Fresh Eyes Friday: Do Disneyland Like an Epcot Fan

in Disney, Theme Parks, Walt Disney World

Crossover in U.S. Disney Parks is a beautiful thing. It means that if you’re traveling throughout Walt’s world, you’ll find just enough to recognize from coast to coast to make you feel at home. Your long-lost favorites from the Magic Kingdom might still be kicking at Disneyland. An old standby in Anaheim could have a shiny new twist in Orlando. As the saying goes, “If you can dream it, you can do it [twice],” and no place knows that better than Epcot. Here’s where to find connections between DL and the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.

Monorail Magic

Of course the WDW monorail travels to many destinations around the resort, not just to Epcot. What makes the special connection between Disneyland’s monorail and specifically the journey to Epcot aboard the WDW monorail is each train’s grand circle tour of the parks. In the respective rides, guests get a preview of the wonders that await them beyond the turnstiles, narrated by the beloved, disembodied Monorail Man voice. Zooming at tree level through the magic of Tomorrowland and Future World is all kinds of exciting.

Too bad the Disneyland monorail tour isn’t free, though. You’ll need a valid park ticket to step aboard.

Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln

This classic Disneyland attraction might seem to have more in common with the Magic Kingdom’s Hall of Presidents, but the exciting surprise is all it shares with Epcot’s American Adventure in World Showcase. First, the pre-show area of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln houses maquettes of the full-size statues that line the theater in Epcot’s attraction. Each sculpture depicts an embodiment of one of twelve American ideals or spirits, such as independence and innovation. Disneyland’s models are even ordered and lit in the exact way of their East Coast brethren.

Say hello to (from L – R) the Spirit of Wearing Dapper Cloaks, Spirit of Having Babies, Spirit of Digging, and Spirit of Fish Sticks.

Once the show starts, fans of the American Adventure will notice the familiar “Two Brothers” montage and song (sniff, sniff), as well as a few bits and pieces from the Ken Burns-style art pans of Epcot’s show. Finally, when Great Moments lets out, you’ll be treated to “Golden Dreams,” the anthem that definitely never makes people cry against their will. Disneyland’s version is a bit easier to stay strong through, however, as it doesn’t include the film elements or speeches. It does have an awesomely bad soaring eagle projection, though!

Both Disneyland’s and Epcot’s shows pull out some inspiring lighting effects for dawn and twilight.

Radiator Springs Racers

Arguably DCA’s top attraction draw at the moment, Radiator Springs Racers owes a lot of its success to an Epcot ancestor. Fans of Future World’s Test Track will love the Cars-themed mix of atmospheric dark ride and fast, outdoor thrills made possible by the reuse of vehicles and track technology from the 1999 original. All present are the familiar meandering beginning, the “chemical” spray, the pedal-to-the metal crash through a set of doors, and the flash photo moment, followed by a hair-blowing race. The difference is that California riders can appreciate the desert scenery during a slower finale, since the western version focuses on hills instead of speed.

Pro tip: you can see better through the printed windshields from the back seat.

Turtle Talk with Crush

Dude! Both Disney California Adventure and Epcot so totally rock this righteous technology.

This photo definitely doesn’t remind you of Children of the Corn.

Soarin’ (Over California)

Only the setup of this E-ticket attraction feels different in DCA. The original version has guests taking a casual flight out of their friendly, neighborhood hangar made of corrugated metal, while Epcot’s 2.0 ride brings flyers through a sleek airport terminal. The environment makes great sense in both locations, considering the current ride takes place totally within the state lines of California.

With the news that both coasts will be getting a new around-the-world film in the near future, Soarin’ may soon begin to feel less to Epcot fans like the California import that it is. Here’s hoping they find a way to spray a cloud of something other than Pine-Sol on visitors when they look at oceans, forests, and fruit fields. Fingers crossed for more authentic scents and even the possibility of more than one! But if we have to have only one, early polls show “loranges” is a favorite to win that vote.

Dangle your feet if you got the Horizons reference.


Okay, so the ESPN-sponsored eatery isn’t at Epcot or technically inside of a Disneyland park. But it does reside at the Boardwalk, an Epcot-area resort, and it is a part of the overall Disneyland Resort. A check of the menus shows there’s not a ton in common between these two restaurants, foodwise, but if you’re desperate for some game coverage, Disney has got you covered, east or west.

Yay, sports?

Bonus: Food and Wine Festival

For a few sweet years, California Adventure tried to replicate the success of Epcot’s yearly International Food and Wine Festival. They trucked in amazing plants potted in half wine barrels, changed the soundtrack in the park’s entrance area, and booked a few talks with Guy Fieri’s crazy hair. It was a half-hearted effort that was received with lukewarm enthusiasm. The attempt makes this list of attractions shared with Epcot mostly as a wish for the Powers That Be to try it once more, as they say, with feeling. It could be so, so good. That, and DCA never gets the same love as Disneyland for holidays or events. It’s ripe for harvest.

A toast! To life’s ephemeral moments: may they be brought back when marketing realizes the parks need to generate more revenue in Q1.

in Disney, Theme Parks, Walt Disney World

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