In our fourth round of the Great EPCOT Debate, we focused on the Entertainment options at EPCOT and how they stacked up against the ones at the other 3 Walt Disney World parks. The findings and debate concluded that other parks have more entertainment options…right now. With a new night show and the growing popularity of the seasonal festivals, EPCOT may one day be the park with the best entertainment.
Welcome to Believe Vacations’s Weekly Post where we conclude our debate by discussing the Attractions at EPCOT and how the choices compare to the selections of the other parks. For this article, our agents who are EPCOT fanatics were asked to share why they think the attractions at EPCOT are far superior. Then, the agents who traditionally rank EPCOT lower shared their thoughts on the attractions in the other 3 parks. After those remarks, our undecided agents made a final decision on whether EPCOT won the category or not. Below is some of the real dialogue that took place:
1) Educational but still Fun
There is an educational aspect without being “schoolish” or “museumish.” Living with the Land is true to the original concept of EPCOT, which is to teach and inspire through entertainment. Where else can you glide by on a boat and see plants that you can then eat for lunch in Sunshine Seasons quick service right next door? The park is stimulating in many ways – visually, culturally, imaginatively and educationally. World Showcase is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before and I love that you can experience authentic food, entertainment, and culture from around the world without having to leave the US. Also, the film in the France Pavilion has a beautiful musical score and is one of the few (if not the only) film/attraction that has not changed one bit since opening day in 1982. Vintage, authentic, and still relevant!
2) 2 of the Best
EPCOT has a deceptively high number of “things to do,” even though its actual attraction count is lower than other parks, specifically the Magic Kingdom. But Soarin’ Around the World and Test Track are unlike any other rides at Walt Disney World! You can’t even explain how awesome Soarin‘ is to someone who hasn’t ridden it-you have to experience it for yourself! And the entire presentation of Test Track, from building your vehicle to the fastest moments on any attraction in any park, speaks for itself.
3) Not just for princesses
Illuminations (which will be missed) and other permanent films/attractions like Spaceship Earth are amazing and don’t need characters or pixie dust to be magical and moving. Adults and kids alike can learn and educate themselves while having fun at the same time. There are so many hands on experiences that no other park can offer.
Team Other Parks
Educational but still Fun
While Magic Kingdom may truly be the least “educational” Hollywood Studios has behind the scenes “making of” attractions and Animal Kingdom is all about animal conservation efforts. Unlike “education shows” at EPCOT, there is no set time of when attractions start. They run all day (hopefully). There are some cool aspects to learning the culture but sometimes you just want to have fun and enjoy the rides.
2 of The Best
If we were assessing quality over quantity, we may have a winner in EPCOT. But I truly believe families are looking for quantity of attractions more. Why else are the Magic Kingdom After Hours events so popular? Most amount of attractions in as short of time as possible. Quantity!
Not just for princesses
When EPCOT opened, they made Figment the unofficial mascot and even today, he is featured in his own attraction and still has his own merchandise. Since then, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom have opened without their own mascots but instead, you can still see classic characters throughout those parks. There is something about the princesses and the character meets that resonates with young families and that’s why you may find them only spending a half day at EPCOT.
Judge 1 – While I love Soarin’ and enjoy many others (Journey into Imagination is a family favorite) there are in general, much better attractions at all of the other parks. I do respect the educational elements inside of Epcot however. EPCOT – 0 Other Parks – 1
Judge 2- I do think Soarin and Test Track are fun. I do enjoy the Frozen ride as well. I have ridden and watched all of the others as well and did enjoy them. However to me, they are the only three real “repeatable” rides.All the others are one and done and some aren’t even priorities to ride/watch at all during some of our shorter trips. Whereas many of the rides in the other parks, I could ride over and over again every trip! EPCOT – 0 Other Parks – 2
Judge 3 –My boys have never been to EPCOT and I’m very excited for them to experience Test Track and Soarin’ now that they are all old enough/tall enough! I think they will really like them- especially Test Track!!! Designing their own car- speed- they will love it- and I know they will want to go multiple times! We will definitely go our next trip though and I will find out! The addition of future rides is exciting!!! EPCOT – 1 Other Parks – 2
Judge 4 – EPCOT holds such a special place in my memories- “Kitchen Kabaret” anyone? That said, viewing the attractions with analytical eyes, I must say they don’t quite stand up against those at other parks. EPCOT – 1 Other Parks – 3
Final Score and Thoughts
The final round goes once again to Team Other Parks. We probably could have guessed that EPCOT would not have performed well in the Attractions category but they did give it a good go. EPCOT is not Six Flags but it’s not your usual 4th Grade Field Trip either. There is enough excitement for those wanting thrill rides while showing respect to many cultures and even ecosystems.
If our math is correct, Other Parks has won The Great EPCOT Debate 4-1 overall. While this may look to be pretty simple, there are some complexities in the judges’ responses that actually make this closer that the final indicates. In next week’s article, we’ll look at what we learned in this experience, give some final thoughts and congratulate EPCOT for opening our eyes to many adventures we may never knew existed until now. Until next week, always remember that one little spark of inspiration is at the heart of all creation!