Saturday, April 3, 2010

Top Ten Can't Miss In The Mouse: Epcot

In this edition of the Can't Miss series, we bring our attention to the second original Walt Disney World theme park, Epcot. The Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow is interesting when it comes to can't miss items...there's a LOT to see here and many things could and should make an appearance on this list. But, as with the Magic Kingdom, we will narrow it down to a top 10, assuming most people only have one day to explore each park on their vacation.

So with that said, not every deserving attraction made the list. Casualties include the three pavilion movies (Impression de France, Reflections of China and Oh, Canada!), The British Invasion, Off Kilter, Mo Rockin', The Dragon Acrobats, Biergarten with their Oktoberfest Musikanten, Les Chefs de France (with Remy), Matsuriza, Living With The Land, The Seas aquarium tanks, Turtle Talk With Crush, Universe Of Energy, Club Cool, The Fife and Drum Corp., Boulangerie Patisserie, Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure and The Jammitors. That's quite the list. And if you have two days at Epcot, you can see them all. But, if you only have one day to experience this unique park, these are our Top 10 Can't Miss In The Mouse at Epcot:

Location: The Land, Future World

Incredible ride that takes everyone's breath away, especially the first time. The look and reaction is almost always the same after their first time on Soarin (wide open eyes and "wow" almost always comes out of their mouth). It's not a thrill ride by any means, but it's absolutely exhilarating. Come early in the morning, head directly to The Land and pick up fastpasses. And if you're quick enough, you can ride it first thing, get your fastpasses afterward and then ride it again later. It's worth the effort at rope drop, trust me.

Test Track
Location: Future World

Test Track is a lot of fun. The payoff is the last portion of the ride when you're on the outside high-speed loops heading around the building on steep banks going 65 MPH. That may not sound like much (we go 65 every day on the highway), but it's much different in a convertible while on a 45 degree angle without hitting the brakes. It's a fun and interesting ride with some nice thrill on the back end.

Spaceship Earth
Location: Future World

Absolute classic in every sense of the word. Wonderful attraction that is the living essence of everything "Epcot" and old Walt Disney World. The new refurbed historical scenes are incredible as some of the best audio animatronics in The Mouse reside in Spaceship Earth. I've heard a lot of complaints about some of the changes, in particular the computer "game" you play on your way down...but I'll tell you, I get a big kick out of it. It's not bad and in some ways an improvement. The kids absolutely LOVE IT, too.

Mission: Space
Location: Future World

No attraction is more of a Jekyll and Hyde than is Mission: Space. On one hand, you have the Orange "more intense" version and on the other, the Green "less intense" version. I can say that while the Orange Team had some well-publicized issues early on in its day and because of that they did calm it down some, it's still very intense. But if you like that sort of thrill, get in line! Now, the Green training in my opinion is not worth the time. It's basically just watching a video game while sitting on a chair that moves and tilts a little with the corresponding action on the screen. I found it so tame it was boring. But the orange option is a completely different story.

Sum Of All Thrills
Location: Innoventions, Future World

This is a great new addition to Epcot. It can be a little intimidating to some looking at it from the outside (the KUKA robot arms look like massive monsters that are eating poor unfortunate souls with their legs hanging out of their mouths), but the ride itself is so smooth it's almost hard to believe you're being thrown around like you are. With Sum, you can custom build a roller coaster, jet or bobsled then actually ride your creation. It's a good learning experience as you build your ride, then a fun time actually riding it. Future World needed something like this.

American Adventure
Location: U.S. Pavilion, World Showcase

The American Adventure show, like Spaceship Earth, is an Epcot original and is still AWESOME. And like Spaceship Earth, A.A. has some of the best Audio-animatronic figures in WDW...but unlike Spaceship Earth, these are the originals from 1982. Considering that, they're even more impressive. It's a very long show (about 30 minutes), and in the middle of the summer it can be a NICE break from the heat. And for some kids, a nice opportunity for a refreshing nap...

Voices of Liberty
Location: American Adventure pre-show, World Showcase

Arguably the best live-performance act in Walt Disney World, the Voices are incredible. They could technically be considered part of the American Adventure show, as they perform 15 minutes before each showing throughout the day (but you can see the Voices and leave if you don't want to sit through the following 30 minute show). Their talent is top notch and it can be a very moving experience to hear them sing their patriotic and historic songs.

Location: Norway pavilion, World Showcase

Even though we have Spaceship Earth and American Adventure on this list, perhaps no attraction exudes the feeling of classic Epcot Center more than the Maelstrom. For that reason alone, it's worth the ride - never mind the charming little things like the hidden Mickey in the huge wall mural in the queue area and the 3-headed troll that sends you back, back down the falls!

Stroll World Showcase At Night
Location: World Showcase (of course!)

This isn't any particular attraction, show or movie. But it's one of the most beautiful things The Mouse has to offer. It's a romantic, fun and unique experience, and it's one of the great "adult" things you can do in WDW. One suggestion: try the orange slush from France as you swing by and take in a performance from Off Kilter or Mo Rockin.

Illuminations: Reflections Of Earth
Location: World Showcase

Strolling along the Showcase at night leads directly into this last Can't Miss: Illuminations. In my personal opinion, it's the best end-of-night spectacular WDW offers (no offense to Fantasmic or Wishes). The music for Illuminations is powerful and emotional, the story is fascinating and the fireworks and effects phenomenal. Just remember to stand upwind to avoid the smoke on a breezy evening, and try to see it from front-and-center across from the American pavilion, the outcropping at Italy, or standing atop the International Bridge for some of the best viewing opportunities.

Well, that does it for Epcot. Really, this park is a two-day adventure considering all the incredible things it offers. But if you're there for only one day, make sure to hit the above - especially if you've never been there before.

Next up, Disney's Hollywood Studios!

No comments:

Post a Comment