Updates to Epcot’s Ride Ratings for the 2015 Unofficial Guide

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Illuminations_BrickerThe Unofficial Guide team got together last month to update our authors’ rating for all of the rides, shows, and attractions in Walt Disney World. I’ve already reported on the criteria for our 5-star rating system and changes to Hollywood Studios’ attractions. Now it’s time for Epcot.

Here’s a list of the Epcot attractions whose authors’ ratings have changed in the 2015 Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, and a short explanation for the change:

Epcot Character Spot *** Has Mickey, Minnie and Pluto all in one spot, which is good. But not as themed as, say, Princess Fairytale Hall or other meet-and-greets, and a bit more chaotic than most. That doesn’t bother our readers, though, who give it 4.2 stars on average.

IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth **** 1/2 It was surprising to see that we hadn’t ever rated IllumiNations, Epcot’s nighttime spectacular. The Studios’ Fantasmic! is Bob’s favorite evening show, and others prefer the Magic Kingdom’s Wishes. But IllumiNations is my favorite. It’s got big visual images, an iconic floating globe that’s both a spherical television and fire-throwing grill. Plus the soundtrack, Gavin Greenaway’s Reflections of Earth, is the best audio accompaniment to any Disney show. (It’s also part of the soundtrack that U.S. Customs and Border Protection plays while you’re waiting in line to enter the country.) Finally, it harkens back to a time when Disney creative didn’t just drag out its animated characters – or the words magic, dream, wishes, and celebrate– to entertain its theme park guests.

Off Kilter *** 1/2 Another surprise in that we’ve not previously rated this Celtic rock band, this group of kilt-clad musicians has been entertaining Epcot audiences since 1997. We’re all big fans of live music, and Off Kilter combines guitar, keyboard, and bagpipes into cover tunes of rock classics, traditional Celtic music, and original songs. Every set is loud, fast, and innovative – the way music should be. Check out Off Kilter’s website here.

That’s it for Epcot’s changes. What attractions would you change? Let us know in the comments below.

Len Testa

Len Testa is the co-author of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, and has contributed to the Disneyland and Las Vegas Unofficial Guides. Most of his time is spent trying to keep up with the team. Len's email address is len@touringplans.com. You can also follow him on Twitter: @lentesta.

6 thoughts on “Updates to Epcot’s Ride Ratings for the 2015 Unofficial Guide

  • May 21, 2014 at 12:23 pm
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    Thanks Len! Why do you rate Test Track at a 3.5 (the same as O Canada! btw)? It seems like it would rate closer to a 4 or the 4.5 you give Soarin’ rather than a lower ranking than Mission: SPACE. Just curious.

    Reply
  • May 21, 2014 at 2:21 pm
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    The music is the worst part of the epcot fireworks.

    And the show drags on without fireworks at several points.

    Only time for 1 fireworks display? See wishes at magic kingdom.

    But the truly best fireworks just don’t happen every day.

    Star wars weekend fireworks are awesome. Magic kingdom party fireworks are awesome with the panoramic locations

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    • May 21, 2014 at 11:18 pm
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      I agree. IllumiNations has some pretty boring parts, and it is hard to see the big Globe.

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  • May 21, 2014 at 4:26 pm
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    Thank you for your note on the Illuminations soundtrack being used a C&BP. A few weeks ago, I was standing in a VERY long line to get back into the country. The only thing that kept me from being annoyed was the video with the delightful soundtrack- I thought to myself “it reminds me Epcot!” Turns out I was right.

    Reply
  • May 21, 2014 at 4:46 pm
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    What’s the rating for Ellen’s Energy Slog? Anything more than “zzzz” is too generous.

    Reply
    • May 21, 2014 at 11:17 pm
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      Agreed. Ellen’s Energy Slog is such a waste of space.

      Reply

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