Epcot, the second theme park to be built at Walt Disney World Resort, opened to the public on October 1, 1982. When the park debuted, it was originally called Epcot Center, but the “center” was dropped from the name in 1994. However, Epcot theme park has an even more unique story behind its initial development.
Epcot is an acronym that stands for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, a name that fit well with Walt Disney’s original vision for Epcot. Initially, Epcot was going to be developed as a model community, home to 20,000 citizens and used as a test bed for city planning. Unfortunately, Walt Disney was denied funding until he built the Magic Kingdom theme park first, but he died before the park was opened. Disney, not wanting to be saddled with running a city, designed instead to turn Epcot into its own theme park, modeled after the ideals of the original vision of Epcot.
The theme park spans 300 acres, and is twice the size of Magic Kingdom. Additionally, Epcot is divided into two sections – Future World and World Showcase.
Future World includes several different pavilions that explore the innovative and exciting applications of technology, and features several exciting rides and attractions including Spaceship Earth, Innoventions, Test Track, Soarin’ and more. The giant golf-ball shaped Epcot icon, Spaceship Earth, greets visitors as they walk through the main entrance.
The second section of Epcot theme park, the World Showcase, features a variety of themed pavilions designed to allow guests to explore the different cultures and cuisine of 11 different countries. The pavilions you’ll experience at the World Showcase include Norway, Mexico, France, Italy, China, Germany, Japan, Morocco, United States, United Kingdom and Canada. As visitors walk around the World Showcase, they will be entertained by live performances, character meet-and-greets, and plenty of unique dining and shopping establishments. Kids can join the fun too by stopping at any Kidcot station, where they can design their own unique souvenirs to take home.
Additional entertainment abounds at Epcot theme park, including daily and nightly shows, concerts, meet-and-greets, acrobats, fireworks, dancers, musicians, mimes, and even comedians. Some live performers in the World Showcase will even invite visitors to join the show themselves!
The theme park also hosts several special events each year, so visitors eager to experience one of these should plan their trip accordingly. The special events include the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, held during the spring; the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival held during the fall, as well as the Sounds Like Summer Concert Series, a summer concert series that brings together various tribute bands performing some of the world’s greatest hits. Finally, Holidays Around the World is the annual winter celebration at Epcot, and this special event celebrates many nation’s unique holiday traditions.
Despite the fact that Epcot never did become the test city Walt Disney initially envisioned, the theme park has become a huge success and attracts visitors from all over the globe with its varied attractions, dining and shopping establishments.