Even if you’ve never been, I think a lot of people are aware that there is a giant sphere at Disney World’s Epcot Center. It pretty much dominates the landscape from one end of the parking lot to the far opposite end of the park itself. You can always orient yourself by finding the sphere. Once I saw it in person, I admit that it was very difficult to not simply take picture after picture of only this one thing. From different angles, in different light, at different focal lengths, it is a very photogenic feat of ultra-modern architecture.
Did you know there’s a ride inside the sphere? Yep, that’s the current purpose it serves. A little train rides a track around, up and down while you learn about the history of communication. It’s actually pretty cool.
But Epcot Center is much more than the sphere. There are a handful of rides, including Mission: Space, which is pretty much the most intense ride I’ve ever been on. If it wasn’t for Gary Sinise, I’m not sure I would have made it. However, it’s the International lagoon that really kept my camera humming.
There’s a huge man-made lake-pond thing, around which sit areas devoted to different cultures. There are some larger areas comprising multiple large structures (restaurants, shops, rides) and smaller areas are just a few carts. I’m not sure what a country needs to do to go from cart to attraction, but the UN probably discusses it. There’s Norway, Germany, China, Mexico, Morocco, etc. The list of countries represented is fairly long and, apparently, changes throughout time.
I have to admit that most of the scenery at Disney World is very well done. Sure, there are cheesy parts that only a child would find interesting, but for the most part, there is one beautiful discovery after another. The International lagoon at Epcot, however, is on a whole different level. If you’re at all interested in architecture, fine details, scenery and just plain wow-factor, you could easily spend a whole day walking around this area. Add to those interests an enthusiasm for photography and you might want to spend more than one full day in this park. You might actually want to spare the family and go by yourself. Did I mention that tripods are totally acceptable?
There are so many things I missed when I was there. I can’t wait to go back and really take my time. The Italy area alone could could occupy your shutter release button for hours.
Did I mention that there’s also a whole miniature town with a train running through it? Again, the attention to detail is amazing.
And then there’s the end-of-day show. All the parks have one. Epcot’s is called IllumiNations. I consider myself a fireworks aficionado, and this one is definitely the best I’ve ever experienced. You’ll want to claim your spot early (near the UK area would be best). This is another reason for photographers to make a 2-day event of this. First day, go crazy and take pictures of everything. Second day, leave the fam at home, bring your tripod and, well, focus. I don’t think I said the two days need to be consecutive. Notice how there are no pictures of this IllumiNations fireworks display of which I speak . . .