An EPCOT Odyssey (sans cyclops)
This week's review takes us to Walt's Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. It's an epic journey, a real Homer-run! A tribe of Lotus-eaters couldn't keep us away!
Yes, this week, we are in Epcot, destination: Odyssey.
What is Odyssey, you ask? You've never heard of it, you say? I'm not surprised. Most of us have seen the Odyssey Center. Many likely have wondered what it is, but I suspect quite a few haven't ventured to see it up close.
The Odyssey Center as it's now known (it was formerly called just "Odyssey") is situated between Future World and World Showcase. More specifically, it's between Test Track and the Mexico Pavillion. It's that low, odd shaped building situated off in the lagoon. Connected to the main walkway between Innoventions and the entrance to World Showcase by two of its own elevated walkways, Odyssey Center can easily be seen from the monorail as it loops through the park on its way to Epcot Station.
Take a look. In the photo, it's the two story building with the blue roof just to the right of (and hiding in the shadow of) Test Track's ...er, track.
You see it there, right? Oooh, yeah, THAT building. See, you have seen it. But what is it?
When Epcot opened in 1982, Odyssey served as a restaurant. The menu was Americana: burgers and dogs -- nothing fancy. It didn't get much traffic over the years and, ultimately, the restaurant was shuttered in 1994 and renamed "Odyssey Center". Since then, it has served as a mainly as a building that houses two sets of restrooms: one set on the northwest side, the other on the southwest. Disney hosts special events there, and the building can be rented out for private parties as well. That said, it's mostly just a rest stop for those who are willing to walk out of their way to use the bathroom.
EDIT: as one attentive reader pointed out, the building also houses first aid and baby care centers. Thank you!
Here's what the place looked like in 1983:
And it really is a walk to get there. The building is situated along the edge of the lagoon's northeast corner, and those interested in visiting must take one of three elevated walkways to get there. Though it is easily seen, there aren't signs directing traffic towards it, so the restrooms are infrequently used. Here's a view of the building as I approached it from the (PINK!) walkway connecting it to Innoventions. The park was crazy busy this day, but you can see, there are very few people in this area.
As one gets closer to the building, it starts to show its age. The structure is sound, but it's simply a dated design, dated colors ... just needs some pixie dust. There's a set of recessed glass doors, situated in an alcove on the building's exterior at the end of this walkway. You can see it in the photo.
Once through the doors, there is a carpeted foyer, with doors leading to the men's and women's restrooms. Here's the entrance to the men's side. Look at that carpet, the plum colored doors, the stark white walls (and off-white door to the restroom itself)! Just as the exterior looks a few decades old, so does the interior. That said, aside from some scuffs on the walls, the area was clean.
Enough of the approach .... Let's go on in!
Well ... at least its clean, right? I suspect this restroom hasn't been updated since Odyssey was serving burgers and fries. Check out the browns! Look at that tile!
Alternating squares of brown and tan with burnt edges (the edges aren't dirty -- just dyed a darker color -- again, this was a clean restroom) takes us all the way back to 1982 (think Commodore 64, the Falklands War, ABBA breaks up!!!).
Plenty of space in here, as well. 5 stalls and 4 urinals ensure rapid throughput. There is an ADA complaint stall as well.
A throne fit for Polyphemus! The toilets and urinals have all been updated to automatically flush.
No shortage of sinks here, either.
Speaking of sinks, check out the cool mosaic pattern above the sinks. I actually really like this. Not sure why. It's just as dated as everything else in the restroom, but it catches the eye (in a nice way). It reminds of of a beehive (from the 1980's, of course).
And there you have it folks: The Odyssey! While not as exotic as Odysseus' trip, it was an epic visit nonetheless. A few final thoughts .... The restroom certainly could use an update, yet at the same time, it's dated appearance adds to its charm (Can a restroom have charm? I think so! -- ed.). This is all that appears to be left of the original Odyssey Restaurant facilities which were up and running on Epcot's opening day in 1982. Changing the looks of the restroom will mean saying goodbye to another piece of Epcot history; and, while an update is certainly inevitable, I wouldn't mind if the Imagineers at WDW kept it as-is for a few more years.
The facilities were remarkably clean. Seriously, a restroom this old should be in rough shape by now, but, once again, the cast members have done a great job in its upkeep. It was spotless the day I visited (and the park had been open for 5 hours by then).
Lastly, this is a quiet place to visit. As is the case with last week's featured restroom on Tom Sawyer Island, if you need to escape the hustle and bustle of the park, this is a great place to visit. Just be prepared for a bit of a walk to get there.
WDW Loo Review Recap of Epcot's Odyssey Center Northside Restroom:
Cleanliness: Very Good
Traffic: Very Slow
Changing Station: No
Companion Restroom: No
OVERALL RATING: 3.5/5 urinal wafers
Summary: Dated, yet charming, very clean, but a pain to get to, one could easily do worse than Odyssey Center for a quick pit stop.
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