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Book Review: The Epcot Explorer’s Encyclopedia by R.A. Pedersen

I don’t know if I’ve ever explicitly stated this before, but Epcot is my favorite Disney park. And even though the EPCOT Center I remember loving as a kid bears little resemblance to the Epcot that exists today, that geodesic sphere will always have a special place in my heart.

And so, I was excited to read The Epcot Explorer’s Encyclopedia – a book that’s devoted entirely to Epcot. No Millennium tile is left unturned. No renovation is left undescribed. There’s even a section that talks about the parking lot in great detail. This is a book for Epcot fans, by a true Epcot expert, and it’s a must-read for any Epcot geek.

The book is structured like a guidebook – each pavilion gets its own chapter, and within those chapters the history of the attractions, shops, restaurants, and design of said pavilion is described, along with the any renovations, changes, additions, or closures. The majority of the book is devoted to Future World, largely because the World Showcase hasn’t changed all that much over the years (a good thing). There’s also a conversational introduction that reads like one of the author’s blog posts (a must-add for your Google Reader), but the book doesn’t have a conclusion, which I was kind of hoping for (maybe because the future of Epcot is hard to define, since these days the park seems to change based on whatever Disney decides is popular that week).

For me, my favorite thing about reading The Epcot Explorer’s Encyclopedia was that it allowed me to take a stroll down memory lane and really remember in vivid detail all the things that made me fall in love with EPCOT Center in the first place. Because over time, our memories fade. For example, I remember loving Body Wars as a kid – I remember riding it for the first time, I remember the movie and the splinters and waiting for two hours in line. But I completely forgot that guests were “sanitized” with air puffs while in the queue. And I remember going to Epcot in 2000 and being horrified/emotionally destroyed when I rode the “new and improved” Journey into YOUR Imagination. But I repressed exactly how painful that version of the ride was. Thank you, Epcot Explorer’s Encyclopedia – I’m now having nightmares about being stuck on that ride, forced to listen to Dr. Nigel Channing for all eternity.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves Epcot or is interested in learning more about WDW history. Read it before your next trip, and impress your fellow travelers and cast members with all your new knowledge … then ask them if they know who General Knowledge is.

The Epcot Explorer’s Encyclopedia is available for purchase on Amazon.

Disclosure: I received an electronic copy of the book for this post.

This review is cross-posted from The Disney Chick. Visit for more Epcot geekery.

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