RIP EPCOT’s Future World

If you didn’t know already, Disney’s well known D23 convention took place this past weekend in Anaheim, California. D23 is a convention that happens every two years and is where the Walt Disney Company announces a lot of their upcoming plans for resorts, theme parks, TV, movies, etc. The biggest takeaway from this year’s D23, you ask? The complete and total overhaul of Disney World’s EPCOT.

If you have visited EPCOT at all since it’s opening in 1982, you will recall that the theme park was split into two distinct lands; Future World and World Showcase. Future World was painted as a land to celebrate technology and innovation while World Showcase was a place to teach guests about other countries history and culture. While World Showcase has held true and strong since opening day over 35 years, Future World has naturally become outdated. Those of us who once visited places like Innoventions and marveled at the exhibits inside are now uninterested in the outdated technology.

EPCOT is changing the Future World area and dividing it into three different sections; World Nature, World Celebration and World Discovery. World Nature will take over the area containing the Land and the Sea pavilions. Naturally (pun definitely intended) this takes over to celebrate the beauty of nature and teach guests the importance of nature in the world. Also in this World Nature land will be a brand new attraction themed to Disney’s Moana. If you have not seen Moana, it is an absolute must-see Disney animated movie for me. It rivals Frozen, and even for some wins out completely, as the best modern day Disney animated movie. This attraction fits perfectly with the Land and the Sea pavilions and fulfills Disney’s need for a Moana themed attraction. I’m sure a lot of Moana fans have been patiently waiting for their day to celebrate a Moana attraction, and today is finally their day!

World Celebration will be housed in the central portion of EPCOT’s current (soon to be former) Future World. World celebration seems to be somewhat of a prequel to what guests will experience in World Showcase. The main attraction in World Celebration will be EPCOT’s famous Spaceship Earth, which we all know and love as EPCOT’s iconic attraction. However, the Spaceship Earth we all currently know and love will be no more. Disney will be changing scenes and altering the ride to give guests a look at storytelling and how that has shaped our history and culture. As usual, this will not be a popular opinion among all Disney World fans. However, like I discussed earlier, Spaceship Earth has already outdated itself. Spaceship Earth is meant to be about the rise of communication. But communication has already largely surpasses where Spaceship Earth ends, and keeping up on the continued progression of technology and communication in this day and age is very difficult. At this rate, Spaceship Earth would have to change it’s scenes every few years to truly keep up with the constant progression of communication and technology. Change isn’t always easy, folks. But not everything can last forever, and I trust Disney World with keeping the nostalgia of Spaceship Earth while updating it to fit the theming of World Celebration.

Lastly, World Discovery will take place of the last piece of Future World. This will include current attractions like Test Track and Mission Space as well as future attractions like the new Guardians of the Galaxy Roller Coaster. I have to say, when we really got to hearing more about the Guardians coaster, my head did kind of tilt and wonder how exactly Guardians fits into “Future World.” For those of you who may not be hardcore Marvel fans (let alone someone like me who considers both Guardians 1 and 2 in her top 5 favorite Marvel movies) you may not know that Guardians is not set in the future. All Marvel movies are set in the current time, unless otherwise indicated. So while the movie is set in space and does seem futuristic, this isn’t completely accurate to the future at all. Guardians, Mission Space, and Test Track, along with the new Space themed restaurant, will make a perfect home in World Discovery.

Change is quite difficult to grasp and hang on to, especially when it is coming with such full force. Other additions coming to EPCOT include a new entrance, new firework show, Ratatouille attraction in the France Pavilion, new circle vision 360 movies in both China and Canada, and a Mary Poppins attraction in the UK pavilion. EPCOT is really changing, and with so many big changes likely comes some big concerns as to how this will affect the Disney World we know and love. How I choose to rationalize is that 1) Change has to happen. For those people who visited Disney World back on opening day, Magic Kingdom is nothing like what it is today. And I’m sure those initial changes did not come as a popular choice for Disney World fans of the 70’s. However, that “new” Magic Kingdom is now the Magic Kingdom I grew to love. Disney’s Hollywood Studios has changed incredibly since I first grew to love Disney (beyond just changing the name a million times.) What used to be a look into movie making has now become guests way into the movies themselves. The Back Lot Tour and Great Movie Ride’s that gave guests a look into movie making have now turned into Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land, making guests feel like they are a part of the movies themselves. This change has been fantastic and something I can definitely get behind, and I believe the same will hold true with the EPCOT changes.

I’m glad I have all of my childhood (and recent) memories of the Disney World I grew up with, but I am excited to see what they continue to do in the future to improve the parks, resorts, and experiences. Change is hard, but change is a great thing.

Why EPCOT and Animal Kingdom Are Such Important Disney Theme Parks

When I think of Disney World, I admittedly picture Cinderella Castle, the iconic landmark at the heard of Magic Kingdom. Disney World, however, is so much more than the castle and fantasy that Magic Kingdom provides. EPCOT and Animal Kingdom are two of the most important Disney theme parks, arguably across the world. Why you ask? Let me explain.

If you have never visited Disney World, it’s important to explain what makes these two parks unique. EPCOT houses the World Showcase, a section of the park filled with 11 different Country “pavilions.” These countries include Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, American Adventure, Japan, Morocco, France, UK, and Canada. Each of these countries is modeled to resemble the country itself, houses unique dining and experiences in line with the country, and introduces cast members who are native to the countries to interact with the guests. Having 11 different countries to explore in a day is an important interaction that shouldn’t be dismissed. Allowing guests to fully immerse in the different cultures of these countries provide a well rounded, education experience that would lack in that area with another theme park.

Travel west of EPCOT and you will hit Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the newest of the four Disney World theme parks. Similar to EPCOT’s World Showcase, Animal Kingdom is split up into individual lands to immerse the guests in a unique experience. Here, guests can visit the Africa area and the Asia area. Like EPCOT, these two sections of the park truly involve the guests in the culture of these continents and are home to cast members from these locations. The music, entertainment, food, and overall style of these two sections of the park truly make guests feel as if they are a part of the culture.

The importance of these two parks really can’t go unnoticed or underappreciated. While this experience is important for kids and adults alike, families are especially lucky for this experience within the parks. A family with kids is unlikely to have the financial ability to visit the various countries represented, and I imagine overseas trips with kids to a brand new country comes with a handful of difficulties. But in Disney World, any child can get the chance to experience new cultures and then meet Minnie Mouse and Mickey Mouse in the same day. Sprinkling in the chance to learn about other countries and experience them within Disney World is a great way to keep kids attention and promote learning in a fun, friendly, exciting environment.

I know that there is no comparison to traveling the world. The France Pavilion in EPCOT cannot compare to taking a trip to France and visiting the landmarks, speaking with the people, and learning about the history. But, for those of us who simply cannot afford to visit a different country each year, the importance of the Disney World parks including a world traveling type of experience is one that truly makes EPCOT and Animal Kingdom two of the most important and special Disney parks.

Drinks, drinks, and more drinks

As a young adult frolicking around Disney World, I’m sure most of us secretly have one thing on our mind… “Where can I get a cold, delicious drink around here?” And, folks, I’m not talkin’ “kiddie cocktails.” The good news is you really shouldn’t have to look too far!

Something that was once virtually nonexistent within the Disney World parks has now become somewhat of a staple. I mean, EPCOT has it’s own, extremely popular fall festival with “wine” in the title. And I’m sure most Disney fans know of the infamous “drink around the world” EPCOT challenge. You can find a tasty alcoholic beverage all over Disney World now in 2019. I’m not going to tell you that “the red wine in the Italy pavilion is to die for” or “you have to try the sake in Japan.” No, no. What I’m going to tell you is what drink experience is crucial for your next Disney World vacation. You choose the booze, I just tell you where to find it.

Let’s kick our feet back, head down to the gift shop at our Disney World Resort, grab an ice cold beer, and sip. This is an UNDERRATED Disney World drink. I, for one, am a big beer girl myself. But, even if you’re not into beer, there is nothing quite like a cold drink down the pipes after a long day of traveling to Disney World. Or, if you’re feeling a little fancy, you can actually have a bottle of champagne delivered to your Disney World hotel room. The price is a little steep (and you can usually find wine or individual bottles of champagne somewhere on the resort grounds), but there is something special about getting a full bottle hand delivered to you. Pop that sucker open, pour a glass, and cheers to the start of the fantastic Disney World vacation you’re just beginning.

My next favorite drink is anything different and unique at EPCOT. This may be an unpopular opinion, but you can get a margarita or a beer anywhere, anytime. What can’t you get anywhere? A #RainbowSherbertGlitterDreamAle like what is currently being sold at the EPCOT International Festival of the Arts (credit to disneyworld.com for reminding me of the exact name of that beer). On top of being something completely different from what you’d ever have anywhere else, you can also get one hell of an Instagram picture from it. Don’t you dare forget how important a good Instagram shot is (click here)!

Lastly, my most important drink for you to get while in Disney world is (drumroll please) ANYTHING at Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar. If you can snag yourself a seat out on “Reggie” (the outdoor boat bar to the righthand side), you can get one hell of a view. Looking out at the water to the beautiful Saratoga Springs resort is such a sight. And, if you’re looking for a little something different to keep your eye one, the “Amphicars” leave from right next door. If you don’t know what these are, they’re basically old-timey looking cars that double as small boats. A group of about 4 people (give or take) can take their seat in one of these cars and they’ll drive off into the lake and cruise around. Even after seeing it time and time again, it is one of those things that I never tire of keeping my eye on. And, hey, having a delicious drink to sip on is helpful too.

Of course, this is just a short list of my “must do” Disney World drink experiences that I believe are important. To be honest, I could name a lot more, but these are the important ones. I can guarantee you I will not miss any one of these in my future Disney World trips as a young adult.

EPCOT

Where else can you go to visit the future and travel around the world all in one day? EPCOT is Walt Disney’s original idea. EPCOT was originally set up as Walt Disney’s “city of tomorrow.” What it is not is a division of Futureworld and World Showcase. What’s crazy, to me, about EPCOT is that Futureworld and World Showcase are two concepts that may seem so different. Futureworld is there to embrace the future of technology and advancement in society, while World Showcase is there to embrace the history of the world and various countries. Yet, somehow, Disney World found a way to make these two polar opposite themes flow together seamlessly.

One way they are able to do this sits right inside the parks icon. Have you ever seen pictures of the “golf ball looking thing” at the very entrance to the park? Yeah, that thing is actually a geodesic sphere with it’s own unique attraction right inside. Spaceship Earth takes riders through the history of communication around the world and the advanced that communication has made. While still a futuristic looking attraction, the concept here ties in very well with World Showcase by harping on history.

Futureworld is also home Soarin’, another ride that combines futuristic technology with world exploration. On Soarin’, you will get to feel like you’re hang-gliding all over the world. You’ll soar (see what they did there) over historic landmarks like the Great Wall of China, the Pyramids of Egypt, and so much more. Soarin’ has a great way of being an exciting and thrilling ride while also giving you the urge to adventure and explore. What better place to do that than ride next door at World Showcase?

World Showcase is compromised of 10 different countries (11 if you count the American Adventure.) Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, American Adventure, Japan, Morocco, France, U.K., and Canada make up the countries. Each country has its own attraction, show, or entertainment. Here, you can really get a glimpse into what it would be like to visit these countries. Disney World really doesn’t do anything halfway. To prove it, they have real people from each country there as representatives. Each country also has it’s own food and drinks native to their country for you to try and enjoy! For a young adult like me, this is really one of the most fun parts of visiting Disney World. Want to have a beer in Germany? What about a margarita in Mexico? As long as you’re 21+, there are 11 countries worth of food and “adult beverages” to enjoy. What a way to spend a day! Honestly, if you can’t travel the world, World Showcase is the best way to get a small glimpse.

EPCOT is completely unique, entertaining, and educational while not giving up what it means to be considered a “theme park.” A feat that many theme parks would find intimidating to try to achieve, Disney World has done to perfection.

Disney World Overview

For the young adult Disney World fan, it’s important to have a solid background on all things Disney World before you plan your trip(s). I want to take you through a general overview of the Disney World Property in Orlando, Florida. Actually, we can start right there! Disney World is actually located in two unique cities that are exclusive to the Disney World property. Disney World is located in Bay Lake, Florida and Lake Buena Vista, Florida. However, for all intents and purposes, Disney World is located just outside of Orlando. The Disney World Property is massive. It is made up of 4 theme parks, 25 hotels, 2 water parks, and it’s own shopping and dining center. Throughout all of this, you will also find scattered locations with various recreation activities including golf, mini golf, boating, and much more. Disney World in Florida is so much more than “just another” theme park.

That being said, the theme parks are obviously a huge draw in Disney World. The 4 theme parks on the Disney World Property are Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, EPCOT, and, of course, Magic Kingdom. These 4 parks include a wide variety of thrill rides, exciting entertainment, food and drink options, and much more. There is something for every young adult at each of the 4 Disney World theme parks.