Orlando – Epcot

Walt Disney’s dream of building an ultra-modern city with the best technology became the Epcot theme park in 1982. The descriptions in this photo gallery will appeal to history buffs who want to learn what inspired many of the park’s buildings, attractions and characters.

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1 Walking Towards Main Gate of Epcot in Orlando, Florida

These people walking from the parking lot towards the main gate next to Spaceship Earth are a few of the 12 million guests who annually visit Epcot. Its name is an acronym for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. When the Walt Disney Company opened it on October 1, it was their second theme park in Bay Lake, a city they have controlled since it was incorporated in 1967. The municipality has a population of less than 50 people.

Epcot, 1300 Avenue of the Stars, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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2 Spaceship Earth Close Up at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

Spaceship Earth is a giant geodesic sphere with over 11,000 isosceles triangles. The 18 story dome is the symbol of Epcot. The outside of its steel shell is covered with 954 panels. Inside is a 15 minute narrated ride tracing the history of communications from prehistoric man through the computer age. It is a fun attraction. Sadly, it did not teach me how to use the apps on my smart phone.

Spaceship Earth, Epcot, 1300 Avenue of the Stars, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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3 Donald Duck, Huey, Dewey and Louie Topiaries in Entry at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

Donald Duck and his three nephews – Huey, Dewey and Louie – greeted you at the entrance for the first time in 2016 during the Epcot International Flower Garden Festival. They are one of 70 character topiaries within the 300 acre park during the annual spring event. The three boys were introduced in a comic strip in 1937. They were also the stars of the Quack Pack, a short-lived animated TV show originally aired in 1996. This scene is from a 1943 comic book called The Victory Garden.

Leave a Legacy, Epcot, 1300 Avenue of the Stars, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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4 Mission: SPACE in Future World East at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

Space cadets are thrilled by Mission: SPACE in Future World East. The attraction features real NASA equipment such as a Lunar Roving Vehicle, a space training lab plus a rocket ride to Mars inside a shuttle simulator. For your journey to the red planet, you can select to be on the Green Team for a calmer experience or the Orange Team where the intensity will turn your completion green.

Mission: SPACE, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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5 Buzz Lightyear Topiary in Future World East at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

Everyone remembers Neil Armstrong as the first man to walk on the moon in 1969. His co-pilot on Apollo 11was Buzz Aldrin. His achievement of being the second person to take a lunar stroll was honored when Pixar Animation Studios named this toy space ranger Buzz Lightyear. His first appearance with Woody was in the 1995 release of Toy Story. You can almost hear this topiary in Future World East shout in Tim Allen’s voice, “To infinity and beyond.”

Mission: SPACE, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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6 FastPass+ at Mission: SPACE in Future World East at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

Look closely beneath the red globe of Mars at Mission: SPACE and you will see a sign for FastPass+. This option allows you to avoid long lines by scheduling times for a limited number of popular attractions categorized by two tiers. Your reservations can be managed by kiosks across the park. The concept works well. However, if you really want to avoid crowds, arrive well before Epcot’s Future World opens at 9:00 a.m. Also know World Showcase is not available until 11:00 a.m.

Mission: SPACE, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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7 Test Track in Future World East at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

This building was called World of Motion and sponsored by General Motors when it opened at Future World East in 1982. It closed in 1996 and reopened in 1999 as Test Track. After an extensive refurbishment in 2012, it reopened again under the sponsorship of Chevrolet. The attraction allows visitors to design a car and then ride a SIM Car around an outside, one-mile Test Track. Your vehicle accelerates up to 65 miles per hour!

Test Track, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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8 Ranger Mickey Topiary in Future World East at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

Congress created the National Park Service in 1916. During its first one hundred years, the agency grew to manage 59 parks consisting of 84 million acres of land. In recognition of its centennial anniversary, the NPS sponsored this Ranger Mickey topiary. The sculpture was located in Future World East.

Mission: SPACE, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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9 Trash Can Band in Future World at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

One of the delights of visiting Epcot is the seemingly spontaneous performances of music. Almost every country pavilion sponsors one or more acts. Other musicians like this trash can band in Future World simply appear, get things rolling with their percussion talents and immediately attract a crowd. These boys are guaranteed to make your tired feet start tapping to the beat.

Test Track, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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10 Mechanical Seagulls in Future World West at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

These three mechanical seagulls incessantly caw “Mine! Mine! Mine!” just as the flock did in the animated film Finding Nemo. They greet all visitors to The Seas with Nemo & Friends pavilion in Future World West. The attraction features a 5.7 million gallon Caribbean Coral Reef Aquarium. There is also a ride in Clamobiles plus an interactive show called Turtle Talk with Crush.

The Seas with Nemo & Friends, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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11 Imagination! in Future World West at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

These glass pyramids in Future World West have been part of Epcot since it opened in 1982. What has been featured inside has undergone several changes. A common theme has been the screening of 3-D films. In 1998, ImageWorks was moved to the lower level and the following year the pavilion was renamed Imagination! This exhibit was sponsored by Kodak from 1982 until ColorVision assumed the role in 2010.

Imagination!, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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12 The Land Pavilion in Future World West at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

Behind this garden in Future World West is The Land pavilion. As the name suggests, this attraction is dedicated to man’s positive and negative interactions with the earth. It currently features a boat ride, a motion simulator and a film. Also housed in this massive building is a horticulture research facility.

The Land, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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13 Fantasia Mickey Topiary at Future World West at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

This topiary features Mickey Mouse as the young apprentice of the sorcerer, Yen Sid. (Disney spelled backwards). His attempt to clean the workshop by bringing a broom to life does not go well. This scene was one of eight in Fantasia, the animated film released by Walt Disney Productions in 1940. Few people know the story’s origin. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice was a poem written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in 1797.

Image Works, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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14 Starbursts Garden in Festival Blooms Section at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

In addition to topiaries, the Flower Garden Festival featured spectacular beds of colorful blooming plants. A stunning example is the golden starbursts in the Festival Blooms section of Future World. They surrounded the east bank of a small lake leading to Showcase Plaza. Plus there were over 200 rings of floating flowers accenting the water. I was fortunate to photograph Disney’s garden magic on the opening day of the event in 2016.

Disney Phineas and Ferb: Agent P's World Showcase, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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15 Mickey Mouse Head Garden in Future World at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

This floral silhouette of a head and ears at Epcot is recognized across the world. It is symbolic of not only Mickey Mouse but also Disney. The shape became popular staring in 1955 when the Mickey Mouse Club first aired. Jimmie Dodd, the show’s host, and all of the Mouseketeers wore the black felt Mickey Mouse hat. Today, Disney annually sells 2.5 million Mouse Ears at the starting price of $17. Now that is a profitable icon!

Disney Phineas and Ferb: Agent P's World Showcase, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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16 Butterfly Topiary in Future World at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

Most of Epcot’s topiaries during the Flower Garden Festival are shapes of iconic Disney cartoon characters. About thirty others are created for their sheer beauty such as this butterfly in flight. It was located in front of the Butterflies on the Go tent. In this exhibit you could watch about 1000 butterflies representing 10 species flutter around you. This Future World special attraction was sponsored by Go Go SqueeZ.

Disney Phineas and Ferb: Agent P's World Showcase, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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17 Minnie Mouse and Pluto Topiaries in Showcase Plaza at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

The Minnie Mouse and Pluto topiaries were located in Showcase Plaza, welcoming you to the start of your tour to the country pavilions. Minnie was fashionably attired in a red dress with matching headband. Walt Disney created her and Mickey in 1928 for Steamboat Willie, a black and white, eight minute film with innovative synchronized sound. Two years later, the cartoon couple got a dog. At first named Rover, he was renamed Pluto in 1931. The famous pet is seen here sporting a collar of bright yellow sunflowers.

Disney Phineas and Ferb: Agent P's World Showcase, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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18 World Showcase Lagoon at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

The eleven country pavilions at Epcot are positioned in an irregular circle around a 40 acre, manmade lagoon. The promenade encircling the lake is 1.2 miles. That does not sound like a long distance. However, you will walk much further as you weave in and out of all the historic replicas, attractions, shops, restaurants and gardens. When you get tired along the way – and you will – there are plenty of spots like this to rest awhile and enjoy the view.

Friendship Launch Mexico, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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19 Step Pyramid in Mexico at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

The Mexico Pavilion resembles the Temple of the Feathered Serpent built by the Aztecs during the second century in Teotihuacan, Mexico. The Mayans were also prolific builders of step pyramids prior to the arrival of Spaniards in the early 16th century. Surrounding this Epcot attraction is landscape mimicking the forests of the Yucatán Peninsula where thirty original pyramids can still be visited among the ruins of ancient cities. Inside the Mexico Pavilion are shops and restaurants plus entertainment provided by The Three Caballeros. These amigos are Donald Duck, a parrot named José Carioca and Panchito Pistoles the rooster from their starring roles in a 1944 Disney animated film.

Mexico Pavilion, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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20 Stave Church in Norway at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

This portion of the Norway Pavilion is a replica of the wooden architecture once common among Christian churches in Scandinavia. During the style’s peak, Norway had about 2,000 stave churches. 28 of them, dating from the 12th through 14th centuries, have been lovingly maintained in Norway. Standing guard is a Viking warrior. These Norsemen were legendary seafarers during the late 8th through the 11th centuries.

Norway Pavilion, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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21 Akershus Fortress in Norway at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

Another façade of the 58,000 foot Norway Pavilion was inspired by Akershus Festning. The original fortress was built in 1299 and is still standing behind a protective stone wall along the Oslo Fjord. Inside this Epcot attraction you will feel like you are walking the cobblestone streets of a Norwegian village. Surrounding you are architectural features of landmarks from several towns. This pavilion is the youngest at Epcot. Norway opened in 1988.

Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, Norway Pavilion, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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22 Paifang Gate in China at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

If you have entered a major city’s Chinatown, you probably passed under a paifang. These colorful gates evolved in ancient China as entrances to different communities or precincts called fangs. They are also used as a memorial arch over family tombs. Two other common paifangs represent loyalty and chastity. The patterns and characters beneath the tiled rooflines tell the story or significance of each arch. This gate replicates the one at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing.

China Pavilion, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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23 Guardian Lions in China at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

Guardian lions made their appearance in China during the Han Dynasty around 206 BC. The Shi (lion) evolved as the protector of temples and the buildings of royalty, government and wealthy homes. They are typically in pairs. The female in the background has her paw on a cub representing nature. In the foreground is the male. The orb beneath his foot symbolizes world supremacy. These replicas stand in front of a pagoda in the China Pavilion.

House of Good Fortune, China Pavilion, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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24 Footbridge Over Pond in China at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

This footbridge over a pond leads to the main attractions at the China Pavilion. Its style is characteristic of the carved, marble walkways and platforms gracing many of China’s famous temples. This promenade resembles those in the Forbidden City and Beihai Park, both in Beijing. In the background is the Nine Dragons Restaurant.

China Pavilion, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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25 Temple of Heaven in China at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

The Temple of Heaven was built in Beijing in the early 15th century during the reign of Yongle Emperor of the Ming Dynasty. In the center of the enormous religious complex is the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest. The Qiniandian is a wooden temple sittting atop a carved marble platform. The blue roof tiles represent Heaven. Inside this half-sized reproduction at the China Pavilion is a 360° movie called Reflections of China. It showcases famous Chinese landmarks.

Reflections of China, China Pavilion, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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26 Simba and Friends Topiaries in Outpost at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

On the left is the lovable, sometimes dim-witted warthog named Pumbaa next to his best friend Timon the meerkat. The boys made their first appearance during The Lion King, the classic released by Walt Disney Pictures in 1994. The movie’s revenue exceeded a billion dollars, more than any other hand-drawn animation film. The Simba and Friends topiaries were located near the Outpost in Epcot’s World Showcase.

Village Traders, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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27 Earth Globe in World Showcase at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

The Earth Globe is a video system filled with 15,000 LEDs. The globe weighs 350,000 pounds and sits on a barge. Together with the Inferno Barge filled with pyrotechnics, they are key elements of a nightly fireworks display in the World Showcase Lagoon. The 13 minute narrated show called IllumiNations starts with the Earth is Born, transitions to The Triumph of Life and ends with the Hope for the Future. That is when this globe opens to reveal a huge glowing flame.

America Gardens Theater, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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28 Snow White and Seven Dwarfs Topiary in Germany at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

Snow White looks beautiful holding her dress while tiptoeing through the garden in front of the Germany Pavilion. Immediately behind her is Doc leading the parade of the Seven Dwarfs. The German storyline was called Schneewittchen when it was published in 1812. It was Tale 53 in Children’s and Household Tales by the Brothers Grimm. In 1937, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premiered as the first, full-length animated film by Walt Disney Productions.

Germany Pavilion, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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29 Piazza San Marco in Italy at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

The Italy Pavilion features three iconic landmarks around Piazza San Marco in Venezia. The bell tower is almost identical to the famous Campanile di San Marco built in 1514. Behind it is the stunning Veneto-Byzantine architecture of Doge’s Palace. Construction began in 1340 and was not finished until 1442. In the background is a copy of the Column of Justice with a Winged Lion of Venice on top. The original was erected in 1268. This lion with his paw on the bible was the symbol for the Republic of Venice from 697 until 1797.

Italy Pavilion, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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30 Voices of Liberty in The American Adventure at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

Inside a colonial building called The American Adventure is this 35 foot high rotunda. Here you will be entertained by Voices of Liberty, a signing group dressed in period costumes. After the pre-show, you enter a theater for “An Epic Journey.” This is a film and an animatronic presentation by Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain highlighting key events in the history of the United States.

American Adventure Pavilion, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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31 Red Torii Gate in Japan at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

It is appropriate to see this vermilion colored Shinto portal located near the World Showcase lake because it is modeled after a floating torri gate at the Itsukushima Shrine. The famous World Heritage Site was built in 1555 on Miyajima, also called the Shrine Island. The Shinto religion dates back to the 6th century and is followed by about 80% of Japanese. There are about 100,000 Shinto shrines in the country. Most of them have a torri gate symbolizing the entrance to a sacred place.

Japan Pavilion, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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32 Hōryū-ji Pagoda in Japan at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

The centerpiece of a delightful garden at the Japan Pavilion is this blue, five-level Buddhist pagoda. The tower is a replica of the world’s oldest wooden building. Originally constructed in 607 and then rebuilt in 711, it is part of the Hōryū-ji temple complex. The Temple of the Flourishing Law is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the town of Ikaruga in Japan.

Japan Pavilion, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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33 Minaret and Wall in Morocco at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

The tower on the left at the Morocco Pavilion resembles a minaret typically located next to a mosque. In this largely Muslim country, a person named a muezzin climbs to the top platform at scheduled times, faces towards Mecca and chants the azan. This call to prayer occurs five times daily. Today, many mosques broadcast the announcement over loud speakers. The wall on the right was inspired by Kasbah des Oudaïas, a fortification built in the 12th century to protect the old city of Rabat.

Morocco Pavilion, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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34 Bab Boujeloud in Morocco at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

This ornate Blue Gate is a replica of Bab Boujeloud, the entrance to Fes el Bali, the walled-in city of Fes. It was founded in the late 8th century by the Idrisid Dynasty. In Morocco, this leads to the Medina of Fez, a car-free labyrinth of narrow paths through crowded shops and homes. This former capital city has changed little in 1,200 years. At Epcot, the gate is the entry to the far more modern Bazaar.

Morocco Pavilion, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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35 Belle Époque Era in France Pavilion at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

Belle Époque was a period from 1871 until the start of WWI when Paris was blooming with prosperity, gorgeous landmarks were built, Art Nouveau was in vogue, haute couture (high fashion) began and Impressionists like Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir flourished. This era was used to model the France Pavilion, right down to copying the landscaping made famous by André Le Nôtre at the Palace of Versailles. During this timeframe, perfume was no longer reserved for royalty and became a coveted luxury among Parisians. To sample some, visit Plume Et Palatte. This shop, which is also called Galerie d’ Beaux-Arts or Librairie et Galerie, contains every imaginable fragrance.

Plume Et Palatte, France Pavilion, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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36 Cinderella and Prince Charming in France Pavilion at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

The forerunner of the Cinderella story is disputed before Cendrillion was created in 1697 by Frenchmen Charles Perrault. Another version called Aschenputtel was written by Jacob and Wilhem Grimm in 1812. Walt Disney created his rendition of the romantic fairytale in a 70 minute animated film released in 1950. This topiary of the dancing sweethearts was at the France Pavilion. Based on the clock, the lovely couple still had 90 minutes to enjoy the ball.

France Pavilion, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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37 Friendship Boat at Epcot’s World Showcase in Orlando, Florida

It is fun and free to take a Friendship Boat from Showcase Plaza across the World Showcase lagoon to either the Germany or Morocco Pavilions. The boat in the background is headed towards a pedestrian bridge and waterway. They resemble the Pont des Arts, a steel arch bridge that crosses over the Seine, a river winding through Paris. The boat’s destination is the International Gateway. From there you can hop aboard another ferry to local Disney resorts and Hollywood Studios.

International Gateway, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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38 Mr. Smee Character at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

Mr. Smee, a red-nosed pirate from Captain Cook’s crew in Peter Pan, is one of over 20 Disney characters you may encounter at Epcot. Most are found at designated Character Spots while others periodically roam the park. Each is accompanied by a handler who escorts the character and manages the waiting line. Certain cast members don several costumes during the day. They are trained to mimic the character’s characteristics and sign identical autographs.

Yorkshire Country Fish Shop, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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39 Anne Hathaway’s Cottage in United Kingdom at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

This thatched cottage is a small reproduction of one on the 90 acre Newlands Farm in Warwickshire county, England. Its historic significance is the childhood home of Anne Hathaway. In 1582, at the age of 26, she became the pregnant wife of William Shakespeare who was only 18 at the time. He would not join his first theater for another ten years. You can visit this replica at the United Kingdom Pavilion at Epcot. Or you can travel to Shottery where the cottage and surrounding gardens are a major tourist attraction.

United Kingdom Pavilion, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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40 Mary Poppins Signing Autographs in United Kingdom at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

These two children waiting for an autograph from Mary Poppins at the United Kingdom Pavilion had the same fascination as Jane and Michael Banks with their beloved nanny. Julie Andrews starred in the 1964 Walt Disney Productions film. Everyone loved the movie except P.L. Travers, the author of the original eight-part series. She disapproved of the adaptation of her first book from 1934.

The Queens Table, United Kingdom Pavilion, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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41 Garden and Georgian Building in United Kingdom at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

These brick facades on Upper Regency Street at the United Kingdom Pavilion are designed in the Georgian style. This form of architecture was popular in England from 1714 and 1830. Its namesakes were the reigning monarchs from the House of Hanover: King George I through IV. The garden in the foreground is patterned after the 350 acre Hyde Park in London.

The Toy Soldier, United Kingdom Pavilion, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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42 Architecture of Stores in United Kingdom at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

The facades at the United Kingdom Pavilion demonstrate seven architectural styles. The building designs – dating from 1500 to 1800 – represent primarily England but also Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Inside are delightful stores. On the right is The Crown & Crest selling souvenirs with you family’s historic coat of arms. On the left is The Toy Soldier. In this store you will find an array of miniature British toys, soldiers, swords, trains and stuffed animals.

The Crown & Crest, United Kingdom Pavilion Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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43 Captain Cook Topiary in United Kingdom at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

Captain Cook is the evil enemy of Peter Pan after the boy who never grows up severs the pirate’s hand during a duel and feds it to a crocodile. The storyline was introduced in a 1904 play by Scottish novelist Sir James Matthew Barrie. Walt Disney elevated it into a classic with the release of the Peter Pan movie in 1953. Nearby this topiary at the United Kingdom Pavilion are sculptures of Peter Pan and Tick-Tock the Croc. If you are a fan of this swashbuckling villain, you might enjoy a quick-serve meal at Captain Cook’s restaurant in Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.

Sportsman's Shoppe, United Kingdom Pavilion, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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44 Hampton Court Palace in United Kingdom at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

Hampton Court Palace was built in London by Cardinal Thomas Wolsey during the early 16th century. It was seized by King Henry VIII in 1529 and expanded as a royal palace during the 17th century. This replica of the historic gatehouse at the United Kingdom Pavilion now appears to be run by Peter Pan, Captain Cook and Tick-Tock the Croc. Around the corner is the Sportsman’s Shoppe, a retailer of English football items.

Sportsman's Shoppe, United Kingdom Pavilion, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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45 Landmarks in Canada at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

The main building in the Canada Pavilion resembles the Château Frontenac in Quebec City, one of several grand hotels built by the Canadian Pacific Railway company in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Two similar examples built by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway are the Château Laurier in Ottawa and the Fort Garry Hotel in Montreal. The Châteauesque style, with copper roofs, towers and turrets, became popular among Canadian architects resulting in some of the most beautiful landmarks. The 30 foot totem pole by David A. Boxley is similar to those carved by the Aboriginal people and replicated in Stanley Park in Vancouver.

Northwest Mercantile, O Canada, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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46 Sunken Garden in Canada at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

This sunken garden next to the Canada Pavilion was inspired by the Butchart Gardens near Victoria. It was established in 1909, five years after a quarry pit owned by Robert Butchart was depleted of limestone. So his wife Jennie had it filled with top soil and began planting flowers and foliage on the estate they called Benvenuto. This is Italian for Welcome. Now the National Historic Site is enjoyed by over a million visitors a year.

O Canada, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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47 Garden Tea House in Canada at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

The Epcot designers went to extraordinary lengths to incorporate historic nuances into the park yet most go unnoticed. For example, this tea house in a stroll garden next to the Canada Pavilion is reminiscent of those designed in Victoria during the early 20th century by Isaburo Kishida from Yokohama. His most famous work was the Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island.

Garden Tea House, O Canada, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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48 Bambi and Friends Topiaries in Canada at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

The imagination of Hungarian-born writer Felix Salten created the world’s most lovable fawn in Bambi, A Life in the Woods, published in 1923. He sold the film rights for $1,000. Then Walt Disney worked his magic by creating the 70 minute animated movie in 1942. The Bambi topiary at the Canada Pavilion is accompanied by his rabbit friend Thumper and Flower the skunk.

O Canada, Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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49 Spaceship Earth at Night at Epcot in Orlando, Florida

As the last of the IllumiNations fireworks bursts over the World Showcase Lagoon, throngs of tired people shuffle towards Epcot’s main gate. Before they go, they are treated to one last look at the theme park’s 518 foot iconic geodesic sphere: a glowing Spaceship Earth.

Spaceship Earth, Epcot, 1300 Avenue of the Stars, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
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