- Epcot is home to some iconic attractions and festivals, but even lifelong Disney fans might not know everything about the park.
- Disney got NASA and Ray Bradbury to help develop different rides at Epcot.
- Epcot’s retired “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” nighttime show was narrated by a famous Disney voice.
- The park has a back entrance that guests can use, and it has a small system of underground tunnels for its cast members.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Epcot (stylised as EPCOT) is one of the four major theme parks at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, and it often appeals to older Disney lovers.
The park reopened with added safety measures in July after closing amid the coronavirus pandemic in March. The reopening also marked the start of a modified version of Epcot’s popular Food and Wine Festival, which features menu offerings from around the world.
Before your next visit, here are some behind-the-scenes secrets about Epcot:
Walt Disney’s original design for the park looked a lot different
That idea never came to fruition, however, the Imagineers paid homage to his vision with the futuristic architecture and technology found throughout the theme park.
Disney got NASA to help design Mission: Space
When the Disney Imagineers were building Epcot’s Mission: Space (stylised as Mission: SPACE), they employed the help of current and former NASA advisors, astronauts, and scientists so the ride could more accurately create the feeling of a real space flight.
The park’s icon is made up of over 11,000 triangles
As guests walk into Epcot, the first thing they see is the park’s icon, Spaceship Earth, sometimes lovingly referred to as the “golf ball.”
The massive geodesic sphere is made of 11,324 aluminium and plastic-alloy triangles, and the dome weighs 16-million pounds.
A famous science-fiction author helped design the Spaceship Earth ride
Author Ray Bradbury â€” who’s well-known for his novel “Fahrenheit 451″ â€” was well-acquainted with Disney in the 1960s, and years later, he was hired to help write the storyline and script for Epcot’s Spaceship Earth attraction.
Located inside the giant sphere, the ride travels through the evolution of human communication.
Epcot grows some of its own food on-site
When guests ride Living With the Land, they go through a few greenhouses featuring lots of fruits and vegetables.
Two of Epcot’s World Showcase pavilions didn’t exist on opening day
When Epcot opened in 1982, there were nine countries in the World Showcase â€” Mexico, China, Germany, Italy, the US, Japan, France, the UK, and Canada â€” but today there are 11.
Christina Aguilera’s original music video for
featured the China pavilion
The singer recently rerecorded the hit and made a new music video for the release of the live-action “Mulan” (2020).
The aquarium in The Seas With Nemo and Friends holds 5.7 million gallons of water
When guests explore The Seas With Nemo and Friends, they’re entering one of the largest aquariums in the world.
The tank holds 5.7 million gallons of water and is home to tons of different sea creatures.
The narrator for ‘IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth’ may have sounded familiar to many guests
If Disney fans recognised his voice, it’s probably because the star is behind several Disney characters, including Winnie the Pooh.
Lots of celebrities have performed at Epcot over the years
Although most of the park’s shows and live performances have been cancelled this year amid the coronavirus pandemic, Epcot usually hosts an annual Eat to the Beat concert series in the fall and Candlelight Processional in the winter that brings dozens of celebrities to the park.
Last year’s Eat to the Beat concerts, which ran during the Food and Wine Festival, included performances by the Plain White T’s, Smash Mouth, Boyz II Men, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.
Epcot’s Candlelight Processional usually accompanies the International Festival of the Holidays and features an array of celebrity narrators throughout the month of December.
Neil Patrick Harris, Whoopi Goldberg, and Gary Sinise all participated in it in 2019.
The World Showcase promenade is over a mile long
Epcot’s 11-country World Showcase is full of attractions, dining options, and character meet-and-greets, and the path from Mexico around to Canada is 1.2 miles long.
The train set in the Germany pavilion changes with the seasons
Near the restrooms in the Germany pavilion, there’s a large train display running through a miniature village.
In the spring, the tiny village is decorated for the Flower and Garden Festival, in the fall, it features tables of food and small Food and Wine banners, and in the winter, it gets added festive decor for the holidays.
There’s a lesser-known back entrance to the park
Between the France and UK pavilions, there’s a second, lesser-known guest entrance to Epcot that leads straight into the World Showcase.
It’s known as the International Gateway, and guests staying at the Epcot hotels, riding the Friendship Boats, or getting off the Skyliner can enter there instead of going all the way around to the front of the park.
Guests can go inside the Stave Church in the Norway pavilion
As guests enter the Norway pavilion, the Stave Church is one of the first things they will see.
Many people think this small building is just there for decorative purposes, but it’s actually a gallery that features artifacts from Norway and tells the story of the Norse gods.
Epcot has a small set of underground tunnels
They run under the Future World section of the park, and they’re used to transport things and cast members from one side to the other without disturbing guests.