The Best of Epcot

Epcot opened as Walt Disney World's second gate on October 1st, 1982. A tribute to the vision and creative genius of Walt Disney, this Park was meant to celebrate human achievement, to be a community of new thought, and a permenant installation of modern international culture. The Park is split into two distinct sections, guests stepping through the main gate first arrive in Future World. This portion of the Park is dedicated to science and technology, where guests can explore the bottom of the sea, or reach for stars. Then deep into the heart of the Park is World Showcase, a collection of pavilions showcasing cultural arts and achievements from eleven nations, all situated around calm lagoon.

Compared to the Magic Kingdom, Epcot only has a handful of rides (the charm of World Showcase lies in cultural expressions like food, shopping, and entertainment) but Future World is home to two of my favorite Walt Disney World attractions.

Soarin' is currently closed for refurbishment to expand capacity, and accommodate a change in the original film. When it reopens not only will guests get a birds-eye view of California, but be taken on a trip around the globe as 'Soarin' Around the World' will raise guests on a journey to far-flung lands, and take them flying over both unique natural landscapes and man-made wonders. 'Soarin' Around the World will open later in 2016.

Test Track by Chevrolet is a fun adventure into the world of automotive design and testing with an interactive queue that allows guests to design their own vehicles in "competition" with fellow guests, which follow them through the ride, culminating in a thrilling test drive speeding around the outside of the building on an elevated platform.

Imagination - At The Heart of All Mankind's AdvancesImagination - At The Heart of All Mankind's Advances

When it comes to entertainment, Epcot is as diverse as it comes. There are interactive games, stunning films, fun concerts, and street performers from around the globe that bring their unique arts to new patrons on an intimate scale. If you're looking for a great date night at Disney, Epcot has everything you need. The best of the show? That would have to be IllimiNations.

IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth is a light, laser, and fireworks spectacular that dazzles every evening at Epcot. Centered on the World Showcase Lagoon, guests lining the shores are treated to one of the most popular nighttime shows on property. The viewing area for the show is pretty wide (there is 1.2 miles of promenade surrounding the lagoon) with popular locations including several waterfront restaurants.

Lasers, waterworks, and fireworks are part of the showLasers, waterworks, and fireworks are part of the show

One of the most popular things to do for guests visiting the Epcot Theme Park is to eat (or drink) their way around the world. No matter what time of year someone visits, the World Showcase offers a broad variety of exotic flavors. Much to the delight of many grown-up guests - not only does Epcot have a spectacular array of both quick and table service restaurants, but a great selection of lounges and cocktail kiosks to boot!

Tucked inside the lower level of Epcot's Land Pavilion guests will find a one stop shop for culinary treats being served up at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Sunshine Seasons offers a variety of tasty dishes being served up food court style, with just about something for everyone. The locations has ample seating, and ais the perfect spot to grab a bite while waiting for your Soarin' Fastpass+.

The Tangierine Cafe in the Epcot's Morocco Pavilion offers authentic with North African flair. Always at the top on my list to stop in for a bite, guests eating at this quick service can enjoy chicken or lamb schwarma, tabouleh, hummus, and falafel. For dessert (or even just stopping by for a snack) the cafe is always serving up sweet flakey baklava with seating in the beautiful Moroccan courtyard.

Charming Courtyard Seating Under the Tangerine TreesCharming Courtyard Seating Under the Orange Trees

On the table service side, Chefs de France offers guests a truly authentic taste of a real French Bistro. While Chef Remy no longer visits guests table-side, this restaurant is still a favorite of the Grown-ups staff for it's excellent service and delicious cuisine.

If you're looking for more of a family atmosphere, Via Napoli is the spot where all the charm and friendliness of a big family meal is top notch. The Wood-fired pizza is fresh fired in three amazing ovens named after famous Italian volcanos, then is brought piping hot to your table-side. Add a family salad, and an appetizer of arancini for one of the most heavenly pizza experiences of all.

Before I move on from culinary delights - it's worth noting here one of the most popular bars at Epcot. La Cava del Tequila is a fan favorite location for Margarita lovers. This little piece of paradise in the moonlight courtyard within the Mayan Temple specializes in what they call the "essential Mexican drink." Over 70 types of tequila are stocked at this bar, and the creative margaritas are absolutely something write home about.

Communal dining table inside Via NapolilCommunal dining table inside Via Napolil

When it comes to throwing special events, twice a year Epcot takes the cake. Twice a year the spacious park plays host to annual festivals that have changed the times of year when people travel. In the Spring the Park comes alive with the Annual Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival. This three month long celebration showcases the extraordinary work of Disney's horticulture team, local and fresh from the garden delicacies, and seminars from experts on outdoor living.

In the Fall, the Disney Chefs take over the Park with the legendary Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Food booths featuring foods and beverages from around the world line the World Showcase promenade during this spectacular culinary event. Special classes, tastings, and demonstrations from top chefs in the industry enhance the experience for guests during a festival that has become an attraction all on its own.

Daisy Duck Topiary from 2011100+ Topiary Are On Display At The Flower & Garden Festival

Epcot celebrates the future, and all that is yet to come, it draws us together, and call to the dreamer in us that longs to create a better world. While there are many ways to tackle a day (or two) at Epcot, your touring should be sure to include the best.

Do you agree with our list? What would you add as "The Best" of Epcot? Leave a comment below to share your picks.

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