. If you decide to go have an extra credit card handy and after spending the day eating casually call your card in stolen because you will not want the resulting bill. For the two of us, who do not drink alcohol and carried our own bottles of water, the total price ended up being $270 for the day! In the end it was a once in a lifetime deal and we DID have fun together but we could probably have fun locked inside a round padded room OR riding escalators.

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One Response to “Disney’s Epcot: The Happiest Place on Earth?”

  1. Teresa says:

    So tell me how you rally feel please dont hold back your so funny well i would not go after what u said cause who wants to spend all that money i would rather be in a round padded room just kidding

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