EPCOT is an acronym for “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.” To celebrate this wonderful park, here are 10 random facts you probably didn’t know about the park designed as a permanent world’s fair by Walt Disney himself.
Epcot is Huge
EPCOT is twice the size of the Magic Kingdom, and spans 300 acres. It also has a large parking lot spanning 141 acres that can accommodate up to 11,211 vehicles at a time. Epcot ranks second in Walt Disney World park size coming in behind Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Epcot theme park has been known by four different names
The park has been known by four different names over its 35-year history: EPCOT Center, EPCOT ’94, EPCOT ’95, and finally, EPCOT.
Epcot is fourth-most-visited theme park in North America
Epcot’s attendance was close to 13 million guests in 2019, ranking it as the fourth-most-visited theme park in North America and the seventh-most-visited theme park in the world.
Epcot park’s icon is made up of over 11,000 triangles
Spaceship Earth has served as the symbolic structure of Epcot since the park opened in 1982. The geodesic sphere is made of 11,324 aluminum and plastic-alloy triangles, and the dome weighs 16-million pounds.
The term “Spaceship Earth” was coined by famous futurist and theorist Buckminster Fuller, who wrote a book called Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth in 1968.
Used to be the largest aquarium
Back when “The Living Seas” opened in 1986, it was the biggest salt water aquarium in the U.S. Today, The Seas with Nemo & Friends is the 2nd largest behind the Georgia aquarium. The Main Tank holds over 5.7 million gallons of water and is home to eighty different species of marine life and houses over eight thousand creatures. The tank is so big that Spaceship Earth can fit inside it!
The World Showcase
A permanent world’s fair known as the World Showcase features 11 themed countries around the World Showcase Lagoon. Of the 11 pavilions that exist now, Mexico and Norway were not represented when the park opened, but were added in 1984 and 1988, respectively.
The World Showcase promenade is 1.2 miles long. Guests can immerse themselves in the architecture, landscapes, streetscapes, attractions, shops and restaurants of the 11 themed pavilions—each staffed by actual citizens from these countries:
- United States
- United Kingdom
Russia, Switzerland, Spain, Venezuela, United Arab Emirates, and Israel have all been mentioned as additions to the World Showcase at Epcot at one point or another.
Not funded by the countries, except one
Disney owns all of the World Showcase pavilions and they aren’t owned by their respective countries’ governments, and none of them are even sponsored by those governments anymore. Only one pavilion was originally fully sponsored by the country’s government, and that was the Morocco pavilion.
Morocco’s King Hassan II even reviewed a detailed scale model of the Morocco Pavilion for “authenticity and artistic effect.”
Captain EO was expensive
Captain EO was a spectacular, 70-millimeter, 3D space adventure starring Michael Jackson and directed by Francis Ford Coppola. The attraction cost an estimated $30 million to make. At just 17 minutes, that makes the film $1.76 million per minute.
Mission: SPACE can be dangerous
When Mission: SPACE opened in 2003, it was heralded as one of the most unique, innovative attractions ever dreamed up by Disney’s Imagineers. It was the culmination of all the years Disney had spent exploring, in many diverse ways, the lure of space travel.
Something you should know about Mission: SPACE is that it’s intense. So intense, in fact, that two people have died after riding Mission: SPACE. One was a four-year-old with an undiagnosed heart condition, and the other was a woman who suffered a stroke due to high blood pressure.
Eat from the Land
Many of the restaurants inside Epcot such as, Sunshine Season Food Fair and the Garden Grill, serve food that was grown inside of the Living with the Land attraction.