Top 10 things you MUST do at Epcot

“We call it Epcot, Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow”

I figured with my first couple of travel blogs I’d continue the theme.  As I prefaced in my last entry, this is what I feel you should do at Epcot. My 10 things will vary from the next person’s 10 things. As well, this won’t be a collection of just attractions

Like last time, my honorable mention goes to not an attraction but more or less a challenge of sorts. The Drink around the World Showcase is something that some adults consider a rite of passage with Epcot. It’s simple go to each country and have a signature beer or drink from them. Depending on your beverage of choice clearly this is something you pace yourself on. It’s something that I myself have not finished. We got half way, but that’s a story all in itself.

10) Take a picture in front of Spaceship Earth

Otherwise known as the giant golf ball and yes I know, I’m kind of cheating because last time my number 10 was Cinderella’s Castle but family picture in front of the 18 story geodesic sphere or other. As a photographer be it family photos or photos of the structure itself, I LOVE taking picture of Spaceship Earth.

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I know, not us in front of it but I love this picture! 

9) The Pick a Pearl station in the Japan Pavilion

An odd choice one might say, especially seeing I’ve never done it personally but at a bystander it’s so interesting to watch.

What is it? In the Mitsukoshi store in the Japan pavilion, the store in itself is a must, but in it there is a pick a pearl station where one can pay to pick an oyster, the cast member from Japan will open it up and tell you about it, afterwards you have the option to buy a setting for it. It’s can be an overall cheap experience but even if you don’t want to buy anything, just stand around for 5-10 minuets just watching, it’s fun and you get some education on oysters and their pearls!

8) “Let’s listen to land we all know!”

I think Michelle might kill me if I didn’t put this on here. Living with the Land is an underrated classic and is an opening day attraction! It may not be the same since day one but it’s a good attraction. So what is Living with the Land? Well it’s a part animatronic dark ride and part greenhouse tour that takes you through the celebration of agriculture and the technology to make it more effective and environmentally friendly.

The greenhouse is probably one of the more impressive parts of the ride as you get you see all the cool and impressive stuff that Disney is using in their own greenhouse! Many of the food grown in the greenhouse is used on property too! As much as I’m dragged into this ride sometimes, I will give it its props as a great part of opening day Epcot that still is around.

Pro tip: There is a Behind the Seeds tour that is relatively cheap and doesn’t take a lot of time, you know if your interested in the whole agriculture thing and see how Disney manages their greenhouse.

While not from the ride itself, it’s from when we went on “Behind the Seeds”

7) Take a spin on the Test Track

One of the must do attractions in the park, I’m torn on placing this where it is. It’s one of those attractions I enjoy in its current state but also miss its previous version. Anyways, the attraction in it’s current version you get to go into a Chevrolet testing site to where you get to design your own vehicle. You can design it as reasonable or as insane as you want. I usually lean towards the second option, making mine as much of an insane monster of a vehicle. Afterward you get to test your vehicle out on the test track to see how does in the various tests that Chevy would typically put a vehicle through including brakes, aerodynamics, handling and finally a speed test! The ride looks like you’re in a computer or in the world of Tron.

Did anyone see the movie Tron?

No. | No. | No. | No. | No. | No. | No. | No. | No. | No. | No. | Yes. I mean no.

I do enjoy the attraction very much but as mentioned I have an affinity for the previous Test Track which was very quotable but either way this attraction is a must for the impressive amount of technology used in it.

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LIGHTSPEED….kinda

6) Soarin’

I have a very hard time placing this on the list, why? Well currently Soarin’ is under refurbishment as they add a third theater and after 10 years the attraction is getting a new film Soarin’ around the world.  So unfortunately the old version of the ride which I’m familiar with isn’t there but the new version will up later this year. All I can say is if the new version is anything like it’s predecessor  we’re in for a real treat.

Soarin is a hang glider attraction that makes it seem like you’re soaring across California or soon to be the world, complete with smells and aromas to make it seem like you’re really there. It’s a super fun ride that gives you the feel that you’re actually flying. I want to place this higher but simply because it’s in transition I would hate the fact that it opens and the new version isn’t that good, which I doubt because let’s be honest the previous version was amazing!

5) Watching Illuminations: Reflections of Earth

The nightly fireworks that close out the day at Epcot. Created for Walt Disney World’s Millennium Celebration in 1999. The show uses fireworks, pyrotechnics, lasers, fountains and fire to give us a celebrations of the earth itself. It’s an amazing display to be hold, while not my favorite nighttime spectacle, it does have one of my absolute favorite scores from any of the parks. I still own the CD and has been on every iPod or iPhone that I’ve had.

While the show does have some slower moments, it’s still a great show and is one one absolutely worth seeing!

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Boom!

4) “Thank the Phoenicians!” 

Spaceship Earth another opening day attraction for Epcot. It’s the ride that in the big golf ball. Literally. It travels up and through the icon of the park. Spaceship Earth is a kind of history lesson as you “sail through the universe and time” and learn about communication through the ages starting with cave men to modern-day. It has many great interactive features at the start, the end and even after the ride has finished.

Many fanboys will argue which version is the best but no matter what it’s certainly one that needs to be experienced.

3) Fiesta Hoy!

The Gran Fiesta Tour, a highly underrated attraction of not only Epcot but I feel for Walt Disney World as a whole. The Gran Fiesta Tour starring The Three Caballeros, Donald Duck, Panchito and José from the classic Walt Disney cartoon is located in the Mexico pavilion tucked away in the Mexican pyramid. The attraction takes you through Mexico as Panchito and José are looking for Donald so The Three Caballeros can perform.

It’s a simply wonderful attraction as it uses animatronics and screens with a mix of live action and traditional animation, think Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Previously the finale of it used to only feature an animated performance of The Three Caballeros but now the great thing is late last year they added audio animatronics of Donald, Panchito and José in the finale. Bonus fact, the animatronics were previously used in the now extinct attraction Mickey Mouse Revue and were polished up for current day. Even before this addition you owe to yourself to see this underrated attraction.  Double bonus fact: Rob Paulson, voice actor legend who has voiced Yakko from Animaniacs, Raphael from the 90’s Ninja Turtles, Donatello from the current Ninja turtles and SO much more, voices Jose in this current version of the Caballeros.

2)”IT’S A BIG BLUE WORLD!”

The Seas with Nemo and Friends is the re-themed The Living Seas pavilion and it’s definitely an amazing update. The attraction and pavilion are basically a larger than life aquarium and gives a great message about conservation of our oceans and seas. Now you may ask “Mark, why are you putting an aquarium so high on the list?”

Well let’s take it bit by bit, first off is the first part of the pavilion is a rather impressive dark ride as you board a clam mobile and venture into the world of Finding Nemo as the characters are in search of Nemo.  It’s very impressive to see especially when during the last part of the ride they somehow make it seem like the Nemo characters are in the tanks with actual fish! Secondly is the aquarium aspect to it, there are tons of exhibits adults and kids will love to explore and become “little explorers” themselves. Lastly is the attraction Turtle Talk with Crush to where kids get a front row seat to interact with Crush from Finding Nemo and I do mean interact, he’ll come up to the “glass” and talk to “all the humans in the human tank” it’s fun for the kids and believe it or not Crush knows how to make it fun for adults too! All of this combined makes for a great experience!

1) The food!

Coming from a picky eater, this is saying a lot! Wether your going during Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival, the International Food and Wine Festival or during non festival time Epcot has A LOT to take in for food. During non festival times you have the 11 world showcase pavilions to choose from with food from each country.  Not to mention during the Food and Wine Festival you up that to even more countries with booths from those 11 countries and more! Flower and Garden typically offers up more garden and grill delicacies.

As previously mentioned I’m a picky eater, luckily the festivals had led me to be brave enough try smaller plates for a minimal cost. Plates and drinks range from 5-8 bucks which is great. Not to mention there’s so many restaurants in World Showcase it’s almost impossible to hit them all up.

You remember my last list where I said try the dole whip? Well if you like that usually during the Flower and Garden Festival there’s an alcoholic Dole Whip but no matter what though my number one pick is the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup and Filet Mignon from the Canada pavilion. This is only served at Le Cellier steakhouse or during Food and Wine at the Canada booth. Usually one of the longest lines too. This is where I plead to Disney and make a quick service counter for at least the soup! You’d rake money hand over fist all year if you did this Disney! It’s a gold mine!

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Mmmmmmm steak and cheese soup *Drooolll* 

So that will about wrap it up on this entry. Two Simpson references, it’s a record for now. As always feel free to contact me at mark@mickeystravel.com for any inquiries or questions. I’ll be glad to help you out with your Disney travel bookings! My services to get you a quote for your dream Disney vacation are absolutely free!

Check out my last entry, 10 things you must do at Magic Kingdom and also my Mickey’s Travel Facebook page at Mark-Mickey’s Travel and if you’re interested in non travel related ramblings which does include Disney and other interests of mine well you can follow me @JediMark82 on Twitter.

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