An Insider's Look at One of the Secret Lounges of Epcot
As many insiders already know, there are several corporate lounges in Epcot. Many of the attractions are sponsored so it is only natural that Walt Disney World provides an exclusive area for the sponsoring companies to entertain guests. These areas are really private and it only takes a quick online search to realize nobody really knows with certainty how many of them are currently open. We hear of the Test Track Lounge (GM); the Spaceship Earth lounge (Siemens; formerly AT&T) and the Mission Space (HP). There is also talk of secret areas in almost every pavilion (like inside The Land, Living with the Seas, Imagination, the Norway pavilion, etc.).
We should also mention the former American Express Lounge at the American Adventure, which is currently used during the Food and Wine Festival as the "Chase Lounge." This area is not really secret anymore because it can be visited during the Festival by Chase cardholders.
Since I don't work for any of the companies I mentioned above, I never thought I would have the opportunity to get to know one of these areas up-close. Therefore, when we headed for Epcot on the morning of Halloween Day 2014, my husband and I had no idea we were in for a real "treat." We were just enjoying the rides through Future World that morning, as we normally do when visiting Epcot. When we were walking through the GM Vehicle Display area (after experiencing Test Track), a young girl stopped us. I thought to myself: either she wants us to fill a survey or to get our personal information for marketing purposes but I stopped and smiled at her anyway (and boy, am I grateful I did). She complimented our costumes (did I mention it was Halloween?) and invited us to come up to the GM lounge! She explained it was only for GM employees but they wanted to do something special because of the holiday and they liked our costumes and decided to "treat" us. My husband and I must have looked a little puzzled because she immediately added there was a great view of the park and we would get beverages and candy upstairs. She even said we would receive a Fastpass to experience Test Track again that day. Wow, like we needed that to seal the deal!
She proceeded to take us through a "hidden door" that lead to a hall full of art panels in the most beautiful range of blues. They depict moments of family enjoyment at Test Track.
After a quick elevator ride, we arrived at the receptionist foyer. She insisted we had to say "trick or treat" before she would give us any sweets from the carved pumpkin on her desk. They had us sign a visitor log and, after doing so, we were on our own to explore!
First things first, we got some "refreshments" from the soda fountain and coffee machine:
In the background of the picture above, you can also see some of the new Test Track "Design your own Vehicle" stations. This is a great perk because GM employees get Fastpasses as well. This way, they can design the vehicles up here and just walk into their own vehicle once they get into the attraction.
Now, the most impressive moment. The moment that makes it all worth it: we walk through this small corridor to find the most amazing window on the other side. Best views of Epcot I have ever experienced! Here's a taste:
We only stayed in the GM Lounge for a few minutes but it was a really cool experience we never thought we would be able to have.
So, dear "insiders," have you heard of this or any other lounges before? Have you been so fortunate to visit any of the lounges yourselves? Please share your experience (and thoughts) in the comments!
My grandpa used to work for AT&T and has talked about going inside the lounge before. I should ask him to write something up about it.
that sounds great Jacob... thank you! :)
As an employee of United Technologies, we took advantage of the lounge for the Living Seas in the latter part of the 1980s. There was no view, but it was cool and relaxing with free refreshments. Plus we could go to the front of the line. It was a special place for my wife and I, with our 9 month old daughter the first time.
I had the opportunity to visit the Coca-Cola lounge when Coke still sponsored The American Adventure. A former manager of mine from my days at The World of Coca-Cola had worked at the Epcot lounge for a while. When I told here I was going to EPCOT for a visit, she arranged a stop in the lounge. The most wonderful part of the experience was landing in a place among such a huge crowd of people where there was space to move, ample A/C and all the free Coca-Cola products we wanted...not to mention a wonderful private restroom.
About 10 years ago, The Land had an Annual Passholders lounge that I went in a few times. IIRC you got in through the elevator on the left of the Garden Grill level. It was nice, had AC and free soft drinks. Great rest stop on hot summer days.
I was fortunate enough to visit the lounge in Spaceship Earth when it was sponsored by AT&T, and the lounge in the best attraction of all time - Horizons (RIP).
I've been on a mission to make it into the secret lounges! I've been inside the HP lounge in Mission:Space, as well as the lounge inside The Seas pavilion. They were both stops on the Undiscovered Epcot tour I did last year. This Test Track lounge looks huge! I wonder what will become of the lounge in Norway, now that Maelstrom is being refurbed...
I've been in many of the lounges across that park during my internship. I had to stock wheelchairs to the lounges whenever they were in use. They're neat, especially if you ever get the rare chance to visit them. Glad you got a chance to visit one.
Fabulous piece. I have never heard of these private lounges, so this was a real treat to learn of them. What a wonderful experience for you and your husband. I love that you dress up when visiting the parks. You really go all in and embrace the experience. Wonderful information. Thanks for sharing.
As a former Cast Member, I had the pleasure to visit many of them. The Sony Lounge at then, Disney-MGM Studios was incredible with all the newest tech. Donna was the Lounge Manager and Maria her Exec Assistant were a pleasure to work with.
Wonderful article, full of good information about one of these lounges. Great pictures, too!
Excellent article and better comments. Never been to one but I think is a great prize to clients of those companies and I mean single clients that pays the monthly bills like to ATT for example. I will be very happy to win a trip to WDW with those percs.
Great article. Looks like I have a new theme park bucket list item. Need to make it into one of these lounges!
Hi Ceci, my dear friend! I didn´t have the pleasure of being there with you because I was with my daughter at Magic Kindom that day turning the carousel for the tenth time, but I did come to the Coca-Cola lounge at Epcot, which was great! Next time I visit Disney, please, don´t let me go back without a tour of those lounges!
My husband was a employee of Kodak at the time they had an employee lounge in Imagination. We enjoyed using there phone to call home, refreshments. They even made dinner reservation for us.
I actually bought a couple of shares of Kodak (back when they were $75!) so I could legitimately use the lounge in Imagination. Comfy seats, free iced tea and lemonade, and they even gave me "Honey I Shrunk the Audience" pins.
thank you everybody! The comments are very informative, I have learned a thing or two myself... I agree with the comment about AT&T customers being able to get into the lounge for example, just like Chase cardholders can get into the Chase one for the F&W festival... it would be really nice!
Great article. Very interesting. Disney is so fascinating.
It wasn't too secret, but our family always enjoyed the AAA lounge in Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom. I believe it was tucked behind the Carousel of Progress with an entrance pathway near the exit of Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin. It was such a respite from the August heat with our young daughter. There were free beverages, travel info., coloring stations for the kids, and some comfy seating. We really miss this little "perk" as we continue to travel in the hot summer!
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