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EPCOT turns 40: the history of Disney’s most futuristic and democratic park

In October 1966, Walt Disney released a film in which he revealed his plans for the “Florida Project”, a previously secret project that had the expansion of the wizarding world. disney only this time in Orlando, Florida.

At the time, the first complex in California was already an absolute success. In the plans, in addition to another Magic Kingdom bigger and more modern, Walt also announced a bold project: the EPCOT initials of Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow which would not be a theme park, but a city of the future.

Walt’s idea was to create a modern, self-sustaining community in the heart of Florida, where residents could live in smart homes, enjoy quality transportation, and still have access to a modern electricity and sanitation system.

But, with his death, in December of that year, plans changed and his brother Roy started the project that would transform EPCOT into a theme park, but keeping a futuristic idea.

Sixteen years later, on October 1, 1982, the park opened to the public with the Future World area, with the Spaceship Earth, Universe of Energy, World of Motion, Journey Into Imagination and The Land pavilions.

The public also saw World Showcase, with nine pavilions representing Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States. The idea was to honor the nations of the world and encourage proximity between these countries.

Today, a lot has changed. World Showcase now has three more countries and Future World no longer exists – it has been divided into other areas with new attractions.

40 years of EPCOT

For four decades, EPCOT has been a place where your imagination can soar into a magical world of possibilities.

Guests from around the world have the chance to explore new cultures, experience adventures alongside their favorite characters and collect family memories.

To celebrate these 40 years of history, the park will make commemorative items and special dishes available in restaurants for the anniversary of this project that began with Walt Disney and today increasingly becomes a symbol of inventions of the future and notions of the present.

Limited-edition items include hoodies, limited-edition Minnie ears, collectible pins, bottles, backpacks, and more. Restaurants will also serve sweets, drinks and other treats to celebrate.

Transformations in the park

EPCOT is going through the biggest transformation in its history, with constructions everywhere, new shows, new concepts.

In the last year, the area of ​​the Ratatouille, in the France pavilion and the roller coaster Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind which debuted in May 2022 and is already an absolute success.

The park is now undergoing a major change, and will be separated into four “neighborhoods”: World Showcase which already exists; World Nature which will include the areas The Land and The Seas already existing and the new attraction inspired by the movie “Moana”, which is already under construction; World Discovery where is the new roller coaster and attraction Mission: Space ; and World Celebration which has the entire entrance to the park and its symbol, the Spaceship Earth .

epcot disney park

In addition, in 2019 it was also announced the Play! pavilion , an area that will be dedicated to interactive games inspired by different Disney movies and characters. Further details of the new area have not yet been released, but the works are about to begin.

Festivals at EPCOT

The differential of EPCOT are the festivals that take place during the year. Divided between the seasons, there is the International Flower and Garden Festival, Food and Wine Festival, Festival of the Arts and International Festival of the Holidays. In addition to many different foods, the festivals also offer live shows on select days.

At the beginning of the year, the Festival of the Arts welcomes artists who exhibit their works in all kinds of ways: whether in paintings, on the wall or even on the floor.

Visitors can also participate in painting and drawing classes, as well as many photo opportunities scattered throughout the park. Music is also part of the party, more specifically the musicals: the EPCOT stage welcomes Broadway artists, who sing Disney hits in exclusive performances.

To welcome spring, the International Flower and Garden Festival, which takes place between March and May.

epcot festival

The park is completely transformed, with sculptures of shrubs in the shape of Disney characters, a flower bed, workshops to learn about gardening, butterflies and stalls with food made with seasonal ingredients, always with formats and decorations that refer to the festival’s theme.

In July, the Food and Wine Festival begins, which, as its name implies, is all about food and drinks, and lasts until November.

The park hosts stalls throughout World Showcase, where visitors can enjoy delights from around the world, with small portions to share and a taste of each.

Even Brazil joins the party, with a stand where cheese bread and caipirinha are present every year. Food and Wine also offers a treasure hunt for children, where you have to look for the mouse Remy, from the movie “Ratatouille”, who is hidden in several corners of the park.

The International Festival of the Holidays closes the year with Christmas and New Year celebrations. The event is a tribute to the holiday seasons of various nations around the world, in which it is possible to visit the World Showcase countries and learn about the culture of that time in each of them, listening to stories and participating in rituals.

The food offered is also seasonal, with stalls where we taste traditional Christmas dishes from different places.

Drinking and eating around the world

epcot disney park

EPCOT is known for being a park where the focus is not only on attractions, but also on gastronomic and cultural experiences.

One of the activities that visitors usually do there is “Eating Around the World” or “Drinking Around the World”, which consists of a trip around the world through World Showcase trying different foods and drinks.

It is possible to opt for savory or sweet dishes, in fast food restaurants or in some stalls with typical recipes that are available during the festivals.

The game is really fun to do with friends, and the cool thing is to share the dishes to try more things.

During the Food and Wine Festival, visitors receive a booklet where they can see menus from the stalls and mark which ones they have already tried.

main attractions

EPCOT opened in 1982 and from the beginning it was a project dedicated to innovation and technologies, something that was always in Walt Disney’s plans.

At first with only two pavilions, Future World and World Showcase, the attractions were already focused on the future. The geosphere that is the park’s symbol is called Spaceship Earth, and inside it there is an attraction that takes us on an adventure where we discover the history of communication through time.


At The Land pavilion, visitors embark on an adventure across planet Earth, learning about the potential of farming and food growing methods.

But that’s not all: there we can also take a trip around the world on Soarin’ Around the World, an attraction that takes you to fly over places like France, Africa, Germany, China and even Brazil.

Another highlight of EPCOT and one of the most recent is the attraction Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind , the longest indoor roller coaster in the world. Nearby, anyone who wants can travel to space in the Mission: Space or test out state-of-the-art cars in the Tast Track .

Moving on to World Showcase, the highlights go to Frozen Ever After which opened in 2016 but remains a huge success at the park, as well as Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, where visitors have the impression of being the size of a mouse and walk through the kitchen of the chef from the Disney film.

About Theresa Gallian

Theresa Gallian has a degree in film and works as social media at CNN Viagem & Gastronomia. One of her biggest passions is to explore the world and meet people from all over the world, but she confesses that she has an extra crush on the land of Mickey, so much so that she has already exchanged to work at Disney parks. She’s so tuned in to everything that goes on there that she keeps Instagram @mainstreetbloga profile that tells all the news about the parks.

*Texts published by Insiders do not necessarily reflect the opinion of CNN Viagem & Gastronomia.

Source: CNN Brasil

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