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THE WIMPS GUIDE TO THE PARKS - EPCOT for Class 1 Wimps
By now you should have read the Wimps guide, Part 1, so you will know what sort of wimp you are. The following suggestions are for Class 1 wimps, only. In other words, if you are petrified of roller coasters, and won’t consider going on anything that rolls, climbs, spins, turns, inverts or otherwise scares you, then this is the place to look! You can still have a wonderful time!
Of all the parks, Epcot truly is the wimp’s paradise. Although it contains one of the most intense rides – Mission Space – there are lots and lots of other wonderful things to do and see. Not only do you have the main park, Future World, but at 11.00 am the World Showcase opens, offering you a myriad of interesting experiences – none of which involve roller coasters or simulators.
Your enjoyment starts from the minute you walk through the park gates, because there in front of you is Spaceship Earth, the huge silver golf ball with waving Mickey hand which symbolises Epcot – or Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. I am sure that almost everyone has seen this icon.
Make a bee-line for this interesting ride which tells the story of communication, starting with prehistoric man painting his cave, through the civilisations which shaped our world – the Egyptians, the Romans, the Greeks, past the Renaissance and the beginnings of the printed word, the industrial revolution, the invention of the telephone, and ending in the electronic age, which, at the time of its opening, was the communications technology of the future. Amazingly, we have caught up and overtaken the predictions made here.
You will sit in a little carriage which slowly and gently spirals its way up 18 storeys, into the very heart of the silver geosphere. On the return journey, be prepared for the carriage to descend backwards, but look at the twinkling stars in the black sky and just enjoy the experience. It is a popular ride, so try to do it early or late, to avoid large crowds, which actually move quite fast as it is a continuous loop of carriages.
My second choice would be to go to the Universe of Energy, just to the left of the golf ball, where you will find Ellen’s Energy Attraction, a 45 minute show which ends up as a ride. Comedienne Ellen DeGeneres and Bill Nye take us back to the dinosaur era. At first you think you are in a conventional theatre, but suddenly the seats rearrange themselves into 96 seat solar powered cars, and you set off on a journey back to the prehistoric era. Don’t worry, there are no raptors leaping out at you or pterodactyls swooping down low. Being such a long show, it tends not to be too busy. Not everyone wants to spend that amount of time when the delights of Race Track and Mission Space beckon.
The wonderful simulator ‘Body Wars’ can also be found here, but give it a miss – although you can shut your eyes, it is quite a violent trip through the body and not for the faint hearted. Mission Space is also here, but don’t risk the main ride. It is brilliant, but a very intense experience, which can leave some sensitive people feeling sick and disorientated. Instead, while the rest of the party launch themselves into space, go and enjoy the Advanced Training Lab, where you can join a team and test your skills on the computer generated games. Test Track, which may look mild, has a high speed finale, which involves a short but fast ride which banks and turns sharply, so I would not recommend it for the truly scared.
Instead, why not opt for ‘Honey I Shrunk the Kids’, a fun 3-D show with special effects and moving seats. Look out for the sneezing dog, and make sure you duck!
Follow that with a trip to the Living Seas. It contains an aquarium with an unbelievable 5.7 million gallons of water, which makes it the largest man made ocean environment in the world. There are six modules which show you marine life, and a research centre where you can get close to the endangered manatee, as well as jelly fish, cuttlefish, sharks, dolphins, stingrays. A short trip in an open vehicle takes you past giant windows, behind which lies the tropical coral reef, complete with 4,000 creatures, including colourful tropical fish. There is even a restaurant, the Coral Reef Restaurant where you have a wonderful view of the reef whilst you eat.
A short walk will bring you to the Land, which has recently been re-vamped, and now features the newest attraction at Epcot, ‘Soarin’. It is quite a mild ride, but if you do not like the feeling of being raised up into the air, then give it a miss and try the ‘Behind the Seeds’ tour, or perhaps the ‘Circle of Life’. You can always sit in the newly re-vamped food hall, the Sunshine Seasons Food Court and wait for the rest of your party to return from ‘Soarin’. Try the delicious strawberry shortcake if you feel like a calorific treat. There is a wide range of freshly cooked food here, too, so it might be the place to have a bite to eat.
And when you feel like a change then you have the whole of the World Showcase to explore. There are restaurants and eating places galore, shops, exhibits, and even the odd ride – nothing too scary, but perhaps give Maelstrom a miss in Norway, as it does feature a boat ride in a Viking ship which terminates in a steep drop – but you could always take a break in the tempting cake shop, and enjoy a pastry. The ride in Mexico is quite safe, though.
Don’t forget to wait for the simply breathtaking firework and laser display in the evening. It is a truly stunning mix of music, fireworks and lasers which light up the sky. It still has the ability to leave me feeling thrilled and uplifted.
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