Epcot Future World
- It took nearly 3,000 designers and 4,000 construction workers to build the first phase of Epcot. 54 million cubic feet of dirt was excavated.
- Epcot had its soft opening Sept. 28, 1982, at 4 p.m.
- The fountain at Epcot Innoventions Plaza can shoot water 150 feet in the air -- almost to the top of Spaceship Earth. If all of the nozzles were fired at once, there would be 2,000 gallons of water in the air.
Captain EO A musical spectacular and a thrilling space-fantasy 3D adventure film.
- Michael Jackson joined forces with Disney, producer George Lucas and director Francis Ford Coppola to create the film.
- Jackson performs two songs written just for this attraction.
- Captain EO was brought back to the theater shortly after Michael Jackson’s passing and replaced Honey I Shrunk the Audience.
Universe of Energy Join Ellen DeGeneres and Bill Nye the Science Guy in as they travel back to the dinosaur era.
- TIP: the animatronic dinosaurs are a big hit with kids, but they’ll find the rest of the show boring.
- The Universe of Energy building opened in 1982 and educated the audience about energy. Ellen DeGeneres and Bill Nye were added to the ride to make it appear “less educational” and more entertaining.
- There are 80,000 solar cells on the roof of the building that are responsible for providing its power.
Journey into Imagination A ride-through attraction that plays on your 5 senses.
- The original attraction opened in 1983 as Journey into Imagination, created by Disney Imagineers Tony Baxter and Steve Kirk. It closed in 1998 and underwent a major renovation. It reopened in 1999 as Journey into Your Imagination but closed again just 2 years later. In 2002, it reopened as the present attraction.
- Kodak has been the sponsor of this attraction since opening day in 1983. Originally, Figment, a purple and yellow and dinosaur-like character, wore green and white colors. Kodak insisted that the colors be changed as green and white are the company colors of their competitor, Fuji Film.
The Land Pavilion Home to Soarin’, Circle of Life film, and The Living with Land Attractions.
- The two mosaics at the entrance to the Land pavilion are exactly the same but the one on the right has a small tile that serves as the "signature" of the artist. Look on left side of the right mosaic for one small green tile.
- The Land has a "tomato tree" that is the only one of its kind in the United States. The massive plant has produced a world-record harvest of more than 32,000 tomatoes from a single vine.
- A backstage tour can be taken through the actual greenhouses (Behind the Seeds Tour). Reservations and payment can be made at the desk near the entrance to Soarin’
Misson: SPACE A very realistic space shuttle voyage to Mars. There are 2 versions, the full effect, and a milder experience.
- There are 13 quotes by space explorers and visionaries on the attraction's wall of honor. The most recent was added in September 2007 by teacher-turned-astronaut Barbara Morgan, reading "Reach for your dreams . . . the sky is no limit."
- It took more than 650 Walt Disney Imagineers more than 350,000 hours (the equivalent of 40 years of time) to develop Mission: SPACE. The Imagineers' efforts took place over a five-year period.
- There is a special video-game play area for guests of all ages in the Advanced Training Lab area.
The Seas with Nemo and Friends Board a slow moving “clamobile” to join in on a quest to find Nemo. After, explore the live aquarium exhibits.
- The aquarium at The Seas with Nemo & Friends provides a home to 3,000 fish and other sea creatures and contains 5.7 million gallons of water,
- The water tank is one of the largest man-made ocean environments in the world.
- The viewing windows are made of pure acrylic and at 9,000 pounds each, are the largest windows of their kind.
- Did you know you can swim with the dolphins? Contact your travel agent to arrange the Epcot Seas Aqua Tour or, for certified divers, the Epcot DiveQuest Tour.
Soarin' Over California One of the most popular attractions in Walt Disney World, this gentle flight simulator flies over California landmarks.
- The ride technology for Soarin' was based on an erector set model created by Walt Disney Imagineer Mark Sumner. One million pounds of steel provides the ride structure and 37 tons are lifted during each ride cycle.
- To help keep guests occupied while waiting in line, a new interactive game was installed that uses infrared technology.
- Special permission had to be obtained to film the scenes with the US Navy. It took over a year to get the application approved.
- There is a hidden Mickey on the golfball in the golf course scene. You can see it as the ball comes flying toward the audience.
Spaceship Earth Ride along in a testing facility for cars reaching speeds over 65 mph.
- Spaceship Earth is 180 ft. tall.
- Inside there's a complex network of stairways and hallways. Maintenance workers report getting lost frequently and they will often mark their way back by writing on the interior walls.
- Spaceship Earth was first sponsored by Bell System (1982-1984). AT&T took over from 1984 to 2004. The present sponsor is the Siemans Group.
- Walter Cronkite and Jeremy Irons were once narrators on the attraction. Judy Dench is the present narrator.
- The outer "skin" of Spaceship Earth is made up of 11,324 aluminum and plastic-alloy triangles
Test Track Ride along in a testing facility for cars reaching speeds over 65 mph.
- Nearly a mile long and reaching speeds of 65 mph, Test Track is the longest and fastest ride at a Walt Disney World.
- Epcot’s Test Track replaced World of Motion which was a ride-through attraction featuring the history of transportation.
- Cars on the track will run approximately 50,000 miles per year
Turtle Talk with Crush An interactive animated show that combines technology and live improvisation, starring Crush from Disney’s Finding Nemo.
- Several hidden cameras are placed throughout the theater that allow the puppeteers to see the guest they are interacting with.
- The screen uses sophisticated rear-projection technology that creates an incredibly realistic image. This same technology is also used in Buzz LIghtyear over in the Magic Kingdom’s Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin.
Turtle Talk uses digital puppetry
which utilizes computer animated 2D or 3D figures and objects in a virtual environment. In other words, It’s like having animated characters perform live, on screen.
Epcot World Showcase
- Cast Members at each pavilion are actually cultural representatives from that country.
- Hands-on cultural activities for kids are located at each pavilion - known as Kidcot Fun Stops.
- There were three nighttime World Showcase Lagoon shows before Illuminations Reflections of Earth: Carnival de Lumiere (1982), A New World Fantasy (1983), and Laserphonic Fantasy (1984). Illuminations: "aired" in 1988 and has received minor revisions over the years.
- The pyramid you enter when visiting Mexico is 3rd century Aztec style.
- Don't miss the gallery located in the lobby featuring Mexican fine arts.
- When Imagineers were designing the Mexico Pavilion, they originally modeled it after Spanish colonial influences. While a group of foreign exchange students from Mexico were touring the construction site, they managed to convince Imagineers to change the design to Mexico's ancient cultures instead, which was seen as being more politically correct.
- The River of Time "El Rio Del Tiempo" (1982 - 2006) located inside the Mexico Pavilion was replaced by the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the 3 Caballeros in 2007.
- Whimsical music is played throughout the Gran Fiesta Tour and is a nod to Mayan mythology: the gods granted the gift of song to the Earth and from then on, life was all music."
- The Norway Pavilion was added to World Showcase in May of 1988, 6 years after Epcot opened.
- The Stave Church, "Stavkirke" is modeled after the churches once found throughout Scandinavia. At one time there were over 2,000 churches but only 28 remain today. These churches were considered obsolete during the Middle Ages and most were torn down.
- The Maelstrom attraction takes guests through scenes of Norwegian mythology and folklore. It begins with Odin, the chief god in Norse mythology who invites us into the story. Odin has only one eye because, according to mythology, he sacrificed his other eye to drink from the Well of Wisdom.
- Joe Rohde, the principal designer of Disney's Animal Kingdom park, was also a designer for the Maelstrom attraction. He was hired as a model builder and painter in 1980 during the construction of Epcot.
- A VIP lounge, located on the second floor of the pavilion, was once used by Norwegian Cruise Line employees. The cruise line was a sponsor of the pavilion when the attraction first opened. Today, the lounge is used for Illuminations dessert parties.
- The round tower centrally located in this pavilion is the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest. Modeled after the original, the emperor would visit the hall to pray for a good harvest. Inside the tower are 4 posts, each one representing a different season. The 12 exterior columns represent the months of the year and the 12 year cycle the Chinese live by.
- In Chinese design, circle shapes represent the heavens and squares represent the Earth. When used together, they represent the universe. Notice the use of circles and squares throughout the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest.
- The original Hall of Prayer was built entirely of pieces of interlocking wood without nails. Not the case for Epcot's version.
- The man seated on the the roof of Nine Dragons Restaurant is Prince Min, a 3rd Century ruler who was hanged for his cruelty. The animals behind him are there to keep him from escaping. It's customary for the people to creates scenes like this to serve as a warning to future tyrants.
- In order to film Wonders of China in the early 1980's, Disney film makers were required to work closely with a Chinese crew assigned by the government. Many scenes had to be pre-approved including the shots of Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, and Leshan Buddah. It was the first time the Chinese government had allowed anyone from the West to film these structures.
- Disney Imagineers used several regional sources to model Epcot's Germany. Frankfurt, Freiburg, and Rothenburg are a few cities that were an inspiration.
- The Biergarten Restaurant is inspired by the one in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. The restaurant celebrates Oktoberfest everyday with live music, a German buffet, and of course, beer.
- The statue of a knight slaying a dragon is St. George, the patron saint of soldiers. It's common for German villages to have a statue of St. George. Epcot's is modeled after the one in Rothenburg.
- A massive ride building was constructed behind the pavilion and was going to feature a boat ride down the Rhine River. This attraction never came to be and the building is now used for storage.
- The Italy pavilion is modeled after Venice, but references to other parts of the country exist throughout.
- The Campanile clock tower is a scale replica of the original complete with weather vane of archangel Gabriel at the top. The weather vane is covered in gold leaf, just like the real one in St. Mark's Square.
- Epcot's Italy was extended across World Showcase Promenade to the lagoon. This was done to incorporate a bridge - to tie in the setting of Venice!
- Italy is one of the best locations to watch the Illuminations: Reflections of Earth fireworks show.
- A gondola ride was to be included in the Italy Pavilion and offer guests a ride around the World Showcase Lagoon. You can see where the attraction was going while standing on the bridge across from the pavilion.
American Adventure Pavilion
- The building was designed in classic,18th century colonial architecture. Notice the stone reinforced corners of the building which symbolize strength and solidarity.
- The top floor of the building, is off limits to guests, it’s the control room for Illuminations: Reflections of Earth.
- TIP: Sit in the front row of the theater to catch the best special effects.
- In the scene with Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, notice how the Ben Franklin animatronic actually walks up stairs and then across the room to speak with Mr. Jefferson. This is one of the most advanced animatronic characters Disney has ever created.
- There are 12 statues surrounding the American Adventure Theater known of the Spirits of America. Included are Adventure, Self Reliance, Knowledge, Pioneering, Heritage, Freedom, Discovery, Compassion, Independence, Tomorrow, Innovation, Individualism.
- The rear projection movie screen in the theater is 28 feet by 155 feet, the largest in the world.
- To change the scenes, Disney created a 35 foot scene changer that weighs 175 tons. This changer moves show scenes into place and then lifts them up to the stage using hydraulics. There are 7 more lifts around the stage that bring additional sets into view during the show. It takes over 24 computers to run the show in it's entirety.
- As you are guided upstairs to the theater, you pass through the Hall of Flags. There are 44 flags in all and each represent a different time period in American history. Each were at one time, official flags flown here, including foreign flags of other countries.
- Torii gates are found throughout Japan and Epcot is no different. This red gate is modeled after the Itsukushima Shrine located on Japan's Inland Sea. To keep it authentic, Imagineers added barnacles to the base, which don't exist in the fresh waters of World Showcase Lagoon. Torii gates were once used as perches for roosters who would welcome the sunrise each day. They are now symbols of good luck.
- Each story of the pagoda represents one of the five elements of Buddhist universe, in ascending order: Earth, Eater, Fire, Wind, and Heaven.
- The Mitsokoshi Department Store is the oldest department store in world dating back to 1683. Popular throughout Asia and Europe, the only branch on American soil is located in Epcot, and opened in 1992.
- The original plan for the Japan pavilion included a Mt. Fuji themed, bullet-train roller coaster. Many have speculated that it was never realized because Kodak, the official film of Walt Disney World, didn't want the name Fuji, a major competitor, mentioned anywhere in the park. This same theory can be applied to Journey Into Imagination with Figment and the dinosaur-like character. His original colors were supposed to green and white, the company colors of Fuji Film but are now purple and yellow.
- Added in 1984, Morocco and Norway are the only two pavilions that were not present on opening day.
- King Hassan II sent his personal artisans to Epcot to work with Disney Imagineers on the pavilion. As a result, it has more detail than any other Epcot pavilion.
- Epcot's Morocco is modeled after the cities of Casablanca, Marrakesh, Rabat, and Fez.
- Morocco is the only pavilion that does not light up during Illuminations: Reflections of Earth.
- This pavilion is based on the city of Paris and features elements that were added to the city from 1850-1900.
- The Eiffel Tower is 1/10 the actual size and was built using the original blueprints. The Tower is 103 feet tall and is equipped with bird repellent devices.
- The park along side the World Showcase Canal is based on A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, by Impressionist painter, Georges Seurat
- The Impressions de France film is shown in a 350 seat theater, with a 200 degree panoramic view. There are 5 screens, each are 27.5 feet wide by 21 feet tall.
- Emotional classical music is played throughout the film to pay tribute to French composers such as Debussy, Saen, and Ravel.
United Kingdom Pavilion
- Traveling from left to right upon entering the pavilion, the buildings represent different time periods in the United Kingdom.
- Through each building's design, guests are taken back to the 1500s right through the 1800 Victorian era. Perhaps what's most impressive is how Imagineers were able to blend all the architectural styles together so they create just one pavilion.
- The Rose and Crown Pub's motto is, "Otium cum Dignitate" or "Leisure with Dignity." It's exterior design is representative of traditional British Pubs of the 17th and 18th centuries.
- Don't miss the boxwood maze garden in the rear of the pavilion. There's also a butterfly and herb garden located behind the Tea Caddy shoppe.
- The Sportsman Shoppe is modeled after Hampton Court in England.
- The plants in Victoria Garden were brought in to Epcot 2 years prior to park opening to get them acclimated to the Florida climate.
- The Hotel du Canada is modeled after Chateau Laurie, a luxury hotel in Ottawa, Ontario. The hotel represents the established east coast of Canada while the trading post next door represents the westward expansion into the Canadian frontier.
- The Canadian government and tourism officials were concerned about Disney stereotyping Canadians in the film O, Canada and were reluctant to provide funding to help built the pavilion.
- Be sure to explore the mountain pathways through the rear of the pavilion. The waterfall is over 30 feet tall.
- The main totem poll was carved by artist David Boxley while guests watched, back in 1998.
- The original O, Canada film, remade in 2007, was one of the most difficult productions of all Circle Vision films in World Showcase. Film crews battled harsh weather for 2 years while shooting, including -50 degree F temperatures. The cameras were outfitted with electric heaters to prevent them from freezing and could only be used for short lengths of time. Shots were filmed from helicopters and a B-25 Air Force bomber. Much of the original footage remains in the updated version of the film.
- Le Cellier Steakhouse or "The Cellar" is located in the fictional cellar of the Hotel du Canada. The restaurant is one of the most popular in all of Walt Disney World. When the pavilion opened in 1982, a buffet restaurant occupied the space and consistently failed to win over guests. Today, it's nearly impossible to make a reservation.
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