In my discussion of the rides/attractions that my family HAS to see on every visit to Walt Disney World, I left Epcot for last. On purpose.
This is because this is the park that we love the most, and is the one that we probably spend the most time at. On my last post about Animal Kingdom, I noted that we did not visit that park on each visit, partly because we preferred to spend time doing so many other things. Epcot is the main reason for this, as we visit this park several times at least on each visit.
What’s to Love About Epcot?
Epcot stands for the Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow, and I often think that this must have been what Walt Disney was the most excited about when he planned Walt Disney World for Florida. Always enthusiastic about what possibilities the future holds, Epcot was intended to bring some of the vision that he had to reality.
In a fun yet….dare we say it….educational way. And this, Epcot does very well.
We find this place fascinating, and fun. In fact, my 3 favorite rides/attractions in all of Disney World are in this park. But the really cool thing is that, while experiencing some pretty darn cool things, you learn a little too. In spite of yourself!
Two Parks in One
So as you may, or may not know, Epcot is actually two, quite distinct parks: Future World and World Showcase. And while they each have their own purpose, theme, and for lack of a better word “flavor”, when they are put together, they do share a common idea:
This “World” that we live in is one pretty great place.
Future World Favorites
The main focus of Future World is, loosely, to celebrate mankind’s accomplishments, learn where we’ve been, where we’re going, and figure out the best way to get there.
(Disclaimer: this is NOT the official Walt Disney World description, merely my opinion after visiting here a whole lotta times. You may have a different take on it, and that’s ok too! )
We really enjoy pretty much everything here. But we definitely have our favorites….
Favorite Number 3: Spaceship Earth
Also known as “that giant golfball thing”, Spaceship Earth is the “icon” of Epcot, and houses a ride that celebrates man’s progress in communication.
Guests board moving vehicles at the base of the sphere, and slowly ride to the top. Along the way, you see depictions of the many stages of man’s attempts at communication, starting with cavemen, all the way to the present day’s mobile/internet/computing capabilities. As you move along, there is a great narration, providing information for how we got to where we are now.
I really love this ride for so many reasons. It is relaxing. It is fascinating to look for details in each scene: I still see something new each time! It is beautiful and really inspirational. And I really learned some stuff!
A “rehab” made some much-needed changes a few years ago, in an attempt to bring the attraction up-to-date…or as up-to-date as anything can be that is trying to depict something that changes constantly. Many folks do not like the “new” Spaceship Earth, but we really do, and this ride continues to make our Must-See list each visit.
Favorite Number 2: Test Track
OK, if you read my previous thoughts on Big Thunder Mountain, you know that I am a sucker for really fast rides. This is one of Disney’s fastest and is just really a lot of fun!
But before you get to “drive” on Test Track, you first have to get in line for a car. This ride is one of Epcot’s most popular, so it consistently has long lines, and if you want to ride it, FastPass is highly recommended. Still, Test Track has one of the most interesting queues in Disney World. So, while you wait, you learn how vehicles are tested as they are developed, in order to be safe and efficient. It’s pretty interesting, so it’s not always a bad thing to have to wait in line for this.
But once you get in your car, then YOU are the one testing the vehicle, and you will go through a series of tests that will make sure your car is worthy of being on the road. If you have not been on this ride, I won’t give anything away, other than to say…..don’t worry about styling your hair before the ride, because it won’t matter much afterwards.
Oh, and be sure to check out the ride photo at the end.
Favorite Number 1 (and Grand Prize Winner): Soarin’
I sure do love this ride.
And so do a lot of other people! In fact, this ride is typically THE most popular one at Epcot, so if you want to ride it, be sure to plan ahead.
Soarin’ was actually born in Disney’s California Adventure park where it is known as Soarin’ Over California. The premise here is pretty simple: you feel as if you are in a glider, flying over the state of California. The ride proved to be so popular there that Disney decided to create a second version for Epcot, where it currently exists in the Land pavilion.
So what on earth is so great about this ride?
Well….you feel like you are flying!
Through a mechanism that raises all seats in the auditorium into the air, you then watch an IMAX type movie….up in the air…..feeling as if you are gliding like a bird.
And my words truly do not do it justice at all. You’ll just have to trust me on this one. It’s awesome, it’s amazing, and I really cannot ride this enough. In fact, it’s usually the first ride we do at Epcot every trip as well as the last…and if we can get a FastPass or two, we’re likely to do it a few times more. It does not get old.
Now having said the part about being raised into the air, if you have a fear of heights, you may be wondering if you will like this. Well I am not fond of heights at all, and I love it!! Do yourself a favor and give it a try, you will be glad you did!
OK so those are the Must-Sees for our family at Epcot’s Future World. What are yours?
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