My favourite Disney theme park is Epcot. In the many years that I have visited the parks, I still feel like there is something to learn about Epcot and its wondrous details. Each country in the World Showcase is meticulously created, and Future World is a maze to be discovered!
But there are some things about Epcot you might not know from just a visit to the parks.
Do you think that you know all there is to know about Epcot? Keep reading to find out five MAJOR secrets that Disney isn’t telling you about Epcot!
1. It's All In The Perspective
Diehard fans know well how Disney Imagineers use their impeccable skills to create magic. From the moment they pass through a park entrance, guests are transported to an entirely different world (or country!).
Ever notice that the Cinderella Castle seems to loom large at the end of Main Street, U.S.A.? What if I told you that it wasn’t actually as grand in size as it appears. Imagineers use an illusionary trick called forced perspective to achieve this. Forced perspective tricks the eye into believing an object is larger or smaller, or closer or further away than reality.
However, did you know that forced perspective is also used in Epcot? The building that hosts the American Adventure attraction was designed to appear smaller than it actually is. And there’s a great reason for this!
The building had to be large enough to host the full attraction. However, Imagineers wanted to stay true to Colonial architecture and a building that size didn’t align with this era.
Next time you’re headed to hear the sweet songs of the Voices of Liberty, take a look at the proportions on the building. The doors are extremely tall and while the building is massive, the windows are placed to make the exterior appear only three stories high. Bet you didn’t notice that!
2. The Lost Attraction
We all know about the Lost Princess, Rapunzel. But did you know that the Germany pavilion actually had a lost attraction, too?
The World Showcase boasts a variety of attractions, either in the form of performers, documentary-style films, or even a boat ride or two. But did you know there was actually going to be a third boat ride attraction… and that remnants of the ride still stand today?
When Germany opened with the park on October 1, 1982, Disney planned a new ride called the Rhine River Cruise which would take guests down Germany’s famous rivers: the Rhine, the Tauber, the Ruhr, and the Isar.
Unfortunately, for undisclosed reasons, the Rhine River Cruise never came to fruition. Large wooden doors concealed the entrance of what would be the ride for most of the 1980s, however, they were closed off permanently once plans for the ride were scrapped.
If you head to the back of the pavilion, you’ll find a large mural of Germany. Give a knock on the wall—it’s hollow! The mural covers a facade wall that encloses the attraction space. It’s sad to think that we’ll never experience this joyous cruise through Germany!
3. Time Travelling
As you make your way around the World Showcase, you might be known as a world traveller. But did you know that in one particular pavilion, you might also be a time traveller?
In the United Kingdom pavilion, Imagineers were very intentional in how they created the buildings that house the shops. The buildings are actually designed to replicate different architectural styles from the 16th to 19th centuries.
You’ll be able to see the variation in styles by heading into the alleyway beside the Sportman’s Shoppe.
On a short stroll through the pavilion, you’ll see buildings that replicate styles such as Tudor, Victorian, Georgian, and Regency. All that travelling without even breaking a sweat (well, this is Florida so some sweat may be involved!).
My personal favourite touch is the thatched roof of the early 1600s which is featured at The Tea Caddy shop, where Twinnings tea is sold. Apparently, this imitates the home of Anne Hathaway, wife of William Shakespeare. Even the interior reflects the cozy cottage atmosphere!
4. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!
Many attractions have come and gone in Walt Disney World’s 50-year run. But sometimes, even a retired attraction may leave traces behind.
These days, the Three Caballeros animatronics at the end of Gran Fiesta Tour may be best known for their frequent breakdowns. Sometimes, the animatronics are removed altogether! But for 50-year-old animatronics, they don’t look too shabby!
That’s right. The animatronics’ journey began in Magic Kingdom in 1971, where they made their appearance in the opening day attraction, The Mickey Mouse Revue. The stage show contained dozens of audio-animatronics that performed daily in the current location of Mickey’s Philharmagic.
Nearly 10 years later, the show moved to Tokyo Disneyland where it stayed until 2009. But it wasn’t until 2015 that the animatronics of Donald, Jose and Panchito returned. Now, they entertain guests (most of the time) at the Mexico pavilion in Epcot.
They certainly were on a grand tour!
5. A Grand and Miraculous Shelter
Picture this. One minute, you are strolling through Epcot with not a cloud in the sky. The next, it’s as if you’ve been caught in a hurricane! Any of us who have been to Walt Disney World in Orlando has experienced this. Florida rain is no joke.
There is a lot of information out there about staying dry in Walt Disney World. But did you know the best tip is actually to seek shelter underneath Spaceship Earth?
It might sound ridiculous, given that Spaceship Earth is a literal ball. But due to its unique design, this is a great spot to duck and hide when the rain hits.
Instead of rain pouring down the sides of Epcot’s spheric landmark, it drains into a gutter system installed within Spaceship Earth. From there, the rainwater is funnelled into the World Showcase Lagoon! Pretty neat, huh?
When the rain hits on your next vacation, bring your travelling party straight to Spaceship Earth and watch the magic happen!
Did any of these Epcot secrets surprise you? Would you have liked to ride the Rhine River Cruise? I know I would!
If you’re trying to get your magical fix, make sure to check out my other Disney blog posts here!