by Caitlin Corsello
Epcot is a unique park where you can hang-glide over California, dive deep into the ocean, go back in time, journey into imagination, and travel the world all in one day! That might sound exhausting, but Epcot is an exciting place where the future and past seamlessly come together as told through technology and culture. Broken down into two main sections, Epcot features Future World in the front of the park and the World Showcase in the rear. Future World focuses on telling the story of how various technologies have helped us reach the point we exist at today. You can learn about communication, energy, agriculture and more. World Showcase takes you on a journey around the globe with eleven countries each represented with their own pavilions. Each pavilion is intricately detailed and themed and can be considered an attraction unto itself.
I have broken down the attractions in Epcot into three categories: thrills, classics, and must see. While I mention many attractions here, I am deliberately leaving out the countries of the World Showcase. As I mentioned, I consider them to be attractions themselves, and I will be writing about each pavilion individually in the future to do them justice.
So without further ado, let’s talk about the attractions at Epcot! The thrill attractions in Epcot tend to focus on two things: speed and flying (even in space!). First up is the unique experience of Soarin’. Located in Future World West in the Land Pavilion, Soarin’ was originally was built in Disney’s California Adventure and called Soarin’ Over California. Because of its popularity, it was brought to Epcot and shortened to Soarin’. This attraction takes guests on a hang-gliding adventure over the gorgeous sceneries of California. From the Golden Gate Bridge to Napa Valley, you truly feel as though you are gliding high above these beautiful places. Be sure to keep a nose out for the smells of fresh pine and oranges throughout the ride, and definitely look for a visit to Disneyland with Tinkerbell at the end!
Moving over to Future World East, the next thrill attraction Epcot has to offer is Mission: SPACE. This attraction offers an intense experience of a journey to Mars in a simulated space shuttle. Separated into teams of four, this attraction assigns each person on your team a role in your mission to land on Mars successfully. The launch sequence experienced is comparable to the actual force you would be feeling if you were launching into space on a shuttle for NASA. If this sounds too intense for you, don’t worry you can still experience the attraction: the ride now offers two different intensities to choose from. When approaching the ride, choose the Green Team for a milder experience or the Orange Team for the full force experience.
Once you’ve successfully made it to Mars and back, walk next door to Test Track. Currently closed for refurbishments and scheduled to open again this fall, Test Track is an attraction based upon the experience of vehicles enduring tests in all sorts of conditions before being deemed safe for the road. The original version took riders through tests including brakes and suspension before a barrier crash test and cruising loop around the outside of the building at speeds of 65mph. Upon reopening, Test Track is set to now include the opportunity to design your own ride vehicle before being able to experience it first hand in the testing facility. I can only imagine that the attraction is going to be even more thrilling and exciting when it finally re-opens!
In terms of classic attractions at Epcot, the most well known is Spaceship Earth. Housed in what many people still refer to as “the giant golf ball,” Spaceship Earth is a slow-moving ride that takes riders back in time to explore the development of communication in our civilization. Traveling all the way from cave men to modern day technologies, Spaceship Earth tells a historical story in an interesting and exciting way. Guests are now even able to utilize touch screens in their ride vehicles to answer several questions and create a short animation about their own personal future world. Throughout the ride, be sure to smell the beloved scent of “Rome burning” and keep an eye out for a few Hidden Mickeys along the way!
Another attraction that I consider to be a classic is Living with the Land in the Land Pavilion. This is a slow moving boat tour that takes guests through various agricultural settings and ultimately greenhouses to portray various technologies that are being utilized and developed every day. While this may sound boring to some, it is actually a fascinating attraction as you are able to see gorgeous greenhouses growing all types of interesting vegetation. If you have plans to eat in The Garden Grill (also located in the Land Pavilion), keep in mind that it’s likely something on your plate was grown right there in the greenhouses! Even if this does not sound very interesting or exciting to you, I recommend still giving the attraction a try. You never know, you may end up loving it and calling it a classic just like I do!
Epcot also offers a few other attractions that I consider to be must sees and two of them reside together in The Seas with Nemo & Friends Pavilion. The first attraction bears the same name as the pavilion and follows Nemo and other characters from the beloved movie Finding Nemo as they explore the “big blue world” of the ocean. As you ride along in your clam vehicles attempting to find Nemo with his father Marlon and friend Dory, you will experience breathtaking views of the actual aquariums featured in the pavilion. Perhaps the most enchanting part of the ride is how Nemo and his friends are actually animated and projected onto the glass of the aquarium tanks so that it appears as though they are swimming amongst the live sea creatures behind them. Definitely a must see!
A few steps away from The Seas with Nemo & Friends is Turtle Talk with Crush. A live animated and interactive show, guests can have direct conversations with the ever-lovable and totally cool Crush while learning about sea turtles and their habitat. Try and sit up front to be selected to engage with Crush, and don’t forget that every show is different, so feel free to visit over and over again!
The final must see attraction in Epcot is Journey Into Imagination With Figment. Though the attraction has changed over the years, it basically sums up Epcot for me as a child. Figment is a loveable purple dragon who has an imagination overflowing with ideas to share with guests. The attraction takes guests through the Imagination Institute on a tour through the senses; however the tour is quickly taken over by Figment who unleashes the power of imagination on your every sense. A colorful and playful attraction, I consider it a must see and you will find yourself humming the theme song long after departing.
That about wraps up my list for the thrill, classic, and must see attractions of Epcot! As I mentioned, I did not include any of the countries in the World Showcase as I’m looking forward to dedicating entire posts on them in the future and exploring them in further detail.
What is your favorite attraction in Epcot? Think I left something off the list? Leave a comment below, I would love to hear from you!