Originally opening in 1994, and again after a major refurb in October 1999, Innoventions came to Epcot to replace Communicore. Innventions is a 2 building pavilion located centrally in Future World. It is highly interactive for kids, as well as adults, and featues a highway layout with various stops, focusing on technological advancements and their practical applications in everyday life. Different from the other Future World pavilions, Innoventions does not have a single sponsor for the entire pavilion, but rather one for each of the attractions and displays that are within.
The area that separates the two Innoventions buildings is called “Innoventions Plaza” and houses the central pin trading hub and the Wait Time board for attractions throughout Epcot. Also found here is the Electric Umbrella Restaurant, Fountain View Cafe, Club Cool, the Epcot Character Spot (where you can meet Mickey & Co.), and the extremely popular Mouse Gear!
Innoventions East (Test Track side of Future World) is home to five different attractions, among them a new virtual thrill ride, a 3D effects show, hands on demonstrations, and more, and all of them educational for everyone! Before you say “wait a minute… education stuff in a theme park?”, allow me to explain!
Test the Limits Lab is an interactive kid powered test lab sponsored by Underwriters Laboratories. After a short safety demonstration by Timon and Pumba, kids get a chance to test at five different stations. The “Torture Lab” (parents, its ok.. really!) you test the limit of appliances and gadgets that you find in your normal household, while in the “Drop Lab” you get to drop a safe out of a 3 or 4 story high building and see the results. The “Slam Lab” introduces testing of fire doors and their repeated use via jumping on rubber pads causing the doors to slam over and over and over. In the “Impact Lab” you test the stability of a fire fighters helmet by dropping a 55- gallon drum on it! Finally, the “Shatter Lab” lets you send a large hammer into a TV screen and see that it does not break and find out why and what would happen if it did.
The next attraction in Illuminations East is “Storm Struck: A Tale of Two Homes“. Ever wonder what it might be like to be inside a house during a major hurricane or even the fabled perfect storm? In this exhibit you will discover exactly that along with how to protect your home and family during a storm. There is a children’s play area as well as an interactive quiz for adults to find out just how much they know and how to react in a major storm. The main show is a massive 3-D effects show. It can be intense in some areas and is very loud. For those adults or adults with kids who do not like loud noises or in your face effects, you may want to speak with a nearby Cast Member.
The newest and most intense attraction in Innoventions East is “Sum of All Thrills“. Opened back in October of 2009, this attraction lets guests design either a coaster, jet plane or bobsled track, test it to grasp the understanding of the math and science involved, and finally lets you experience it. Once you are ready to ride, the cast member will ask you and your partner to take EVERYTHING out of your pockets, strap you into the impressive looking motion simulator, and off you go. Warning: this is not an attraction for those who have a fear of heights, or don’t handle thrill rides well. Also if you have any inversions in your design, there is a height restriction of 54 inches! However if thrill rides are your thing, this is NOT TO BE MISSED!
Rounding out Innoventions East is the ENVIRONMENTALITY CORNER where you can learn what you can do to preserve the environment. Kids will learn how to make paper and then get to decorate their sample and take it home with them.
Innoventions West houses another set of five exhibits that are worth a good look at.
Ever want to ride one of those Segway machines? Here’s your chance. You can have the opportunity to learn how they work and even get to take one for a spin for a few minutes. (Times depend on crowd Level.)
“Where’s the Fire“ is presented by Liberty Mutual. As you probably guessed from the title, this exhibit is designed to help you identify fire hazards and also teach the kids how to ‘Stop, Drop and Roll’.
IBM presents “Smarter Planet“, and shows how just one person can have an impact on the planet as well as how the impact larger based on how many people are involved. Kids can also be the star of their own video game while learning what is involved with creating a smarter planet. Its also worth noting that IBM has been a sponsor in Innoventions since the pavilion first opened.
In the “Videogame Playground“, visiors can compete against villains or sports teams in a one-of-a-kind adventures with Disney Characters!
Rounding out Innoventions is “The Great Piggy Bank Adventure“. Developed by Disney and T. Rowe Price, this exhibit features an interactive game which focuses teaching kids and families the importance of careful spending and financial planning. Each station involved in the game offers you the chance to spend and save your money while aiming to meet a long term goal established at the start of the exhibit.