Sunday, January 16, 2011

Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow . . . .

More commonly referred to as Epcot, this area of Walt Disney World is where we spent the bulk of our time on this trip.  When we visited Disney in 2004, the boys were only 2 and 5 and Epcot didn't hold their interest.  Now that they are 9 and 12, it is one of their favorite parks!

Completed in 1982, Epcot consists of two parts - Future World and World Showcase.  The park symbol is Spaceship Earth (pictured above) which houses a ride that takes you through history from the cavemen to present day.  Walt Disney's original vision of EPCOT was for a model community with residential homes and businesses, with transportation consisting of monorails and "people movers", and all auto traffic being kept underground.  Typical of many of his ideas, Walt was very forward thinking and ahead of his time in planning.

Artist rendering of Epcot from Walt's original idea

The Living Seas section of Epcot was where we spent a considerable amount of time.  Being a huge "Finding Nemo" fan, it was great to be able to see how the Disney Imagineers brought together the characters from the movie with real sea life.  On "The Seas with Nemo and Friends", you board a "clam-mobile" for a peaceful journey under the waves to visit with Nemo, Dory, Marlin and many other characters from the movie.  My personal favorites -  the seagulls at the entrance to The Seas, who would break into a chorus of "mine, mine, mine" every few minutes!

It would take days to fully explore all the area in World Showcase area.  Strolling through the different areas, you can sample food and drink and fun from many different countries.  The view across the lagoon is stunning, especially on a bright sunny day, or at night during Illuminations (I love this water/firework/laser show but missed it this trip - it was about 35 degrees the night the family attended).

Our dining experience of the trip was dinner at Chefs de France in World Showcase.  This was my fifth trip to Disney World, and this meal at Chefs de France was by far the best food I have had there.  Modeled after the bistros in Paris, with muted colors and high ceilings, the menu was classic French.  Onion soup, grilled salmon, local wine and crème brûlée were my dinner choices!

My youngest dining at Chefs de France (where he had chicken fingers!)

Being an Anglophile, Great Britain was also one of my favorites.  We had a filling lunch at Rose and Crown, where we sampled classic British fare such a fish and chips, along with some local ales . . .

while my son enjoyed a British Kit Kat bar from one of the shops!

One of my other favorites in World Showcase is Norway.  It contains a small thrill-ride, Maelstrom, which takes you on a stormy ride into the world of Northern Lights and trolls on a boat reminiscent of those used by the Vikings.  The ride disembarks in a recreation of a Nordic village where you feel you are actually on a dock in a tiny port side town.

The shop at the end of the ride (because anybody who has been to Disney World knows - all rides always exit you through a gift shop!) is full of beautiful Nordic knits and numerous trolls, including this over sized one that my son wasn't very fond of!

I'm looking forward to our next trip to Epcot, where we can explore more countries and culture - maybe the boys will be a little more daring with their dining choices and not just eat chicken fingers and cheeseburgers in every restaurant!

P.S. - In trying to set up the shot for the photo above, I took the picture below.  Typical boys who will fight over anything.  It ended up being our Christmas card photo for 2010 - with the caption "Naughty or Nice?"

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