Epcot - Is this a Theme Park?
Dad joined us for a visit to Epcot, which is by far the strangest of the four theme parks. It's half traditional park (Future World) and half World Expo, known as the World Showcase. I'll get to that part later.
We arrived at opening time 9 a.m. only to find out that half the park (World Showcase) doesn't open until 11 a.m. That means that half of the park has to accomodate everyone. It meant that there were lots of people rushing to get to the few rides that are part of Epcot. We quickly headed to the section known as the Land, which dates back only to 2005. Our goal was to get onto the ride Soarin, sort of combination of simulation ride and Imax movie. We had to get Fastpasses, because the line was already long.
In the meantime, we went on Mission: Space; Spaceship Earth; The Seas with Nemo and Friends and took in Talking Turtle with Crush. The latter was kind of neat, because it was interactive. Children were given the chance to ask Crush questions and he responded. Obviously someone on a video monitor somewhere, but the kids loved it. Spaceship Earth was a traditional Disney ride, slow-moving with animatronics, but it was well done. I couldn't talk anyone into joining me for Test Track, the fastest moving ride at the park. The fact that you could hear it hurtling by didn't help my cause.
We finally got to Soarin. It was also kind of neat, because it took that Imax feeling that you are moving one step further by actually moving you through the air in conjuction with what is on the screen. Dad had his eyes closed for most of it. The Living with the Lands ride was also interesting. It takes you through Epcot's research facility and fish farms. Who knew that something productive was actually being done at a Disney park. In fact, the food grow there is used in the many restaurants.
The children enjoyed this part of the park, but the World Showcase part really didn't appeal to them. The way each area looks like buildings in that part of the country is neat, but there's not enough to keep their interest. Only a couple of the pavilions, Mexico and Norway, have rides. They are the traditional slow-moving kinds. The Mexican one is new, it opened in 2007, but is not very impressive. The rest of the pavilions are just store fronts and restaurants. I think they would be more interesting if there were artifacts to look at. Some of them have movies to watch, but they smack of tourism advertisements. We skipped them. There is thematic entertainment at the various locales. A mariachi band played at the Mexican area, acrobats at China, and we saw a good Celtic rock band complete with bagpipes at the Canada zone. Imagine that's your job - to be a house band at a Dinsey themepark.
Chantal was pleased as punch that we were able to secure a table at the German Biergarten. She was in heaven eating the German food from the buffet and we were right in the middle for the Oktoberfest Musikanten show, a 4-person musical group that performed traditional Bavarian music with singing, dancing, and bell ringing. The children were less than impressed with the food. It wasn't as good as Mom's German cooking. Dad probably had the biggest glass of beer in his life. I couldn't believe that Chantal didn't go crazy at the German souvenir shops.
The only other major attraction we hit before running out of steam was the American Adventure. The patriotic infused theater show was another combination of music, lights and animatronics. No matter the show, it's amazing what Disney has done with robotics. In this case Ben Franklin and Mark Twain robots tell much of the narrative of the country's history.
Overall our least favourite park, except for Chantal, who is somewhat biased.