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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tip Tuesday: Epcot at night

Welcome to another Tip Tuesday!

A few weeks ago, I talked about the Magic Kingdom and how the park changes when the sun goes down. This week, I wanted to continue this series with the next Disney park (and my personal favorite) Epcot!

There are quite a few attractions and experiences at Epcot that are quite different at night. First up is Spaceship Earth. I'm not talking about the attraction itself, but the exterior lighting at night. I absolutely love looking at Spaceship Earth at night. There's something magical and amazing about seeing it lit up with all the colors at night. On one trip about a year ago, we happened to stay at the Dolphin and had a room where we could see Spaceship Earth from our window. Each night, I would just stare in wonder at the sight of Spaceship Earth in the distance.

Put simply, when I think of Epcot at night, Spaceship Earth immediately comes to mind.

Next up is Test Track. For most of this attraction, there's no difference between day and night because it's indoors. The major change comes when you shoot out the doors and go around the high speed loop. It's exciting during the day. At night it's plain exhilarating!! I know the speed hasn't changed, but it feels like you're going faster a night. I guess that's because some of the normal visual references you can see during the day aren't there. Trust me -- take a spin on Test Track at night -- you'll love it!

Next door is Mission Space. Like Spaceship Earth, the exterior to Mission Space is very different at night and, I think, is far better. This is another example of how the Imagineers paid such careful attention to detail to help heighten the since of space travel with the nighttime lighting.

On the other side of Future World is the Imagination Pavilion. While it's neat to see the reverse waterfall during the day, it's really beautiful at night with the lighting from underneath.

I guess this is a good time to talk about another "attraction" of sorts that's very different at night -- the monorail. The Epcot line runs about four miles and for a large part of the ride, it's fairly dark, which can be nice, especially after a long day in the parks. At either end, though, you get a fantastic view of Epcot at night or the TTC and resorts. Take a ride on the monorail at night - you'll get a beautiful view of some of the best nighttime scenes.

OK, time to get to the real deal -- World Showcase!

Most of the World Showcase pavilions have special lighting at night, which is enhanced during the ultimate nighttime experience -- Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. I'm not going to get into Illuminations in detail for this week's tip. I'll probably talk more about Illuminations in a future post. Suffice it to say that no trip to Epcot at night would be complete without seeing Illuminations. It's that good.

Back to World Showcase. I feel the charm factor in each pavilion goes up significantly at night. The pavilions become little scenes themselves with lighting effects creating different moods and drawing guests into certain areas. I really like the Japan and the United Kingdom pavilions at night, though the Norway and China pavilions are equally beautiful.

Over at the American Adventure pavilion is the America Gardens Theatre. Often times there are special concerts that are included with your park admission. Disney's pretty good about getting some well-known talent to play at the America Gardens Theatre. And then there's the Candlelight Processional. I've discussed this fantastic holiday event in some previous posts.

The best part about World Showcase at night is just strolling along the World Showcase promenade listening to the Illuminations preshow music and enjoying the sights around you. It's my favorite time to walk around World Showcase.

Like so many other parks, Epcot is like a fine wine. It's best experienced slowly. Take your time and enjoy the sights and sounds of Epcot at night. It's a fantastic time to be at the park.

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