No, that is not a cool golf ball; that is Spaceship Earth. It is a geodesic sphere about 18 stories high (thank you, Wikipedia) and is the single most iconic symbol of Epcot. There is a ride inside of it that traces the history of human communication. The ride is awesome. There; I wanted to get that word out of the way up front, because lots of stuff at Epcot is awesome.
This is going to get pretty photo-intensive, so . . .
This is the exterior of the Mission: SPACE ride. It is worth dwelling upon because I finally met my match – this one got the better of me. I’ve been a lover of raucous roller coasters and the like since I first discovered Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio, but this one got me. It’s a wonderfully detailed flight simulation, hosted by Gary Sinise as our Mission Commander, that puts you at the controls of a rocket blasting off from the pad and shooting off to Mars. It was the G-force of the lift-off that did me in, though. In all fairness, I should point out that the ride comes in two forms: the milder Green Mission and the hard-core Orange Mission. We, of course, went hard-core. I kept it together til the end of the ride, but I was seriously concerned that I was going to pass out afterward, and I had to set my butt down for a good ten minutes before venturing further.
This picture and the next one are here just to show you what a lovely place Epcot is – particularly if one is journeying there from grey, winter-whipped Chicago.
As you might guess, this is a scene from the China area of the World Showcase, though these are perhaps 1/2 scale (or maybe even 1/3 scale) from the originals. Still, if one can’t make it to China, this is pretty cool stuff!
Re-creations of old Norwegian buildings in (appropriately) the Norway area of the World Showcase. Once again, this is way more color than we usually get in Chicago; sights such as this were a veritable balm for these weary northern eyes of mine!
Ah, but not everything there is fake – this is a completely real bird looking for a free snack in an unattended (and unoccupied) baby carriage.
Epcot is now my very favorite park ever! Note that I’m not calling it the best park out there, since there are so many I haven’t visited. But if someone can go there and not have a great time, I have two questions for them: 1) Where have you been that makes Epcot so unimpressive? and 2) What is your approximate IQ? (this question is for statistical purposes only; all answers confidential)
MUCH, MUCH MORE TO COME ON THIS VERY WONDERFUL TRIP!