As I mentioned in my previous guest post on “Take Five” at the Magic Kingdom, I’m a former tour-park commando who still enjoys the adrenalin rush of a full touring itinerary. It wasn’t until I took a deep breath and learned to take five, though, that I began to truly appreciate the Disney theme parks.
These “Take Five” moments are just that – simple and short. “Take Five” reminds me that the Disney magic is often found in the unstructured and unexpected. Just five or ten minutes, nothing too structured or scheduled. These small details and often overlooked touches can be as refreshing as a Dole Whip and as memorable a hug from the Mouse.
So here are some of my top “Take Five” opportunities at Epcot, an embarrassingly incomplete list.
Club Cool, Future World: Located near Innovations West, Club Cool provides a “Flavors Around the World” exhibit with free samples of soft drinks featuring unusual flavors and various countries’ favorites. Sponsored by Coca-Cola, the exhibit also sells Coca-Cola beverages and merchandise.
Club Cool features eight tastes with varying degrees of yumminess that, similar to American Coca-Cola itself, can be acquired tastes. Options range from China’s watermelon flavor to Mozambique’s Ginger Ale to the bitter taste of Italy’s Beverly (a flavor that apparently only I like). But there are unexpected delights in the taste testing and comparison, and even (especially?) the “Ewww, try this!” reaction is part of the fun.
Email or Video Postcards, Future World: Create a “Wish you were here” e-postcard or video featuring your photo and/or other cool graphics. Send your Disney memories and well wishes via email to absent friends and family. Or send one to yourself, to be opened after you return home and are feeling “Mousesick” for the magic. A favorite spot for the postcards is Mission: Space, which offers the video option, but you can also visit Innoventions, Imagination! or Test Track. Ask a Cast Member at these attractions for specific locations.
Fountain of Nations, Future World: Epcot has lovely water fountains – including the Imagination! Leap Frog fountains and reverse waterfall and several interactive play fountains that provide refreshing miss. I appreciate them all. But today my favorite is the Fountain of Nations, a musical dancing fountain experience.
The Fountain of Nations, located in Innoventions Plaza, a choreographed and illuminated water ballet set to music. In this too-often overlooked delight, the fountains dance practically come alive. It’s one of those mesmerizing a show that stops most guests in their park-touring tracks.
Miniature Train and Village, Germany Pavilion: I’m not a railfan, per se, but I do like the romance of the rails. Especially Epcot’s version of Würzburg, The Romantic Road, which is Germany’s miniature train railway set in a Bavarian village. This outdoor model railroad exhibit features trains that travel though a populated village and its surrounding hillsides. With its carefully rendered details, the set is a popular and both adults and children linger there.
Guests can watch the trains move through the set, take note of German architectural styles, or marvel at the little stories each scene tells. My favorite things to look for include the working train station with people waiting to board, the merchandise and food in the town’s shops, and the mountain range and streams. Also worth noting are the many details Disney adds during special events and holidays, such as the signage and miniature topiaries for Flower & Garden or food booths during Food & Wine.
Bonus Take Five: Take a mini-architectural tour of a World Showcase pavilion: Admittedly, this can take longer than five or ten minutes. But such sightseeing is very worthwhile, especially if you plan to tour Epcot World Showcase as part of a simulated global tour. Doing so can also help you pace the many nibbles and noshes or completing a “Drink Around the World” challenge.
The pavilions, from their architecture and decor to cultural and historical details, are exceptionally well done. As with all things Disney, it can be hard to identify just one favorite. If pressed, I recommend visiting either Norway’s stave church, a replica of the Gol Stave Church in Oslo’s Norwegian Folk Museum, or Japan’s rock gardens and koi ponds. Both places are beautiful and peaceful – as are many such areas in World Showcase.
One benefit of Epcot’s spacious layout is that it encourages “Take Five” moments in the form of rest breaks, whether for a replenishing snack or a sit in the shade. Indeed, Epcot nicely illustrates that “Take Five” opportunities can be found everywhere at Walt Disney World, if you just look for them. They may be as simple as enjoying Kaki Gori or walking through the sparkling lights embedded in Epcot pathways.
So take a minute to Take Five. If you’re like me, you might find you enjoy these experiences so much fun that you’ll want to Take Ten!
Author: Debra Peterson
Website: Debra Peterson is the National Disney Travel writer at Examiner.com.
- Japan’s Koi Ponds, http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2010/08/koi-pond-at-japan-pavilion-in-epcot/
- Würzburg, The Romantic Road, http://www.romanticroad.com/wuerzburg/sights.htm
- Mission: Space Postcards, http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/epcot/attractions/mission-space-pavilion/