Updated 9/16/18. A visit to Walt Disney World can be overwhelming with SO much to do and see. With four theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, and EPCOT), more than 30 lodging selections, two water parks, and a shopping district, a trip to the Florida Disney Resort can be daunting.
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At the top of the vacation to-do list is riding the Resort's abundance of attractions- which is no easy feat. No worries- we have you covered! Read ahead to learn what attractions EPCOT has to offer and what each entails. We'll throw in a few extra tips including where you can find FastPass+ and Single Rider options.
When Walt Disney first conceptualized EPCOT, he envisioned a futuristic community. EPCOT in fact, stands for EXPERIMENTAL PROTOTYPE COMMUNITY of TOMORROW. The idea never fully developed so became a theme park divided into Future World and World Showcase. Future World is based on the initial EPCOT idea and World Showcase highlights 11 partnering countries and their cultures.
EPCOT is a family-friendly park in that everyone is welcome on all attractions regardless of age or height with the exception of Mission: SPACE, Test Track, and Soarin' Around the World. These three popular attractions require guests to be at least 40″ tall.
FastPass+ is the system used by Walt Disney World to virtually hold your place in line for any attraction which honors the system. Free with tickets and annual passes, you can reserve your queue spot up to 30 days in advance or 60 days if you're staying on property. Each person can reserve three attractions per day in advance either online or with the Disney mobile app. (EPCOT attractions with FastPass+ are notated in parenthesis within the article).
Single Rider/Child Swap
Single Rider lines are minimal at Walt Disney World due to the popularity of the FastPass+ system but they do exist. In EPCOT, you'll find Test Track has the solo Single Rider queue in this park.
Parent of younger guests also have the option of Child Swap or Rider Switch. One parent stays with the child while the other responsible party (aged 14 and up) and accompanying guests (up to two) enjoy the attraction. Once they are finished, both parties switch roles so everyone can enjoy the same attraction without having to wait again in line.
EPCOT offers Child Swap at four locations- Future World's Mission: SPACE, Test Track, and Soarin' Around the World. World Showcase visitors can locate the option in Norway Pavilion's Frozen Ever After attraction.
Upon entering EPCOT, you'll find yourself standing directly in front of Spaceship Earth (the big golf ball). Before embarking on this attraction, you may notice some large slanted walls with plagues mounted on them. In the past, Leave a Legacy program offered guests the opportunity to leave their likeness with Walt Disney World through some digital and etching magic. These plaques are now on display for all visitors to see and maybe find some familiar faces or names!
Spaceship Earth (FastPass+) is a dark (sit-down, vehicle) attraction which captures the history of the world communication. Dame Judi Dench hosts a 16-minute narrative as you travel through technological highlights including the invention of the printing press to the televised broadcast of the moon landing. TIP: Spaceship Earth tends to see crowds earlier in the day so plan for an afternoon visit if you do not have FastPass+.
After disembarking Spaceship Earth, you'll find yourself immersed in Project Tomorrow: Inventing the Wonders of the Future. Stay, play, and wonder the technological marvel of the world around us. There are several interactive stations including Body Builder and Super Drive.
TIP: View your own digital photos from Spaceship Earth's adventure and email them to family and friends.
Innoventions houses interactive science and tech labs for the whole family. Colortopia offers three hands-on experiences- Color Lab, Color Our World Studio, and Power of Color. Here, guests can learn how color tells a story.
Or, stay for the SpectacuLAB show where interns play up science and technology with audience members. See the entertainment guide for show times.
TIP: Innoventions is a great location to beat the afternoon heat.
Mission Space Pavilion
For more interactive science play, head over to Advance Training Lab which highlights everything space. Find your inner astronaut as you journey to Mars to locate your missing space crew on Expedition Mars. Or, Mission: Space Race lets you race your rocket to Mars. Smaller cadets can climb and crawl through Space Base wormholes, and every space ranger is invited to create and send a video email anywhere in the universe.
Mission: SPACE (FastPass+) thrill attraction is next door to the Training Lab. This space shuttle simulator offers two options for guests- the Orange Mission and the Green Mission. Note- the Orange Mission does require guests to be at least 44″ tall. Green Mission cadets need to be a minimum of 40″ tall. Wanna-be space pilots will prepare for their mission with a trip to the Simulation Lab where they will be given specific instructions. Then it's off to space for a daring mission with your crews!
TIP: The Orange Mission simulates spins and tilts so those guests who are prone to motion sickness should select the Green Mission option.
Test Track Pavilion
EPCOT's most popular attraction has to be Test Track (FastPass+). This thrilling attraction takes guests through the process of designing their own vehicle then testing the car on a high speed track (up to 65 miles per hour) through and around the circuit.
TIP: Again, Test Track is the only location in EPCOT to offer a Single Rider line. Take advantage of this if you can.
Journey Into Imagination with Figment (FastPass+) is yet another interactive attraction for guests of all ages. Figment is Walt Disney World's unofficial mascot- a playful, purple dragon who guides his guests through a journey of the five senses. TIP– After spending time with Figment, unleash your own imagination at the adjacent ImageWorks- The “What If” Labs. This interactive play area lets guests create music with Figment's Melody Maker or manipulate digital images.
Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival (FastPass+) celebrates all things animation. Guests can don special glasses and enter the Magic Eye Theater to learn about the animation process, and then enjoy three Pixar Shorts with in-theater wizardry.
The Land Pavilion
Soarin' Around the World (FastPass+) is a transplant straight from Anaheim's Disney California Adventure. This hang gliding simulator follows an international journey while dipping and soaring over famous landmarks including the Taj Mahal, Pyramids of Giza, and the Great Wall of China. TIP– Follow the locations to spot the exotic backgrounds of your favorite Disney animated features.
Take a break from the Florida sun and enjoy a leisurely boat tour through the greenhouse of EPCOT. Living With the Land (FastPass+) shares with guests a horticultural experience from the history of agriculture to updated technological advances. This is all in an effort to supply a growing demand for our expanding world. Plus, you may see some modified produce including Mickey-shaped pumpkins!
TIP– Budding horticulturists can enjoy “Behind the Seeds”- a one-hour, up-close walking tour of the four greenhouses. The tour also includes a visit to the fish farm. Additional fees apply per person.
The Seas Pavilion
The Seas With Nemo and Friends (FastPass+) indoor, dark ride has guests climbing aboard a “clamobile” for an undersea adventure with the Pixar Pals. Guests will also find some familiar sea creatures intermingling with Nemo and his friends. View sea turtles, sharks, stingrays, and reef fish all living symbiotically in the (artificial) coral reef. TIP– Your little sea creatures may want to stretch their fins after sitting so swim over to Bruce's Shark World where kids of all ages can test their knowledge with one of Mr. Ray's quizzes. Don't forget to pose inside of Bruce's mouth for a fun photo op!
Guests can continue the Nemo and Friends experience with a visit to everyone's favorite sea turtle at Turtle Talk With Crush (FastPass+). Sit down in the theater to learn what tips and knowledge Crush has to offer. Guests can utilize a “hydrophone” to ask Crush any question about sea life. TIP– Check out the Time Guides to find the best schedule for your group to visit Crush.
Conclude your underwater adventure at SeaBase– home to the 5.7 million-gallon aquarium. This massive structure houses more than four-thousand sea creatures including 60 different species.
Leaving Future World
Disney Phineas and Ferb: Agent P's World Showcase Adventure is the perfect segue from Future World into World Showcase. Fans of the former Disney Channel XD series will enjoy a scavenger hunt throughout World Showcase to defeat Agent P's nemesis Dr. Doofenschmirtz. This fun, interactive journey requires a smartphone to download clues hidden throughout the different countries of World Showcase.
Next stop is the World Showcase where you can experience a variety of cultures in Epcot!
Kidcot Fun Stops
The invited countries of World Showcase are stationed around the World Showcase Lagoon. All 11 locations offer a Kidcot Fun Stop which allows guests of all ages to learn a little culture and create an EPCOT keepsake to take home. Cast members are readily available to share their cultural knowledge with all visitors.
Mexico Pavilion is the first to visit if you head east once entering World Showcase. Guests can hop aboard a boat for the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros. The Mexican rooster- Panchito, and Jose Carioca- the Brazilian parrot, search for their lost friend Donald Duck, as highlights from the classic The Three Cabelleros plays along. After the adventure, guests can peruse the Mexico Folk Art Gallery honoring the Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration.
Frozen Ever After (FastPass+) is a journey through Arendelle set to the music from the Disney animated hit. Visitors will embark on a quest through the land of Queen Elsa and Anna where they will meet up with Olaf, Kristoff, and even some trolls- all favorites from the movie.
TIP: Fan can stop by Royal Sommerhus afterwards to meet with Queen Elsa and Anna. Lines tend to be long for photo ops with Arendelle's royalty so check prior for character meet-and-greet times.
The Stave Church Gallery houses a newer exhibit chronicling the history of the Viking lore. Learn about the gods Odin, Thor, and Loki (pre-Marvel) then stay for a glimpse of true Viking clansmen who are working in the Pavilion recruiting a new crew. But watch out- you might be the next volunteer for Valhalla!
House of the Whispering Willows exhibit in the China Pavilion showcases artwork from Shanghai Disney Resort. This walk-though display features the conceptual development from Disney Imagineers who've created a resort based on elements of the Chinese culture.
Also in the China Pavilion is the Circlevision show Reflections of China which takes viewers on a 360-degree tour of the wonders of the land. This 14-minute show follows the past and present of exotic cities, the evolution of martial arts, and a culinary tour of China's delicacies.
The American Adventure
The highlight in The American Adventure Pavilion is the animatronic presentation- The American Adventure. Mark Twain and Benjamin Franklin co-host this patriotic journey throughout America's history. Guests will meet great innovators and leaders along the way including Susan B. Anthony, Thomas Jefferson, and Theodore Roosevelt. TIP- Show times are listed daily so plan ahead to catch the latest showing of this trip through America's history.
Inside American Heritage Gallery, visitors will learn about the Native American influence of our country. Historical artifacts and contemporary artistic works from seven geographical locations are included in the gallery presentation.
Bijutsu-kan Gallery is all things “cute” in Japan. This delightful exhibit showcases the impact “kawaii” (meaning cute) has had on the Japanese culture. Follow the origin from early beginnings to a present day phenomenon woven into every aspect of Japanese life. Sanrio's “Hello Kitty” is included in this darling presentation.
Morocco's Gallery of Arts & History is described by Disney as “exotic, exquisite, and exceptionally stunning”. The exhibit features the artistry of Moroccan influence in traditional textiles, jewelry, and body art. “Moroccan Style- The Art of Personal Adornment” showcases body art and its relation to the Moroccan cultural identity.
Impressions de France is an 18-minute stunning, visual presentation taking guests on a journey through the picturesque French landscape. From romantic castles, to wineries to bustling markets, viewers will discover the diversity of the country and what it has to offer.
The Canada Pavilion is the final Pavilion of World Showcase. A must is the O Canada! show which is another Circlevision wonder. Hosted by comedian Martin Short, guests will discover more to this northern land than just a love for hockey with visits to whimsical towns such as Moose Jaw and Medicine Hat. A trip to Montreal will feature the origin of the famed Cirque de Soleil. And, keep on the lookout for a few more famous faces such as Jim Carrey and Mike Myers.
TIP: Spend a few extra minutes enjoying Victoria Gardens outside of the Pavilion. Bring your camera along to capture the beauty of the colorful blooms.
Plan Your Walt Disney World Vacation
Spending at least a day at EPCOT is crucial to take in all the attractions and rest of the park. For more planning tips on visiting Walt Disney World and any Disney theme park, sign up today for our FREE MickeyVisit newsletter. For more Disney vacation insight, be sure to check out some of our other Walt Disney World related articles.
You can discover more about planning your trip from these links:
- Walt Disney World Cheap Food Guide
- Discount Walt Disney World Tickets
- Walt Disney World Character Guide
- Guide to Epcot Food and Wine Festival
- Guide to Walt Disney World Transportation