Epcot has many must see attractions, ranging from the thrill of Soarin’ or Test Track to the educational but fascinating Circle-Vision film in China. It’s easy to rush about doing all of the larger attractions, and run right past the ones that aren’t as talked about. Today we’re going to look at some of the attractions that aren’t as easily spotted but simply shouldn’t be missed.
Epcot is split into two sections: Future World and the World Showcase. Most of the attractions with rides are concentrated in the Future World, but this doesn’t mean the World Showcase has nothing of interest. The World Showcase not only hosts tons of interesting shopping opportunities, it also has amazing people watching locations.
1. Club Cool
Club Cool is a simple must do, a place where you can try various Coca-Cola products from around the world. Located near the front of the park, this small location makes for a great place to grab a cool drink on your way to the World Showcase. The offerings were changed up in late 2013, with almost everything replaced (luckily, fan “favorite” Beverly, well-known for being something to trick others into trying, remains). While change is generally a good thing, the change lost my personal favorite, Mezzo Mix, an orange cola from Germany. However, there are still many things worth trying, with the list currently being:
- Guarana Kuat – a guarana berry-flavored drink from Brazil
- Inca Kola – a very sweet fruity flavor, with a flavor like bubblegum from Peru
- Sparletta – a raspberry cream soda from Zimbabwe
- VegitaBeta – a non-carbonated fruit drink, flavored with passion fruit and apricot from Japan
- Bibo – a kiwi mango soda, from South Africa
- Fanta Melon Frosty – a melon flavored soda from Thailand
- Fanta Pineapple – a pineapple soda, from Greece
- Beverly – a bitter aperitif, meant to clean the palate, from Italy
Easily the most customizable interactive attraction at Epcot, the Sum of All Thrills is a roller coaster simulator in which you design your own attraction, then actually get to experience it. You can choose from a bobsled, roller coaster, or jet fighter, ranging from a mild experience in the bobsled to a much wilder experience with the fighter jet. With some guidance, you will be able to customize your design, using tools on the interactive computer screen, including height and speed. For each stage you add, you then send Crash, your official test subject, through the design to see if it works, which is hilarious when you make a poor design decision. Once you go through the design process, you will then board a simulator arm made by KUKA, and experience your very own design. While the attraction can be quite mild, you are free to create a completely over the top attraction, with the robotic arm able to turn you completely upside down. For thrill seekers, experiencing an attraction of your own design is an easy choice, but even riders who hesitate on thrill rides should give this a try. With an emergency stop button if you become overwhelmed, and a cast member who literally watches a video of what’s going on inside the simulator to make sure you’re okay, this unique experience really shouldn’t be missed.
This is a fun little game found in Innoventions West that helps teach kids (and adults!) the fine art of managing their finances. Playing either alone or in teams up to three, you are given the chance to make a financial goal for your team at the beginning, and are then assigned an adorable Piggy to carry with you through your adventures. This Piggy guides you through each section of the game, giving advice and teaching you new vocabulary along the way. Each game gives you the chance to earn money towards your savings goal, and everything is totalled at the end to see if you made it. After you’re finished, you are offered the chance to put in your email address to receive a link to the online version of the game which extends the learning. This game is definitely worth a play, especially since there’s rarely a long wait and it’s in the air conditioning.
This attraction isn’t exactly hidden, but if you rush through the area heading straight to Soarin’, you will miss out, which is an absolute crime as it’s the best attraction at Epcot. The ride begins with a calm boat ride through various scenes, including a swamp and a farmyard. Finally, you sail through a section showcasing new technologies in agriculture, featuring a working greenhouse, aquaculture, and a research lab. Most of the foods grown in the greenhouse are actually served in restaurants in Epcot, with most going to The Garden Grill. The variety of things grown changes frequently, but you can usually see tomato “trees”, nine pound lemons, pumpkins, and pineapples. There are several Hidden Mickeys to be spotted, so keep your eyes open!
Hidden in plain sight, the Morocco Pavilion in the World Showcase boasts a small gallery featuring various pieces including textiles and jewelry. This small area is air conditioned and always seems to be empty, and with a bench inside, makes for a great place to sit for a spell and cool off. Right as you enter, you’re greeted by a life size horse and man, dressed in traditional garb. Be sure to look up to see the intricate and gorgeous stained glass windows. The entire Pavilion is huge and very detailed, and very authentic, being the only one actually sponsored by a government.
6. Norsk Kultur
This hidden gem of a museum housed, until recently, items from Norway’s history. Like many other things recently, however, this little museum was given a Frozen makeover, and now contains a blend of traditional Norwegian artifacts and items from Arendelle’s past. Even though Frozenification of everything is beginning to irritate some, this place is definitely worth checking out, especially since there’s real pieces of art mixed into the fantasy. Because this area is really tiny, many people pass right by it, not knowing that you can go inside, unless they spot someone exiting. Don’t make that mistake and be sure you check out the inside of the old Stave Church next time you are Touring the World Showcase!
So, what do you think? Have you missed these must dos, or have you known about them the whole time?