I am a former member of the Disney Parks Moms Panel and have been on some complimentary press trips at Walt Disney World, but all opinions are my own.
I’ve always loved Epcot, even when I was a young kid and it was called EPCOT Center. It often has the reputation of being more educational than fun, but I love how it manages to be both. You may be wondering if Epcot has rides. While the culture of the countries in Epcot, as well as the delicious Epcot restaurants, make it a perfect destination for families, there are also some great Epcot rides and attractions. In general, these aren’t necessarily thrill or scary rides, like you may find in the other parks.
If you are planning a trip to Walt Disney World, make sure you include a visit to Epcot in your plans. Wondering which Epcot rides to check out? Here’s our guide to Epcot rides and attractions.
A Guide to Epcot Rides and Attractions
When you visit Epcot, you’ll find that there are two distinct sections of the park. Future World, which is in the front of the park, typically opens earlier than the World Showcase. When planning your Epcot vacation, you’ll want to make sure that you take that into account. I usually recommend arriving at the park as early as possible. With Epcot, you’ll want to do as much as you can in Future World first, before heading to the World Showcase when it opens a few hours later.
Epcot also has a back entrance – the International Gateway. This entrance is most convenient for those walking to Epcot from the Boardwalk or Disney’s Yacht and Beach Clubs. It’s open even when the World Showcase is closed. If you are planning to visit Animal Kingdom or the Magic Kingdom after Epcot, you’ll want to go through the front entrance, while the International Gateway is closer to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. You’ll find the same things at the International Gateway that you’ll find at the front of the park – ticket sales, security, stroller/wheelchair rentals, a restroom, and a gift shop.
Future World Rides
Have you asked, “What is the golf ball in Epcot?” The first ride you’ll see as you enter the front entrance of Epcot is Spaceship Earth, located in the “huge golf ball”. This icon of Epcot is also home to a fun ride through time. Learn about communications technology as you travel in a slow-moving ride vehicle. At the end, you’ll get to experience some fun technology. Spaceship Earth tends to be busier earlier in the day, so if you don’t have a FastPass+, go later in the day, before the ride closes, or first thing in the morning. I definitely recommend riding on it during your Walt Disney World vacation, especially if you haven’t experienced it yet.
I get motion sick and vertigo, so admittedly, I haven’t been on Mission:SPACE. It’s one of the few rides I haven’t been on, but I know it would make me sick for the day. Guests who do want to ride have the option of two missions – Orange or Green. The Green side doesn’t spin and is a milder version of the ride, while Orange is for those who are a little more brave. If you, like me, choose to skip the ride, there’s also a training lab you can visit at the end of the attraction. I’d recommend starting with the Green side and then if you enjoy that, try the Orange side.
Consistently one of the most popular rides at Epcot and Walt Disney World, Soarin’ is an experience like no other. A third theater was recently added, alleviating some of the perpetually long queue. The theme was also changed from California to the World, so if you haven’t recently visited, it’s time to head back. When booking FastPass+ allocations, I’d recommend choosing Soarin’ as one of your picks. It’s one of the attractions that I feel I have to ride each time I visit Walt Disney World.
When you arrive at Walt Disney World, you’ll need to go into the Land Pavilion. If you have a stroller, you’ll need to park it before entering the building. Soarin’ is on the bottom floor. The whole building gets very busy, so keep that in mind when selecting FastPasses.
Living With the Land
I have such fond memories of riding this fun boat tour with my family when I was a kid. Although my own children are teens/tweens now, they still love taking this boat trip through the greenhouses of the Land pavilion. It’s a great way to learn about how food is grown. The line is typically short, so it’s definitely worth riding. It’s also a great way to get out of the sun and rain during your day.
Living With the Land is also located in the Land pavilion, adjacent to Soarin’. There’s also a “Behind the Seeds” tour that you can book if you are interested in agriculture.
Journey Into Imagination With Figment
This is another one of my kids’ favorites, featuring that lovable purple dragon, Figment. In the ride, you’ll learn about how imagination works along with the five senses. At the end, there’s a fun imagination lab that my kids love. This ride is good for younger kids, but even older ones may love it (my kids do). It’s in the Imagination pavilion, just past the Land pavilion. It never seems to get too busy, so you can ride at almost any time.
The Seas With Nemo & Friends
Hop into a clamshell for this family-friendly ride through the story of Finding Nemo. It’s definitely great for younger kids, because it’s a gentle movement and a familiar story. At the end, you’ll be able to explore the world of the ocean and sea. Kids will especially love Turtle Talk with Crush, which is located in a theater in the pavilion. This ride is another spot where you can get out of the sun or rain during the day.
Keep in mind that it is pretty dark in the line queue. When my daughter was young, this frightened her a bit, so be aware of that if your child is afraid of the dark. The line itself is usually not too long, but the walk through the queue does take a few minutes.
Test Track is another exciting ride in Future World. Create a simulation (SIM) car and then ride it through different conditions to test maneuverability, speed, and more. At the end, there are more opportunities to learn about cars. It’s very popular, so you may want to get a FastPass+ reservation, or choose the single rider line. It tends to close during rainy or other bad weather, so if the forecast shows rain later in the day, try to ride it earlier.
World Showcase Rides
Gran Fiesta Tour
It’s a fairly simple ride, but the Gran Fiesta Tour is still one of my favorites. Featuring the Three Caballeros, take this boat trip through Mexico to find the missing Donald Duck. It’s inside the Mexican pavilion, and is great for kids of all ages. This ride doesn’t typically have a very long line, so it doesn’t take much time to ride. While you are in the pavilion, check out the shops featuring authentic Mexican souvenirs.
Frozen Ever After
One of the newest experiences at Epcot, Frozen Ever After replaced the Maelstrom in the Norway pavilion. The base of the ride stayed the same, but now you can see Elsa, Anna, Olaf, and your other favorites from Frozen in this boat ride. As a new ride (and because of the popularity of Frozen), expect to wait in a long line. You can, however, get a FastPass+ for this attraction.
Eating at Epcot is almost an attraction of its own, so be sure to visit the various restaurants and kiosks throughout the World Showcase.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Epcot rides should I FastPass? What Epcot rides have the longest lines?
When booking FastPasses for Epcot, you’ll notice that there are two tiers. The most popular attractions are in tier one, and you can only choose one of your three FastPasses from this tier. These include:
- Test Track
- Frozen Ever After
FastPasses are also offered for nonride attractions throughout Walt Disney World. In tier one, you can also get a FastPass for the character spot at Epcot, as well as for a preferred viewing location for Illuminations.
Tier 2 includes the following. You can choose two from this tier.
- Spaceship Earth
- Mission: SPACE
- The Seas With Nemo and Friends
- Journey Into Imagination with Figment
- Living with the Land
- Turtle Talk with Crush
Depending on the ages of your kids, you’ll want to maximize your FastPass usage. I’d probably recommend getting a FastPass for Soarin’, and trying to ride the other two rides in tier one as soon as they open. But, if you have Frozen lovers, you may instead prefer to get a FastPass for Frozen Ever After. You may also consider using the single rider line at Test Track, which typically moves faster than the standby line.
Then, from tier 2, you should choose the rides that appeal most to you. Spaceship Earth probably gets the busiest from that group. It’s also a good idea to have a dedicated time for Turtle Talk with Crush if you want to see that.
What Epcot countries have rides?
Only two countries in Epcot have actual rides – Mexico and Norway. Both are dark rides. The other countries have other attractions, including movies and shows.
What new rides are opening in Epcot?
It was recently announced that two exciting new rides are opening in Epcot.
A Guardians of the Galaxy roller coaster is opening in Future World, in the former location of Ellen’s Energy Adventure. This roller coaster will be the world’s longest enclosed roller coaster and will be opening in 2021. It will be different from the Guardians of the Galaxy attraction that opened in Disneyland in the former location of the Tower of Terror.
Also opening in 2021 is a new Ratatouille ride. This will be the same as the Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy ride that is currently in Walt Disney Studios Park at Disneyland Paris. This 4D ride takes you on an adventure when you follow Remy as he tries to prepare a meal among a variety of hazards. We went on this ride in Disneyland Paris recently, and really enjoyed it. It will be located in the France pavilion in the World Showcase.