Walt Disney World 101: A Guide for the Overwhelmed

Disney Over 50 101, Epcot

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Spaceship Earth

If you’ve never been to Walt Disney World’s second theme park, you might be a bit confused about what Epcot is all about. Is it educational, or is it a living museum? Are there thrill rides, or are all the rides only for families? Is it an aquarium, or is it based on space? The answer is that there is a little bit of everything at Epcot. There are two sections at Epcot; Future World and World Showcase. From there the sections are broken down even more. Spaceship Earth is the park’s main icon. It’s often referred to as a giant golf ball or just “the ball” by people who have never visited before.

Future World

When you enter Epcot through the main gate, you’ll find yourself in Future World. Spaceship Earth will be in front of you. It houses a slow moving ride that will take you through the history of communications. If you go to your left, you’ll find Future World East.

Future World East

The two biggest thrill rides at Epcot are found in future World East. Test Track is a high speed car ride with no dips or drops. Mission: SPACE (now RELAUNCHED! Mission: SPACE) offers you a chance to either visit Mars or orbit the Earth, depending on which intensity level you choose. At the exit to Mission: SPACE is Advanced Training Lab, where kids of all ages can play space themed video games.

Future World West

If you turn right past Spaceship Earth you’ll find Future World West. You’ll also see signs for The Land and The Seas. These are both parts of Future World West. The Seas (the full name is The Seas with Nemo & Friends Pavilion) features a 5.7 million gallon saltwater aquarium. There are a couple of attractions in The Seas, and also a stunningly designed seafood restaurant. The Land features the popular ride Soarin’ as well as a couple of restaurants. To the left of The Land there are more attractions, so make sure you don’t miss that area.

World Showcase

The second, and larger, part of Epcot is World Showcase. This is where 11 different countries get to shine. The architecture is similar to what you would find in each nation, some countries have gardens, the restaurants feature authentic dishes, and there are shops that sell items that you might associate with that country. There are also live shows outdoors, check your Times Guide that you picked up when you entered the park so that you can learn who is performing and where. There are currently two rides in World Showcase, and a couple of movies based on the countries. You’ll also find plenty of characters. The back entrance to Epcot is located in World Showcase as well. The countries represented in World Showcase, from left to right with the park’s front entrance behind you, are Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, The American Adventure, Japan, Morocco, France, United Kingdom, and Canada. There is room for more countries, but none have yet been announced.