What are the best rides at Epcot?
Walt Disney World has done a lot in recent years to expand the choice of rides at Epcot.
This Disney park is probably the most misunderstood of any of the four theme parks.
Each of the others has a strong idea related to it. However, Epcot has often, but unfairly, been seen as the one which is just a little difficult to define.
Sure, we know Epcot was based on Walt Disney’s idea of the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.
However, somehow the fact that Epcot has some excellent rides and attractions gets a little mixed up along the way.
List of Rides at Epcot
There are now 11 rides at Epcot Park:
- Spaceship Earth
- Test Track
- The Seas With Nemo and Friends
- Living With the Land
- Journey Into Imagination With Figment
- Mission: SPACE
- Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros
- Frozen Ever After
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
- Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
Let’s look at each of the Epcot rides in turn.
- List of Rides at Epcot
- Spaceship Earth Epcot
- Test Track in Epcot
- Soarin' Around the World
- Living with the Land Epcot Ride
- Epcot The Seas with Nemo and Friends
- Epcot Mission Space
- Journey Into Imagination with Figment
- Rides at Epcot – World Showcase
- Epcot Frozen Ever After Ride
- Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
- Guardians of the Galaxy – Cosmic Rewind
Spaceship Earth Epcot
This is, of course, the most recognizable ride at Epcot.
At 180 feet high the iconic Spaceship Earth ride can be seen for miles around.
The geodesic silver dome of Spaceship Earth takes guests on a journey through time – from the beginning of mankind to the present times.
This 13-minute Epcot ride travels inside the dome in slow-moving vehicles that pass animatronic scenes through the ages.
Describing it isn’t easy – believe me, it is better than it sounds!
Space Ship Earth is definitely an Epcot attraction that has to be experienced at least once.
It was due to be refurbished in 2020 but this has now been delayed, with no official word on when the change may take place.
Given that the economic situation of the parks isn’t quite as robust as it was prior to the pandemic, it may be some time before we see Spaceship Earth closed for refurbishment.
Spaceship Earth was, of course, one of the original rides in Epcot and has undergone a number of changes including changes in narrator and script.
Related article: Epcot Spaceship Earth – How the Script has Changed and Evolved
The usual ‘traffic’ pattern for Spaceship Earth is that guests ride it as soon as they enter the park.
It is right there at the front of the park and so it is tempting to do that.
However, if the wait time is over 20 minutes long then think again.
Try and ride it later in the day before you go into World Showcase when the lines are usually much shorter.
Test Track in Epcot
The Test Track ride made its debut on March 17, 1999.
This was at a time when thrill rides were not just lacking, but totally absent from the park.
Prior to the opening of Test Track, the focus of Epcot was firmly more educational than thrilling! Test Track made a muted attempt to combine the two.
The first version of Test Track was that you were playing your part as a crash test dummy to advance the safety of all vehicles.
It was a fun concept and really one which I preferred to the current version which opened in December 2012. I was pretty shocked to realize that the version which I still see as “new” has in fact now been open for over a decade.
Just because I loved the older version I wanted to include a picture of one of the crash test dummies in the “old” line.
The refurbishment saw the mechanics of the ride still being the same, but the concept is now that you design the most efficient car possible and that you can pitch yourself against other car designs.
The ride still has the same basic experience with you testing using anti-lock breaks, speeding around tight corners, collision aversion maneuvers, and then accelerating to 65 miles an hour.
Most of the Test Track ride is indoors, but for the final acceleration to 65 miles per hour, the ride goes outside. The track is in a huge circle and the ride vehicle accelerates quickly around.
Wear a hair tie if you have long hair as the wind is pretty intense!
One of the most innovative, expensive, and technologically advanced rides at Epcot, Test Track is also one of the most popular.
For good reason.
It’s a lot of fun. It is a definite must-do ride at Epcot.
Test Track is a great ride for everyone in the family – well those over 40″ high anyway.
If you have a child who is not tall enough to ride you can always use Rider Switch or Child Swap as it is more commonly known.
The best times to ride Epcot Test Track are early in the morning at the rope drop and later in the evening as the park is about to close.
Unfortunately, as one of the most technologically advanced of the Disney rides, Test Track does have quite a bit of downtime.
Genie+, Lightning Lane, Single Rider, and Child Switch are available.
Epcot Test Track is one-of-a-kind and is not available at any other park. Radiator Springs Racers in Disneyland is based upon the same technology but is a very different experience.
Soarin’ Around the World
The Soarin’ attraction made its debut in Disney’s California Adventure and has been a big hit in Disney World since opening in Florida on May 5th, 2005.
This is a very successful Disney Park ride and also has versions of the attraction in Shanghai Disneyland Park and Tokyo DisneySea.
The first version was Soarin’ Over California but this has now been replaced with Soarin’ Around the World.
This 4-minute 40-second simulated Soarin” Over The World flight ride takes guests over the amazing sights of the World including The Great Wall of China, Sydney Harbor, The Taj Mahal, and Iguazu Falls in South America.
Both the Florida and California versions were updated to include the new movie Soarin’ Around the World. This is such a huge improvement on the Soarin’ Over California version.
I always loved the original, but they have certainly improved on this new Disney classic.
The only thing which is slightly disturbing is the image of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. I have been there and know that it really doesn’t curve like that!
The reason for this is something technical to do with the filming process. I don’t get it, but just ignore the fact that the Eiffel Tower looks like it is curved and you are going to enjoy this Epcot ride a whole lot!
This is another one of those Epcot rides which is difficult to describe. You really have to experience it to understand.
Even though this is a simulated flight it is not a flight simulator.
It is an entirely different concept with a ride mechanism that actually takes guests up into the air on a row of seats.
You are safely strapped into your seat and then you ‘fly’ upwards into the air in front of a giant IMAX screen.
There are 3 rows of seats and as your feet dangle in the air, the best view is on row 1 as your line of vision doesn’t have someone’s feet in it.
The four-minute fifty-second ride will take you on a journey over:
- The Matterhorn in Italy and Switzerland
- Isfjord, Greenland
- Kilimanjaro National Park and Mount Kilimanjaro in Tamzania
- The Great Wall of China
- Sydney Harbour
- The Great Pyramids in Egypt
- The Taj Mahal in India
- Monument Valley in Arizona, United States
- Lau Islands in Fiji
- Iguazu Falls in Argentina
- Eiffel Tower in Paris, France
Not only will you experience the sights, you will also experience the “smells” of the places you visit. The most memorable of these are the Taj Mahal, the Lau Islands and of course that smell of the elephants …
If you have a fear of heights this ride is not for you, but if that fear is not overwhelming then think about giving it a try as you don’t really have much of a sense of how high you are. Ask for Row 3 if you are nervous.
I always have difficulty actually explaining this ride to people before they ride on it. The best thing is just to experience Soarin’ Around The World for yourself.
This is one of those must-do rides at Walt Disney World. There really isn’t anything like it at any other theme park. Epcot’s Soarin’ is truly a Disney original.
The height requirement is 40″ and young children do get an extra safety strap.
Lines do build up quickly so this is a good choice for heading to as soon as you enter the park, or use Genie+ or Lightning Lane. Lines tend to be shorter in the evening when the majority of guests are in the World Showcase area of Epcot.
Living with the Land Epcot Ride
The Living with the Land attraction is housed in The Land Pavilion with Soarin’.
That is where the similarity ends.
So I have difficulty with this one.
This used to be one of my favorite attractions, but now it just seems so dated.
I first experienced this ride almost 30 years ago and it really hasn’t changed very much. So for me, I have been going to Disney World for so long that I kind of just love the nostalgia of this. A bit like an old chair that is really comfy, but is showing its age and you know you should probably not spend too much time in it, but something keeps mysteriously drawing you back in.
Probably not explaining myself too well there, but what I mean is, if the lines are over about 20 minutes and you aren’t that interested in the concept then maybe just walk on by.
Your kids will probably thank you.
However, if lines are not too long then it is still worth experiencing. Also, if you just want a break from the noise and crowds of the Disney theme parks, this is a very relaxing Epcot ride.
It is either going to be a once-and-done, or you are going to think this is the best thing ever. Probably not much middle ground.
Enough about the theory of whether you should ride it, what exactly is Living with the Land?
You will board a slow-moving boat that will take you through an educational journey about advances in agricultural technology.
Sounding great so far?
Actually, it is a lot better than that basic description suggests as it is interesting to see aquaculture farming, the upside-down tomato plants, and the innovative ways of increasing food production.
Living With the Land is a 14-minute gentle boat ride and you may just learn something along the way.
Or if you really need a break out of the sun it is a great option.
Epcot The Seas with Nemo and Friends
You can see all of your favorite characters from the Finding Nemo movie on this gentle Epcot ride.
Launched in 2007 The Seas with Nemo and Friends appeals to all ages.
Guests board a slow-moving clamobile and glide past the 5.7 million gallon aquarium which appears to feature Nemo and his friends.
The technology on The Seas with Nemo and Friends is amazing and the effect combines animation with the real creatures of the sea in the huge aquarium.
It is a secondary attraction, but I still think it is worth your time. However, if the line is longer than 30 minutes you may want to skip it.
Fortunately, the line for Nemo and Friends is all inside. Therefore, it can be a welcome escape from the Florida heat at the height of the summer.
There is no height requirement for The Seas with Nemo and Friends and this is definitely a feel-good attraction for every member of the family.
Epcot Mission Space
Mission Space is the only ride at Disney World, and possibly anywhere, to provide motion sickness bags for guests! This gives you an idea of why this Epcot ride is not quite as popular as Disney had hoped.
It is a motion simulator ride that speculates about what an astronaut may experience on a journey to Mars. Obviously, this requires quite a stretch of the imagination, but it is well worth trying this Epcot ride.
There are 4 riders in each vehicle and everyone is assigned their own role (i.e potential buttons to press when instructed) either Commander, Navigator, Pilot or Engineer.
The Mission Space ride vehicle is small and if you are prone to motion sickness or claustrophobia this is a ride where you really should observe the warnings. Riders experience up to 2.5 G Force.
I remember that when this ride first opened it was hailed as the next big thing in ride technology. Unfortunately, it was a little too much for many riders and it is one of the least popular in the Epcot park.
Epcot Mission Space is a highly intense and very unique ride. It is certainly one of the most thrilling Disney World rides.
But for many, it was a little too much which is why Disney opened a second non-motion version of the ride. This is also quite a lot of fun and does not have the G Force of the main attraction so is suitable for more people.
If you do not like enclosed spaces though avoid Mission Space. There is not that much space in the capsule!
Mission Space rarely has long lines, particularly for the motion simulator version so no particular tactics are needed to avoid the lines.
Journey Into Imagination with Figment
This is one of the older Epcot rides and is found in The Imagination Pavilion in Future World. This somewhat mediocre ride has the theme of how our imaginations play tricks on us and features the lovable Figment the Dragon as our guide.
Guests board a vehicle that slowly takes them through various scenes of our senses. It is suitable for all ages but some parts are dark, noisy and contain just a few surprises. If you are short on time this is one you can safely skip.
Rides at Epcot – World Showcase
There are four rides in Epcot World Showcase:
- Frozen Ever After
- Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
- Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
Epcot Frozen Ever After Ride
Frozen Ever After is the newest ride in Epcot. It replaced the Maelstrom ride in the Norway Pavilion of World Showcase.
As you can imagine, Frozen Ever After is a phenomenally popular ride. Think, the most popular ride you can imagine. Then double that.
Those guests who ever experienced Maelstrom will recognize that the basic structure of the boat ride has changed very little for this Frozen-themed ride in Epcot. It has been completely overtaken by the Disney Frozen theme though.
Frozen Ever After is a boat ride with some small drops. There is a 28-foot drop close to the end which some may find a little bit scary.
Always get a Fast Pass. Lines aren’t as bad as they used to be, but can still often be around 2 hours. You really don’t want to be waiting in Arendelle for that long. Read our guide to getting difficult Fast Pass Reservations.
Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros
Is this an Epcot ride you can skip?
Certainly, if the lines are long.
The Epcot Mexico Pavillion is one of the most beautiful in Epcot World Showcase. The shopping is great and for the most part actually really good value.
There are some great Mexican Dining Choices in the Pavillion.
But this Epcot ride.
This is a gentle and relaxing ride housed inside the Mexico World Showcase Pavilion at Epcot which is loosely based around the 1944 movie The Three Caballeros which featured Donald Duck. Relaxing to the point of really being one of the best places to take a nap in the whole of Walt Disney World.
This 7-minute ride sails past the San Angel Inn Restaurante and into the history and landscape of Mexico.
This is a once-and-done.
Or if you are like me you keep doing this in the hopes that the nostalgia value and the opportunity to sit down when you have just walked all around Epcot World Showcase in the seating Florida heat outweighs the fact that this really isn’t good enough.
As you will see it is perhaps rather unfair that Epcot is sometimes thought of as not having a large selection of rides. In fact, Epcot has some of the best and most popular rides in Walt Disney World.
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
This is one of the newest Epcot rides, having debuted in the park on October 1st, 2021.
This dark, trackless 3D ride was first designed for Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris. The Ratatouille ride in Epcot is identical to the one in Paris.
Based upon the lovable character in Pixar’s Ratatouille, guests board a “ratmobile” to be taken on a journey through Gusteau’s restaurant and kitchen.
Take some time (and you will have some time) to look at all the details in the line. This Epcot ride does a great job with attention to detail to the theme.
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is a lot of fun and all ages can enjoy this Epcot ride. There are no height requirements so it is suitable for everyone.
It is fun rather than thrilling, but it is a definite must-do when you visit Epcot.
The lines do tend to be long for most of the day. This can be a good ride to head to first thing in the morning, particularly if you are a Disney Hotel Resort guest and have Early Entry privileges.
Guardians of the Galaxy – Cosmic Rewind
The newest of the rides in Epcot, Guardians of the Galaxy – Cosmic Rewind, officially opened on May 27, 2022.
Housed in the old Ellen’s Energy Adventure Ride building, this innovative experience features Disney World’s first reverse launch coaster.
It is also Epcot’s first roller coaster ride.
Reviews of the Guardians of the Galaxy ride are overwhelmingly positive. The only issue is actually getting to experience it at all. The only way to ride is by purchasing a Lightning Lane or by getting into the Virtual Queue.
What is a Virtual Queue? You have to have the My Disney Experience App and get a place when spaces open up.
They open every day at 7 am and 1 pm. If you are a Disney Resort guest and you are there on the day that Epcot has Extended Evening Hours, another round opens up at 6 pm. A good reason to stay at a Disney World Resort.
These spaces can fill up incredibly quickly. Seconds rather than minutes can be the difference between you getting to experience the ride and you being a disappointed or even quite possibly just a little bit annoyed theme park guest.
Another way to get to ride is by purchasing a Lightning Lane pass – although these go quickly as well. Expect this to add between $15 to $20 to your day. For each person.
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