Sunday Brunch '
The Odyssey of
April 24, 2011
For those of you who
celebrate it, Happy Easter Sunday!
After last week's visit to
Future World's first character meal, I am sure
you are itching to know more about the story
EPCOT's Odyssey, the place that time
forgot, but a collect few remember. Today, the old restaurant is known as
Epcot's Odyssey Center. It is
regularly used as the Baby Care/Lost Children
center for Epcot's Guest Relations and a
Cast Member break room and cafeteria.
Its main space is rented out for private
parties and used for special events (e.g.
Epcot's Food and Wine/Flower and
its only purpose seems to be a restroom stop
before entering World Showcase.
groovy sign was for the 2007 Flower and Garden
Festival, where the Odyssey Center was called
the Garden Odyssey Festival Center.
the interior decorating of the restaurant is
still stuck in the 80s, as seen during this 2007
workshop for the Flower and
Garden Festival. Photo
While today, the Odyssey
center seems to have little to do with this blog
about Disney and Food, its history puts it right
in that category. The Odyssey
was a counter-service restaurant that opened
when EPCOT Center opened in 1982.
Its futuristic architectural design,
Earth tone color scheme, and placement in EPCOT
was meant to evoke a transition between Future
World and the World Showcase. Upon first
opening, it did great business, but soon it
started to receive less and less business as its
location doomed its existence.
Park Map circa. 1989 from
Access to the restaurant
was a bit of a challenge.
Located on an island in a lagoon between EPCOT's
two 'lands,' the Odyssey is rather easy to miss.
Guests heading into World Showcase
towards Disney Traders would need to go out of
their way and across the bridge to get to the
restaurant. Also, the bridge
World of Motion (now
Test Track) was not originally there; it
had been built to increase guest traffic into
Additionally, in the 80's,
the other counter-service restaurants 'Stargate'
and 'Sunrise Terrace' in Communicore (now
Innoventions) received guests
walking through the park first.
By the time guests reached the Odyssey,
some had already eaten and those who skipped out
at Communicore would continue on to World
Showcase since Odyssey had the same type of menu
offerings as the aforementioned restaurants.
Speaking of menu choices,
the restaurant offered lunch and dinner.
At lunchtime, the restaurant had the
Disney Theme Park
American cuisine, complete with thematic
The Odyssey Burger
The Adventurer Burger
The Voyager Hot Dog
The Discovery Salad
The Enterprise Turtle Soup (okay,
just kidding on this one, haha)
For dinner, the Odyssey
offered a bit of a more adventurous menu with
such choices as beef stew, fried clams, and
sweet and sour chicken.
Dessert included cherry tarts, cakes, and
slide from an EPCOT souvenir shows the Odyssey's
terrace seating area.
With a menu easily
replicated all over Disney World, let alone
Future World, and a location that was not ideal,
one could easily see why Disney shut down the
restaurant in 1994. The
operating costs were too high to keep the place
open. In addition to
adding a third bridge to the island, the
character dining aspect was another attempt to
increase guest traffic. In my
research, I've found that the performance
portion was called the 'Rainbow Revue' and was
incentive to eat at the Odyssey.
As I've stated last week, the Odyssey
Character meal was a terrific experience, but
alas, it was not enough to save the restaurant.
Will we ever see the
Odyssey operate regularly ever again?
A barely used space in a world class
theme park surely merits consideration to become
something new. Though, as we
approach the 20 year mark of its closing, it is
unlikely that it will ever reopen.
I am guessing that the profits from
renting out the restaurant to private parties in
addition to using it as a space for seasonal
events is worth much more than the losses the
restaurant would face if it were to operate
again, even if seasonally.
The Crystal Palace in the
Magic Kingdom is in a very similar
out-of-the-way area of the park as Odyssey is to
Epcot, though it continues to attract guests as
it is a sit-down buffet with character dining.
If the Odyssey could offer something huge
and give guests a reason to go across the bridge
and delay their journey into World Showcase, it
may also find success. The
kitchen facilities, dining area, and stage for
performances of some sort are already there and
remain intact; the Imagineers just need a great
idea to make it unique. With
its original design and a little tweaks, the
Odyssey can become another shining jewel in
Epcot's collection of some of the best in Disney
This Sunday Brunch could not be made
possible without the insightful articles from
Lost Epcot's page of the
Lost Epcot's interview with
cast member John Maimone
Shawn Slater, a former
writer for the
Walt Disney Company
Return to Sunday