disney world: epcot (future world, international flower and garden festival)

I extended my work trip to Orlando by two days so I can spend some time at Disney World. However Disney is so huge with four different theme parks each requiring at least an entire day to cover all its grounds that I could only try to go to two parks in my limited time there. My choice was Epcot and Magic Kingdom.

Epcot stands for Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow and is a concept developed by the late Walt Disney towards the end of his lifetime. Epcot sprawls across 300 acres of land and is divided into two main sections: Future World and World Showcase. I spent 12 hours exploring both sections and still barely covered even 80% of the entire park.

I started the day at Future World where this ginormous golf ball greeted me; this spherical icon is called Spaceship Earth and had a slow-moving educational ride through time and space which I opted not to go for.

While everyone else tried to arrive way before the opening hours in order to get to the popular rides first, I slept in and waltzed in past 11am and totally regretted it afterwards when I couldn't get onto the two rides top on my list to take:

a) Soarin' - you get onto a hang-gliding flight in a simulation environment where you soar in the clouds against the panoramic views of California.

b) Test Track - a high-speed vehicle-simulation ride where you undergo a series of safety and quality tests that General Motors performs on every prototype it manufactures.

For the same reason as the above, I totally skipped the entire Mission: SPACE pavilion. Instead I spent some time exploring the Innoventions Pavilion East and West where exhibits of amazing innovations created to make everyday life easier for all of us provide a very educational tour for kids. Below pic shows a technologically advanced interactive 30-foot fire pumper truck in the West pavilion.

I then decided to indulge my kiddy self by hopping onto a clamobile and joining Nemo on an undersea adventure at The Seas with Nemo & Friends Pavilion which also features a massive aquarium that holds one of the largest man-made ocean environments in the world. The gentle giants swimming gracefully in the manatee rehabilitation area instilled a peaceful calm in me but I quickly exited the place in horror when I saw those colourful electric eels in the neighbouring tank.

I went from the underwater world to The Land Pavilion where I took the Living with the Land boat ride that took us past the American plains, a tropical rain forest and the African desert to witness the latest developments in aquaculture and desert farming. We floated slowly past many greenhouses where their Biotechnology Lab personnel invest all their time and effort into researching sustainable farming. It is fascinating to see how they have created an aqua-agri environment where food crops, fish and alligators all come together to play their part in the production cycle, and to see sweet potatoes dangling in the air without needing to grow deep into the soil thanks to the discovery of a more efficient way of farming. An extremely thought provoking and humbling ride.

As I headed for the Imagination! Pavilion to try and catch the Honey I Shrunk the Audience - a 3D film experience highly rated in my guide book where you get sucked into a world of giant cats and dogs - I spotted random furry Disney characters such as this below along the way. I did not join any of the queues to get any autographs or photos with them as I had too much ground to cover in a very short time.

My guide was outdated as they had changed the 3D film to that of Captain EO starring the real Michael Jackson from days when he was so much younger and sexier. It was a bit weird and very funny to watch MJ acting the part of a spaceship captain on a mission to save the earth but the finale musical and dance performance by him was spectacular, as is befitting of the King of Pop.

My visit to Epcot coincided with the spring special event - Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival - and I was treated to a colourful array of flowers and Disney character topiaries of which many impressed me with the creativity shown in utilising so many varied types of plants to create the colours required and the attention paid to the minute details to create close to perfect semblance to the actual characters. Below is a series of pictures of some of my favourite creations that I spotted throughout the day in Epcot.

I then spent the later half of the day in World Showcase which I will endeavour to cover in a separate blog entry.

No comments: