Being a former cast member, I often get asked for advice from people who are planning a trip to Disney World. What should I do when I get there? How does this certain program work? Meal Plan? Fastpasses? Which rides can I skip? And so on. That being said I thought that I should do a blog for each park, do not worry we’ll get to resorts later. (I do apologize in advance, as I have lots of tips and tricks to share so these might be longer than my normal blogs, but trust me well worth it.)
Lets start with Epcot, I am very partial to Epcot because that is where I worked when I was in the college program. You need to experience Epcot at least once, this is a very large park so if we are short on time, it usually is the first park that I don’t mind skipping. Epcot is one park but it is divided into two sections. In the front of the park you have what is called Future World and is made up of more educational experiences with a futuristic look, lots to see and do.
Must See Attractions:
TEST TRACK!!! (I’m not biased at all!) – This is the fastest ride at Disney, and I know it like the back of my hand. For those that don’t know I worked at Test Track during my College Program with Disney before they did the Refurb in 2012. You will need to plan on either getting a Fastpass for this ride or go through the single rider line. Please keep in mind if you go through single rider you will not be riding with your party, you will be separated. (Spiel over, I promise!) This is one of the most popular rides in Epcot and the wait time can be quite long!
Spaceship Earth – It’s a slow ride, and after a long day in the sun and on your feet can be quite refreshing. Also this is a really cool and educational ride, especially when you stop and think about what you are learning. I usually only go on this ride if the line isn’t outside, meaning that the line will be short (fun fact: the line for the ride is actually a conveyer belt with an escalator!)
Living With The Land – This happens to be one of my all-time favorite rides and the funny thing is that I don’t have a green thumb in my body! This ride is a boat ride, and what is really cool is that when you get to the “Farm House” scene turn your head around and look up, if it’s during meal time you can see the restaurant rotating and you might be able to catch a glimpse of Mickey and Friends! But seriously, go on this ride, take a deep breath and enjoy the slow moving ride through the greenhouse. The wait is usually not long and you definitely don’t need a Fastpass for it!
This ride also has a “Behind the Seeds Tour” that is really cool, to participate, you will need to sign up for it in advance. The price for this wasn’t ridiculous either! It is a walking tour through the greenhouses and you even get to taste some of the yummy veggies! Although I don’t have a green thumb, my Dad is a totally farmer/gardener and has been his entire life so this was a perfect tour for him!
Nemo – Is it sad that I go on this ride just to get to the amazing aquarium on the other side of it? Keep in mind I could just go through the gift shop. My inner mermaid likes this just because it is under the sea. And the dolphin show in the aquarium is a must see. I have never seen this ride with a wait, it’s nice and cool and it is wonderfully kid friendly. Plus my favorite Table Service Restaurant in Epcot is in this building, the Coral Reef! If you look closely you just might see divers while you eat.
Soarin’ – My motion sickness and my allergy to scents make this particular ride a little difficult for me. But, it is a must see, especially if you never have before. This ride will take you on a hang gliding tour, you will really feel like you are actually hang gliding. (fun fact: I always want to tip my toes in the water). This is the other most popular ride in Epcot and Fastpasses are a must and they will go fast. The line and the ride are completely inside where it is air-conditioned so a great way to cool down from the heat.
Mission Space – At least once in your life you should go on this ride. I have EXTREME motion sickness and I found that I was fine with the “Green” side, or tamer version of this ride. Keep in mind you do not want to eat/drink heavily before getting on this ride. This is a great experience. (fun fact: if you happen to see another guest in Epcot with a neon orange shirt and grey shorts, they did not follow my advice and stay on the “Green” side, or tamer version as the only way you earn that ensemble is by getting sick on mission space). You might want to get a Fastpass for this ride, however depending on the time of day or season I have been able to walk right on.
Attractions to Skip: if you are not spending the day at Epcot and do not have a lot of time.
Innovations – It’s like going to a Children’s museum back home, very educational and interactive for the kids
Energy with Ellen – This ride is 40 MINUTES LONG! Because of that, I have never actually been on it. If you do go on it, stay on the ride! You can’t just get out and exit a ride at any time.
Timon & Pumba Video – Now, I LOVE the Lion King, but this really has nothing to do with it. This is really a video about saving the environment.
Other Tidbits & Fun Facts about Future World:
The giant Fountain is called the Fountain of Nations, when Epcot first opened a representative from each of the countries brought water from their country and they all poured them into the fountain, thus giving it it’s name.
Starbucks is right next to the Fountain of Nations. Enough said.
Club Cool is really neat; its sponsored by Coca Cola and you can taste FREE samples of sodas from different countries. DO NOT DRINK THE BEVERLEY! Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Mouse Gear is actually one of my favorite stores because it is just so big and they have nearly everything.
The back half of Epcot is split into different countries. Each one has a video about that country, table service restaurant, quick service restaurant, and a meet and greet with characters that go with that country. For example, Mulan is in China, Aladdin and Jasmine are in Morocco, and Snow White is in Germany etc.
I am often asked which restaurant people should go to, my answer is this: Go somewhere that you don’t have at home. Most places have a Chinese restaurant and an Italian restaurant so this is a perfect time to try something new. A lot of people went to Germany after I said that, however for me, I’ve gone to a German restaurant every year my entire life. But hey, to each his/her own!
Norway is currently experiencing a Frozen takeover, which I am really excited about. The countries are a bit boring for kids, and for some adults that are wanting a more immerse yourself into the movies that we know and love type of experience. (Myself included!) Personally I love the idea of making the countries more Disney-esque!
Other Tidbits & Fun Facts about the Countries:
There is another entrance called the Friendship Gate, it is between The UK and Canada. There is a boat there that will take you to Hollywood Studios as well as a few resorts.
For Hello Kitty merchandise go to Japan!
There is Doctor Who merchandise in the UK!
Werthers is in Germany!
Italy has a special dock for private parties, very popular for Illuminations!
Illuminations is the nighttime light water and fireworks show. This show happens in the middle of the lagoon in front of all of the countries. There is a giant globe that will come alive, torches will be lit, buildings will light up and there will be this awesome music that to this day does not leave my head. The first time that you think the show is over, it’s not. Trust me, Disney knows how to do a finale. And the first pause doesn’t come close to a Disney finale.
Truth is I have seen this show more than I care to admit within 5 months. It was actually my favorite closing position for Test Track. Be aware that certain paths WILL CLOSE immediately after the show is over. (That was my job! :))