Of all the theme parks at Walt Disney World, Epcot is my favourite.
Before I start gushing over how much I love the park, let me start by mentioning what Epcot stands for: Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. The park is very tech savvy and has undergone a lot of recent changes to be more environmentally friendly. Even some of the rides have been updated to include the latest technology and look more futuristic.
The park doesn't have a lot of rides, but it does have some of the coolest games you can play at Walt Disney World. After Test Track, Spaceship Earth, and Mission Space, families can play a bunch of games related to the rides. There's even one game where giant groups of people face off in a race around the planets, and everyone has to work together to make sure the rocket has enough fuel and is not damaged.
When I was in Traditions at the Magic Kingdom, the instructor described Tomorrowland as a representation of the future that never was or will be. The robots scattered throughout the land, the ride designs, and even the theme music playing in the background, all represent 50-year-old ideas of what the future would be like.
Epcot does a much better job than Tomorrowland and is focused on current modern and prospective ideas.
One example is the digital sign that shows all the wait times for the rides in the park. It's updated every few minutes and even shows when a ride has been temporarily shut down due to weather or mechanical problems. It's a lot more convenient than the system at other parks where the wait times are just posted outside the individual rides.
Another example is the idea of iPads coming in to replace registers. When I left at the end of the summer the announcement was still fairly new, but I think that by the time I visit the park again next year they might be finishing the beta testing.
Now I like the technology, and the games, but what I really love most at Epcot is the atmosphere. There's something about walking on the sidewalks in the park that feels so relaxed and unhurried. The layout is really nice, with little paths in the grass leading from one ride to the next. And unlike the Magic Kingdom, the park doesn't feel like it's over flowing with kids and strollers.
While almost all the rides at Epcot are appropriate for kids - even the super fast Test Track and the 'thrilling'* Mission Space - Epcot just isn't a huge 'must see' for some families, and I'm fine with that. : )
There are many more things I love about this park, so look forward to a second part.