35 incredible facts about Disney's EPCOT theme park

ORLANDO, Florida -- Designed as a permanent world's fair by Walt Disney himself, EPCOT is celebrating its 35th anniversary.

Disney opened its second theme park at the Walt Disney World Resort on October 1, 1982.

In celebration of this big milestone, here are 35 facts you might not have known about EPCOT:

  1. EPCOT is twice the size of the Magic Kingdom, and spans 300 acres.
  2. The park is the third most-visited theme park in North America.
  3. EPCOT is also the world's sixth most-visited theme park.
  4. Walt Disney inspired the concept for EPCOT, but did not live to see its completion. He died five years before Magic Kingdom opened on October 1, 1971.
  5. The park has hosted more than 12 million guests, according to statistics released in 2015.

  6. PHOTOS: EPCOT through the years

  7. The geodesic sphere at the park's entrance, Spaceship Earth, weighs 15,520,000 pounds.
  8. Celebrated science fiction writer Ray Bradbury, author of "Fahrenheit 451," helped Disney Imagineers design Spaceship Earth and write the attraction's original storyline.
  9. Spaceship Earth has 11,324 silver facets creating (in theory) 11,520 total isosceles triangles and 3,840 points.
  10. The park has been known by four different names over its 35-year history: EPCOT Center, EPCOT '94, EPCOT '95, and finally, EPCOT.
  11. EPCOT is an acronym for "Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow."
  12. Total cost to complete its construction: between $800 million to $1.4 billion, according to estimates, in 1982 dollars.
  13. The parking lot can accommodate 11,211 vehicles and is 141 acres.
  14. The "Innoventions" area was not part of EPCOT on opening day, but has boasted a number of exhibits and attractions since its opening on September 29, 1994.
  15. NASA astronauts and engineers helped Disney bring its centrifugal motion simulator thrill ride "Mission: Space" to life, giving visitors an experience as close to authentic space flight as possible.
  16. At top speed, the cars in "Test Track" blast through the road test at 64.9 MPH, making it the fastest Disney theme park attraction every built.
  17. Formerly known as "The Living Seas," the ride "The Seas with Nemo and Friends" boasts the second largest saltwater tank in the world, holding 5.7 million gallons of water.
  18. "Soarin'," the flight motion simulator in The Land, can hoist 87 people and 37 tons of weight into the air during each 4-minute and 45-second "flight."
  19. Disney Imagineer Mark Sumner developed "Soarin'" while tinkering with an aging Erector Set he had at home.
  20. Fruits and vegetables seen growing during the "Living with the Land" ride is served to diners at The Garden Grill and Sunshine Seasons restaurants inside "The Land" pavilion.
  21. During the aquacell tour on the "Living with the Land" ride, you'll see the same fish farmed for EPCOT's Coral Reef restaurant.
  22. "Imagination!" (formerly "The Journey Into Imagination") is home to a Disney character with a cult-like following, Figment, the mischievous purple dragon.
  23. Figment made his first appearance at EPCOT in 1983.
  24. A permanent world's fair known as the World Showcase features 11 themed countries around the World Showcase Lagoon.
  25. Of the 11 pavilions that exist now, Mexico and Norway were not represented when the park opened, but were added in 1984 and 1988, respectively.
  26. One of the most popular rides at EPCOT to date is "Frozen Even After," which can be found in the Norway Pavilion. A separate queue nearby will allow visitors to meet Queen Elsa and Princess Anna.
  27. The Three Caballeros, featuring Donald Duck, serenade visitors to the Gran Fiesta Tour inside the Mesoamerican pyramid in Mexico.
  28. The China pavilion's "Temple of Heaven" replica can be seen in the music video for Christina Aguilara's "Reflection," from the 1998 Disney film "Mulan."
  29. Fans of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" can often find the princess and friends milling about in the Germany pavilion.
  30. At the United States pavilion during the holidays, the star-studded Candlelight Processional brings park guests face-to-face with celebrities retelling the story of Jesus Christ's birth.
  31. In the Japan pavilion, you can purchase an oyster shell that may contain a pearl inside!
  32. King Hassann II sent Moroccan artisans to design and create many of the mosaics seen in the Moracco pavilion.
  33. Characters from "Brother Bear" and "Pocahontas" can sometimes be seen in the Canada pavilion.
  34. The Earth Globe at the centerpiece of the World Showcase Lagoon, seen in action during the fireworks spectacular "Reflections of Earth," weighs 350 tons and was the world's first spherical video display system.
  35. During the nightly firework show at EPCOT, 2,120 visible firework effects are produced along with a variety of laser, light and torch effects, at a cost of $25,000 each night.
  36. A major transformation will soon bring "Guardians of the Galaxy," "Ratatouille," and other family-friendly Disney attractions to EPCOT.

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