Epcot is in the middle of a huge transition right now, and the front of the park near Spaceship Earth is a bit of a mess, but don’t let that fool you, there’s still an embarrassment of riches when it comes to imagination, experiences, and food to be enjoyed here.
The Baby Care Center is located in the Odyssey building which is on the edge of future world before you get to the Mexico Pavilion.
Let’s start with the icon, the golf ball, Spaceship Earth. Right in the middle of “Future World,” the name for the front section of the park. It’s a ride that really shows it’s age, but also the maintains the heart of the park message. Telling the story of communication, it’s a history lesson wrapped in amusement. It’s one of my favorites, but rides like this take me straight back to my childhood.
To the right of Space Ship earth is a path to the Land and Seas Pavilions. The Seas Pavilion has The Seas with Nemo and Friends, a great ride through with a pretty neat way of tying the ride into the aquarium inside the building. I’m not sure what it is about this ride, but the first time we rode it we just sort of worked our way outside so make sure you look around before you leave. Turtle Talk with Crush here is also an excellent interactive theater experience where Crush from Nemo teaches a bit about the ocean and is able to answer audience questions.
Moving around to the right again takes you to The Land Pavilion home to Soarin, a must ride for me. If you’re afraid of heights, this one might be a challenge, but it’s a great experience of “Soaring” around the world. The other ride here is a sleeper hit called Living With the Land. It’s a longer boat ride (great for putting your feet up for a minute) with two very distinct sections. The first is scenes about earth, farming, and our relationship, but the second part is what we love taking you through greenhouses with tons of plants growing in a variety of ways. I feel like no matter how I explain this one it always sounds kind of boring, but I always love riding it.
Next is the Imagination Pavilion, home to the kind of sad but still enjoyable remnants of one of my childhood favs, Journey into Imagination. It’s a rather silly and cheesy dark ride about, you guessed it, imagination. In it’s current state I wouldn’t call it a bad ride but I wouldn’t go out of my way to ride it even though the line is typically less than 10 minutes if at all.
Cross to the other side of future world for the Space and Motion Pavilions. There are 2 other pavilions here, but they are being overhauled into new rides and experiences. Test Track is fun and the fastest ride in the park. The Queue lets you design your own car which you then “test” on the ride and see which design wins. Mission Space is the other ride on this side of the park, a space simulator where you and 3 other people take on the rolls of piloting a space shuttle together. Make sure you’re going to the one you want though as it has two options, Orange and Green. Green is just the screen portion of the ride while Orange is the original version of the ride which also has you spinning to create forces of up to 2.4 G’s. It was so intense and caused so much motion sickness they changed part of the ride to the now “Green” version without the spinning.
Now out in World Showcase there are only 2 actual rides, but they’re both great. The Three Caballeros in the Mexico Pavillion is a nice easy boat ride looking for our friend Donald Duck. It’s silly, fun, and a good way to get off your feet for a bit.
Frozen Ever After is in the Norway Pavilion, definitely grab a fastpass for this later in the day if you can, but the queue has some nice elements to break up the wait if you can’t find one. A dark boat ride through the story of Frozen it has some great music (obviously), animatronics, and a fun drop (bigger than Pirates, but much smaller than Splash Mountain).
This park is full of them! Every pavilion in future world has an interactive section you can explore after exiting the ride (except The Land, but including Spaceship Earth) and they are great, especially for kids. These are also perfect places to shelter from rain too. Our favorite is definitely The Seas, which until the Atlanta Aquarium was built, contains the largest aquarium in the United States. There are two levels here with lots to look at from smaller creatures, to Manatees, and an upstairs view of the big aquarium. Sometimes you can run into the JAMMitors, a percussion trio playing on various trash cans. Sounds silly, it’s wonderful.
Each Pavilion in the world showcase has it’s own performance so check this schedule to track down the one you want to see, or more than likely, you’ll just stumble upon one while you’re making your way around the world. Some are acrobatics like the Jeweled Dragons in China and others are music like Mexico, Canada, the UK, and Japan. There are also lots of characters to meet like Snow White, Alice, Jasmine, and Mulan. You’ll find their times and locations on the same link above.
While the Pavilions themselves are sort of like caricatures of the countries they represent, they’re still wonderful to explore with some genuine history and culture to soak in, such as the Stave Church Gallery in Norway which tells the story of the Norse Gods. I’m also a big fan of the formal gardens in China and Japan.
On the side of Future World with Test Track and Mission Space, if you head up towards World Showcase, there should be a playground on this side. I believe it’s right off the backside of Mousegear (The giant gift shop). It’s a lot of climbing pieces, but a good area off the path to get some kid energy out.
Going to do my best not to rattle on forever here, because there is just SO MUCH FOOD! I’m going to focus on things you can get most of the year, but you may be most interested in taking advantage of current festival, Festival of the Holidays and all it has to offer. Grab a festival guide (which will have the menu for every booth and make a great souvenir) and just go for whatever sounds the best! I haven’t been to Festival of the Holidays, but I DO spend entirely too much time looking at Disney stuff so I’ll throw out this years recommendations from other Disney obsessives for you. I’ve been to Festival of the Arts and Flower and Garden Festival and both of these have had some of my favorite dishes.
The Future World area doesn’t have as much as the world showcase, but Sunshine Seasons is worth a look in the Land Pavilion, especially the bakery case here.
Heading out into World Showcase (I’m going to go to the right, but it doesn’t matter which way you go) you’ll come across a small building to the right just before the Canada Pavilion takes over. This is the Refreshment Port, your #1 location for Poutine. They always have a seasonal offering and it’s always worth a look. For Festival of the Holidays it’s the Turkey Poutine, fries topped with turkey, gravy, cranberry relish, and crispy onions.
Yukon Holiday Kitchen is the festival booth in Canada and the Canadian Wild Rice Soup and the Peppermint Pinwheel Cookie seem to be the hit here.
In the UK take a look at the Fish & Chips or hop into the Rose & Crown pub for a drink
Next is one of our favs and one of the most food dense locations in the park, France. Nearly every item on the festival list is on people’s must try lists from the Bouchée à la Reine Traditionnelle (Turkey and mushrooms in a cream sauce served in a puff pastry) to the Rillette de Saumon (salmon spread with house made bread) and the Bûche de Noël au Chocolat (Chocoalte Christmas Log). L’Artisan des Glaces is an gelato shop where you can get both an Ice Cream Macaron Sandwich, or a Croque Glacé (Ice cream pressed in a brioche bun). And for even more options, head all the way to the back to Les Halles Boulangerie & Patisserie to have your pick of the pastry case. Or for something savory grab a warm sandwich.
Stop in Morrocco for some Stenj (Warm beignets) from the festival booth, Sapphire Kitchen, or keep crusing to Japan for some sushi, sake cocktais, or shaved ice. Unrelated to food, but the gift shop here is wild.
We tend to skip over the America Pavilion because we live here.
Via Napoli in Italy has some bomb pizza, but it’s gigantic and sometimes comes with a wait.
Stop in Germany and raise a pint! And then hop over the festival booth, Bavaria Holiday Kitchen for the Potato Dumpling in Mushroom Sauce, Pork Schnitzel with Mushroom Sauce and Spaetzle, or the Cheese Fondue in Bread Bowl.
Pause in China at the Shanghai Holiday Kitchen for the Chengdu Street Fries, just really good, very spicy krinkle fries!
Another family favorite is Norway and the Kringla Bakery Og Cafe. Caroline loves the rainbow cheesecake (which I believe is currently the same thing as the Olaf cheesecake for Frozen 2. We love the School Bread, a lightly sweet cardamom sweet bread with a custard filling and toasted coconut.
Last stop on the World Showcase is Mexico for what Caroline says are the best nachos in the world at La Cantina De San Angel. The nachos that made her realize she actually does like nachos! The festival hit here is the Giant Tostada de Puerco, seasoned pork served on top of a giant tostada with a chipotle black bean spread, guajillo sauce, queso fresco, crema mexicana, pickled onion, and chicharron powder.