Epcot, which opened on October 1, 1982.Happy 40th birthday today to Walt Disney World's
It's a bittersweet celebration in Orlando today, as the parks have reopened to all guests, but so many people throughout the state continue to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, which closed the parks for two days and caused as-yet uncalculated damage across Florida.
At Epcot, construction continues on the park's transformation project, which was delayed and altered somewhat by the pandemic. All these recent challenges show that the 21st century hasn't turned out to be quite the beautiful future that Disney's first "non-fiction" theme park optimistically predicted when it opened as Walt Disney World's second theme park, after the Magic Kingdom.
Nor has Epcot continued with that non-fiction theme. As people's optimism about America's and the world's future has waned over the years, Disney has pivoted with Epcot, adding more Disney IP. "Hey, you know that the future might suck, but at least you still will be able to enjoy Disney in it," seems to be Epcot's new message.
So let's just go ahead and enjoy Epcot as it celebrates its anniversary. (Today also marks the 51st birthday of the Walt Disney World Resort, though Disney will continue celebrating its 50th anniversary for another six months.) Many fans are enjoying the park's newest attraction - its first roller coaster, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. [Here is our ride review.]
Other top recommendations in the park include two opening-day attractions, The American Adventure and Impressions de France. [Why 'Impressions de France' is the best movie ever made for a theme park]
But for many fans, Epcot today is best known as the site of so many food festivals, with a variety of tastes and drinks sold at festival marketplaces around World Showcase. The current Epcot International Food & Wine Festival continues through November 19.
Also in mid-November, the annual IAAPA Expo will honor Epcot's 40th anniversary with a Legends panel that looks back at Epcot's past and its enduring lessons for the future of the theme park industry. [Epcot Gets the Spotlight at This Year's IAAPA Legends Panel] I am planning to be in Orlando for the Expo and will bring highlights from that panel to you here on Theme Park Insider.
In the meantime, happy birthday to Epcot!
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