Best Epcot Attractions & Ride Guide

There’s a lot to do in Epcot, but not all of its attractions are equal. If you’re visiting Walt Disney World, you need to know which Epcot rides and attractions are not to be missed, and which you should skip. This guide to Epcot rides contains short reviews and numerical scores for every major attraction in Epcot. Everyone’s preferences vary, and we keep this in mind as we give an idea of the target audience in our synopsis of each attraction.

This Epcot ride guide includes headliners and less-popular attractions that many guests overlook, but that are worth checking out. We recommend experiencing as much as you have time to experience, even if we don’t rate it highly. It is worth noting that Epcot has a deceptively high number of “things to do,” even though it’s actual attraction count is significantly lower than the Magic Kingdom, so it’s quite likely that you’ll experience fewer attractions in Epcot than you expect. A lot of the things to do in Epcot are in the form of World Showcase entertainment. If there are adults in your party, also expect to spend a decent amount of time in World Showcase just absorbed in the atmosphere (perhaps Snacking Around the World or Drinking Around the World, which are common and fun ways to stroll from country to country). World Showcase is often viewed as boring, particularly by kids, but we vehemently disagree with this perspective. It’s just a different, slower paced type of theme park experience.

Regardless, this guide to Epcot’s attractions should give you an idea of which attractions are must-see for you, and which ones you won’t have time to do. Note that this list only covers Epcot. We already have a separate Magic Kingdom Ride Guide. Guides for Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom are coming soon.

Popular attractions are popular for a reason, and most people will hear praise for attractions like Soarin’ and Test Track from a variety of sources. We recommend these attractions (we’d be crazy not to!), but we also point out a number of lesser-known attractions that aren’t too popular. It’s these less-popular attractions that round out a day in the park, and experiencing the “right” ones can make or break your day. Epcot is definitely not about the thrill rides–it’s a park that merges education and entertainment (for “edutainment”), so hopefully you’re game for experiencing some of these “edutainment” attractions…because a lot of them make our list of recommendations!

Order of attractions and FastPass+ really only matters for Soarin’, Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, sometimes (but rarely) Maelstrom, and Spaceship Earth in the morning as guests are entering the park. This is true on most days of the year. If you’re going on a particularly busy day (Easter Week, for example), other things might matter, too. Usually, lines at Epcot are fairly short.

This guide assumes that you have a full day to spend in each of the Walt Disney World theme parks. You may have more or less time depending on how many day tickets you purchase and whether you add on the Park Hopper option (read our Walt Disney World Ticket Guide to determine which tickets are best for you).

Numerical scores are on a scale of 1 to 10, and only take into consideration overall quality relative to that specific type of attraction. Dark rides are judged against other dark rides, roller coasters are judged against other coasters, etc., to create a relatively level playing field. Attractions are rated based upon how much their target audience will enjoy them. For example, an attraction with a height restriction that precludes kids from riding it, might score 9/10, despite it’s score for toddlers being 0/10. Likewise, a scavenger hunt aimed at kids might score a 7/10 because that’s how much they’d enjoy it, even though it might be a 2/10 for adults. In our ratings, we only consider how well done the attraction is, overall, within its category, when experienced by its target demographic.

Top Epcot Attractions

The American Adventure (10/10) – The American Adventure is an Audio Animatronics-driven “montage” stage show of key moments in American history. The scenes are detailed and insightful, and impressive as they rise from the stage. It’s somewhat sanitized and CliffNotes-esque, but what do you reasonably expect in a theme park? This is a powerful show that may make the eyes of patriotic Americans leak a bit. It ranks as one of the all-time greatest achievements of Walt Disney Imagineering, and shouldn’t be missed by anyone.

Sum of All Thrills (9/10) - Design a roller coaster, right down to its intensity, and then test it in a KUKA arm simulator. This is unlike any other Innoventions attraction in that it’s pretty awesome. It captures the “edutainment” goal of Epcot in that the roller coaster you design must adhere to laws of physics, and is also an exciting and fun theme park attraction, even if all confined to an unthemed simulator. The height requirement is 48″ or 54″ if the coaster has a loop. In our experience, waits for Sum of All Thrills vary widely with no real explanation. It doesn’t have FastPass+, but we’d recommend doing it early in the morning, after Soarin’ and/or Test Track (depending on whether you have FastPass+ for either of them) or checking on wait times periodically throughout the day to see if it has any lulls.

Soarin’ (9/10) - Hang-glider simulator ride over the natural and man-made sights of California, including Yosemite, orange groves, and even Disneyland! The giant screen combined with the swinging gliders and scents creates a really believable experience, with the only downside being that the projection screen isn’t always clean, making it sometimes feel like “Soarin’ Over the Dust Bowl.” Still, Soarin’ is an absolute must-do for anyone who meets the 40″ height requirement and isn’t terribly afraid of heights (you won’t even notice you’re up high unless you make a serious effort to look down). This is the most popular attraction at Epcot, and our #1 pick for use of FastPass+. If you don’t have FastPass+, do it very first thing or at the end of the night.

Spaceship Earth (9.5/10) - A slow-moving dark ride through scenes depicting the evolution of how humans communicate (more broadly, it’s really just about technological innovation) housed in Epcot’s iconic geodesic sphere. (Tangent: you know what’s really clever? Joking that Spaceship Earth is a “big golf ball.” No one has ever thought of that one before, and this retread “joke” certainly makes you looks sharper than if you call it what is is: a geodesic sphere.) Stupid jokes that “clever” people make aside, Spaceship Earth is one of the best attractions at Walt Disney World. The story of our changes in how we communicate is a compelling one, and besides a few cringe-worthy moments in the script, it’s very interesting and captivating for all guests. The sets are well done with nice transitions between them, with tons of Audio Animatronics. It loses a half point for the cheesy screen-based ending (and lack of show scenes during this descent), although kids might like the ending the most. Don’t use FastPass+ for Spaceship Earth–do it later in the day, as crowds entering the park in the morning tend to be drawn to it.

Test Track (8.5/10) - Guests design a SimCar and then get into a test car to see how it compares on ‘the grid’ to the prototype they’ve designed, concluding with a thrilling speed test. The current version (“Test Track 2.0″) opened recently, and redid the attraction to resemble a virtual grid on which the prototype cars are tested. The new digital look is reminiscent of Tron, and has a cool aesthetic. Actually being able to design and test cars gives this great interactivity and even makes it educational with regard to the design process. Test Track is known to have a range of problems (from the design process going down, to the test cars not loading, to the entire attraction being down, etc.) but if everything works, it’s a lot of fun. If you don’t use FastPass+ for Soarin’, get it for Test Track. If you use FastPass+ for Soarin’, either do Test Track via the Single Rider line, or do it very first thing in the morning or late in the evening.

Turtle Talk with Crush (9.5/10) - Kids interact with Crush from Finding Nemo in a screen-based attraction that mimics a water tank. The interactions are all about kids, and the “Living Character” Crush engages with kids excellently (really cool technology). We think Turtle Talk is just as enjoyable for adults, as part of the humor goes over kids’ heads, and there are a lot of “kids say the darndest things” type moments in every show. Don’t waste FastPass+ on this.

The Seas with Nemo and Friends (7/10) – A dark ride in The Seas pavilion with the Finding Nemo characters trying to find Nemo. A variety of technology is used here, and the coolest scenes are the Angler fish ‘chase’ (using the same type of KUKA arm as Sum of All Thrills) and the projections of fish into the Living Seas’ aquarium. Despite a couple of neat moments, the ride itself is a fairly uninspired CliffNotes version of the film. It’s short and although there’s nothing really objectionable about it, it’s also nothing memorable. Sort of just in the “meh” camp. However, it’s a short ride with a short line, so there’s no reason not to do it. Plus, if your kids like Nemo, they might really enjoy it. Don’t bother with FastPass+ for it–do it whenever with minimal waits.

Mission: Space (7/10) – Simulator thrill-ride that sends guests crashing on Mars. There are two versions: green (less intense/no spinning) or orange (more intense/spinning). This might be the least popular of all Disney’s thrill rides, but the orange version is pretty fun, if you can stomach it. The story itself isn’t compelling enough to put up with the green version–the thrills here are about the only draw. Consider using FastPass+ for this, although it often has a 20 minute or less standby wait.

Gran Fiesta Tour (7/10) – Boat ride featuring the Three Caballeros with Mexico’s culture as a backdrop in the search for Donald Duck. Both this and Maelstrom mainly make this list for the sake of variety, as they are the only rides in World Showcase. This attraction replaced the cult-favorite El Rio del Tiempo and doesn’t receive much love. Gran Fiesta Tour weaves culture together with Disney characters to make for an enjoyable and more dynamic experience that appeals to a broad selection of guests. Normally, we aren’t thrilled with the “toonification” of an attraction, but Three Caballeros, a film that itself blends culture with animation, works perfectly here.

Maelstrom (7/10) – This boat ride is supposed to showcase Norway’s sense of adventure. In actuality, it’s a bizarre and campy product of the 1980s. Some of its “highlights” include: trolls, anorexic polar bears, an oil worker who looks like Chuck Norris, and Children of the Corn. It’s also infinitely quotable, with plenty of memorable lines that have great use in everyday life (such as “Back, back! Over the Falls!” and “You are not the first to pass this way, nor shall you be the last.”). It most likely won’t make anyone want to book a trip to Norway, but it’s still good fun in the “what did I just see?!” sense. Kids will likely enjoy the trolls and polar bears, neither of which are scary. Maelstrom probably appeals to those who have nostalgia for it much more than first-time guests. Don’t bother with FastPass+; lines rarely get long for Maelstrom unless it’s a busy day of the year. The short post-show video is even more dated than Maelstrom, and is skippable.

Impressions de France (9/10) – Wide-format film highlighting the culture and natural beauty of France set to a hauntingly beautiful score. Impressions de France is our favorite film in all of Epcot. That wouldn’t be saying much if only including the World Showcase, but that also includes Soarin’. Impressions de France doesn’t have the same “experience” that Soarin’ has, but it does have a beautiful, chills-inducing score, a new digital projection that’s free of debris, and breathtaking visuals. Even though the substance hasn’t been updated since 1982, it still feels fresh (with the exception of a few dubious outfit choices of folks in the travelogue). Few will agree with us in preferring Impressions de France to Soarin’ (which has its own excellent score, visuals, and is a really fun experience), but the fact that the two can even be reasonably compared makes Impressions de France, which rarely plays to more than half-full theaters, a must-do.

Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure (7/10) - Handheld scavenger hunt through World Showcase via fake phones. This makes the list for its value in keeping kids entertained while adults explore World Showcase. We think the game itself is fairly enjoyable even for adults, but it’s a must-do for kids in an area of the parks largely devoid of things for them to do.

Living with the Land (8.5/10) – Slow-moving boat ride showcasing the future of agriculture. Living with the Land is a great attraction that weaves together elements of a traditional Disney attraction with a heavy dose of “edutainment” components (the original mission of EPCOT Center). I don’t have any interest in gardening, and even my curiosity is piqued by the experimental horticulture techniques showcased in The Land greenhouses. Living with the Land is a testament to human ingenuity, and it’s a shame that more people aren’t interested in experiencing this relaxed boat ride. Don’t waste FastPass+ on this. It rarely has a line, but if it does get one (usually right after lunch) that line can quickly snowball as more guests see a line, assume it’s something good, and then get in the line (seriously, it happens).

Reflections of China (7.5/10) – This Circle-Vision 360 film about China is poetically narrated, and features scenes in China where Western camera crews typically are not allowed. It’s beautifully shot and scored, with a sweeping camera that envelopes guests in the action in a way not possible through traditional film. The 360-degree approach also adds repeat-ability to the attraction, since you can’t possibly see it all in one viewing. Reflections of China won’t be a favorite pick among families with small children, but mature adults should really enjoy it.

Fire and fireworks during Illuminations in May 2012. Read more about this trip and our others in our Trip Reports:

IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth (10/10) - Illuminations is the greatest fireworks show in the history of mankind. It’s actually also (sort of) about the history of mankind, humanity, and our visions of the future. At least, that’s what Disney claims. In actuality, Illuminations is a fireworks show with abstract themes (some of which guests will pick up on, others are less salient and are easy to miss) with an absolutely beautiful soundtrack. It will appeal to everyone who likes fireworks, and will appeal even more to discerning guests for its music, symbolism, and themes. A fireworks show of this nature is probably not something that Disney would make today. It’s an all-around excellent show, and is definitely not to be missed. FastPass+ offers a good reserved seating section for Illuminations, so if you aren’t able to use FastPass+ for Soarin’ or Test Track for whatever reason, this would be our pick. Otherwise, stake out an unobstructed spot along World Showcase Lagoon at least 30 minutes in advance for it.

The Rest

Captain EO (4.5/10) – 3D film featuring Michael Jackson as a space pilot leading a band of misfit aliens to save something. MJ fans, those who watch “I Love the 80s!,” and those playing some sort of bizarre Drinking Around the World game will enjoy this. Everyone else will wonder what on earth this laughably dated and cheesy attraction is doing in Future World. No need for FastPass+ here.

Ellen’s Energy Adventure (6/10) - Film, followed by slow-moving ride through prehistoric scenes of dinosaurs, followed by another film, in the context of Ellen DeGeneres having a dream about playing energy-centric episode of Jeopardy. This is a very long attraction (~45 minutes), and while enjoyable, most guests won’t find it worth the time commitment. Kids may be scared by the dark, dinosaur filled scenes.

Innoventions (3/10 – average score) – Besides Sum of All Thrills, there’s a bunch of other junk in Innoventions that’s all varying degrees of skippable. Yes, some things here might be good for some kids, and many of the minor attractions have educational value, but they just aren’t good, and generally eat up valuable vacation time. Don’t bother with them.

Journey into Imagination with Figment (5.5/10) – Dark ride with Figment showcasing the power of imagination. This third version of Journey into Imagination isn’t as bad as the second, but doesn’t hold a candle to the original. Figment is obnoxious and can be grating, although the ride does have its moments. No need for FastPass+ here.

O Canada (7/10) – Given the number of World Showcase films, it’s unlikely you’ll see them all. This Circle-Vision 360 one with Martin Short is the most entertaining, but it’s also the least moving and educational. If you have kids who bore easily, this is probably the best option for you.

The Circle of Life (5.5/10) – Timon, Pumbaa, and Simba star in a film about the importance of the environment. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with this film, it’s just very mundane as far as theme park attractions go and probably isn’t worth doing unless your kids are big Lion King fans.

Unlike the Magic Kingdom, a big part of the Epcot experience is entertainment. This is especially true in the World Showcase, where each country has its own act. Some of these acts are well-established and have been around for years. Others are more in flux. Regardless, unlike the attractions listed above, we still don’t recommend planning around various World Showcase entertainment acts. They are best enjoyed in an atmospheric sense.

If you happen upon an act going on while you’re strolling World Showcase, stop and enjoy the act. If you miss something, you miss it. Off Kilter is a Celtic-rock band in Canada, British Revolution in the United Kingdom plays British classic rock, Serveur Amusant in France is a wait-staff duo performing comedic and acrobatic feats, MoRockin’ in Morocco is a band playing contemporary Arabic music, Matsuriza in Japan is a group playing traditional Japanese drums, Voices of Liberty in the American Adventure is an a capella group, Sergio in Italy is a juggler, the Ziti Sisters in Italy are an interactive comedy show, The Jeweled Dragon Acrobats in China are acrobats, and Mariachi Cobre in Mexico perform traditional folk music. There are other acts, but the ones we view as permanent or semi-permanent. Our favorites of the bunch are Serveur Amusant, Matsuriza, Voices of Liberty, and Mariachi Cobre. Really, though, all of these acts are good. We stop for any of them that we happen to see performing. If you are interested in knowing when particular acts are performing, check out this regularly-updated Walt Disney World Entertainment Guide.

There are other entertainment acts, character meet & greets, and especially seasonal offerings (which are big at Epcot–see our separate pages for the Food & Wine Festival and Flower & Garden Festival), but it should cover every attraction on an Epcot park map. If you have the time, try as much as you can, as you’ll likely disagree with us on at least a few of these attractions.

If you’re planning a trip, make sure to read our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide.

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Your Thoughts…

Which Epcot attractions are your favorites and which do you skip? Which are your favorite entertainment acts? Do you agree or disagree with our ratings? If you haven’t visited Walt Disney World yet, which Epcot attractions are you most excited to experience? Please share your questions and thoughts in the comments!

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67 Responses to “Best Epcot Attractions & Ride Guide”

  1. Kevin says:

    I’d have to say your recommendations are pretty much spot on. It’s probably worth mentioning that Imagination sprays a skunk smell in your face, which is why my daughter refuses to ride it.

    I love pretty much all the entertainment – as a former band geek the Jammitors are towards the top of the list. The French waiter you have picture amazes me because it is inconceivable to me to balance my body weight on a single hand, much less on a pile of chairs 20 feet in the air.

    • Melanie says:

      Did you know the “skunk smell” is really just burnt coffee?

      Just one of the few Disney facts rolling around inside my head.

      • Kevin says:

        I knew it wasn’t really skunk (thankfully!), but didn’t know what the substitute was. Thanks!

        I still don’t want it sprayed in my face. Couldn’t they just use vanilla? :)

  2. MrsM says:

    I loved your description of Maelstrom! I hadn’t ridden it in years but DH and I rode it on our honeymoon. We were tired and hot. It had no line during extra magic hours so we rode it but I didn’t remember anything more except that it was a dark boat ride. DH and I were both confused by it and sure we were misunderstand because we were exhausted. Glad it wasn’t just us.

    Journey into the Imagination with Figment will be forever be my all time favorite ride. If I could only do one thing in all of Disney this would be it. This version isn’t as good as the original buts it’s still Figment and cannot be missed.

  3. Aaron in DC says:

    Wow – you gave a whopping 5.5 to Imagination w/Figment? You’re much kinder than I, although I’ll concede that’s an easy bar to get over. After all, I’m…well…you know…difficult.

    That said, I’m predictably and patriotically (DISTINCTLY, no less!) enamored by the American Adventure. When I was young and working at Disneyland, we did a family reunion of sorts at Epcot. At that time my grandpa and I didn’t see eye to eye on anything political. We saw that show and both walked out of the theater teary-eyed. He got us some delicious mint juleps and we sat down to listen to Diane Schuur performing with the Epcot College Jazz Ensemble (or similarly titled group). We found our common ground.

    I share that to say that no matter where you come from or how you think, the American Adventure is stunning and inspirational. Disney outdid itself on this timeless show. Even after all these years I’m still in awe of the emotional and technical marvel that it is.

    However, you gain communist points for placing Reflections of Earth above Remember: Dreams Come True. Distinctly unpatriotic!!!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      That’s a great story.

      As for Reflections of Earth v. RDCT, for me it just comes down to the originality of Illuminations. It’s unlike any other fireworks show, and I can’t imagine anything like it will ever be done again. By contrast, the overwhelming popularity of RDCT suggests to me that its replacement will be very similar to it.

  4. Stephanie says:

    Thanks for another great post!

    I know I’m part of a small group, but I absolutely love Ellen’s Energy Adventure. I’m sure my affection stems from being a child from the ’90s. That ride is always on my must do list – “I’ll take a nap for $100.”

    While I find myself enjoying nostalgic rides at EPCOT – Maelstrom, Spaceship Earth, American Adventure, Living with the Land – it is somewhat paradoxical. I never want them to change (please avoid another Imagination with Figment!) but stagnation goes against the very principles of EPCOT. It is my hope that someday the park can return to its former glory.

    I agree with your ratings, they are spot-on! (Except skipping the post-show film at Maelstrom. Doing so would make me miss the amazing Norwegian 1980′s hairstyles! ;) )

    • Bernadette says:

      I agree – months later, my kids still crack up whenever the Norway film gets mentioned!

    • Aly says:

      I also love Ellen! You’re not alone. Plus, it’s a nice break if the park is especially hot. 45 minutes in air conditioning? Yes, please.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      See, I don’t consider Spaceship Earth, American Adventure, or Living with the Lands (except in parts) as good because of nostalgia. They’re all just good, and to large degrees, timeless.

      As for Imagination, I really don’t think there’s anywhere to go but up. I’d roll the dice on a new version.

  5. Steve says:

    American Adventure is one of the best attractions in all of WDW. Best in Epcot…..truly the quintessential in
    Imagineering. Genius!

  6. Elisabeth says:

    Ha, ha, I am Norwegian and can`t help laughing when I read your comments about Malstrom. We went to Epcot for the first time last year and I must say I found the whole Norwegian pavillion embarrassing……Epcot is a great opportunaty to promote our country but we missed our chance… I sometimes wonder what the world thinks of us…The movie “Frozen” doesen`t give a very realistic picture of Norway either. We just have to accept that what you get is “Norway according to Disney….”

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I think all of the countries are “[country name] according to Disney.” Usually that’s in the sense that they portray historical stereotypes and caricatures instead of present-day culture. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, and is even true in the case of the American Adventure (so at least there’s no bias). In the case of Norway, I can’t really say what the basis is for that portrayal. At least Frozen, while inaccurate, is a positive stereotype.

    • Michael says:

      Actually there was considerable input from all countries represented. Most, if not all of the restaurants are exact duplicates of restaurants in the home country and the architects were true to the styles of the country.

      Some countries DID put in less than enthusiastic things and hey…what is ANY host to do when it is first their name on those responsible for the outcome and most really assume the countries had almost no input when in fact Disney begged for the best and strongest input all could give.

      They want the lands to be so authentic they are each entirely staffed by people from that country…and they can only stay for 6 months (with sometimes a 6 month extension being added if they are especially good) but no more! They have then become too Americanized and are replaced.

      Not really the actions of someone trying to cartoonify but instead respect…when they countries slack in their own representation…what do you do?

      • Tom Bricker says:

        What you’re saying was true in 1982 when the pavilions were built (except Morocco and Norway), but that was over 30 years ago. Disney has unilaterally made plenty of changes over the years.

        I love World Showcase, don’t get me wrong, but what was in 1982 is not the same as what is in 2014.

  7. Rune says:

    Illuminations holds so many memories for me. I love the score and it always gets me a bit choked up, much to the kids’ amusement. I remember our first trip with them in 2000 when it was tied in with Tapestry of Nations, so pleased they still play the ‘great millennium walk’ track when Illuminations is over.

    I absolutely love Living with the Land, I hope they never mess about with it beyond popping up a sign to tell everyone who exclaims it out loud that “No, you are not inside the golf ball” when you emerge into the greenhouse section.

    As far as Mission Space goes, I rode it once not long after it opened and part of me is still spinning now… never again.

    So glad you mentioned all the different acts around the Showcase too, I love the French acrobats and the Japanese Drummers especially.

    I can’t remember her name but the Japanese lady who makes the candy animals right outside the department store in Japan is worth a watch too. It’s fascinating to see the different animals made as she gets the audience to pick so they do differ.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Miyuki was the candy maker in Japan, and it’s my understanding that she stopped performing in November 2013. I’m not sure what the story is there, but I remember seeing tweets about it.

  8. Natalie says:

    We always thought the Maelstrom guy looked like Teen Wolf.

  9. Dan Heaton says:

    I love these posts and reading your assessments of each attraction. I do think you’re too kind to Spaceship Earth; the descent drops it to like a 7.5 for me. I’m totally in agreement about Impressions de France and The American Adventure. I was also impressed last time by how much I liked Living with the Land. Despite my issues with Future World stagnating, I still love EPCOT. Your pictures reveal just how gorgeous this park can be. Great work.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I think it’s tough to score Spaceship Earth. If you penalize it too much for the descent, you move it into the realm of other Future World attractions, but that first 75% of the ride is lightyears better. It’s really too bad Spaceship Earth doesn’t have the conclusion it deserves. Unfortunately, it seems the rumors of it being finished have just sort of died.

  10. rosalie says:

    I’ve never seen American Adventure and didn’t realize it was anything special, but with that high score, we will have to see it on our next trip!

    I personally did not think that innoventions would be worth while, however my children’s very favorite thing in epcot is that piggy bank game in the west pavillion! After the first time doing it I promised them that we could do it again after dinner not realizing that they close at 7, and my kids cried when we saw it was not open! They also loved that habit heroes game in the east pavillion. I always highly suggest doing these two things for families who have children 8 and under. Maybe even older for habit heroes…

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I think the thing with kids is that you never know what they’re going to like. Looking at it objectively, there are much better attractions geared towards kids, but that doesn’t mean kids won’t end up preferring some of the stuff in Innoventions.

  11. Lisa says:

    My all-time Epcot favorite is Spaceship Earth. My husband and I must ride it at least once each day that we are in Epcot. I have probably done this attraction at least 200 times. One of our traditions is yelling, “THANK YOU, PHOENICIANS!!!” when they say “Remember how easy it was to learn your ABCs? You can thank the Phoenicians”.

    I agree with you about Captain EO. I loved it as a kid, but it does not belong in Future World (or any other world, for that matter…

    • Tom Bricker says:

      That line is definitely the biggest offender when it comes to cringe-worthy moments in the current Spaceship Earth script.

      • Kevin says:

        I think the world’s first backup system is possibly a bigger offender. But I love SSE nonetheless. It’s probably my favorite “dark ride” in all of WDW.

  12. Sean says:

    I have never actually experienced The American Adventure, which I plan to amend on my trip in March. Usually by the time we get to America we are halfway into our drinking around the world adventure, and are more interested in finding our next beverage, or bathroom.

    I want to say my favorite ride is Spaceship Earth, but if there was a ride I could go on over and over and never grow tired of it, it would be Soarin’. Those are definitely my top two though.

    These are great write-ups, can’t wait to read HS & AK!

  13. mitch says:

    Although I have vaguely heard of the sum of all thrills before, I had no clue it was a 9/10 attraction! I guess you really have to “look for” this attraction because I’ve never once passed by it and considered doing it. That’s probably because the only reason I go through innoventions is as a shortcut to get to another part of future world.

  14. Greg says:

    I’d flip the ranking for Future World East and say Ellen’s Energy Adventure is a 8 while Test Track and Mission: Space are 4s. I don’t think that’s just because I’m not the target audience. I do like thrill rides, and as thrill rides I think they rate about 5. Test Track has a pretty nice speed bit and Mission: Space has high Gs, but they both lean on their one big thrill. Also, every ride at a Disney park should have theming, even if its main purpose is thrills. I’d give the theming for both Epcot thrill rides a 2. That’s why Star Tours is a way better ride than Mission: Space even though Mission: Space is a way more technologically advanced simulator.

  15. Shari Sand says:

    Great summary. I have to admit, I get so choked up at the end The American Adventure. I have to control myself so I don’t embarrass my family. I love “Golden Dream” . Sniff,sniff. Love all of Epcot. Definitely my favorite park.

  16. Michael says:

    Great reviews. I agree with all of them, although I think the score for Ellen’s Energy Adventure may be a little high. My wife is from Japan (which means I’m lucky enough to visit Tokyo Disney every few years when we go to her home) so she doesn’t know who Ellen DeGeneres or Bill Nye are or what Jeopardy is. She spent half the attraction asking who these people are and why is this attraction is so boring.

  17. Nate says:

    Tell us how you really feel about “stupid jokes that ‘clever’ people make.” Personally, I like to give people the benefit of the doubt and assume that they’re not joking, but merely ignorant. Maybe they just don’t know what a geodesic sphere is. I mean, I remember when I was 8 and didn’t know what it was… ;-)

    Anyway, a serious question for you…do you know why the colors for Mission: Space are orange and green? Common sense makes me think it’d be red and green, or, a really light color for the easier one and a really dark color for the more intense version.

  18. Rick says:

    Your response to the steady stream of ‘Spaceship Earth looks like a giant golf ball!’ comments made me laugh out loud. Kudos.

    I’m a big fan of the site, and your spectacular photography. Keep up the great work.

  19. Travis Belton says:

    Our favorite Maelstrom moment comes at the end of the ride when the ride cast member says, “Velcome back bwave Wikings!”

  20. Dave says:

    I recently made that “clever” golf-ball joke. My 7-year-old loved it. He also loved the “cheesy screen-based ending” on Spaceship Earth. That part MADE the ride for him.

    Never underestimate the importance of keeping your 7-year-old entertained at a place like Epcot.

  21. Kara says:

    Apologies if I missed it, but I don’t think you mentioned the World Showcase players in England. Even though I can practically recite the show after all these years, I still laugh every time I see it. It’s a must do for me. The cast is so fun, they really pull their audience in. Definitely worth watching. And tons of quotable lines to use in everyday life. ;)

  22. benny says:

    What happened to Innoventions? I remember when i was a kid and it opened it was a big video game extravaganza dream come true! Maybe i was a naive kid but that was my favorite part of Epcot was to see how long i could stay in there playing video games!!

  23. Ally says:

    I love Epcot. It might actually be my favorite park.
    Being Canadian, my boyfriend and I just had to stop at the pavilion. One of our friends was working as a CM there and after laughing our butts off at her flannel costume with the little hat…. we went to the Martin Short show.
    I think I died from laughing so hard. Between the cheesy jokes (“Celine Dion?”) and the fact that they pretty much skipped over half our country (what Prairies?) it was a pretty clipped representation (but what can one expect from a theme park?). It was the physical version of how HIMYM represents Robin as Canadian. I loved it. SO much. Two years later we still burst into the Canada song at random.

    If I wasn’t Canadian would I care about it? Probably not, but it has some pretty pictures and hey! Martin Short can be funny.

  24. Emily says:

    I quit reading after you used the word “retard.” I have a hard time trusting anyone’s judgment who still uses that word. Very disappointed.

  25. Yael says:

    Mission Space (Orange) triggered my motion sickness big time! I would recommend a new take on the attraction: pick a spot at the exit. as the riders walk past, those ‘green’ in the face rode the orange ride (and may throw up)!
    Honestly, my son loved the group game at the end of the ride.
    And, 8 months later,our most often quoted Disney line is ”Don’t move a muscle!”
    Thanks for your reviews,you had the most significant impact on our Disney vacation last summer (well, except for Grandma…she bought the tickets!)

  26. Rick Gregory says:

    Just finished 4 days at DW. Only got to ride a handful of the rides (Spaceship Earth, Test track, and Mission Space (my three fast pass pics ) I missed American Adventure and Sum of All thrill. I was impressed by Spaceship Earth, the others had a lot of production value put into them. The Space intense had a great set up but the ride, meh. Same with Test Track, but it was a little more “fun” all in all. Sorry to miss the others but lines and crowds were ridiculous, up to 3 hours long. I refuse to do that.

  27. Gabriele says:

    Tom, I cant thank you enough for your extremely well-written and well thought out blog posts (and gorgeous pics)! I get the sense that I can trust what you and Sarah write about Disney… and I really do. You’ve been a huge resource for our vacation planning (and all my people know it ;))… I went to Disney World 3 times as a child, the last time when I was 17. And I have anticipated taking my own children ever since. That dream is coming true this October when my husband and I get to take our 9 and 5 year old girls for the first time. A huge thank you to you and your precious wife for being open, honest, willing and very happy to share your knowledge and insight into the wonderful world of Disney!

  28. Jiminy says:

    The best part of EPCOT is Beverly! Most seem to hate it and I always get comments when I guzzle it with glee. I really wish it could be available for purchase. I did find Mezzo Mix for sale in Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market.

  29. chino says:

    Glad i read this!!! Our disney trip is next month and Epcot will be our first theme park. This is helping me plan the visit.

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  31. Emily says:

    I think you’re pretty much spot-on with everything here.

    Spaceship Earth, Test Track and Maelstrom are my favorite rides in Epcot. I can’t do Soarin’ because it makes me nauseous, and Mission: Space I’ve never even tried because, well, with my level of Motion sickness and fear of tight, closed-in space where there’s no escape, that just ain’t happening. Ever.

    And I know, I know. Everyone groans when I say I LOVE Maelstrom. I think for me, however, it’s more of a nostalgia thing. I have no idea why, but Epcot is the park I remember the *most* from my first real trip to Disney when I was 9, and I have the most vivid memories of various spots in Future World, like Spaceship Earth and Horizons (RIP), and then the Maelstrom. I remember being fascinated with Epcot, and a little scared of it for some reason. Perhaps the “Space” element of it just brought so much mystery to my 9-year-old mind. As for Maelstrom, I remember the color shirt I was wearing when I rode it. I just remember it so well. Every time I ride it, and indeed, every time I go into Epcot, I think of that trip at age 9. Overall, the Norway pavilion is my favorite in the World Showcase, not just for Maelstrom, but for Kringla and the deliciousness it harbors. LOL.

    Spaceship Earth is another must-do for me. It’s nice and relaxing and I just absolutely love it. I agree that they need to change the descent, but I don’t care. I will always love that ride.

    I’m a HUGE Figment fan as well and while I wish they’d go back to the original ride, I still have to ride this every time I come to Epcot. I just absolutely love Figment, even when he’s being obnoxious and acting like a little jerk. Hehehe. He’s so cute! :D

    So yeah, for the most part, I think you got everything spot-on. And don’t forget Club Cool…that’s the best attraction in all of Epcot haha.

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  34. Kevin Schneider says:

    This year will be our family’s 4th, and we always spend at Least 2 full days in Epcot. My kids love it too (ds9 ds6 dd4). They love the KidCot stations and Agent P. This definitely helps to make the trip around World Showcase (which I CAN’T miss) more kid friendly.
    And why in the world is Captain EO still around?!? (I know why), but it’s Horrible.

  35. Kevin Schneider says:

    The Streetmosphere is definitely under-rated. Grabbing a bite/drink in the various countries, and stopping and soaking up the ‘flavor’ is always a highlight of my Epcot experience.

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  42. April says:

    My family and I have been to Disney World many, many times (Disneyland twice) and have another trip booked for September. Reading all of these posts is making me antsy and I’m starting to fidget in my chair because I wish I was there right now instead!!!

    I’ve never been to The American Adventure because funny enough, I’ve never seen the entrance to the ride (technically, I don’t think I’ve ever spent more than 10 seconds searching for it since I always bypass America to get to Japan, my absolute favorite land). After seeing you praise it in so many posts, I know I’m going to have to rectify that in September!

    Thank you for such a wonderfully entertaining and insightful blog!

  43. MarkC says:

    Thank you for your 1-day guide to Magic Kingdom. I am looking around for your expertise on Epcot and Animal Kingdom. Do you have a 1-day guide to Epcot? Animal Kingdom?
    Many thanks,

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