Epcot Tips for LSCon Attendees

This is my second “WDW Tips” post for LSCon Attendees.  Catch up on Magic Kingdom tips here.

If you are coming to LSCon later this month, you may have added on a trip to Walt Disney World including the park most geared toward adults- EPCOT.  As a local and a multi-year annual passholder, I have some tips.

Tip 1 = EPCOT stands for “Every Person Comes Out Tired”

Wear comfortable shoes.

Epcot is actually two parks put together. The front half of the park was inspired by a Tomorrowland vision featuring Spaceship Earth (the big golf ball) at the entrance. After you go through the middle of the park, you will go to the World Showcase, featuring food, architecture, and cultural exhibits from many countries around the world. They are positioned around a lake, so you must walk around to get from place to place. There is no diagonal shortcut. Your FitBit will log some serious steps.

Tip 2 = FastPass Soarin OR TestTrack (and get to the other one ASAP)

You are coming during Spring Break, so planning your FastPasses is critical to ensuring that you get on key attractions. And for most folks, that means TestTrack and Soarin. The park only allows you to book one of the two attractions as a FastPass, so here are tips.

1. Soarin generally has longer lines. In most cases I would book this as the FastPass (unless you have a fear of heights- it is a hang-glider simulator). Even if you do wait a LONG time, it is indoor and climate controlled, so it’s bearable.

It is my favorite ride of any park, and my recommendation is a must-do experience no matter the wait.

2. TestTrack also has a line specifically for single riders, so if you aren’t coming with a party, this can get you on the ride much faster than Soarin. Most of the wait is indoors and climate controlled. But the line can run to the outside after it builds up into the 45 minute plus wait time.

I highly recommend the Disney Experience Mobile app, which facilitates adjustments at any time. It also shows wait times, character greet locations.

Tips for EPCOT

This park has a lot to offer with the best food of the parks, a few great rides, one of the largest Aquariums in the US, cultural exhibits and a great nighttime spectacular. It is geared more toward adults than any other park.

Food

Epcot has the best food of the parks. This is due to the World Showcase. Most countries have restaurants or snack stands available featuring cuisine from the country. Reservations for restaurants are recommended.

Oh, and, it is the one park where you can enjoy libations.

My favorite is due to my sweet-tooth- the crepe stand in France.

The World Showcase

As you walk around the world showcase, you will see architecture, and cultural exhibits for the countries. The Drummers in Japan are astounding as are the Chinese acrobats if you can catch the act. Be careful about getting too close to the Ziti Sisters in Italy- they do pull audience members into the act.

The most surprising thing about the World Showcase is that it is authentic. As a homeschooler, I bring my kids to Epcot to learn about the cultures by interviewing the folks from the countries. We did ask if the World Showcase was representative or if it was a “cheesy American tourist version” of their country. We heard from several cast members (France, Morocco, China) that it is a good representation. If you do want to learn about any region across the World Showcase, talk to the cast members. Most are natives from the countries and are happy to talk.

And for a cheesy, fun ride, check out the 3 Caballeros in Mexico. You can also buy a ridiculously over-sized sombrero while you are there.

Hidden Gem- Characters in the World Showcase

There are many princesses you can visit around the World Showcase (China is the only location where you can meet Mulan). You can also visit other characters such as Marie from the Aristocats, Mary Poppins, and Alice (from Alice in Wonderland).

Tomorrowland

I’ve already mentioned Soarin’ (easily my favorite ride- you smell oranges as you soar over the orange groves) and TestTrack. These are the two “big” rides, with the most thrills and longest lines.

Spaceship Earth is right in the large golfball. It is a bit like “It’s a Small World” with a slow moving cart leading you through key moments in history. Fun fact: many of the animatronic characters in the ride are duplicates of Presidents in the Hall of Presidents dressed as different historical characters. The lines are moderate to long. The ride? Not exciting. Interesting, but not exciting.

Turtle Talk with Crush. I never visited this before I had kids. I am so glad I had kids because it is a hoot. Kids sit in the front, and an animated Crush talks to the kids and responds to their questions. Think Cosby’s “Kid’s say the Darndest Things” but with a Turtle. Never the same show, and very well done.

The Living Seas is an “It’s a Small World- Nemo style” ride which in itself is “okay”, but it leads you right into the aquarium. The wait is inside and climate controlled, but if it is long, I say just get to the Aquarium.

The Aquarium- Epcot’s aquarium is one of the largest in the US. Many exhibits, a few big and interesting fish (including sharks) occasionally live divers interacting.

Living with the Land- Think “It’s a Small World- in a Greehouse (no music)”. Not exciting, but very interesting. Disney shows how growing technologies for food are evolving to conserve water and be more earth conscious.

Captain EO- Sorry I cannot comment. I don’t bring my kids anywhere near Michael Jackson in any form.

Journey to Imagination with Figment- One of the park favorites featuring scientist Eric Idle and the Purple Dragon Figment who causes mischief (and a stink) on a ride.

Mission Space: A space simulator. Comes in two flavors because the original (full strength) version caused dizziness in many visitors. It isn’t a fast-moving ride, but does give you a feeling of liftoff, weightlessness, and more. If you are sensitive to motion sickness, definitely go for the decaf version.

Character Spot

In Tomorrowland there is a meet and greet location with all the classic Disney characters. Just outside just as you go through the tunnel toward Soarin and Living Seas, Chip and Dale are on the left greeting visitors frequently (they are tucked away and some folks miss it).

The East and West buildings flanking the fountain in the center of Tomorrowland feature interactive exhibits and perhaps the most intense ride in the park. A full motion flight simulator (you pay an extra fee to do it). Easily the most intense ride in any of the parks.

Starbucks

Just to the right of the fountain, as you face the World Pavillion. You are welcome.

Best thing to do when you have time between rides: Perry the Platypus game

They distribute the game in the center of the park and it is an interactive spy game that brings you to different locations throughout the park.

Runner up: Street performers. They have trash can drummers and other acts (often great vocal groups) that go through Tomorrowland.

Illuminations

EPCOT ends each night with the Illuminations light show that goes throughout the World Showcase. Not as big or as spectacular as the Fireworks over the castle, but a unique and great experience.

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