10 Things You Must Do at Epcot
Epcot at Walt Disney World is not your typical theme park. Opening in 1982, Epcot was an attempt to fulfill Walt Disney’s dream of building an Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow showcasing innovation and culture. Epcot is divided into two parts: Future World and World Showcase. Future World is dedicated to technology and innovation; while, World Showcase is dedicated to world culture with pavilions representing eleven different countries. Epcot has no roller coasters and only three attractions that might qualify as thrill rides. Epcot is about making learning fun for kids and adults, and it does a wonderful job achieving this goal.
While those of us who are fortunate enough to visit Walt Disney World regularly moan that Epcot is in dire need of an update (The last country added to the World Showcase was Norway in 1988!), we still keep returning. Epcot still offers tons of wonderful experiences for regular and first time visitors. To fully enjoy Epcot, you need to slow down and explore. Get a times guide and check when street performances take place. Our 10 Things You Must Do at Epcot list focuses on specifics that will bring the “spirit of Epcot” alive as you explore the entire park.
1. Ride Space Ship Earth
The Epcot ball, actually called Space Earth, the park icon, awaits you as soon as you enter the park. Spaceship Earth is the ride that winds inside this huge geodesic dome. This wonderful dark-ride takes you on a journey through the history of man, focusing on our advances in communication, and then turns your focus to the future. Amazing! This multi-sensory experience will leave you both educated and inspired: classic Epcot.
2. View Storm Trackers
Moving on into Future World, Innoventions await. Storm Trackers is an attraction inside the Innoventions East building and can easily be overlooked. Don’t. There is rarely much of a wait. Storm Trackers is a 3D educational demonstration and quiz about constructing homes to withstand tornadoes. You will be entertained, startled, and educated. It is just plain fun.
3. Ride Soarin’ Around the World
Soarin’ is located in the Land Pavilion of Future World. It is currently being expanded to decrease the long wait times and is being changed from Soarin’ Over California to Soarin’ Around the World. I loved the old version and cannot wait for the new one! Soarin’ takes you on a flight over scenic settings, giving the sensation of hang gliding. This 3D attraction, with effects involving other senses, is both smooth and thrilling at the same time: one of Disney’s best. Definitely use FastPass+ to secure a spot in line for this attraction.
4. Ride Living with the Land
Also in the Land Pavilion, Living with the Land is a boat ride focusing on agriculture and sustainability. That doesn’t sound exciting? While exciting may not describe Living with the Land, entertaining and educational do. Adults and children alike will enjoy and remember this attraction.
Moving on to the World Showcase and turning to the right, you will circle through the countries counter-clockwise. The first pavilion you reach will be the Canada pavilion.
5. View O’ Canada
Following the path through the stunning gardens based on Bouchart Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia, you will find O’ Canada. O’ Canada is a circle-vision presentation hosted by Martin Short that takes you through the sweeping beauty of our northern neighbor. Martin Short will keep you smiling throughout, and the film will make you want to explore the vast north.
6. Watch Le Serveur Amusant
Le Serveur Amusant is a comedy, stunt duo who perform several times per day in front of Les Chefs de France restaurant in the France pavilion. You will need to check your daily times guide. Now that the World Showcase Players in the UK pavilion are no more, this is one of the two best street shows in the World Showcase. You will laugh, gasp, and cheer wildly. Definitely a must do at Epcot; not to be missed!
7. Explore Mitsukoshi Department Store
The Japan pavilion at Epcot is home to North America’s only Mitsukoshi Department Store. The original Tokyo store opened in 1673. To me, this is the best total immersion into another culture offered at Epcot. You can buy or just browse all sorts of funky things from samarai swords to Manga and Pokemon to kimonas to dried shrimp treats (They are an acquired taste.) Make sure to enter and explore the Bijutsu-Kan, a museum dedicated to the Japanese “culture of cuteness,” before you leave.
8. Watch Chinese Acrobats
Several times each day in front of the China pavilion, a group of Chinese acrobats put on an amazing display of strength, balance, and coordination. You will need to check the times guide so as not to miss it. Don’t miss it. There are no waits. You just have to be at the right place at the right time.
9. Explore the Mayan Pyramid
The showcase of the Mexico pavilion is a Mayan pyramid. Inside awaits a recreation of a Mexican village square at night with hanging lanterns, craft merchants, music, a restaurant, a tequila bar, and a volcano erupting in the distance. Make sure to ride the Gran Fiesta Tour hosted by the Three Cabelleros (Donald Duck, Panchito, and Jose’ Carioca). It is a lot of fun and a must do at Epcot!
10. Watch Illuminations
Watch Illuminations is tops on the 10 Things You Must Do at Epcot list. Illuminations is my favorite Walt Disney World light/fireworks spectacular. It is really so much more, though. Through fireworks, lights, music, narrative, fire, and explosions, Illuminations weaves the tail of how we are all connected. Illuminations finishes the night at Epcot with both a metaphorical and literal bang. What a wonderful way to end a day at Epcot!
I hope you have enjoyed our 10 Things You Must Do at Epcot list. Of coarse, there are so many other worthwhile things to do at Epcot, but do try to work these in. Do you have any other suggestions?