Let’s take the kids to Epcot
A virtual visit to a virtual world’s fair
Epcot is my favorite Walt Disney World theme park. From the time you step off whatever mode of transport you use to get there (I prefer the Disney buses because that means I’ve stayed on-site and I’m completely immersed in my vacation 24/7,) Epcot begins to ensnare you. And I mean that in the best way possible.
Walking toward the front gates you’ll start to notice the music surrounding you. Spaceship Earth begins to emerge from behind the trees or the monorail station, and by the time you’re swiping your Magic Band and trying to figure out which finger to put in the scanner, (pro tip: it’s the same one every time,) you’re completely under the park’s spell.
Located just on the other side of that huge geodesic sphere is an environment brimming with optimism, excitement, discovery and a literal world to discover.
The grounds are always immaculate and beautiful, the cast members are welcoming and happy to talk about their home countries, and there’s more food and beverage than you could possibly ingest in a week of Epcot days.
Unfortunately, it could be a while before we’re taking a spin around the World Showcase, so I’m up for a virtual trip.
One caveat: Epcot is currently undergoing a huge construction project/upgrade. We’re going to approach it as if this is the Epcot of a year ago (or so,) when Innoventions East and West still existed.
If you make it all the way through (or even if you take a break and head to the Boardwalk for a bit,) tell me about your favorite Epcot attraction, event or experience in the comments! (Hint: Mine is the annual Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, but it’s hard not to love that.)
Again, we’ll kick it off for the parents. This is Sunrise at Epcot – our Zenlike starting line. If you followed along on yesterday’s virtual tour of the Magic Kingdom, you know the drill: Get your coffee and prepare for a hypnotic awakening of the vacation kingdom’s second theme park.
Sunrise at Epcot
Awesome, right? The placid surface of the World Showcase Lagoon, the evolving colors of Spaceship Earth as the sun rises, Epcot’s international pavilions before the crowds arrive, even wildlife that makes its home in the park before I show up and start yelling about getting to the Mexico Pavilion.
OK, go get the kids.
As we hit Futureworld, we’re going to come out of Spaceship Earth and hook a left, because this isn’t real and we don’t have to sprint to get in line for Soarin’.
See you after we thank the Phoenicians.
Head for Mousegear. No, don’t stop at the pin trading station – we’ll do that later.
Universe of Energy/Ellen’s Energy Adventure
Luckily there’s a Starbucks between here and our next destination.
THE SEAS WITH NEMO AND FRIENDS
Turtle Talk with Crush
We’ll usually wander around The Seas for a bit
Soarin’ Around the World
Living With the Land
Journey Into Imagination with Figment
Honey I Shrunk the Audience
THE WORLD SHOWCASE
This, really, is what it’s all about. 11 countries surrounding the World Showcase Lagoon, populated by cast members who are actually from that particular country (some of whom are managed by a good friend of mine from Pelham, New Hampshire!) and offering samples of their food, drink and fun. I don’t have a hard-and-fast routine of where to start, so for today we’ll go clockwise and begin in Mexico.
The Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros
La Cava Del Tequila
A favorite, approved by frequent visitor Neil Patrick Harris. And Bill Burke.
(For the traditionalists.)
Frozen Ever After
(Because it’s Elsa’s world, we’re just living in it.)
Reflections of China
Village/Trains in the Germany Pavilion
The American Adventure (Pavilion)
The Voices of Liberty
The American Adventure (Show)
Impressions de France
Eh, why not?
We did it. We hiked (or sat and pretended to hike) the 1.2 miles around the World Showcase. Our reward? A look back at what was a longtime favorite at Walt Disney World – Epcot’s former nighttime spectacular, Illuminations.
Illuminations: Reflections of Earth
Bill Burke is the Dad on Board columnist for Parenting NH and the Managing Editor of Custom Publications for McLean Communications.