1) EPCOT’S WOW MOMENT: Whether you’re walking into Epcot for the first time, or you visit the Park numerous times each year, the impact of seeing Spaceship Earth never dims. Those photos we all love taking, with the attraction as our backdrop, are now even easier as the transformation of the entry plaza is well underway. The Leave A Legacy monoliths that once stood in the plaza will find a new home, and their removal has left a tremendous amount of room for guests to spread out for their selfies and family photos.
Visitors are already taking full advantage of the opportunity, and during our visits to Epcot in the past couple of weeks, we’ve watched happy snappers taking photos from several different angles.
Helpful Hint: daytime shots are practically compulsory, and night-time shots, when Spaceship Earth takes on a beautiful, soft glow, are even more enchanting.
This is an excellent chance to put that Memory Maker you received with your Disney 14-Day Ultimate Ticket from Attraction Tickets Direct to work, and let the Disney PhotoPass photographers create a memorable bit of magic for you!
2) THE EPCOT EXPERIENCE: The Odyssey Center has transformed into a showcase for Walt Disney Imagineering presents the Epcot Experience, and it is truly a must-not-miss look at what’s coming to Epcot as the park moves toward a new future. There are several elements here, but let’s start with a look at the show, which takes place in a semi-darkened ‘room’ in the centre of the event space.
If you’ve visited the China pavilion or Canada pavilion in the past, you’ll know the Circle-Vision 360 style of Reflections of China and O Canada! films, and Epcot Experience uses a similar format to present a spectacular show that ties together the park’s past, present and future, highlighting each of the coming attractions on-screen and on a large, central model.
As it celebrates ‘the magic of possibility,’ the show starts with the past in a segment featuring Walt Disney explaining his concept for the Experimental Prototype City of Tomorrow, triggering a delightful look back at the park’s construction, and key moments from attractions, past and present.
Then, it opens up to a full 360-degree view of the Park’s upcoming new layout, featuring the new plaza, three-level Dreamers Point and a new fountain, plus the glittering Wishing Tree, in the area that will become the World Celebration neighbourhood.
The upcoming World Nature section is introduced through Journey of Water, Inspired by “Moana” that allows guests to interact with ‘living water,’ and the digital city of the PLAY! Pavilion in the World Discovery neighbourhood is next, followed by the Xandarian introduction to the highly anticipated Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind attraction and exciting space-themed Space 220 restaurant.
World Showcase takes centre stage next, with teasers for the China pavilion’s new experience, Wondrous China; a hilarious romp with Remy ahead of his new attraction, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, coming to the France pavilion; and the impending arrival of everyone’s favourite “practically perfect” nanny, Mary Poppins, in an adventure that will bring the charms of Cherry Tree Lane to the United Kingdom pavilion.
One final element rounds up the show’s highlights: Epcot Forever fireworks grace the World Showcase Lagoon each evening, acting as an interim offering ahead of the upcoming headliner show, Harmonious.
It’s all done with Disney’s unique styling and panache, making it a captivating insight that feels like you’re seeing and hearing a charming series of stories set to delightful, uplifting music. The show lasts 12 minutes and it’s time well spent.
Helpful Hint: For seamless touring, take in the Epcot Experience as you move from Future World into World Showcase. Hit the nearby restrooms if you need to, then start your world tour in Mexico!
3) THE EPCOT EXPERIENCE MODEL: The Epcot Experience show is set around a large model in the middle of the room, featuring the park’s icon, Spaceship Earth, and set pieces representing the coming attractions as the big transition takes place. As the show progresses, each set piece is highlighted, and bright, bold projection-mapping designs play across the model, with themes appropriate to each scene in the show.
As beautiful as the graphics overlays are during the show, the real delight is walking around the model once the house lights come on again, taking in the smaller details.
Helpful Hint: We won’t give the surprise away, but if you’re standing on the left-hand side of the theatre you’re going to be the first to know about a mischievous bit of meddling during the Xandarian segment. No matter where you stand, you’re going to see the results of the mischievous moment. Cue the dancing!
4) FABULOUS PHOTO OPS!: Outside the semi-enclosed room you’ll find four fabulous photo ops, and we highly recommend you take full advantage of them. Choose from a food-theme setting with Remy from the movie "Ratatouille"; a unique perspective from atop Spaceship Earth; Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind theme; or colourful balloons with just a hint of Mary Poppins!
Helpful Hint: Why choose one when you can do them all?
5) EPCOT FOREVER: The finale to the Epcot Experience show is a glimpse at the brand new fireworks show that debuted on World Showcase Lagoon on 1 October, and the real thing should be the finale to your day in the park. Epcot Forever blends new musical arrangements based on classic Epcot attractions, such as "One Little Spark from the Imagination"; a former Epcot theme song, "We’ve Just Begun To Dream"; former Spaceship Earth song, "Tomorrow’s Child"; and music from Epcot’s former Tapestry of Nations parade.
Helpful Hint: Night-time spectaculars are best viewed with a sweet treat in hand. Stop by one of the Quick Service outlets, such as Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe in the Norway pavilion or the France pavilion’s L’Artisan des Glaces or Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie.
Along with stirring music and elaborate pyrotechnics, some of which we haven’t seen before and some of which are long-time favourites, a spectacular kite segment adds a dynamic backdrop to the "Golden Dreams" song from The American Adventure and music from IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. A Whole New World from the animated hit movie, "Aladdin", sees the show out, with the grand finale of mega-bursts lighting up the night.
It’s an exciting time to be at Epcot, as the park moves from the past into the future. What will be your ‘one little spark’ of inspiration when you pay a visit?