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The Mystery Crapper Visits Epcot

I hadn't been to Epcot for 15 years and it was time for another visit with a different perspective. What do we remember Epcot for? The famous sphere? The country exhibits? No. We remember Epcot because it is the one Disney park that serves alcohol. So I figured, how bad can it be? Turns out, pretty bad.

The main problem with Epcot is that it is 20 years old and hasn't been touched since it was built. What once was a really cool idea has fallen on hard times. We will take an exhibit by exhibit look at the park and the facilities. We will see how Disney describes the park and translate for you. Example:

Disney: Touch the future and travel the world with an amazing array of attractions and live performances.

Translation: See how the world looked before the Internet. The only live people here consist of a creepy Beatles cover band and three confused gift shop workers in lederhosen.

Mexico
This exhibit features a Mexican restaurant and marketplace with an erupting volcano in the background. In addition there is a ride called El Río del Tiempo or the River of Time for you gringos out there.

Disney: Float along the River of Time under a star-lit sky as you explore Mexico's engaging past and present.

Translation: Float along as you see 1970s videos of Acapulco cliff divers in speedos and horrible dancing puppets in "authentic" Mexican dress. South of the Border has nothing on this place.

Norway
This exhibit features a Smorgesbord restaurant, a mildly interesting giftshop with plastic viking helmets (and if you're lucky a cut Norwegian girl) and a ride called the Maelstrom. Watch out for confusing ingress and egress avenues (that's in and out).

Disney: Tricky trolls are out to befuddle you as you explore the heritage of Norway in this adventure-packed boat ride. Watch for polar bears and hold on tight during your descent into the stormy North Sea.

Translation: Trolls crapping in a giant toilet bowl and watching it flush. The worst ride ever invented by man. And I'm trying to be kind.

China
This exhibit features a Chinese restaurant, the usual gift shops and a really cool 360 degree view movie. Truly awesome even 20 years later. This is the best part of the entire park.

Disney: The diverse beauty of China surrounds you as you explore the mysteries of the East in this incredible Circle-Vision 360 film presentation.

Translation: We're communist bastards but we know how to do our propaganda right.


You won't actually see a girl that looks like this anywhere in the exhibit. I know, I checked.

Germany
This exhibit features a German Biergarten, five different blown glass gift shops and nothing else. No movie or ride. Cheap bastards.

Disney: A generous helping of hospitality makes for merry mealtimes in this jolly old restaurant featuring the best in German food and entertainment. The hearty fare is presented in an all-you-can-eat buffet. Diners sit biergarten-style at long tables that all feature a great view of the festivities. Bavarian musicians clad in lederhosen put on a show at various times throughout the evening. Brush up on your polka skills - you may be invited to join in the fun onstage. Entertainment subject to change.

Translation: This is at best a low rent buffet with lots of sauerkraut intensive dishes. You will have to sit next to fat people from Wisconsin whether you want to or not. There is no entertainment.

Morocco
This exhibit features a Moroccan restaurant, an outdoor market with a few ratty looking leather trinkets and nothing else. The outdoor market used to be interesting but no more. The architecture is cool but the place is dead.

Disney: The atmosphere is established even before you set foot in the restaurant. As you wander the winding alleyways of an ancient Moroccan village, you come upon this palatial restaurant adorned in magnificent tile mosaics. Soon the Mediterranean feast is laid before you and the belly dancer arrives to entertain. Is it any wonder you feel like a sultan?

Translation: You might get food poisoning and the belly dancer is really a sweaty guy named Ralph.

America
One would wonder why there needs to be an American exhibit in America but it focuses on a Colonial theme. You can hear the Pledge of Allegiance (including that bit about God) recited every half hour by a guy in a three-cornered hat.

Disney: Ben Franklin and Mark Twain are your Audio-Animatronic® hosts for this moving journey through the tableaus of American history.

Translation: Bad puppets take you on a depressing journey that focuses on war, exploitation and slaughter. The presentation is so incredibly negative it made us all furious that this was how they chose to portray America instead of taking a tour of all of the great cities like all the other country's movies did.

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Italy
Another cheap country that offered no movie, ride or presentation. Only a pricey restaurant and a few lame giftshops. The only bright spot was the Italian Ice vendor who was a welcome sight on a hot day.

Disney: The black-and-white photos in the elegant foyer take you back to a time of the quintessential sweet life of Rome - La Dolce Vita. This romantic world represented by the world-famous L'Originale Alfredo di Roma Ristorante is lovingly recreated here in World Showcase. Trompe l'oeil paintings are showcased on the wall of the dining room where strolling musicians enchant you with the stirring strings of their violins. It almost goes without saying to try the pasta made fresh on the premises. This, after all, is the home of fettuccine Alfredo.

Translation: Like we need to go to Disney to find a bad, over-priced Italian restaurant. Pleeeeease!

Japan
This exhibit features two Japanese-style restaurants (one sushi and the other Beni Hana style) and a very fun gift shop that rivals the top floor of Takashamaya in New York for Japanese candy and trinkets. Good place to buy an Iron Chef apron, Bonsai tree or silk kimono. Watch for the Japanese drums performance.

Disney: Sit around a large grill and enjoy the floor show - it's your meal. Your Japanese chef slowly bows to greet you. Then, polished steel and human hands fly faster than the eye can follow as this master culinary artist c

Translation: How many times can you see a guy flip a shrimp tail onto his hat?

England
Ok, here is where you will find the creepy Beatles cover band, a poor copy of an English pub and a gift shop selling wool sweaters. That's right, just what everybody needs in Florida, a heavy wool sweater.

Disney: The Rose & Crown is a jubilant replica of the pubs that have become a mainstay of British life. Traditional English fare is prepared with piquant perfection. And the cheery atmosphere, accented at times by a jolly English sing-along from the bar in the next room, lends authenticity to every inch of the place. It all makes you want to lift up your pint and say cheers.

Translation: It makes you want to lift up your toilet seat and say "blaaaaaaaah".

France
The French exhibit has a pretty cool movie, some pastry shops and a replica of a Parisian brasseries complete with strange hours and rude service.

Disney: The internationally-acclaimed team of chefs Paul Bocuse, Roger Vergé, and Gaston LeNôtre creates a formidable trio in this exquisite restaurant. The setting is a faithful re-creation of typical Parisian "brasseries" -- elegant city restaurants known for their simple and hearty food.

Translation: If you actually want to eat here, show up between noon and 3 pm. Otherwise, piss off American tourist.

Canada
This exhibit features a restaurant and another cool 360 degree view movie. The hardest part is finding it way in the back after climbing up and down various rocky staircases.

Disney: The magnificent vistas and old-world culture of Canada are presented in an all- encompassing Circle-Vision 360 film presentation.

Translation: Who knew? Who cares?

The Living Seas
Don't be fooled by the cool outside of the building. Skip this stupid exhibit. Slow "elevators" make it almost impossible to escape once you are in.

Disney: Descend fathoms into an incredible undersea world at Sea Base Alpha. It's the largest saltwater environment ever built by anyone. View tropical fish, dolphins, sharks and manatees, while exploring the secrets of a new frontier.

Translation: Three fish in a big tank with absolutely no sight lines. It's like sitting at a ballpark behind a pole. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Don't say we didn't warn you.

The Land
This used to be kind of cool 20 years ago. But they got rid of the singing fruits and veggies. It will never be the same without Mr. Brocolli.

Disney: Horticulture goes high tech. Cruise through dramatic scenes from America's agricultural heartland, then explore prototype greenhouses and the wonders of cutting-edge technology.

Translation: It might give home horticulturalists (that's pot growers for you slow folks) some ideas.

Test Track
As a race car fan, I was really excited to go on this ride, but I never made it.

Disney: Buckle up and take the ride of your life up bumpy terrain, through hair-pin turns, into freezing cold chambers, and on to 50-degree banked curves at 60 miles an hour. It's all the hair-raising challenges of an automotive proving ground and this time, you're the test driver.

Translation: If its is raining, forget it. We were too stupid to build a ride that didn't have to be shut down everytime it rains. It's not like this is Florida where it ALWAYS rains.

The Toilets
Here was a result of mixed emotions. I was hoping for a different style of toilet in each country exhibit but what I found was a generic style toilet all over the park. How boring!

The good news was that they were all very clean and quite usable. The privacy factor was high as there was nobody in the entire park. A few were a little humid being open to the outside but overall it was a highlight of the park.

User Friendliness = 4.5
Cleanliness = 4.5
Privacy = 4.5
Facilities = 3.5
Overall Rating = 4

Conclusion

All of the good looking Norwegian girls that used to populate the exhibits have gone home. Skip the bad restaurants and the $50 a head price tag and hit one of the newer parks or better yet, go to Vegas.




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