So listening to the DIS shows, one can’t help but be intoxicated by EPCOT. Festival of the Arts, Flower and Garden, Food and Wine, Christmas around the world, Candlelight, New years eve and right back to festival of the arts again.
Even the anniversary bash was in EPCOT! When I am around without family for work, meetings are often in hotels on boardwalk so EPCOT is natural option for after work food, drink or ride. This is the EPCOT I, the team and you all must love.
But last October, many of our friends (4 families in total with 13 kids) independently visited WDW for the first time. When I met to discuss the trips afterwards, one thing they all agreed is the weakest park by far. Obviously, I expect DHS given construction nightmare, but no – EPCOT. Yes, you heard me – EPCOT.
As they explained, memories started to awaken. Where are the rides? Universe of energy and Wonders of life not an option, innoventions not fun for kids, Mission SPACE too tame or too extreme, test track and soarin fun, Living seas with nemo ok and then what is world showcase? There are no rides, except the frozen attraction with a 2 hour wait? Where is all the detailed lands and immersive theming? And why do those of us from the UK or Europe need a fake France / UK / Germany / etc.
I found it hard to argue – even though I was desperate to! After all, I understand. As a young child I was in love with EPCOT – that is the EPCOT I visited in 1984/5 and even 1993/4. Horizons, World of motion, original figment, etc. But as a child then growing up, the attractions were not enough – not thrilling, not on par with the rest of world. And then world showcase – when you are coming for 2 weeks from abroad, perhaps staying off property, eating and drinking are just not part of the trip. You can’t afford it, you haven’t got time to sit and stop or you just don’t fancy the pomp and ceremony. And I am back to the point on the world showcase – this is such a key part of EPCOT, why I increasingly love the park and why I know many of you love it.
But thinking of my own history with the park, my friends experiences and how this competes with the seasonal discussions on the boards and DIS shows, I think how you view world showcase is very much in the eye of the beholder! I don’t even think this is a USA vs UK thing. I think how you vacation is key. How often do you come, are you on property, do you have dinning plan, do you kids sit and eat being well behaved and do you have any knowledge or experience of the countries in showcase? These will shape how you can and choose to enjoy world showcase. If you embrace the world showcase, the constant change, excitement, international flare of the nationals staffing, the great range of food, you will see this park as a jewel in the crown, living up to the vision of a permanent worlds fair. But if you are looking for your fill of attractions, immersive imagined lands and theming, with no time to sit, eat and enjoy, I don’t think World Showcase and by extension, EPCOT as it exists today does work for you.
But why do these thoughts matter you may ask? I have a theory. I think Imagineering and Disney Execs know this and recognise it. They are stuck between the need for EPCOT to be a key park for locals, repeat visitors and annual passholders and the need to challenge the issues I raise with the ‘other’ type of guest who can’t quite get into EPCOT. The solution? World showcase becomes ‘World of IP’. That way, both groups can visit their EPCOT.
I wonder what you all think of my musings, particularly the views of other Europeans and US guests from further afield who perhaps don’t visit regularly?