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Where’s the Fire? Epcot's Innoventions

If you’re like most people, the closest you’ve ever been to an Innoventions exhibit at Epcot is when you’re taking an air-conditioned shortcut to Future World East or West. You say to yourself, “After I experience the major attractions like Soarin’ and Test Track I’ll come back and see what is offered here.” But the sad truth is this; Epcot is too big to experience everything in one day, so the chances of you returning to this area are slim if you’re on a tight schedule. This is a shame as there is a lot of fun to be had here.


Innoventions


Whenever I have out-of-town visitors, I try to tailor a Disney touring plan that takes their tastes and interests into account. For example, one friend of mine loves thrill rides so I make sure she experiences them all. Another couple loves fine dining, so we eat at the deluxe restaurants (it’s rough on the pocket book, but it’s worth it). So when my niece Shayne called me in early January and asked if she could visit for a long weekend in February, my “planning” brain cells clicked into high gear.

Shayne is a firefighter with the California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection. For over twenty years she’s been safeguarding the state from wildfires. As with all firefighters, she is proud of her profession. With this in mind, I knew that Innoventions West would be on our Epcot agenda. Liberty Mutual sponsors an exhibit here called “Where’s the Fire?” This attraction teaches adults and children basic fire safety in a fun and entertaining way.


Where’s the Fire?

Where’s the Fire?


The exhibit is housed in a mock house. The queue is marked by a white picket fence.


Where’s the Fire? Exhibit

Queue and White Picket Fence


Approximately every five minutes, the folks waiting in line are divided into two groups and move into the home’s entry. Here, a host or hostess will explain the object of the game and lay out the rules. The scenario is this: you are on a mission to discover a number of fire hazards commonly found around the house. To do this, you move from room to room, looking for potential risks. To help in the task, each player is given a special “safety light” to help uncover lurking dangers.


House Entry

House Entry

Safety Lights

Safety Light


Think of the building as a duplex -- each home having the same living quarters, but arranged slightly different from one another. These include: garage, kitchen, living room, bathroom, kid’s bedroom, and home office. In reality, the rooms are large projection screens.


House Map

Living Room

Living Room


Each team enters its assigned house. If multiple families are playing on a given team, each family takes a different room within the house. When the game begins, all persons in the room shine their safety light on the screen. As they do, various hazards and non-hazards are illuminated. Here are examples of both.


Finding Hazards

Potential Hazard

Non-hazard


When a hazard is discovered, all persons in the room must shine their safety light on the same spot. When they do, the hazard is rendered harmless and points are assigned. During the game, you move from room to room as the clock ticks down. After five minutes, each team returns to the entry and the group with the highest score wins. Although there are no prizes awarded, the information everyone takes with them is invaluable.


Bonus Points

A Safe Room


For a lesson geared especially for little ones, Disney and Liberty Mutual have created “Play it Safe.” Statistics show that children five and under are twice as likely to die in a fire as the rest of the population. To help change these statistics, cast members provide kids with the five basic rules of escaping a fire. Then, using overhead lights to simulate a blaze, the little ones put into action what they just learned.


Play It Safe Entrance

Play It Safe Sign

Children Learning

Simulated Fire

Children Escaping the House


Parked next to the house is a real 30-foot fire engine. Designed and built by W.S. Darley & Company, the truck lets guests see how a pumper truck operates and learn about the equipment worn, carried and used by firefighters.


Fire Engine

Fire Engine

Fire Engine


On the right side of the truck you’ll find the "Badges of Honor" exhibit. Here you’ll discover a sampling of patches worn by firefighters around the country. Reedy Creek, Walt Disney World’s fire department, is prominently displayed in square 1A. The other patches are routinely removed and replaced with new additions. If you’re a firefighter, feel free to add your patch to the collection. Just ask a cast member for details and they’ll help you fill out the necessary paperwork. My niece Shayne added her department’s patch to the collection. The Fire Station at the Magic Kingdom also displays these patches and donations may be displayed at either location.


Badges of Honor

Badges of Honor

Reedy Creek Patch

California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection


You can also have your picture taken (free of charge) standing next to the fire truck. To snap the picture, you press a button on top of a fire hydrant. After your likeness has been captured, you move to an editing station where cartoon enhancements, like a helmet and Dalmatian, can be added to the picture. When you’re done, the photo can be emailed to friends and family back home. Here’s a shot of me.


Camera

Fire Hydrant

Editing Station

Jack Spence


As part of the “Liberty Mutual Speaker Series” local firemen occasionally make guest appearances at this attraction. During these sessions, kids are encouraged to get to know these brave men and women to help alleviate any fears they may have. During their talks the firefighters demonstrate the importance of their safety gear, identify fire hazards, and give helpful hints on what to do if there’s a fire in your home. For dates and times ask a cast member or check with Guest Relations.

The exhibits in Innoventions are constantly changing to keep them fresh and relevant. Since I knew that “Where’s the Fire?” has been here for some time, I was afraid its contract might be expiring soon and this great attraction would soon fade into history. However, I learned that Liberty Mutual just signed a three-year renewal with Disney so “Where’s the Fire?” will be around a bit longer for you to enjoy.


Liberty Mutual Logo


If you’re a longtime reader of my column, you know I’m always telling you to slow down and smell the roses. Innoventions is the perfect place to do this. For the most part, the exhibits here are not passive. You must invest some time and energy to enjoy them. But the rewards are well worth it. Walt was a master at educating people in a fun and entertaining way. Innoventions and “Where’s the Fire?” carry on this tradition.



The previous post in this blog was Another Disney Quiz - Answers.

The next post in this blog is The Oasis – Disney's Animal Kingdom .

Comments (28)

Craig:

Thanks for once again pointing out an often overlooked attraction.

Melody Cook:

Thanks for pointing this area out to me. We are bringing my six year old for the first time in May and I can't wait to show him this. He will enjoy making the picture i am sure.

Jenny Sperandeo:

Hi Jack! It's funny that you showcase this exhibit today. My twins were just reminiscing about it last night at dinner. It's unfortunate how it's often missed on a trip to Epcot.
My family always visits Innoventions West at some point during our WDW vacations. There really are so many hidden treasures here. One of our other favorites is the Storm Struck attraction. Thanks again for bringing back the magic!

Erin Rix:

Hi, thanks for sharing this and reminding us of all the great times we spent putting out fires. This is a great activity. I never knew about taking the photo though, we will have to try this next time!

Love this exhibit and the others that Innoventions has to offer. There is soo much to see and do here, you could literally kill a whole day just seeing these exhibits. Thanks for mentioning another hidden gem that is so often over looked.

Maria:

Thanks Jack. We don't make enough time for the Innoventions buildings although I'm still pleasantly surprised when my girls ask to go there each trip. On our last trip, my oldest called me up on my cell (I was enjoying dinner in Epcot) and asked where the Sum of all Thrills was and brought all her team mates there.

Great info! I'll never forget the look on my son's face when he was 2 and we were in Innoventions and we came around a corner and saw a huge green garbage truck. Just like the kind we have at home (only a lot cleaner!). He was so into garbage trucks then that it may have been one of his favorite things! Is that truck still there? It's been 3 years now.

Jack's Answer:


The trash truck is still there for the moment. However, Waste Management has not renewed their contract and will be leaving soon. Sorry.

sandra shaw:

Jack Our kids (age 11 and 12) insist on doing this "game" every year. They love it It is very informitive and helps to keep fire safety in the back of erveryones minds.Thanks for blogging about this today.

Josh:

hey jack
whenever my family and i visit innoventions it is usually to beat the heat and enjoy some air conditioning. my younger cousins however would absolutly love this area. i can't wait to tell them about it. can't wait for your next blog and as always keep up the great work.

Lyndsey:

Thank you for sharing this! My friend is a paid firefighter in Upstate NY and is planning on bringing his 5-year-old son down to Disney at Thanksgiving time. I will definitely be recommending this to him! Thank you again!!

Heather Young:

My kids love "Where's the Fire?" It's educational and fun. I think my son has outgrown this now (13) but I'd recommend it to any family with little ones or even not so little ones.

Thanks for the blog Jack

Wendy Crober:

Hi Jack,

We did this attraction when we were there last year - it was really fun and informative too.

Wendy

Well, this was very interesting. We (my mom and i) normally by pass this feature in innoventions and do the pig game. lol. I'll be sure to do the fire game next time. :)

Kathleen:

Hi Jack!

Thanks for taking a moment to talk about where I get to deliver the magic! So many people do not realize what a great secret Innoventions is. I love being able to "teach" children about fire safety in such a fun Disney way, and I think the kids love it when I tell them they are in charge of making sure the family makes a meeting place on their way home.

You must have been there right at 9am to get those great pictures!

Reagan:

Jack,
It has been years since I've been in Innovations (since before I had kids). We will be visiting in a couple of weeks. My youngest son has been fascinated with fire fighters since several came and visited his preschool class this past fall. He goes around saying (and demonstrating) Stop, Drop, and Roll frequently. I will definitely plan to take him to see this. Thanks for sharing this today!

Ethan Shuster:

Innoventions is definitely overlooked for being "boring", and not one of the more high profile attractions or rides. I'm one of the people that wish Epcot hadn't lost so much of its educational aspects. I remember back in the Communicore days when it showcased new technology in a way that didn't seem overly commercial, despite corporate sponsors everywhere.

I think part of the issue today is that we're constantly facing so much new technology that unless something's really advanced, people aren't that excited by those kinds of exhibits. I remember being thrilled by the touch screen information kiosks from back in the dark ages... :) Now, everyone reading this probably has something far more advanced in their pockets in the form of a cell phone.

Erica:

I brought my friend, her sister and 4 yr old son to epcot a few weeks ago. It was raining when we got there so we decided to hit innoventions until it cleared up. We did wheres the fire first. Everyone really enjoyed it. We also took our pic in front of the truck and emailed it home. We even found the patch from our home town in CT.

David W.:

Great blog, Jack! We discovered this attraction about three years ago on a particularly crowded day at Epcot. My daughter had so much fun with this that it's stayed on her "Must do" list every time we visited since then. I love the ideas behind some of these highly visual and tactile attractions. Some are a little weaker than others, but I believe that "Where's the Fire?" and the "Sum of All Thrills" really show that there is an opportunity for more educational/interactive/fun experiences to be had if done right.

Susan Brotherton:

Very interesting! My husband and I have only been in Innoventions once (other than to breeze through), and we didn't stay long. Truthfully, we haven't ever been able to spend more than one day in Epcot, and we spend the great majority in World Showcase. However, this blog has made me want to venture back in. We're have a toddler and a baby on the way, so I'm sure they'd love it. Maybe we'll check it out on our next trip...

Shayne:

Hi Uncle Jack!!

I had fun at this exhibit! Now I make sure all my friends know to check out if they get to Epcot. I do love the educational aspect of Epcot and learn something new every time I go. Thanks for another great experience!

Mukta:

'Where's the Fire' is on my must do list each trip. I love this game and when I come home after a trip, it reminds me to buy new fire extinguishers and change the batteries in my smoke detector. The game is fun and the lesson is life saving.

Karen:

Usually we don't get to spend the time I would love to spend at Innoventions. We have done an activity or two on each trip. This summer I am planning on spending a few hours in each side of Innoventions. It is so fun and you almost don't realize you're learning things. Even as an adult you can be fooled into learning by fun! The "where's the fire" is one we have yet to try. My 5 year old will really enjoy this. I am glad to hear that this particular spot will be around for a while. Thanks for the article and the updates.

Danielle Harmon:

Jack,

Thanks for another great blog. My dad had just as much fun here as my kids did. He is a retired Assistant Chief for our local Fire Dept, and still helps train the newer firefighters sometimes. He ran my kids through all the equipment and how it all works and built up an audience in the process! :-)
Innoventions is a wonderful attraction and one we never miss!

Thanks again!

Greg Highfill:

Jack,

I absolutely love Innoventions. I saw my first HDTV and DVD player there in the 90s. I also saw a lenticular 3D TV made by Casio if memory serves me correctly. Since the TV was lenticular, it did not require any eye ware, it was just 3D to look at. The only down side was that you had to stand in the proper viewing places or the right and left images would be reversed.

You know how I am about 3D, so as you can imagine, my party went on and left me, absolutely hypnotized by the small screen display. What really impressed me was they were able to add computer generated titles that seemed to come off the screen about a foot!

I have to admit however, that I’ve never spent time at the "Where’s The Fire" exhibit. I’ll have to check it out next time.

Greg

Sheron Butler:

Thank so much for your insight on the Photo opportunity.We have visited the safety expo many times and have always missed this!!

gena yates:

Jack,

I love your blog !!! I check in almost each week. I used to check in for "Anita Answer" but, alas. I will be at the world again late Aug. or early Sept. and will definitly be spending more time in Inovations, my kids are demanding that we spend more time there! I am disappointed about the Recycleing exibit with the garbage truck being taken out, my youngest to my oldest loved playing that game! Do you know if it will be there at the time we are going? I belive you did a blog about the "Sum of all Thrills" and I missed it... I will have to look it up! I am assuming that you need to be a certain age to do this and my just turning 5 year old will need to be somewhwere else. The "Where's the Fire" game looks fun for everyone so we will give it a whirl while exploring Inovations.

Gena

Jack's Answer:

I do not know the date the Recycling exhibit will be closing. Sorry. "Sum of all Thrills" has a height limit requirement of 48 inches.

Stacy Stuart:

My son is 8 and Innoventions is his absolute favorite thing to do in Epcot. Last trip we visited where's the fire and played the game several times. Another big hit was the Great Piggy Bank Adventure. When asked where he wanted to go back on our "free" day, Innoventions at Epcot won hands down!

Cindy Nagel:

Yes, we are one of those family's who just walks through Innovations. After reading this, I am going to make my family spend some time here this summer. Looks like fun!

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 8, 2011 5:00 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Another Disney Quiz - Answers.

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