If you have been to Epcot over the past twenty years, you have probably noticed the Odyssey Restaurant on your way into World Showcase. There it rests, year after year, providing only restrooms and a baby care station most of the time. During the Food & Wine Festival, it often hosts cooking demos, a flight of local beers, and sometimes showcases a window wrap that inaccurately describes how beer is made. I wish I had taken pictures of the entire place when I saw it, but I never anticipated writing a blog about the Odyssey, so there we are.
Back to the present! And the future! The Odyssey finally has an amazing new experience worthy of renovating the former burger-and-fries restaurant! If you were excited about the changes coming to Epcot revealed at the D23 Expo this year, you are going to want to see this exhibit! Disney’s Imagineers took their usual trick of setting up a model of a new land or attraction in a secluded location somewhere and they blew it up into a 360-degree, multimedia extravaganza! My professors in blog school taught me that not every sentence in a paragraph should have an exclamation point, but this is exciting news!
The Epcot Experience goes way beyond a simple model in a room and a few bits of concept art. The new experience features a 360-degree screen with high definition video. Much of the infotainment on display refuses to be contained to one fixed point, moving the action around you. It’s fun watching everybody swivel their heads, trying to guess where the next focus will be.
Not content to re-invigorate the traditional Circlevision format, Disney placed a model in the center of the circle. The model is not an exact replica of Epcot, but a stylized representation of its lands and countries. Perched atop is everybody’s favorite golf ball, Spaceship Earth. The projection mapping on Cinderella Castle is amazing, but this is next-level stuff here. Details up close that look like a true version of the park the dissolve into star fields. It’s amazing and definitely worth your time.
The circular screen is a great format to immerse you in some of Epcot’s coming attractions. The new water pavilion is described in vagaries by Moana’s grandmother using artistic styles similar to those used in the movie. The Guardians of the Galaxy coaster gets particular attention using some original scripting and some cleverly recycled animation from Mission: Breakout! The new Cherry Tree Lane in the UK is teased, as is the new HarmoniUS spectacular. If this preview can be believed, the new fireworks show to come will blow away any doubts we have following the lackluster Epcot Forever show that graces the lagoon at present.
In all, I loved my few trips to the Epcot Experience. The Odyssey restaurant has been transformed into something fresh, an opportunity to showcase the upcoming changes to one of the world’s most famous theme parks. In addition to the immersive video experience, the pavilion also gives you a brief respite from the Florida heat and a place to buy a few mid-festival drinks.
If you’re in the neighborhood, please take a moment to stop in. Don’t stop in one place like the rest of the rabble, though! Take the time to walk around this immersive experience and take in all that it has to offer. When the time comes for these dreams to become reality, make sure you book a trip with one of our friendly ConciEARS to make sure you get the best value out of your time!