We’re winding down our attraction rankings series. If you have missed any of the previous installments click on this link. Now we move on to Epcot but before we get there, let’s brush up on the rules.
- No Meet & Greets. These are impossible to rank as each experience is unique. Also, I don’t particularly like them.
- No Live Shows. Nighttime shows are almost always better than rides, in my eyes. Also, big stage shows are impressive and don’t fit the profile of a typical ride. I will include 3D movies (or World Showcase movies in this instance) though. Basically you have to physically ride or walk through something.
- These are all my opinion. The phrase “every attraction is someone’s favorite” is corny but I think the sentiment is mostly true. I can’t account for other people’s nostalgia in these rankings and will try (probably unsuccessfully) to take some of the nostalgia out of my views of these attractions. You’ll likely disagree with these rankings. Please let me know what you disagree with in the comments.
Compared to Hollywood Studios, Epcot has a decent amount of rides. Unfortunately, those rides are hit and miss. The park seems to have lost it’s identity and a large overhaul is in the works. Opinions vary on what this park should become but it’s clear to all that Epcot is a lesser version of itself than basically any other time in its history.
Epcot does have some really fun attractions and on top of that the park has always placed an emphasis on walking around and enjoying the World Showcase Pavilions. Somewhat like Animal Kingdom, Epcot is best enjoyed at a slower pace and experiencing more than just the things you can ride. As an adult, World Showcase is one of the very best places in Walt Disney World and that isn’t reflected in a simple ranking of attractions.
While this isn’t a touring plan post, I’d quickly advise to do most of your attractions in the morning and then World Showcase in the evening. Of course that can change depending on crowd levels and whatever festivals are going on in World Showcase but that is a decent rule of thumb. Now, let’s get to see what attractions should be on the top of your list to visit. We’ll go from worst to first partially because that’s a fun phrase to chant. (Worst to first! Worst to first! Worst to first!)
16. Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival – You can watch these shorts on Netflix. Sure, if you do that then you won’t be sitting in a big theater that used to house a superhero known as Captain E.O. but if you watch these on Netflix you won’t be wasting your time at Walt Disney World. Get Netflix on your phone and watch these shorts while you wait in line for Frozen Ever After. That way you can knock two attractions off your list. Hopefully this won’t be here much longer but I wrote that five years ago so it’s obviously stuck around.
15. The Seas With Nemo and Friends – I’ve really soured on this attraction over the years. The physical sets look bad and the integration of real fish in the aquarium is lacking. While we still enjoy the actual walk through aquarium, this attraction is really lacking in execution.
14. Journey Into Imagination with Figment – To start, this is a bad dark ride. It’s really not enjoyable aside from being housed in a cool looking building. Then when I factor in how legendary the old version of this attraction used to be and I move this down a few more slots. While the two attractions at 15 and 14 are worse, this is the biggest bummer on the list.
13. Turtle Talk with Crush – This is an attraction mainly for kids. I do think it’s kind of fun as Crush from Finding Nemo comes on a giant screen and interacts with the kids sitting in the front. The experiences will differ and overall this isn’t a bad way to spend a couple of minutes.
12. Canada Far and Wide – The Canadian Pavilion’s film is far less campy than its predecessor, which makes it a net gain overall. Exchanging a tiny bit of character for a film that actually showcases Canada’s beauty and diversity is a nice switch. While it’s my least favorite of the World Showcase films (Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along notwithstanding), it’s a nice way to cool off and look and some pretty visuals for a while.
11. Mission: SPACE – I surprised myself with how low this is but it really is a disappointing attraction. Mission: Space is supposed to give you a real feeling of what it’s like to be an astronaut. Instead it turns out to replicate some G-forces and then gives you some really bad visuals. You might throw up and even if you don’t you’ll be lucky to land a rocket ship on Mars.
10. Awesome Planet – The new film in the Land Pavilion replaced Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable and it’s an improvement. The theater is large and comfortable and Awesome Planet is very pretty. Disney doesn’t shy away from an environmental stand here but the film doesn’t quite hit home when it could have. Overall, it’s a solid addition to the Land Pavilion but far from a must-do.
9. Reflections of China – This is similar to the Canada film in that it’s 360 degrees but this takes a more serious tone and has a few more interesting things to look at. Again, your preference between this one and the Canadian film will vary based on personality. I find Reflections of China to be stunning albeit a little old at this point.
8. Test Track – Test Track is like a good B-movie. This lacks in quality as the story of building your own car and testing it is pretty clunky. The visuals inside the building aren’t great either. Still, zipping around corners and then accelerating into the open air is always fun. Fun is good which in turn makes this a decent attraction.
7. Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros – Where the Seas With Nemo and Friends has really fallen in this list, Gran Fiesta Tour has really shot in the opposite direction. The ride through the Mexico Pavilion is relaxing and zany. The physical decor is beautiful and the screens in the attraction match the feeling of the Three Caballeros. This has become one of my favorite things to do in Epcot even though it used to be an afterthought.
6. Frozen Ever After – This could be as high as number 1 or as low as 7. I settled on 6 because this doesn’t fit the area it resides and there are some blank spaces in the ride that cause a small lull. Still, some of the audio-animatronics are really impressive and, for the most part, this looks good. I also like that the plot isn’t just a book report of the movie.
5. The American Adventure – The American Adventure is American history told to you by audio-animatronic Ben Franklin and Mark Twain.The half hour-long show is really well done and hasn’t shown its age even though it opened with the park. I think this attraction embodies the spirit of ‘edutainment’, being both entertaining and educational. Bonus points to the pre-show, which features the wonderful Voices of Liberty singing some old-time classics.
4. Spaceship Earth – Spaceship Earth could be great, and I think it used to be. This takes you on a quick lesson of human history. It’s also inside of the great Epcot park icon. The scenes and audio animatronics still work pretty well and this looks good overall. Where it really lacks is in the last quarter of the ride, when guests are riding backwards and they fill out a dumb survey about how their life will turn out. Also, the narration isn’t great. We’ll be curious to see what happens in the future with this attraction.
3. Living with the Land – Speaking of ‘edutainment’, Living with the Land really gets that. I imagine most people find this boring but I love the attraction. A slow boat ride (surprise, surprise) takes you through an Epcot greenhouse and showcases some of the ways they are growing food. Many of the Disney restaurants feature some of these homegrown vegetables, and that’s a nice way to be able to connect all the dots (especially if you have kids). While far from the most exciting, I think this is one of the most interesting attractions Disney still has.
2. Impressions de France – I think this World Showcase film is far superior to the ones I’ve already mentioned. The soundtrack is absolutely beautiful and the cinematography fits the artsy France vibe. Putting it in the top 2 attractions is aggressive and most people would disagree but it is my favorite thing to do in the entire park. Impressions de France is extremely underrated and I would do it over everything on the list considering the usual no-wait time.
1. Soarin’ – I don’t love Soarin’ Around the World but giving it the top spot here was a fairly easy decision. I’m not sure Epcot has an E-ticket attraction outside of this one and I think this combines a fun ride with some impressive technology. Still, Soarin’ uses too much CGI and I don’t think simulators are that great to begin with. If we’re going fully off of personal preference then I like Impressions de France more.
Overall, I think Epcot has a decent line up of attractions. I do think the park could really use a top-notch attraction somewhere. Soarin’ fits the bill for the most part but I think the other five U.S. Disney Parks feature better headliners. For example, Soarin’ (the exact same ride) placed fifth in the California Adventure attraction rankings.
Like I said at the beginning though, Epcot isn’t just about attractions. World Showcase in itself is the headliner for adults. No real headliner is a small problem for Epcot, but the park has much bigger problems than that. The main issue Epcot is facing is trying to find a true identity and moving some of these attractions into current day without smashing Disney IP’s in places they don’t fit. A decade from now, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were only about 5 attractions that still exist as is.
What is your favorite Epcot attraction? Let us know, along with any comments you have, in the comments! Thank you for reading Wandering in Disney. If you enjoy what you’re reading please subscribe to the blog via email or WordPress and like our social media pages. You can do all of those things on the right side of this page. Have a great day!