The park icon and first attraction that guests come to upon entering Epcot is Spaceship Earth. Many people overlook the fact that this structure is not just the park icon, but is also a ride in and of itself. The 18 story sphere structure allows guests to board a time machine and proceed through a dark ride where they are shown many of the great advancements of human communication throughout the time. The attraction is presented in timeline format starting with pre-historic man and advancing to present day. The attraction has recently been renovated allowing guests a more interactive experience in their time machine vehicles where they actually get to design their own future as the time machine returns from its voyage. After the ride guests are also allowed to explore an interactive learning center with many games and pieces of technology of the present day.
The Land pavilion is one of the most popular spots in Epcot as it is home to one of the most popular theme park attractions in the world, Soarin’. This pavilion which sits on the western side of Future World is a 2.5 million square foot facility that is used to learn about how humans can use the land for the benefit of all people. Soarin’ Over California was a ride patterned after the much successful ride at Disney’s California Adventure Park and has had just as much success since it opened at Epcot. The Living with the Land boat ride is also located in this pavilion and gives a behind the scenes look at the Land pavilion’s greenhouses and gardens as well as a look at how humans are impacting the land of the world today. The final attraction is a movie titled Circle of Life where the environment is again studied and viewers are presented with ways to help sustain the land on which we live. There is also a large food court inside the land as well as a full service restaurant, Garden Grill.
Test Track is one of the most popular rides at Epcot and has a pavilion that is sponsored by General Motors. The ride within this pavilion is modeled after the testing procedures that General Motors uses to test all of its vehicles. The final test is the most thrilling, the high speed test that goes completely around the entire outside of the pavilion. The guests go through other testing procedures including a bumpy road test, curve test, hill climb, and anti-lock brakes testing. This ride is a must see attraction at Epcot.
Universe of Energy
The Universe of Energy pavilion at Epcot is located on the eastern half of Future World. The pavilion has just one attraction, Ellen’s Energy Adventure, starring Ellen DeGeneres and Bill Nye the Science Guy. The 45 minute attraction has several different parts as riders are transported in a large traveling theatre system. The show portion focuses on the history of energy, how it is produced, and the search for new forms of energy in today’s world. The show also looks at issues such as the origins of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas as well as looks specifically at some renewable sources of energy such as hydroelectric and solar power. Another part of the ride allows the moving theatre to move through a primeval diorama where guests are shown animatronic dinosaurs and presented with their effect on the environment. The current ride has remain unchanged since its refurbishment in 1996.
The Innoventions pavilion at Epcot is actually four distinct buildings just behind Spaceship Earth. Innoventions focuses on the advancements in technology as well as how it can be used in everyday life. Sum of All Thrills, located in Innoventions, is a recently added virtual reality simulator and is one of the hottest places in Epcot for thrill seekers as they get to design and ride their own roller coaster. Innoventions also houses many interactive games that can be enjoyed by the entire family as well as the Epcot Character Spot and MouseGear, a large store selling a great deal of Disney merchandise.
The Imagination! pavilion at Epcot sits on the western side of Future World and is home to three different attractions. First Captain EO has made a return to Epcot in memory of the life of Michael Jackson. This 3D show ran from 1986-1994 at Epcot and was brought back in July of 2010. The ride Journey into Imagination with Figment is a ride that all members of the family can enjoy, although the cute little purple dinosaur Figment can cause trouble at times during the ride. Finally, ImageWorks is an area that can be explored once you leave the Journey into Imagination with Figment ride. The attractions inside ImageWorks allow guests to take pictures of themselves and then transplant those photos onto exciting landscapes as well as experiment with many other “figments” of the imagination.
The Seas with Nemo and Friends
The final pavilion on the western side of Future World is The Seas with Nemo and Friends. This pavilion was opend in 1986, but was extensively renovated in 2004 as Finding Nemo theme was added. Once the renovation was complete a new attraction was opened, Turtle Talk with Crush. This interactive video has had outstanding success with guests. Crush not only does a show for all of the viewers, but he can actually communicate and hear the guests as well. In addition to adding Turtle Talk with Crush the major ride within the pavilion was changed as well. The Seas with Nemo and Friends was developed where guests ride in Clamobiles and travel through the sea with Dory, Marlin, and other Finding Nemo characters. What makes the attraction unique is the integration of the Nemo characters with the live animals that live within the pavilion. In addition to the two attractions there is also an extensive aquarium exhibit area for guests to tour in the pavilion.
The Mission: SPACE pavilion is home to the attraction by the same name and it is one of the most thrilling rides ever designed by Disney. The ride is a motion simulator that makes riders feel what an astronaut does while aboard a spacecraft. The ride sends the guests on a mission to Mars and has them feeling a force equal to that of a space shuttle launch. The ride does have two attractions though. Mission Space Orange is the intense version of the ride while Mission Space Green is a less intense version with less spinning of the simulator. The ride is set in the year 2036 and riders are termed “trainees” at a place called the “International Space Training Center”. Mission: SPACE is an out of this world experience and the orange track is not for the faint of heart.