Epcot's Miniature Railway Train Garden
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Disney put on certain events at quieter times of the year to attract more guests to EPCOT. The major two are the Food and Wine Festival in the fall and the Garden Festival in the spring. While many of the popular things do appear for many years they try to keep up attendance by adding new and interesting items each year while retiring other things that have been around for some time.
This is how Epcot' s miniature railway train garden came to be in existence. The miniature garden was originally created for the 1995 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival. However the display turned out to be so popular that the management at Disney decided that it would not be a seasonal thing. They decided it should now become a permanent fixture of the German Pavilion.
The model railroad and village is located to the right of the main German pavilion and has been built into what was once the landscape area between Germany and Italy.
One of the reasons that the model village was built here was that the source of the model trains for the display was from a German company called Lehmann Gross Bahn. This company introduced G-scale which is the standard for garden railways. This scale is about one twentieth the size of the real thing with the train running on a 45mm gauge track.
As with much of Disney the level of detail is very high and these details are changed throughout the year to reflect the seasons. The real gem of the Epcot Garden Railway that it can be viewed on many levels. The casual visitor will see just and model village with some trains while a closer inspection as I will reveal will show much more. However it will only be after a few visits at different times of the year will you truly come to appreciate that this village tries to mirror the seasons and atmosphere of EPCOT.
There are three sections of track that can be run independently of each other. This means that most of the time you can see three different engines running. The two main circuits at the front of the village mainly run with locomotives that pull either freight or passenger cars The rear circuit tends to run with a alpine type railcar that was typical of some of the remoter German regions. Overall the display covers an area of about 50 x 150 feet.
The designers of this had free reign so included a wide variety of buildings representing different architectural styles. They included businesses, private homes, city buildings, a church and even a mountainside castle. There is of course a small train depot to make it complete.
One of the beauties of this place is that you can follow a path right through the centre of the village and get very close to all that is going on. In fact this is where the whole village becomes really interesting as you start to see the close up details and all the little stories that are being played out in front of you. I will describe a few below and you can see them in the attached photos but the real pleasure is in find them for yourself.
These little things change as Disney move the figures around and change the story of what is happening. Just so you know the village has its own Food and Wine Festival, Garden Festival and is decorated for Christmas. It also has other items added and recently at the back the tower from ‘Tangled’ appeared with a long braid of hair hanging out of the top window. If you’re a fan of hidden Mickey’s then there are some for you to find here, just smaller than usual.
Here are a few of the things you should try to spot when you make your next visit.
People celebrating a couple' s wedding
Man at the gazebo with a rose behind his back for a surprise
Family eating breakfast on their balcony
Man and woman saying goodbye at the station
There are plenty of others so good hunting.
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