Answering Your Most Frequently Asked EPCOT Questions
Over the years, Disney fans have asked MickeyBlog many questions about the various theme parks.
Sometimes, we compile a list and then answer as many of them as we can.
Today, I’m answering 12 of the most frequently asked questions about EPCOT.
Does EPCOT Stand for Something?
Yes, EPCOT stands for the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.
Walt Disney himself named the place for which his staff built a detailed model called Progress City.
You can see parts of this original model at Walt Disney World’s Tomorrowland.
You’ll need to be quick, though. You can only look at it while riding the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover attraction.
What Was EPCOT Supposed to Be?
That’s a tough question to answer. I’m dubious that anyone but Walt Disney could genuinely answer the question.
Uncle Walt dreamt of a place where everyone worked together in a capitalist utopia.
People would travel from around the world to learn the business and technological practices in place at Progress City.
Nobody would have driven cars at EPCOT. Those would park on the bottom floor, out of sight.
The primary forms of transportation at EPCOT were to be monorails for long distances and PeopleMovers for shorter trips.
Everyone living in Progress City would also work there. The homes would double as models to show the height of technological innovation.
Imagine if Silicon Valley and Tomorrowland had a baby, and you get the gist.
To get a better idea about what EPCOT should have been, you can watch Walt Disney’s announcement video:
It’s heartbreaking, isn’t it? EPCOT could have revolutionized society.
Why Was EPCOT Never Built?
This answer will depress you, and I’m sorry about that.
After Walt Disney sneakily purchased thousands of acres of land in Central Florida, he learned he had cancer.
Soon afterward, the disease took hold, and he died relatively quickly after that.
In the wake of Uncle Walt’s death, his brother spearheaded development at Walt Disney World.
After the Magic Kingdom opened, Roy Disney died a few months later.
With neither Disney brother alive, the company experienced an understandable leadership void, especially involving Walt’s passion project.
Without Walt Disney, there could be no EPCOT.
Will EPCOT Ever Be Built?
I just made a declaration, but I’ll hedge a bit.
Nothing at Disney ever truly dies. Many ideas took years to bring to fruition.
Imagineers of today express reverence toward the man who founded the company.
Should circumstances allow, these workers would happily build a City of Tomorrow somewhere.
Disney would need massive resources to bring Progress City into reality, though. So, I view a real-world version of the idea as wildly unlikely in our lifetimes.
However, virtual reality worlds lurk just around the corner. I certainly wouldn’t put it past an enterprising Disney fan to create a virtual EPCOT.
Yes, that premise sounds impossible now, but could you have explained Google or Netflix to someone 20 years ago?
Who Built the Giant Ball?
This question has a simple answer, but I had to include it because it cracked me up.
Imagineers designed the “giant ball” known as Spaceship Earth. Others call it the EPCOT golf ball, which is admittedly what it looks like from a plane.
Back in the late-1970s, Disney officials knew that they would finally take a swing at building EPCOT. And they knew the park needed to impress.
So, Disney bet on a park wienie as the way to grab attention for the entire project.
Since EPCOT’s opening day, Spaceship Earth has anchored the park as its most impressive architectural feat.
Imagineers had never built a giant sky ball before. So, they liaised with engineers currently working on a similar structure in Knoxville.
That town, my town, was preparing to host the 1982 World’s Fair and wanted a similarly stunning visual.
Knoxville got the Sunsphere, while EPCOT got Spaceship Earth.
Orlando won this friendly competition, as nobody in Knoxville thought to ask how hot a gold ball would get in the summer.
These were the same people in charge of organizing and operating a World’s Fair. Not coincidentally, World’s Fairs aren’t really a thing now.
Anyway, Spaceship Earth is an engineering triumph of epic proportions, and it’s primarily a Disney project.
Well, Ray Bradbury helped. No, really!
Which EPCOT Pavilions Have Rides?
Every pavilion at the World Showcase features attractions that are well worth your time.
During non-pandemic times, Disney employs cultural representatives from the various countries to add an element of authenticity.
These workers put on shows that would entertain anyone. Also, the architectural feats at the pavilions will blow your mind.
So, don’t blindly evaluate the back of the park in terms of rides and rides alone. That’s a rookie mistake.
Still, I should answer your question. Norway and Mexico host rides.
Those attractions are Frozen Ever After and Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros.
The lines for Frozen Ever After remain incredibly long because Elsa. Gran Fiesta Tour qualifies as a hidden gem because the wait’s rarely more than 15 minutes.
By the way, if you’ve heard about a ride called Maelstrom, it’s gone. It’s the old version of Frozen Ever After. Disney updated it because Elsa.
Where Should I Watch the Fireworks?
Okay, as I type this, we’re in a pandemic. So, Disney isn’t shooting off fireworks at any of the parks right now.
When normalcy returns, you’ll find several terrific places to watch the fireworks.
The Japan pavilion, United Kingdom pavilion, and Mexico pavilion all operate restaurants that provide outstanding views of the show.
You can also hover in and around these areas to have a straight shot at the show.
The World Showcase is basically one giant circle. So, you can wander around until you find the best view that evening.
Why Is EPCOT So Boring?
Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to step outside.
Also, why are YOU so boring? Huh?
Okay, I may have come across as overly sensitive there. It’s because I love EPCOT more than any other theme park on the planet.
Still, I acknowledge that some people share a belief that EPCOT lacks the excitement of, say, Star Wars Land.
When Imagineers designed EPCOT, they focused on infotainment, a largely derided tactic in modern theme park design.
Infotainment means that rides and attractions try to teach people about technology, natural sciences, and other stuff.
Yes, we’re talking about the same topics that cause kids to doze off in a middle school classroom.
Many of the earliest EPCOT attractions failed to stand the test of time due to their reliance on infotainment.
Others like Spaceship Earth and Living with the Land modernized to come across as less preachy.
In one extreme example, the overwhelmingly informational World of Motion turned into the not-at-all educational Test Track, a dark ride/roller coaster combo.
Really, Test Track tells the whole story about what EPCOT once was versus what it will become.
Which EPCOT Restaurant Is Best?
All of them?
I mean, if I had to pick one, I’d say Rose & Crown Dining Room at the United Kingdom pavilion.
However, you may have just heard screams of anguish coming from other readers.
People feel strongly about their favorite EPCOT restaurants. They’re like this because the park is a foodie’s dream come true.
You can eat French, Chinese, Japanese, and Mexican cuisine in the same afternoon.
I mean, you won’t want to weigh yourself for a week afterward, but you can do it.
Every pavilion at the World Showcase serves delicious, culturally thematic cuisine that will hypnotize your tastebuds.
EPCOT also hosts four different food festivals throughout the year. On more than half the days on the annual calendar, you can grab food from a kiosk.
These pop-up stands serve even more diverse food, much of which originates from places that don’t claim EPCOT pavilions.
Plan to dine at EPCOT as much as possible, my friends.
When Is Spaceship Earth Closing?
Disney had scheduled significant renovations for Spaceship Earth.
If not for the pandemic, the transformation of the attraction would have started in May of 2020.
Then, the world caught fire, and Walt Disney World closed for months.
Once the parks reopened, Disney didn’t want to shut down one of EPCOT’s signature attractions for an extended period.
According to park officials, Spaceship Earth will still undergo an overhaul later. We just don’t know when.
Will EPCOT Add More Countries?
I’ll emphatically answer yes, although I cannot say for sure when this will happen.
Days before the 2019 D-23 Expo, reports indicated that Disney would reveal a Brazil pavilion at EPCOT.
Some models on display undeniably hinted at such an expansion.
Once the event started, no announcement occurred, which surprised everyone.
Some journalists had acquired casting paperwork for Brazilian citizens willing to work at EPCOT.
The park unquestionably possesses enough space to add several more pavilions.
In the aftermath of the pandemic, Disney may not choose to spend resources on new pavilions for a while, though.
So, we will check back on this situation in a few years when the company’s finances are healthier.
Can EPCOT Be Done in One Day?
Oh, absolutely. All four theme parks at Walt Disney World can be conquered like this. However, you should understand that you’ll miss a lot.
I’ve visited EPCOT many times over the years, and I’m still discovering new stuff that I’d never noticed before.
Still, for most EPCOT guests, you can hit the highlights and still have plenty of time to ride some attractions multiple times.
The structure of this park requires little crisscrossing, saving you extra walking and valuable time.
You can visit the current Future World area and ride most of the park’s attractions.
You can then head to the World Showcase at the back of the park to embrace the various cultures and enjoy some otherworldly cuisine.