The internet is filled with lists and itineraries of what you should do at Disney Parks, including the itineraries we’ve created on this blog. Many of those plans mirror each other to a degree but it can still be overwhelming to have so many factors pulling in different directions. Most itineraries (again, including ours) pack the park days to the brim with activities. We realize that isn’t everyone’s preferred route when it comes to going on vacation. With that in mind, we’ve started this series in which we give our top five things to do in each park. Essentially, it’s a ‘can’t miss’ guide.
We’re moving through our Top Five series at a rapid pace, the likes of which hasn’t been seen on this blog in years. Today we turn our attention to Epcot. If you have missed any editions of this series then you can check them out here.
My top five for all of these posts can consist of attractions, shows, dining, or anything else I think of (it will mainly be in those first three categories). The main caveat is that these top five lists have to consist of tangible things to go and do. We certainly advocate wandering around these parks, enjoying the architecture, design and detail. That is truly one of my favorite things to do in theme parks, it’s just not what we’re going for in this series. Of course, I’m in control of this series so I’ll happily bend the rules to fit my picks! Along with all of this, I’m going to do my best to stay away from just naming five attractions which isn’t a problem at Epcot.
Epcot, at this point, is an atmospheric park. The attraction roster is really lacking and probably the worst, in terms of quality, in the U.S. right now. That’s the bad news. Once you factor in the shows and dining, Epcot is a much more enjoyable place, especially World Showcase. Still, when composing a list of Top Five tangible things to go do at Epcot the park isn’t as impressive. Walking/drinking/snacking around World Showcase is pretty clearly one of the best aspects of the park but is too broad to make this list. Enough of this preamble, let’s get to the list!
The centerpiece of Epcot known by many names (notably the giant golf ball) is also one of the best attractions in the park. Spaceship Earth is an impressive dark ride that takes guests back through the Earth’s history, all inside of the icon. The climactic reveal of the attraction is one of the best moments that Epcot offers. Now, the end of the attraction is a problem that needs to be resolved but that doesn’t take away from the first three quarters of it. Spaceship Earth is iconic, both the ride and the building.
The France Pavilion
At this point in time, France is Epcot’s best land even if it’s just one pavilion in World Showcase. Outside of the terrible Beauty and the Beast Sing-a-long, the pavilion is filled with exceptional quality. There’s two fantastic counter-service spots, three different table-service restaurants, an amazing ice cream shop, our favorite of the World Showcase films and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure which is a solid attraction. In fact, there’s so much quality here that you’re likely to see some of these show up in other categories. Of course, none of this mentions that France is absolutely beautiful and measures up to other gorgeous pavilions like Japan, China and Morocco.
Movies, Boat Rides and Shows in World Showcase
World Showcase isn’t home to many rides, instead it focuses on short films and shows to feature different cultures. We recommend taking a couple hours out of your park day to enjoy a few of them. Our absolute favorite out of these is Impressions de France, a short film in the France Pavilion. The film is beautifully shot and scored, showcasing some of France’s most iconic landmarks. Reflections of China does the same thing but in a 360-degree theater. It’s not as stunning as Impressions de France but is still quite good and an impressive engineering achievement. The American Adventure is slightly different, as it’s not a film but instead animatronics of Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain lead us through the country’s history. It’s a little longer but well worth seeing.
Likewise, some of the entertainment throughout the park is very enjoyable. The Jeweled Dragon Acrobats in the China Pavilion is a fantastic show featuring teens doing impressive acrobatic feats. We also enjoy Mariachi Cobre (Mexico Pavilion), Serveur Amusant (France), and Voices of Liberty (American Adventure). All of these are worth seeking out and don’t take up much time to see. Along with these, many of the pavilions have exhibits to walk through along with their shops. It’s a nice way to get out of the heat and learn a little bit about a new country.
Epcot’s attraction roster might be lacking but where it really excels is slow boat rides. That might sound like a bit of a jab but I don’t mean it to be. Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros and Living with the Land are both severely underrated and don’t typically have long wait times. Frozen Ever After is the opposite of that but is probably the best attraction for kids in the whole park. All three attractions are worth going on and only Frozen Ever After will have a long wait (try to FastPass it).
Dining at a Country of Choice
I’m really cheating on this one. Epcot is home to many restaurants, some of them are better than others. We’ve yet to find one we hate but also haven’t found an absolute favorite. With this in mind, we recommend picking a country where you know you love their food and dining there. If you’re a more adventurous eater then try out a more foreign type of food. While calling any food inside Epcot extremely authentic may be a bit of a stretch, it’s a fun and safe place to try something new. Some of our favorite table-service restaurants include Chefs de France, Tokyo Dining, and Via Napoli. Counter-Service can be a little more hit and miss but we enjoy the bakeries in France and Norway along with Katsura Grill in Japan. There’s also excellent snacks all around.
Epcot’s new nighttime spectacular is somehow disappointing yet still a must see. While the show is lacking a thoughtful through plot, it does excel in the pyro department. There’s also a few scenes that the kids nowadays would call bangers. Seeing the show from the front of the house is still a can’t miss even if it doesn’t live up to Illuminations: Reflections of Earth.
If you’re a bit of a thrill seeker, Test Track and Mission: Space could take the place of this list. I don’t particularly like either of these attractions so they didn’t make it on to my Top Five. A few shops in World Showcase and whatever nighttime spectacular is running also narrowly missed the list.
What would be in your Epcot Top Five? Let us know, along with any questions you might have, in the comments below. Planning a trip to Walt Disney World? Check out our Disney World Trip Planning Guide to help you out. If you enjoy what you are reading here on Wandering in Disney please share this post with your friends, as well as like our social media pages. You can also subscribe to the blog via WordPress or email. All of those links are on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!
Categories: Top Fives