Epcot Rides & Entertainment Guide

Epcot, formerly “EPCOT Center”—named after Walt Disney's “Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow” project—is a theme park in Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Generally, Epcot celebrates community, culture, human achievement, new ideas, and new technologies.

If you want to know more about getting on Epcot’s rides, we have an Epcot FastPass+ strategy post. We also have a one-day itinerary for Epcot that shows exactly how we spent a day at Epcot.

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There are lots of rides at Epcot that we (and others) consider iconic, but they’re not the sort that are obviously great. Nor do most of them feature popular characters from your kid’s favorite Disney films. While we love Gran Fiesta Tour and Living With The Land some guests would definitely feel like they’d wasted their time on these rides.

Nevertheless, we want to try and provide you with something of a balanced opinion on the attractions of the park. In this guide, we’re going to provide a breakdown of the attractions at Epcot, starting with the best rides at Epcot. We then cover the rest of the rides at Epcot. The second half of the post covers shows and entertainment at Epcot.

We include descriptions and height requirements, but we also have a longer post covering all the height requirements at Disney World. We also have a post on visiting Epcot with toddlers.

Basics of Epcot Rides

We’re going to start with a few basic questions about the rides at Epcot.

How many rides are there at Epcot?

There are nine true rides at Epcot. There are more “attractions” that don’t involve moving vehicles, but there are nine actual rides with moving vehicles.

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What are all the rides at Epcot?

The nine rides at Epcot are:

  • Spaceship Earth

  • The Seas With Nemo and Friends

  • Soarin’

  • Living With the Land

  • Journey Into Imagination With Figment

  • Mission: SPACE

  • Test Track

  • Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros

  • Frozen Ever After

Best Rides At Epcot

Now let’s talk about the best rides at Epcot. These first six attractions are the six we think have the strongest overall claim to being the best, not necessarily our personal favorites (the above video covers those).

Frozen Ever After

Height: Any
Type: Slow / Dark / Boat

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Frozen Ever After is the most popular ride at Epcot. The ride replaced Maelstrom in 2016 and kept the same ride system. For the most part, it's a standard dark ride in a boat through the story of Frozen. There are some twists in there that we don't want to spoil.

Frozen Ever After is a beautiful dark ride, but it isn't much beyond that. Fans of Frozen will obviously love it, and most kids (and adults at Disney World) are fans of Frozen. Honestly, we prefer the nearby Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros.

Riding It: Because it’s located on the World Showcase, the easiest way to get on Frozen Ever After without a long wait is to use a FastPass+. While there was a time Frozen was a real challenge to snag on FastPass+, nowadays you can find it pretty easily a few weeks out and sometimes even on the same day.

Test Track

Height: 40in / 102cm
Type: Thrill / Fast

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Test Track is actually a pretty creative concept: hop into a convertible and experience what it's like to be in a prototype vehicle put through the rigors of automobile testing! In the current version of the ride (it was updated in 2012), you'll design your own prototype vehicle before the ride and get to see how it would perform on the tests as you go through them.

It's a cool ride, highlighted by a 65 miles per hour zip around the outside of the building. We don't personally prioritize it just because it's a lot of hoopla for a pretty simple (and short) payoff. Others obviously feel differently, as it remains one of the most popular rides at Epcot.

Riding It: Test Track is a good ride to rope drop. Its line will get bigger faster than Soarin’, and while it is not a quick ride experience, it is overall faster to get through than Soarin’ in our experience.

Soarin’ Around The World

Height: 40in / 102cm
Type: Screen / Motion Simulation

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While not without its flaws, Soarin’ is a beautiful, thrilling experience. The ride takes you on a simulated hang gliding adventure featuring real scenes from around the world. Like Flight of Passage, it’s one of those rides that people depart with a real sense of awe.

Riding It: Soarin’ will usually be your second ride at rope drop, after you visit Test Track or Frozen Ever After.

Spaceship Earth

Height: Any
Type: Dark Ride

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Spaceship Earth is a dark ride in contained in the icon of Epcot theme park (the giant, white geodesic sphere). The 15-minute ride chronicles the development of communication from the dawn of humankind into the modern era. It's a cool ride and a great chance to experience the inside of one of the most iconic structures in Disney parks.

Turtle Talk With Crush

Height: Any
Type: Interactive Show

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Turtle Talk With Crush is one of the cooler attractions in all of Walt Disney World. It isn’t a ride, but we feel compelled to mention it here anyways. The physical setup is simple: a screen featuring Crush (from Finding Nemo) and seating for an audience. But the actual show is interactive, allowing members of the audience to have improvised dialogues with Crush. While not thrilling, it is cool technology featuring a character most of us love.

Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros

Height: Any
Type: Dark / Boat Ride

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Gran Fiesta Tour is a boat ride inside the Mexico pavilion of Epcot's World Showcase. The story is essentially a Three Caballeros concert gone awry. It's a fun ride with a short wait, and it's based on a Disney property that many, if not most, people don't even know about. We're big fans of this one and consider it to be one of the best "bang for your buck" rides due to its frequent 0 minute wait.

The Rest Of The Rides At Epcot

Journey Into Imagination With Figment

Height: Any
Type: Dark Ride

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Journey Into Imagination With Figment is an iconic Epcot ride featuring the famous purple dragon, Figment (as in, “figment of the imagination”). It’s an okay six-minute dark ride with an awesome song (“One Little Spark”) and often a sub-15 minute wait.

We get that there are Figment diehards out there, but we’re not among them. We love the song, but this attraction is really a step backward for Epcot in our mind, and it ultimately does little with an amazing theme—imagination. 

Living With The Land

Height: Any
Type: Boat Ride

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Living With The Land is a straightforward boat ride chronicling the relationship between humans and the land. It’s one of our favorite rides in Epcot. It isn’t thrilling, and most kids are going to be a bit bored, but it’s a true Epcot ride.

Mission: SPACE

Height: 40in / 102cm
Type: Thrill / Motion Simulation / Spinning

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Mission: SPACE is, for reasons unknown, sort of the forgotten thrill ride at Epcot. Well, the reason is probably just because it isn’t as good a ride as Soarin’ and Test Track, but I digress.

There are two versions of this ride, both present in the same building. The Orange version is the standard version of the ride, which is a simulated trip to Mars. Once you're inside your capsule with your three shipmates, the ride uses centrifugal design, along with standard motion, to simulate the trip.

The Green version is a similar experience but without the centrifugal motion and with a modified storyline where you travel around Earth. This makes it substantially less intense, but it has the benefit of offering some fun “views” of “Earth.”

The Seas With Nemo & Friends

Height: Any
Type: Dark Ride

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The Seas With Nemo & Friends is a standard dark ride that combines a ride through an aquarium with characters from Finding Nemo. The ride is located in the identically named pavilion, which is also home to Turtle Talk With Crush, an aquarium, and a gift shop. There's nothing particularly special about the ride, but it's worth hopping on if you're at the pavilion anyways.

Coming Soon: Guardians of the Galaxy Roller Coaster

While we don’t know much about this ride yet, a Guardians of the Galaxy Roller Coaster is expected to open at Epcot in 2021.

Coming Soon: Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure

Expected in 2020 is a new Ratatouille ride that is expected to be identical to the ride found in Walt Disney Studios Park (Paris).

Shows, Entertainment, and Spaces At Epcot

Epcot is filled with shows, entertainment, and interactive spaces to keep you and the family occupied between rides. We don't really have much to say about these, and it's definitely an area where there's no way to know what you or the kids will love or hate. So, what we're going to do is go through area-by-area and list the shows, entertainment, and spaces. We'll provide a small blurb about these things.

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As always, these are items that can change at a moments notice. Innoventions, for example, was cut down quickly and without much notice over the past few years. Significant construction in Future World will begin September 8, ending Innoventions.

Moreover, specific entertainment acts may come and go. The various galleries at the pavilions also may see exhibit changes without any notice.

Finally, we should add that during festivals, you’ll see additional / different entertainment offerings. Our favorite changes happen during the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays—where you’ll be treated to edutainment about different holidays around the world.

Epcot can be broken into two parts—Future World and World Showcase. Future World opens at the time Epcot is scheduled to open, while the World Showcase mostly opens at 11AM. The Norway Pavilion—home to Frozen Ever After—opens with Future World.

Future World

  • Project Tomorrow - This is an interactive space connected to Spaceship Earth. It focuses on a variety of cutting-edge technologies.

  • Advance Training Lab - This is an interactive space located at the Mission: SPACE ride. There are a variety of space-related games and activities, mostly targeted at kids.

  • Innoventions - This interactive space is a shell of its former self. It now features an (albeit awesome) exhibit on color and a few scientific demonstrations throughout the day. (Closing September 8)

  • The Seas with Nemo and Friends Pavilion - The pavilion is home to the identically named ride, and it's also essentially a small aquarium. There are a variety of aquatic displays as well as a few demonstrations throughout the day.

  • ImageWorks - Located adjacent to the Journey Into Imagination With Figment ride, this space allows kids to make some music and design their own Figment character.

  • JAMMitors - A "clean-up crew" that performs music using cleaning supplies (like a trash can and broomstick). It has scheduled times and occurs between Innovations and Mission: Space, but this is more of a "if you happen to be walking by..." show.

The World Showcase

To start, The World Showcase itself, along with its individual pavilions, is one giant place to explore. The pavilions are all beautiful and feature some amazing spots to kick back and relax away from the crowds. We definitely encourage you to walk through each of them, taking in the wonderful detail along the way.

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The World Showcase is also home to Epcot's nighttime show, IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. Illuminations is our favorite nighttime show at Walt Disney World, but rumors persist that it may be replaced at any moment. We highly recommend you make time to enjoy that show. It can be seen from most anywhere in the World Showcase with a clear view of the lagoon.

IllumiNations will have its final showing on September 30, 2019. It will be replaced by a temporary show, Epcot Forever, on October 1.

For the World Showcase pavilions, we're going to go through them one-by-one, clockwise from the Future World entrance.

Mexico Pavilion

The Mexico Pavilion hosts one ride (Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros). It also houses the small Mexico Folk Art Gallery and hosts several performances by Mariachi Cobre from World Showcase opening until 5PM. Mariachi Cobre now features “The Story of Coco” which includes a Coco puppet.

Norway Pavilion

Epcot’s most popular ride, Frozen Ever After is located in the Norway Pavilion. The Stave Church Gallery also contains a bit of Norwegian history and is definitely worth passing through.

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China Pavilion

The China pavilion offers several non-ride options. The House of the Whispering Willows is an exhibition space that currently houses an exhibit on Shanghai Disney Resort. Reflections of China is a 14-minute 360-degree film showing off some amazing scenes in China. Finally, the Jeweled Dragon Acrobats perform several times in the evening.

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Germany Pavilion

The Germany Pavilion doesn’t usually have any attractions or entertainment other than a Snow White meet and greet. There is also a cool model train scene between the Germany and Italy pavilions. Groovin’ Alps is a band that performs in the pavilion occasionally.

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Italy Pavilion

The Italy Pavilion is home to Sergio, and impressive juggler who performs between World Showcase open and the early evening hours.

The American Adventure

As it's home to Epcot's largest stage, The America Gardens Theater, The American Adventure plays host to a variety of events and shows. The Voices of Liberty a cappella group also performs patriotic tunes within the pavilion's main building.

The American Heritage Gallery is currently hosting an exhibit on the achievements of African Americans over the 400 years of American history.

Finally, there is the flagship attraction of the pavilion, The American Adventure. This 30-minute indoor animatronic show retells some of the biggest moments in American history. The show plays at scheduled times throughout the day.

Bonus: Returning from June 14 to August 18, 2019 is Guardians of the Galaxy — Awesome Mix Live! The concert at the America Gardens Theater occurs five times daily and features music from the Guardians of the Galaxy films.

Japan Pavilion

The Bijutsu-kan Gallery houses an exhibit on Japan's “cute” culture. Throughout the afternoon, the pavilion also hosts the Matsuriza drum show.

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Morocco Pavilion

The Morocco Pavilion is host to a musical act, Matboukha Groove.

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France Pavilion

The France Pavilion has a widescreen theater show, Impressions de France, that showcases the beauty of France over 18 minutes. The pavilion also has an outdoor performance by Serveur Amusant, chair-stacking acrobats.

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United Kingdom Pavilion

The U.K. Pavilion has a small stage tucked away that currently hosts the British Revolution band on select days. The Rose & Crown Pub Musician also performs inside the pub.

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Canada Pavilion

Like the U.K. Pavilion, the Canada Pavilion also has a stage, though that one does not consistently host any particular act. The O Canada! show is a 14-minute 360-degree film about Canada. We're big fans, mostly for the music.

That's it for our trip around the World Showcase! Remember, each pavilion is worth exploring, even if they don't have listed entertainment or attractions that sounds worthwhile!

All Your Other Disney World Planning Questions Answered

Don't be overwhelmed by Disney World planning! Take a second to check out our most important content and you'll not only be an expert, but you'll save big $$$ along the way.

Just starting out? Check out our Walt Disney World planning guide! If you're still picking dates, we've got everything you need to know about Disney crowd calendars. For picking your hotel, check out our Walt Disney World hotels guide.

When it comes time to book, we've got you covered with posts on how to book cheap flights, how to get the best deal on your Disney hotel, and where to find discount Disney World tickets. And of course everyone wants to know whether or not they should get a dining plan—check out our Complete Guide to Disney World Dining Plans!

Don't forget to master your Disney World FastPass+ strategy a few months in advance. We'll keep you out of long lines so you can maximize the magical time in the parks! We've got park-specific guides as well: Magic Kingdom FastPass, Epcot FastPass, Animal Kingdom FastPass, and Hollywood Studios FastPass.

Know what to ride with our guides to: Magic Kingdom rides, Hollywood Studios rides, Epcot rides, and Animal Kingdom rides! Plus learn about the water parks with our guide to Blizzard Beach and our guide to Typhoon Lagoon!

Finally, before you head out, be sure to check out our to-the-point packing list, 10 essentials you forget to pack for every Disney trip. And if you're interested in saving, there's no better list than our 53 Ways to Save on your Disney trip from start to finish.