8 Most Unique Attractions at EPCOT Center
"It will be a community of tomorrow that will never be completed, but will always be introducing, and testing, and demonstrating new materials and new systems. And EPCOT will always be a showcase to the world of the ingenuity and imagination of American free enterprise." - Walt Disney
Heralded by the iconic golf ball globe at the entrance, Epcot Center is sometimes referred to as the "Permanent World's Fair."
EPCOT is an acronym for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, a Utopian city of the future planned by Walt Disney.
The original vision was for a model community that would be home to 20,000 residents, built in the shape of circle with businesses and commercial shops in the center and community buildings and schools along the perimeter.
But, alas, the blueprints materialized into a theme park instead of a city.
You could spend days wandering through the international-themed pavilions, but here's what to look out for if you only have one day:
1. Test Track
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Perhaps the most iconic ride at EPCOT Center, if not the Disney theme parks as a whole, is the Test Track. This mile-long race car ride launches around banked curves at speeds up to 60 miles per hour, which is about as fast as any Disney attraction goes. Afterward, if you've got the need for speed, take a second spin on a six-passenger simulation car at One Fun Ride.
2. Spaceship Earth
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Spaceship Earth is a 16-minute audio-animatronic dark ride that sends guests through 40,000 years of human history in a time machine. The journey is in the globe at EPCOT's entrance. Here you can also catch a glimpse of some 1970s technology.
3. Agent P's World Showcase Adventure
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All kids dream of saving the world like their favorite super heroes and heroines, and at Agent P's World Showcase Adventure, they can! On this journey, secret agent kids team up with Perry the Platypus to fight off Dr. Doofenshmirtz through EPCOT's pavilions. Missions take place in the Mexico, Norway, China, Japan, Germany, France and the U.K. pavilions.
4. Sum of All Thrills
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Fly high in a roller coaster, cruise through snow and ice in a bobsled or launch off in a jet plane ride. The twist: You design the ride. The thrill attraction simulator combines a robotic arm with a human paint mixer and virtual pod that whips you around - to your fancy. You control the level of dips and flips.
5. Mission: SPACE
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Become an astronaut at Mission:Space, where you'll dodge meteors and catapult around the moon. Before you board, actor Gary Sinise debriefs you on the mission to Mars with your three other cadets. Like the Sum of All Thrills, this is a simulation ride, so you get to pick your intensity level. If it gets too lunch-tossing wild, those who want to abort the mission can head directly to Mission: SPACE Advanced Training Lab, a space-themed play area with no virtual simulators about it.
6. The Seas with Nemo & Friends
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For those fascinated by marine life, be sure to check out The Seas with Nemo & Friends, which takes place in a saltwater aquarium. Here visitors will travel past tropical reefs and old shipwrecks to explore the lost treasures of the deep blue sea. One of the favorite parts is digital Dory, Marlin and Demo characters projected on the 5.7-million gallon saltwater tank with real fish swimming behind them.
7. IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth
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With fireworks, pyrotechnics, laser lights and fire, this attraction is truly a spectacle. In fact, the night time show premiered in 1999 as llumiNations 2000: Reflections of Earth as part of the millennium celebration, but it was so successful that the "2000" was dropped from its name. Get ready for a 12-minute bonanza that turns EPCOT's lagoon into a canvas full of firework colors.
8. EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival
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Once parents get tired of silly, childish rides, they can dive into the culinary and vino delights of EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival. Following EPCOT's international theme, the fest offers an array of marketplaces where visitors savor the spices and regional dishes of many countries. Sink your teeth into the South American roasted Verlasso salmon with quinoa salad before tasting the sauerkraut pierogi and pork goulash at the Poland marketplace. The fest generally lasts from September to November. You might even catch a "Boot Camp Series" for foodies, a celebrity chef cookbook event with a dinner showcasing Walt Disney's culinary favorites.
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