Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide - Contents  Click to go back to MousePlanet main page
 Discussion Boards | Reviews | News | Trip Planning | Shop | Travel | Site Map
Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide
Google-
Look in: MousePlanet WWW

Brian Bennett

[ Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide - Contents ] [ Return ]

Epcot Attractions

Before describing the attractions in Epcot, I think it's necessary to point out some issues regarding small children and the attractions in this park.  Although most people realize that the studios is oriented more towards teens and adults than young children, it's worth a reminder than young children may be restricted from some attractions due to height and age requirements and that some of the park's attractions are very intense.  The Universe of Energy (realistic dinosaurs) and Maelstrom (severe storm and trolls) are examples of attractions that have content that may be startling for children.  Beware!

There's a lot more information on this issue in the section entitled "Special Considerations for Park Touring" earlier in the planning guide, including a complete list of the height requirements and "fear factors" that you will want to be aware of for the various attractions.  There's also a description of the "baby swap" policy that will be helpful for families with smaller children.  If you have kids under the age of thirteen that will be going on your trip, I encourage you to read through that information in detail before leaving for Florida.  For disabled guests, there's a brief amount of information that you may find helpful on the page titled, "Touring the Parks with Disabled Guests."

Spaceship Earth

Spaceship Earth, the ride that is located inside the geosphere that is Epcot's icon, is an audio-animatronic journey through the history of communications. Included in the scenery and narration are cave paintings, the development of written language, the  Phoenician merchants, the Roman highway system, the great libraries in the Muslim lands that maintained so much knowledge during Europe's dark ages, Guttenberg's printing press...and on and on to today's digital communications networks spanning the globe. In 1994 or so, Jeremy Irons was recruited to produce a new narration that replaced the original one done by Walter Cronkrite. I guess that's the Disney "continuous improvement" at work. Also, the end of the ride (which used to be quite anti-climatic) has been re-worked a bit. The scenery is much improved, but the music is foreboding, and dreary. Whoever chose the music must have had lead ears. Other than that small criticism, this is a wonderful attraction. It's educational and fun at the same time.

Sometimes you can catch this ride first thing in the morning with virtually no line. Likewise, you can often catch it on the way out without a wait. Bottom line...if there's a queue, plan to come back later -- the crowds will likely dissipate. By the way, once you're inside the building there isn't much longer to go. There just wasn't room inside for a large queue area, so it's all outside the entrance.

Innoventions

Innoventions has been completely re-modeled for the Millennium Celebration in 1999 and 2000.  It's a good thing, because the old displays had been around for several years and were really beginning to get old.  The new approach here is similar to the Innoventions at Disneyland.  Instead of a free flowing "buffet" style attraction where you could look at whatever interested you, there is now a formal pre-show along with a more controlled experience as you move through the attraction.

If you're into video games, the internet, and new technology, you'll be able to spend hours here.  There is a lot of new (some not yet released) gizmos from various manufacturers for the home, transportation, and electronics.

Ellen's Energy Adventure (Universe of Energy)

This attraction features Ellen Degeneres, the former star of a now-defunct Disney TV sitcom, who is in the midst of a personal energy crisis. Ellen dreams that she is on the game show Jeopardy, competing against an old college rival (played by Jamie Lee Curtis) and Albert Einstein (played by himself, ostensibly). In short, she's being wasted by her old rival (Al seems to be lost in thought and doesn't really play much into the final outcome of the match). Fortunately, Bill Nye the science guy, another Disney character creation, comes to the rescue and gives Ellen some personal tutoring just in the nick of time. Along the way, the theatre itself turns into a Jurassic Park.

Since this attraction in a theatre show, it has a very large capacity.  Except in the busiest seasons of the year, when the lines are astronomical, everyone that is waiting will get into the next show.

The Wonders of Life

Body Wars

Move over, Mr. Toad, now this is a wild ride. If you remember the old sci-fi flick, "Fantastic Voyage," you'll get the idea. In the interest of science, your entire group is miniaturized and injected into a body to observe how the body repairs itself against a small splinter. The ride gets pretty wild when a scientist making an extra-vehicular reconnaissance (she's outside of the vehicle checking out the splinter) gets pulled into the heart. Not only do you get small (my apologies to Steve Martin) on this ride, you also get to take a ride through the heart, lungs, and brain of the unassuming splinter victim. You'd think a dose of Bactine and some tweezers would have covered it, but I guess this was a government idea of some kind. DARPA maybe, or NASA.

Unlike Star Tours, this ride has a tendency to swish to and fro as the blood pumps through the vessels so this attraction rivals the Mad Tea Party for nausea potential...beware!

Cranium Command

Cranium Command is a classic. It's an audio-animatronic tale of a Cranium Commando, a "brain driver", that is assigned to guide a 12-year-old boy through a typical day. Different actors report to the Cranium Commando representing the stomach, heart, and several different brain functions. Along the way, the kid ends up sleeping in, falls for a girl, blows up the chemistry lab, starts a food fight in the cafeteria, and ends up in the principal's office. The Cranium Commando is supposed to guide the kid without stress...yeah, right. This is definitely an entertaining and fun show. Don't miss it.

Test Track

Test Track is a behind-the-scenes look at vehicle testing at a proving ground. The queue area displays information on component and durability testing of GM's vehicles. This is interesting for me, since I'm a supervisor in an automotive engineering lab.   (I worked for GM for almost 18 years before my part of the company spun off into a separate corporate entity.)

If you consider this a technology attraction, one that is in Epcot to teach you more about the science and engineering of developing and validating cars, you'll enjoy yourself very much (and you'll learn more than you realize as you go).  However, the ride itself is a bit less exciting than it could be, so if you're looking for a thrill ride, you might be disappointed.

Journey into Imagination

Journey into Your Imagination

Journey is fresh off a 1999 rehabilitation.  The hallmark music that we've enjoyed in this attraction has been dropped (perhaps it will return in some future incarnation). Dreamfinder is also passť, as the new attraction is based on the Imagination Institute (the organization that presents the "Scientist of the Year Award" in "Honey, I Shrunk the Audience."  Oddly enough, Figment still appears, even if Dreamfinder and the Sherman Brother's music didn't make the cut. 

The gist of story is that the "Imaginator," the newest project of the Imagination Institute, is ready for routine testing.  Special effects and optical illusions combine to make the eight minute "test" an interesting one.  

The negative reviews that this attraction has been given are directly on target.  There is very little positive to say about "Journey into Your Imagination" other than that the line was short.  On the other hand, that might be a telling fact, too.

Honey, I Shrunk the Audience

This attraction begins as the formal presentation of the Scientist of the Year award to the guy that "shrunk the kids" and "blew up the kid". After demonstrating some of this other work, his shrinking machine gets turned on the audience. The effects are excellent. Be aware that there are some frightening snake and lion 3-D effects that you might want to warn your children about in advance. Also, since this is a full-sensory attraction, you'll experience more than just 3-D visuals.

The Land

Living With the Land

Living with the Land takes you on a quick boat tour of the ecosystems of the world from rainforest, to desert, to the farmlands of the North American plains. After describing each of these in turn, the problems of poor land management and over population are reviewed -- and some of the technology and techniques that are being developed to improve those situations are introduced. Towards the middle of the ride, problem and theory give way to practical solutions as the boat tours a huge agricultural development lab. Multiple crops, vertical growing, hydroponics, sea farming (in which fish and eels are "cultivated") and other techniques (including several NASA experiments) are displayed and explained. Much of the salad greens that are served at the various Epcot restaurants is actually grown in the Land pavilion. This is truly an educational attraction, while being interesting and entertaining at the same time.

"Behind the Seeds" (Greenhouse Tour)

If you're at all interested in gardening technology, this short walking tour gives you a much more detailed look at the Land pavilion's inner-workings. The tour only takes thirty minutes, but if you get a tour guide that you can understand (a 50/50 chance according to my luck) it's fun. You also get to see the squirming eels up close and personal and feed the carp. Cost is $6 for adults and $4 for children.

Food Rocks

Food Rocks is an audio-animatronic look at the four basic food groups. Chubby Cheddar, Elvis Parsley, and others host this show that describes the benefits of a balanced diet. If you like classic rock, you'll like it. It's tongue-in-cheek, but fun.

The Circle of Life

Timon and Pumbaa are developing a massive resort complex on the African savanna. They are clueless about the possible long term environmental effects of their construction, though, until Simba explains things to them. This is certainly an educational film, but the environmental -- men are ruining everything -- message is pretty clear. If you're a lumberjack, you might want to boycott this attraction...If you're a spotted owl, don't miss it!

The Living Seas

Caribbean Coral Reef Ride / Sea Base Alpha

My opinion of this attraction, prior to 1995, was that it was disappointing and boring...boy, was I wrong! If you take the time to look things over in Sea Base Alpha, I'm sure you'll find that this is a lot of fun, and very interesting. I'd just never took the time before. There's the aquarium, some manatees, a lot of ecological information, and a small shop. One of my favorite displays is the aquatic life with natural camouflage...just trying to find some of these creatures is a challenge.

World Showcase

In World Showcase, several "nations" have only shopping and restaurants. They are: The United Kingdom, Morocco, Japan, Italy, and Germany. Each of these are very much worthwhile to visit, shop, and have a meal, but they contain no "attractions" other than dining, shopping, and displays.

O Canada

This is a Circle-Vision film showing the beauty of our northern neighbor. During the course of your tour, you'll see everything from seaside scenery in the maritime provinces to the Rocky Mountains and the shores of the Pacific Northwest. One of my favorite scenes, the opening, as I recall, shows a large group of Canadian Mounted Police on their steeds. It's quite a lovely film, and the music is pretty too. Well worth the time to see it.

Click here to take a photo tour of World Showcase's North American Pavilions.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom pavilion does not have a ride or show, like some of the other World Showcase pavilions.  Instead, it has lovely gardens, shops, and a great restaurant and pub.

Click here to take a photo tour of this little taste of "the old country."

Impressions de France

This is among my favorites of all films at WDW. The score is based on French Classical music by Debussy, Saint Saens, and others. The scenery is gorgeous. During this film you'll see Paris, the small towns of the countryside, the wine country of Burgundy, St. Mont Michel, Notre Dame, and many other familiar landmarks. I particularly enjoy the view of the pastries in the patisserie window. It makes me hungry every time! I'm fiercely proud of my mostly British heritage, but this film makes me realize that the French have reason to be proud, too.

Click here to take a photo tour of the France Pavilion.

Morocco

The Morocco pavilion does not have a ride or show. However, it does have some great shopping opportunities as well as a great full-service restaurant (Marrakesh) and a mediocre counter-service restaurant (Tangierine Cafe).

Click here to take a photo tour of the Morocco Pavilion.

Japan

The Japan pavilion doesn't have an attraction (i.e. a ride, presentation, or film), but it does have some great shopping and eating opportunities.  There's also a display of Japanese art and technology in the very back of the pavilion, if you're interested in seeing it.

Click here to take a photo tour of World Showcase's Japan pavilion.

The American Adventure

One of the most stirring audio-animatronic presentations, for a United States citizen, anyway, at WDW. Hosts Ben Franklin and Samuel Clemens trace the history of American accomplishment from the Revolutionary War, the founding of the nation , on through the strife of the Civil War and the years of industrialization, expansion, and ingenuity. The film and still montage is particularly moving, and the music is marvelous. Don't miss it!

Click here to take a photo tour of World Showcase's North American Pavilions.

Germany

The German pavilion doesn't have an attraction (i.e. a ride, presentation, or film), but it does have a bunch of great shops and a couple of fun places to get a bite if you're hungry.

Click here to take a photo tour of World Showcase's Germany pavilion.

Wonders of China: Land of Beauty, Land of Time

Another Circle-Vision production, this one is similarly beautiful. Some of the Chinese landscape is so unusual, and the natural beauty so stunning that this film is a must.

Maelstrom

On this ride, you board a Norse longboat for a journey through an ancient Viking village, through a mythical troll-infested landscape, through a North Sea storm (skirting an oil rig), and finally to a quiet, quaint fishing village. The film that follows is typical Disney - very pretty. The ride itself doesn't live up to the billing of most of it's fans, though, at least in my opinion.

El Rio Del Tiempo: The River of Time

El Rio Del Tiempo is a combination of a Mexican history trip and travelogue and It's a Small World Latin-style. This attraction really isn't one of Disney's best efforts, but it's still worth seeing. One of the best features of this ride is that there is rarely a big line, although it might get a bit more attention after it's recent refresh.

Click here to take a photo tour of World Showcase's North American Pavilions.

 
Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide


Walt Disney World Update for a list of the latest WDW trip reports and WDW features by Mike Scopa and Sue Holland!

Service Cutbacks in the World

Trip Planning Guide Home

Intro & References

Phone Directory

Planning Your Trip

Accommodations

Primer

Parks

WDW With Kids

Everything Else in WDW

When the Trip is Done
Information on scrapbooking album services and supplies

Can't find what information you're looking for? I would appreciate it if you would click here tell me what's missing so I can "fill in the blanks" as soon as possible.


Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay Learn More

[ Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide - Contents ] [ Return ]

Go to: Top | Section Contents | MousePlanet Main Page

Copyright © MousePlanet® Inc. | Legal Information & Privacy Policy | About/Contact MousePlanet | Link to us

MousePlanet® is not associated in any official way with the Walt Disney Company, its subsidiaries, or its affiliates. The official Disney site is available at www.disney.com. This MousePlanet Web site provides independent news articles, commentary, editorials, reviews, and guides primarily about the theme park resorts of the Walt Disney Co. All information on this site is subject to change. Please call destinations in advance to confirm the most up-to-date information.