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 Best kept secrets - Epcot

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PostSubject: Best kept secrets - Epcot   March 12th 2009, 05:37

General—(1) The sidewalks twinkle at night. Take the right-hand path after the Epcot ball. You'll come upon them. Absolutely magical. And the fireflies in the trees! (2) The distance around the World Showcase, from China to Canada, is 1.2.5 miles. (3) The World Showcase park entrance, we found the upside down classic Mickey in the clock. (4) The concrete paths around the lagoon are red to make the grass appear greener. (5) A great, uncrowded place to visit characters is the bench near the rail past the International Gateway. It's on your right if you're coming form the BC. It might be across that first clothing store when you get in. (6) There is a butterfly garden behind Mouse Gears.

African Outpost—(1) Open the lids of the crates and see what happens. (2) If you are over near China/African Outpost in the early afternoon, the drawbridge goes up and you can watch them bring out the launching islands for Illuminations. It's a bit of a wait as the drawbridge is open, so traffic stops and you can't cross the bridge until they finish.

American Pavilion--(1) View the American Flag that was taken from the rubble of 9/11/2001. It will put a lump in your throat and a tear in your eye. (2) When you go to see the show, you will have to go up to what seems to be the second floor. The reason for this is, all of the different platforms with the presidents on them are actually stored under the seats that you are sitting on. They come sliding out as they are needed and then go back under when they are finished. (3) The building that the American Adventure is in is really 5 stories, but has tall doors and windows to make it look like it is only 3 stories. It's hard to tell, but have one person go stand by the door to the gift shop, and you'll be able to tell that the opening is about 12 feet high! (4) Was designed using "forced perspective" (same as the castle in MK) because Imagineers discovered that a building from that time period would have been too small to be seen across World Showcase Lagoon. (5) In the American Pavilion, there are paintings along the front wall. One of the first ones opens to reveal an elevator. (6) The colonial soldiers (am not sure if that is what they are called, but were dressed up like the time of George Washington) in America--They come out with the flag, and they have a small band and there is a drummer boy. They do a little ceremony of sorts.

Canada—(1) In Canada, at Epcot's World Showcase, there is a huge "rock" at the Kodak picture spot. Before IllumiNations-Reflections of Earth begin, the top of the "rock" will open, and sound and lighting equipment for IllumiNations will come out. I was standing right by the "rock" when it happened and was amazed at what I was seeing! (2) There was a walking trail in Canada, with an old abandoned mine and waterfalls? I knew of the one on the way to see that movie, O'Canada, but supposedly, there is another one--a real walking trail to show you the landscape of Canada. (3) The waterfall was put there because the sound of the water masks the fact that there is a huge generator directly behind it. (4) There is a building in Canada that is only 3 stories high, but has 5 rows of windows to make it look taller. (5) Do you know how many of the three totem poles are real?? One--The are two on your right and one on your left. The one on your left is a 700# cedar totem pole. Two have two distinct markings that show they are two large pieces of fiberglass stacked on top of each other. The 30-foot "real" totem pole raised there in April 1998 is carved by a renowned Tsimshian Indian carver, David Boxley. The totem pole is three stories of Raven, a traditional story amongst Northwest Coastal Indians. The top of the pole depicts the story of Raven tricking the Chief of the Skies to release the sun, moon, & stars from a carved cedar chest (box). (6) The trees in Canada are replaced when they grow too big! (7) Also, the plants at Canada change with the seasons, not to correspond with Buchart Gardens but to simulate the seasons in Canada. White in winter, gold and red in autumn, etc. They can't correspond to Buchart Gardens because the weather in Disney is different than on Vancouver Island. However, the flower gardens there represent Buchart Gardens.

China—(1) The temple in China is acoustically perfect--if you stand exactly in the middle of the room, your voice will echo back to you. (2) You can purchase a fan, and they will personalize it for free. They write the name in Chinese. The fan is very inexpensive, around four dollars. (3) China pathways narrow to help create the feeling of crowded streets and lots of people.

France—(1) The Eiffel tower is the only "carrot" in the WS--the only thing that cannot be reached by the general public. (2) Be sure to find Belle's library. If you're searching for Belle and Beast, you're almost sure to walk through, but even if you're not, browse the shops and you'll find yourself there as well. There are countless references to classic Disney tales. Shelves are lined with favorite stories, knickknacks like gargoyles from Hunchback and the rose from Beauty and the Beast are there, and I remember some more obscure Disney references catching my eye as well. There's also a beautiful stained glass window, just like the mosaics during the prologue of B&TB. (3) Between France and Morocco, you'll notice that there is a section of pavement that looks different. This is supposed to symbolize the Straits of Gibralter.

Germany—(1) Being in Germany at the top of the hour. At the courtyard in Germany if you look up towards the back there is a clock. If you are there around the hour, it will ring and a German boy and girl will come out (they are made our of wood, they are not real) and twirl around. Sometimes the clock is a little off on the time and you have to wait a few minutes. (2) While you're looking at the train set in Germany, look at the church on the side of the bridge closer to the lagoon. Over the doorway are, I think, 4 (four) hidden Mickeys. They are Mickey hats. (3) Also in the train set—On the side of the bridge farthest from the lagoon, in the brownish-colored castle, on the right side in the farthest window is a hidden Mickey. It looks like one of the little rubber ones you can buy. He is dressed up in his suit and is just standing there in the window. (4) If you go into Germany on the right side, walk straight to the back wall {through the tables and chairs} and knock on the wall. There is a big mural on it . You will get a hollow sound. It is a plywood wall that covers the area that was in the original plans for the pavilion, supposed to be the entrance to the Rhine river boat ride, which never panned out for whatever reason.

Ice Station Cool—(1) When you go into the Coke station, get a little of the "Italy-Beverly" flavor and act like you are drinking it then tell everyone how delicious it is. They will all take a big gulp and gag!!! It is disgusting! I have had lots of fun with this and dh always goes along with me to fool the newbies. The looks on their faces are always priceless! (2) It used to be Ice Station Cool, but now it's "Club Cool." If you are walking towards the world showcase from future world it is on the right hand side of the large fountain. If you walk past the fountain you have gone too far.

Innoventions—(1) Innoventions West, at the IBM exhibit, you can email pictures of yourself. (2) Innoventions East the ten-second video clip you can email. (3) Look for the solar powered lawnmowers at EPCOT.

International Gatewa--(1) When you are crossing that little bridge to France you are symbolically crossing "the English Channel"? (2) At the International Gateway, near France, on the bridge in the lagoon area there's a bicycle sitting on the land near the water with an artist's canvas next to it. The painting there looks finished, too. It took me a long time to see that Disney detail; it's easily missed.
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PostSubject: Re: Best kept secrets - Epcot   March 12th 2009, 05:37

Italy—(1) If you wander around behind the shops (where the fountains are), look around for little red press-buttons that say "press for a surprise" (or something to that affect). If you press the button, water squirts from a different location. It’s always fun to see where the water comes from when you do it, and then, wait for an unsuspecting person to walk by. They can't ever figure it out. (2) In Italy, when you are walking towards the pavilion, you have the shop with the clothes on the left. OK, that building, the columns have little men, maybe monks (?) carved into them, a little over head level. I am not 100% if I am right on the EXACT location, but there is the corner column, then either the next one or the one after that (so either the second or third from the end of the corner of the World Showcase walkway and the one leading into Italy), one of the men is actually holding a bowling ball. All of the figures seem to be holding something round, but only one has a bowling ball. I had to have a CM taller than me point it out, as I was too short (I’m 5’5”) and could only feel it with my fingers. The CM told me one of the architects was a bowler and wanted to leave that in the building. (3) Located in the central plaza of the Italy pavilion, known as the "Plaza del Teatro," you can find the "Fontana de Nettuno." This fountain contains the image of Neptune, the God of the Sea, and was inspired by Gian Lorenzo Bernini's Fountain of Trevi, located in Rome, Italy. The original famous fountain is often recognized as having been seen in Federico Fellini's classic film, "La Dolce Vita."

Japan—(1) The Japanese pagoda has 5 stories and each symbolizes something. They are in ascending order, which represent the elements from which Buddhists believe all things in the universe are created: earth, water, fire, wind and sky. (2) Upside down classic Mickeys in gold (bells?) (3) The statue to the right as you enter Japan was a gift from the government of Japan when MK opened and was moved to Epcot when it opened. (4) At Japan try to find out the times that the woman makes animals out of candy. She will give them (for free) to some of the children in the group standing there. It is amazing to watch her do this.

Living Sea--(1) In Epcot at Sea Base Alfa, look at the beams inside. You will see a bunch of letters and numbers. The people who worked on building it wanted to leave something, so the letters and numbers mean something special to each one who worked on the building (2) When you leave notice the overhang coming out is very large. That is to give you eyes time to get readjusted to the sunlight. (3) The Living Seas Pavilion measures 203’ in diameter, 27’ deep, and contains 5.7 million gallons of salt water. The Aquarium is so large that Spaceship Earth (160’ in diameter) would fit inside with room to spare.

Mexico--There are relief carvings on the sides of the pyramid in Mexico. They were added later after they realized that small children liked to climb those little steps!

Mission: Space—(1) In the gift store, look at the ceiling. Double Hidden Mickey. I think I can make out both a classic and a profile hidden Mickey in the same scene. (2) When you are in the gift shop of Mission Space, look at the walls. It looks like electrical boxes and wiring. Some of these boxes are Mickeys heads. (3) On Mission Space, if you start flipping all of the switches and turning the dials and stuff "Lt. Dan" comes over your speaker and tells you not to touch them.

Morocco—(1) All the tiles and carvings in Morocco were hand made and none depict life. (2) When they light up all the countries in Epcot as part of Illuminations, they do not light up the temple in Morocco as this would violate their religious beliefs. (3) You can take a guided tour of Moracco. Times vary, there is no charge, and it is about 20 min, if I remember correctly. It was run out of the tourism office room (now Tangere Cafe). I would just ask a CM at Markesh kiosk. It really is worth the time. (4) Across from Morocco there is a aqua-duct. Most people wallk by. They grow vegetables and plants there. It is really neat to look at. (5) When they were asked to join WS, the King was so excited and thrilled that they had been asked. He sent his own men over there to built it and totally paid for the construction. It did not cost Disney anything to build. (6) There is a "gold" prayer room in Morocco that was included for the CM and is open to the public. (7) When walking through Morocco, take a look at all of the mosaic tile artwork on the walls. You will notice that each mosaic has at least one cracked/flawed tile in it. This is because these mosaics were created by Moroccan artisans in a unique arrangement with the Moroccan government and Disney, as mentioned before. The Moroccan people worship Allah and believe that only Allah can create something that is "perfect," so every mosaic was purposely flawed!

Norway—(1) The roof has grass growing on it! Horticulture CMs get up on that roof and trim the grass with clippers since they don’t seem to have a goat to keep up there as they do in Norway. (2) There is a secret on the Viking Ship Ride. As you are waiting to aboard your ship, look closely at the painting on the wall of the Viking Ship and you will find Mickey on the ship. (3) There's a very nice playground in Norway, too. It has a Viking boat theme. (4) There is also the ship behind the bakery and the bakery itself , rice cream and cloud horns to die for.

Soarin’--Look for the Hidden Mickeys in the golf ball and fireworks.

Test Track—(1) Test Track vehicles have three onboard computers that have more processing power than the space shuttle. (2) Test Track is the fastest ride in WDW, at 65 mph.

The Land—(1) The address on the mail box in front of the farm house has 82 or 1982 on it. The Park opened in 1982. (2) Boat ride--watch for the lab set up on the right near the end of the ride. There is a bunch of green test tubes in the shape of Mickeys head in the test tube holder on the far right.

United Kingdom—(1) When approaching the UK from Canadian side, the first thing you come up to is the Rose and Crown on your left. When the Imagineers visited the UK, they determined there were three types of pubs. (Public Houses) All three styles are reflected in the outside architecture of Rose and Crown. One facade is the one you can see from the water side or Canada side, one facade is the entrance into the pub itself, and the third is for the fish and chips window. The name Rose and Crown was chosen because after their study of the four countries, it was determined that the word "Rose" and the word "Crown" were the two most popular words contained in the naming of Pubs. (2) As you look in front of you and to your right, you will see a line of shops. The first is a tea shop. It’s outside and inside architecture represents UK in the 1600s--thatched roof, huge hearth inside low ceilings, dark lighting even the style floor. The next shop represents the 1700s and has a sign out front that says Est. 1702. It has higher ceilings and basic wrought iron lighting fixtures. If you look at it from the outside, you can see the cantilever build. That served two purposes-the first was a legal form of tax evasion. Subjects were taxed on the square footage of the downstairs. Second and even more visual was what they threw out the upstairs windows into the drains that ran down the center of the streets. Just another reason gentlemen walked nearer the road and wore large brimmed hats while ladies walked very near the bldgs. The next building is 1800s neoclassical. See the window styles and even how ornate the window coverings and lighting are? Look up at the ceiling and how it is painted. As you exit that shop, look to your right. There is a whole other building over there, and it is in the same 1800s time frame to stay in sync. Look at the rooftops. See the Mary Poppins style chimneys? (3) You should now be looking out over the garden area (intended to represent Hyde Park). If you look to your left, you will see a typical shrubbery maze. Only it is short hedges so children don't get lost. The British Invasion used to perform in the gazebo right in the middle of the maze! (4) If you come on around using the path rather than the road, you will see a not-a-Garden or more accurately a Knot-a-garden. It represents the local apothecary. The hedges are grown a foot or so high in the shape of a knot, and each "section" of the garden had a different herb planted in it. (5) On that path back on the road to the international gateway was the butterfly box and garden. Disney has plants that butterflies are naturally attracted to. When the butterflies spin their baby cocoons, horticulture takes the cocoon and places it in this protective box. It has a top and four sides but no bottom. As the butterfly hatches, it simply flies out the bottom of the box. As the plants it is attracted to are right there, they tend to never leave the British Butterfly Garden. (6) There is a section in England where you can look up your family name and get information about it. Names in the book are from ALL countries not just England ancestry. There is a book to look up your name then they will pull up info in their computer and you can see your family crest and family name history - then they have all sorts of things that you can buy like mugs, shirts, plaques, etc. (7) The fish and chips became so popular they added the "fast food" version.

Water Fountains—(1) The shooting water fountains (not the big one) that the kids play in just before you enter the world showcase. If you can time it just right you're unsuspecting buds will never forget their first encounter with these. (2) The talking fountains are by the restrooms on the side of Innoventions facing The Land. As you come through the center of the building walking towards The Land, make a quick left turn. They are right there. (3) Talking water fountains: Outside Mousegear shop, behind Innoventions West, near the restroom between Innoventions and HISTA Pavilion, and near the play fountain between Future World and World Showcase (left side of the big fountain in FW as you are walking toward WS).

World Showcase (“WS”)—(1) In the World Showcase park entrance, we found the upside down classic Mickey in the clock. (2) The frontage of each country is exactly the same, as is the height of their tallest feature (i.e., mountains in Canada, Eiffel tower, etc.). Some spread out inside more than others, but the frontage on the walkway is the same. They wanted to make sure everyone was equal—forced perspective is what makes some look taller.
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PostSubject: Re: Best kept secrets - Epcot   April 25th 2009, 21:08

So this is kind of interesting I think. Ray Bradbury, an author who among other things wrote the book I'm reading, Something Wicked This Way Comes. According to the authors biography at the end of the book, he also helped in Epcot, creating "the interior metaphors for Spaceship Earth". Not really sure what that means, but just thought that was some pretty cool synergy. On top of that, Disney funded the movie adaptation of Something Wicked This Way Comes.

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