Photo credit: Amy Simpson Swiss, August 2013
Tucked away off stage, mostly out of view from the casual guest, are a host of special VIP areas scattered throughout the pavilions of Epcot. They are not widely advertised, and they have subtle access points. You've probably passed by an entrance to one, completely unaware of what was beyond the door.
Each of the major pavilions in Epcot once had a private lounge. In the heyday of corporate sponsorship, these lounges served as VIP areas for hosting employees, entertaining guests, and holding special events. Some are active for current sponsors, while other lounges are no longer in regular use.
Siemens has a lounge inside Spaceship Earth. HP's private lounge inside Mission:Space overlooks the queue and the Advanced Training Lab post-show area. The Test Track building is home to GM's lounge- though this area was reported closed for quite some time after the Test Track overhaul. Kraft once had a lounge in The Land, back when they were the sponsor of that pavilion. The Imagination Pavilion was the home of Kodak's corporate lounge.
One of the most impressive of the corporate lounges was said to be found in The Seas pavilion. I once read that an entire wall of the lounge was floor to ceiling glass, looking into one of the huge aquarium tanks in the pavilion. A transparent acrylic grand piano helped entertain guests in this exclusive space. Grand, indeed! This pavilion no longer has corporate sponsorship, and the area now goes largely unused.
These special areas are the stuff of legend for many, probably because they are off limits to all but those with corporate connections or personal invitations. Most of the throngs who would clamor for new experiences never get access to these areas of respite in the park. That doesn't stop people from embellishing the lore, though, or even from videotaping attempts at unauthorized access (not that we condone that sort of thing here at Plus the Magic... but we did uncover some footage while doing research). The attraction to these exclusive areas is understandable, especially to people who have experienced all that Epcot has to offer to the general public. Who wouldn't want to get a chance to see something off the beaten path?
The lounges mentioned so far are all in Epcot's Future World. What about the World Showcase?
American Express used to have a VIP lounge inside The American Adventure, but their sponsorship ended and the lounge is not regularly in use. This parlor space is now used for private functions.
Another "secret" area in in World Showcase is The Norway Loft. While not a corporate lounge, it's one of the little-seen spaces that's sometimes used for private functions. A search of the Disney Events site shows some of the other areas available for the discerning event host. And now that we're on the subject...what exactly is in that hotel structure in the Canadian pavilion? I'm curious.
A private lounge overlooking Norway, my favorite World showcase pavilion? Or a secret bird's-eye view of one of my favorite attractions? I think I may have a new entry on my Disney Bucket List. I'd love to get a peek inside any of these corporate lounges or special event locations one day. If any of you Plus the Magic readers are interested in hosting a private event, or if you are eligible for entry into a corporate lounge, please do get in touch! (Hey, it never hurts to ask, right?)
So, dear readers, do you know any details about any of these secret spaces? Have you even been fortunate enough to spend any time in one of these Epcot hidden gems? Please share your story with us in the comments!