As EPCOT’s 30th anniversary approaches on October 1st, I thought I would take some time during my article this month to share with you the aspects of the park which make me nostalgic, make me wish I was there when I see or hear someone else mention them, and have the ability to instantly put a smile on my face.
Imageworks Circa 1990
My first trip to Walt Disney World was in 1990. I have some vague memories from that trip, most of which are aided by the video recording my parents took (and which, sadly, has been missing for the past several years). However, the second floor of the Imagination Pavilion stands out very vividly in my mind, mostly due to the fantastic rainbow tunnel. That rainbow tunnel, seen in the picture above which was recently featured in a header on the DisneyParksBlog, is something I frequently refer to as being the no-longer-existent feature in Walt Disney World that would be most likely to bring me to tears if I ever saw it again. Less emotional, but equally awesome, was Dreamfinder’s School of Drama. If you never experienced this attraction, kids would stand in front of a blue screen (similar to the green screen you hear about in Hollywood), and listen for Dreamfinder to give them directions, such as “Turn to the left! Run in place!” Parents would be able to look at video screens above their children to see them transported into a number of different situations. My sister and I were part of the Western adventure, chasing after a bank robber, and I believe the other options involved space exploration and something with a wizard. It is more than a little disappointing knowing that the second floor of the Imagination Pavilion, which at one time truly did capture a child’s heart and imagination, is currently being unused, with no announced plans for revitalization.
(Photo courtesy of @PrincessJess508)
I only discovered this ride recently, but I already know it is going to become one of my lifelong Must Do Disney attractions. (Seriously, Stacey, where’s the love?) Located in the Norway Pavilion in World Showcase, Maelstrom takes you on a journey where you come face to face with Vikings, trolls and polar bears, while traveling on a boat which takes you both forwards and backwards over waterfalls. This attraction may not generate as much buzz as many of the others within EPCOT, but its charm and the fact that it doesn’t take itself too seriously has moved it high on my list of favorites and I look forward to when I am again able to seek the spirit of Norway.
The Innoventions Plaza Music
By far, my favorite background music in all of Walt Disney World. I don’t even think I need to expand as to why, I will just leave this YouTube video here for you all to enjoy it for yourself.
People Watching in Club Cool
This selection is somewhat deceiving. The full title should be, “Watching unsuspecting people drink Beverly while in Club Cool and giggling at their reactions,” which is what I did when my husband took his first taste, as you can see in the picture. Club Cool is located just outside of Innoventions West and features soda dispensers containing 8 different Coca Cola products from around the world. Most of these flavors are crowd pleasers, such as the Kinley Lemon from Israel, or the Smart Watermelon from China, but the most notorious has to be Beverly from Italy. It has an extremely bitter flavor which is only enhanced after tasting some of the other, sweeter, soda options. Personally, I am someone who doesn’t mind the flavor of Beverly, but after a few minutes of watching other guests unknowingly take a taste, I know that I am in the minority.
EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival
I struggled a lot with trying to decide on one specific food item to put on this list, because EPCOT definitely has every other Disney Park beat when it comes to having a variety of food options. However, that variety makes it difficult to pick just one! So I am slightly cheating by choosing the Food and Wine Festival which happens annually in EPCOT, typically between late September and early November. This year, the festival runs from September 28 through November 12, and features 20 different food and beverage booths featuring foods from countries ranging from Argentina and South Africa to Singapore and Scandinavia, among others. There are also a number of food demonstrations, beverage tastings, book signings, specialty dinners and the Eat to the Beat concert series, which will have performances from bands such as Boyz II Men, Hanson, Smash Mouth, Sugar Ray and Gin Blossoms. But above all, my favorite part of the festival is the food, particularly the lettuce wraps from South Korea.
The Land Pavilion
Given the edge by having the headlining attraction Soarin’, The Land is overall my favorite Pavilion in EPCOT. It features both a fantastic counter service (Sunshine Seasons) and table service (Garden Grill) restaurants, the fantastic Behind the Seeds tour which takes you back stage and through the greenhouses of Living with the Land, was formerly home to the shows Kitchen Kabaret and Food Rocks, and let’s be honest, just has an amazing and distinctive smell that can only be rivaled by the scent inside Pirates of the Caribbean.
What attractions, pavilions, events or foods will you be thinking about this weekend as the Disney community celebrates EPCOT’s 30th Anniversary?
Theresa is currently going through severe Disney withdrawal and wishes she were able to be in EPCOT this weekend to actually celebrate with her interpretive dance to the Fountain of Nations music. Please tweet her @DisneyArb and tell her how amazing it would have been to see her performance.Share