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North America » United States » Florida » Orlando
December 16th 2016
Published: June 22nd 2017
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Epcot CountriesEpcot CountriesEpcot Countries

Circling this lake were varied attractions, based on different countries. The Epcot ball in the distance is the epicentre of the main attractions and rides. We enjoyed the attractions, that were quite varied.
Geo: 28.3748, -81.5492

Walt Disney used shell companies to buy up huge areas of cheap Orlando land in the 60's. He opened his first park in 1971 and I think this was the catalyst for the incredible tourist developments that have sprung up since.

It's a bit of a challenge gaining an understanding of Orlando's theme parks. Disney and Universal are the big boys in town, plus a host of smaller others. Disney has four main parks: Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. Each of these is a stand-alone park in its own right with a pricey daily entrance fee of USD 100 or so. Universal is similar (four main parks) except their 'Islands of Adventure' park contains seven sub-parks. Mind-boggling!

Many of the visitors we spoke to were Disney regulars who knew the rides and therefore how to maximise their experience by using their three "Fast Pass" options to best effect. Not easy for first-timers, and the web sites were not helpful beyond hours and costs. We did see queues with displayed standby waiting times of up to 130 min! Fast Pass ride waits were usually just a few minutes.

We jammed two adjacent Disney parks into a hectic 12-hour experience. That's
Disney Swan and Dolphin HotelDisney Swan and Dolphin HotelDisney Swan and Dolphin Hotel

We caught the Disney boat to go from Epcot to Hollywood Studios after lunch. Along the way we stopped at a couple of Disney resort hotels. This one stood out for its garishness, which the photo does not do proper justice.
pretty much cured us of theme parks for a decade or so.

Tomorrow (Sat) we fly to Miami, a day in advance of the start of our Caribbean cruise.


Additional photos below
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Hollywood StudiosHollywood Studios
Hollywood Studios

Disney acquired Lucasfilm for $4B in 2012. Now Star Wars and its spin offs are a big Disney deal at this park. Suits Robyn, who has been a Star Wars fan forever. She's pretty chuffed about her Graceland Elvis cap too.
Epcot departureEpcot departure
Epcot departure

We didn't have the fortitude to hang around for the late fireworks. We caught the Disney bus back to Epcot to pick up our car. We probably managed two or three thrill rides and several other attractions at each park. It was fun and worth doing.


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