My picture threads consist of images I have taken that focus on the architecture, landscape architecture, planning, design, and theming of the facilities highlighted. They may also contain short descriptions and commentary, but will not focus on construction progress or special events or memorabilia or food selections or my traveling companions. Hopefully these threads are a good introduction for those who have not seen these places yet. All killer, no filler!
The Seas With Nemo and Friends, The Land, and Imagination! photographed in February 2008 and January 2010:
I have artificially subdivided the 8 pavilions of Future World at EPCOT into three threads because this land is too large to cover thoroughly with one and eight separate threads would be too many. This thread focuses on the three adjacent pavilions on the West side of the land. EPCOT is divided into two lands, Future World and World Showcase, the former being a collection of 8 pavilions that each focus on one aspect of the future. They are each housed in a large modern building (or two) with at least one major attraction (several are almost entirely one attraction); in addition, some of them feature activity galleries or a shop or restaurant. They form a roughly circular symmetric layout centered on two of the pavilions.
THE SEAS WITH NEMO AND FRIENDS:
This pavilion focuses on sealife in a building which elegantly interprets the motion of waves and currents in its exterior forms and features playful mascots from the film 'Finding Nemo' as appropriate hosts on the journey.
After entering the enveloping wave-like form of the front of the building, a beach and underwater themed queue leads to a gentle introductory ride on clam-shaped vehicles through a combination of three-dimensional and projected film scenes featuring the movie characters; some of them appear to be inside the aquarium windows seen at the end of the ride.
The ride leads to an attractive large simulated seabase for underwater scientific research which serves as the hub for the many exhibits and activities.
The centerpiece of the pavilion is an immense round aquarium, seen from the ride as well as extensive viewing windows from both stories of the seabase. About two-thirds of the habitat is for live tropical fish and sharks and rays and turtles in a simulated reef environment, while the other one-third is separated by a curtain of bars and bubbles and contains live bottlenose dolphins as well as some more fish.
The main room in the seabase has four round pod-like structures surrounding it that contain the rest of the exhibits. Two are two-story spaces while two are one-story, creating a series of six display areas. This lab is one of them.
Another pod is this two-story one with above-water and underwater viewing of a live manatee rehabilitation habitat.
Another room has six columnar habitats for more intimate views of live sealife.
Another room has an educational play area featuring characters from the film.
Mr. Ray's Lagoon:
The last pod room has several aquatic habitats, including these two for rays as well as a small jellies exhibit and Great Barrier Reef medium-sized wall tank. This room serves as the waiting area for a short interactive show called 'Turtle Talk With Crush'.
Coral Reef Restaurant:
The pavilion's fine dining venue is reached from a separate side entrance; once inside, its large dining room faces several large windows looking into the lower part of the large main aquarium seen previously inside the pavilion.
This side of the land has particularly attractive simple plantings in a landscape of round concrete forms of various heights and diameters. The monorail route that circles the middle of the land glides above these gardens.
This pavilion deals with agriculture and landscape and ecology in a building with a geometric mountain-like skylight form rising behind a landscape of both abstract and natural plantings. Guests enter a low entrance that appears to penetrate an abstract tile mural of geologic strata before emerging into a large atrium topped by the skylight. This room is the center of the pavilion and its attractions radiate from here. Some of them include Sunshine Seasons (a reasonably healthy food court), The Circle of Life ( a film about ecology), and Soarin' ( a motion simulator film where guests ride in glider-like seats in a large theater showing the landscape of California).
The pavilion's table service restaurant is a relaxing round revolving restaurant that overlooks several show scenes from the ride downstairs.
Living With The Land:
The gentler ride in the pavilion is a boat ride through a flume that travels through several scenes of landscapes such as a rainforest, desert, prairie, and small farm (all seen from above in the restaurant) before entering an engaging series of greenhouses that demonstrate innovative food growing techniques including hydroponics and aquaculture.
This playful pavilion successfully conveys this rather esoteric or subjective theme. Although the building exterior of bright simple pyramid forms is cheerful and restrained, it is the play fountains and garden in front that help make it feel like a place where the mind can be free; the interior attractions further heighten the feeling.
Journey Into Imagination With Figment:
This ride features a queue area that goes through the Imagination Institute, a fictitious laboratory for exploring creativity that bestows an 'Inventor of the Year' award. Then a bright ride vehicle is boarded and the institute is further explored in a series of show scenes starring a friendly purple dragon named Figment being guided through the sense labs.
The exit of the ride leads to this interactive play and exhibit area.
Honey, I Shrunk The Audience:
A separate entrance from the pavilion goes into a large theater that shows a 3D film themed to the 'Inventor of the Year' awards ceremony of the Imagination Institute.