It is no secret that I love to spend time in Epcot. It is a theme park with amazing attractions, but it is also a place where you can take a slower pace, wander around, take in the sights, do some shopping, catch some entertainment, and eat some fantastic food. But I do think there are some essential Epcot attractions that you need to try to catch to make your day in the park complete. Here are 8 that top my list:
8. Seasonal Entertainment
Epcot does a great job of making itself a park you can visit again and again, and you’ll want to come at different times of year. With the special festivals they host throughout the year you will find a variety of entertainment options available. At the beginning of the year the Festival of the Arts brings in some amazing Broadway stars to perform concerts of favorite Disney on Broadway songs. The Flower and Garden Festival and the Food and Wine Festival bring in multiple opportunities for entertainment. To close out the year the Festival of Holidays spotlights one of my favorite shows—the Candlelight Processional. If you visit during one of Epcot’s Festivals be sure to check out the special entertainment offered.
7. The Seas (with Nemo & Friends)
I put the (with Nemo & Friends) in parenthesis because I really like to just visit the Seas pavilion and spend some time watching the aquariums. It is so tranquil and relaxing to watch the sea life swim and play in the water. My favorites are the dolphins, sea turtles, and the manatees. While I also enjoy the attractions here, you can enter the pavilion through the gift shop (to the far left of the attraction entrance) if you only want to enjoy the aquarium viewing (or if you need to get to your Turtle Talk with Crush FastPass). Plan some time to spend in the Seas with Nemo & Friends pavilion—especially if it is a rainy or super hot day.
6. World Showcase Entertainment
Adding to the feeling of visiting the countries featured around the World Showcase lagoon is the live entertainment that highlights something of a tradition for that particular country. The daily show times are listed on the times guide so that you don’t miss your favorite performance. There is nothing like strolling around the World Showcase promenade, snacking on yummy treats, exploring each country and enjoying some entertainment. My personal favorite performance is the Voices of Liberty in the American Adventure Pavilion. They are amazingly talented. Be sure to arrive early for their performances as I am not the only person who loves them.
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5. The American Adventure
While you are in America listening to the Voices of Liberty, stay for the attraction, American Adventure. This is the keystone attraction in World Showcase, and was designed as the “weenie” to get guests to walk to the far side. The show itself is an Imagineering and show design masterpiece, and recent updates I am sure will just enhance the experience. Your hosts Mark Twain and Benjamin Franklin walk you through American History highlighting the “host” country of the World Showcase. And the patriotic ending will leave you feeling proud to be an American (and possibly a little teary eyed).
4. The Fountains
Epcots fountains add a sense of kinetic energy to the park—and a lot of beauty! There are two fountains that I think you must experience during your day at Epcot. The first is located on the upper level near the exit of Journey into Imagination with Figment and the entrance to the Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival. These are the beloved jumping fountains. Kids love playing with the magical “jumping” water, and it is almost as much fun to watch them. Of course, you can always join in on the fun trying to beat the water. The second fountain is the Fountain of Nations behind Spaceship Earth. This fountain performs choreographed “dances” to music, it is worth hanging around to watch at least one.
Epcot’s signature nighttime spectacular is the perfect way to wrap up your day at Epcot. This inspiring show filled with fireworks, lasers, water features, fire and a giant globe filled with moving scenes takes place nightly in the World Showcase Lagoon. It is a heartwarming message with a beautiful musical score that reminds us that “We Go On” as one world together. You can plus your Illuminations viewing experience by reserving a Frozen Ever After Sparkling Dessert Party where you will enjoy reserved viewing area, desserts & beverages, and a ride on Frozen Ever After once Illuminations ends.
Soarin’ is my choice for the thrill attraction you must experience at Epcot. With the tiered FastPass system it is sometimes hard to get in all of the top tier attractions. I think Soarin’ is my pick because it is family friendly for almost anyone in your party. While I preferred the score of the original Soarin over California version, the Soarin over the world still has enjoyable music and enhances your ride with scents from around the world. The innovative ride system created just for Soarin’ gives you the true sensation of hang gliding over some of the world’s most notable sights.
1. Spaceship Earth
The park icon, Spaceship Earth cannot be missed—either in just noticing it or in experiencing the attraction. One of the few remaining “Retrocot” or original Epcot attractions, Spaceship Earth hearkens back to the original goals of the park to entertain guests while educating them. And for the most part, Spaceship Earth remains the same experience that it was in 1982. The narrator and script has changed a few times, and much to my disappointment the descending portion of the ride is very different . . . but the heavy use of audio-animatronics on the front end of the attraction to tell us about the importance of communication through mankind’s history stays true to the original. It is a must-do on every Epcot visit. And if you read this article, you can thank the Phoenicians!
What is your absolute must-do at Epcot?