Epcot isn’t known for being the “big thrills” park, but even so, there are attractions some guests can’t ride, or prefer not to ride. Just for them, here are our favourite diversions at Epcot, based on a few key points:
1) Whether or not the riders in your group are using FastPass+ or Single Rider (meaning, it’s not going to take long, but it’s going to be long enough that browsing the gift shop won’t keep you amused) or they’re in the Stand-by queue during busy season (meaning, you could realistically reorganise your entire pantry, run a 5K, or weave yourself a rope hammock and start topping up your tan in the time it’s going to take for them to show up again).
2) You have a sense of humour and a camera, and you’re not afraid to
look foolish let you be you, even if strangers are watching.
3) You’re going to experience the park’s other attractions with your group, and you want to do something you would otherwise miss.
4) You reserve the right to Do the Queue and use the non-rider exit near the loading area.
There are four attractions at Epcot that are most likely to split your group up.
Do The Queue: The queue at Mission: Space is one of the most interesting at Epcot, with absolutely loads to see while you wait. You’ll find lots of re-purposed props from the pavilion’s previous attraction, Horizons, and other pop culture references, as well as a realistic-looking “launch centre.” The non-rider exit location for this attraction happens immediately before entering the ride area, and it’s going to feel like you’ll be shuttled straight in, but don’t worry. It’s a well-oiled process, and you won’t be forced to ride.
10-15 minutes: Return to the entry plaza for Mission: Space and check out the plaques with inspirational quotes from real astronauts. Then, take a look at the mock-up of the moon, where gold spheres represent each of the 29 missions sent up by the United States and Russia.
30 minutes or more: This one is easy. There is a wonderful post-show area here, with plenty to keep you occupied for the duration. Join a team for Mission: SPACE Race, send yourself a free video postcard via email, experience a mini version of Mission to Mars, with your feet firmly on the ground, and browse through the fabulous displays, each of them telling a space-themed story.
Must-have Selfie: Yes, you can get all the primary elements of the plaza into your selfie, even without a selfie stick. Stand directly in front of the mockup of Earth with the pavilion’s logo above your head, hold your smartphone down low, and smile!
Do The Queue: Although we’re not huge fans of the re-imagining of this queue, there is a LOT to do here, and it’s almost an attraction unto itself so, by all means, do the queue. It starts slow, but when you reach the Chevrolet Design Studio the fun really begins, and you can still duck out of the ride after having designed your own car.
10-15 minutes: The interactive area at the attraction’s exit has enough to keep you occupied for a short time. Most people rush right out without taking their test car for a spin in the post-show area, so grab an empty steering wheel and see how you measure up.
30 minutes or more: Spend some time in the Fountain of Nations plaza watching the dramatic fountain shows that occur there periodically, then head through the walkway leading to The Land. As you exit the walkway, notice the Timeline of Discovery etched into the pavement. It’s a nod to great inventors throughout history. On your way back to Mission: SPACE, pop into Electric Umbrella, find the trash bin across from the self-serve drinks machines, push on the bin’s flap, and listen carefully!
Must-have Selfie: You, with a Test Track car flying over your head. If you’re
completely obsessive really determined to get the shot, this can take up a LOT of time, so it could work as a 10-15 minute diversion, or a 30-minute diversion, depending on how quick you are with your photo-taking abilities.
Soarin’ Around the World
Do The Queue: For such a popular attraction, you’d think the queue would be filled with wonderful, hands-on things to do as you while away two hours or more. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case here, though there is a trivia-style game that pits contestants (that means you, or you and your family, or you and the people behind you, or…) against each other, answering questions on global cuisine, history, culture and world landmarks using your mobile device. If you’re really dedicated to not splitting up, this might be the answer. If not, save your together-time for a more compelling queue.
10-15 minutes: Pop over to the dining area along the right-hand wall of the queue for Living with the Land and be inspired by the quotes painted on the wall. They are children’s thoughts on taking care of Mother Earth.
30 minutes or more: Follow the suggestions for Test Track’s 30-minute diversion in reverse order, or take a look at your Times Guide for any upcoming entertainment in Future World or World Showcase. The JAMMitors often perform in the area just outside the breezeway near Electric Umbrella (near Test Track), and there is a wealth of entertainment in World Showcase. If you have quite a bit of time to spare, don’t miss Voices of Liberty at the American Adventure pavilion. They’re worth the walk, and we won’t tell anyone if you decide to pick up a cheeky Ice Cream Martini from the France pavilion on your way around!
Must-have Selfie: This one is a bit of a secret, so you’ll come away from it with a nice photo and bragging rights that you know something the rest of your group doesn’t. Remember that mural you passed on the way into The Land pavilion, that looked like the earth’s strata and lined both sides of the entry walkway? Pop out for a quick selfie with one of the “gems” hidden within the mural. The artist who created it placed a red tile and a green tile in the strata, representing the artist’s children’s birthstones, and while the red one has been missing for years, the green one can be found directly under the right-hand side of the gold-leaf tiles you’ll see to the left of the pavilion’s sign, just outside the pavilion’s right-hand doors.
Do The Queue: We’re including this one for those who don’t do even small-ish drops, but primarily for…well…the avoidance of “that song”. You’re going to struggle here, because A) there isn’t much to this queue and B) just being in the queue will start
that teeth-jarring tune Let It Go going through your brain, and that’s what you’re trying to avoid in the first place, right? And we just made it worse, because now you’ve got that song going through your head and you’re not even at Disney!
But in the unlikely event the queue for this is short (it won’t be) and you can just pop through with your family (that won’t happen), look for the tribute to the former Maelstrom attraction, with its three-headed troll, and Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post and Sauna, where Oaken draws pictures in the steam on the window. Then, pretend you forgot something and backtrack your way out.
10-15 minutes: We’re going to assume you’d like to avoid the meet-and-greet here, though it is pretty cute. If you like the idea, it’s an ideal distraction while everyone else is on the ride. If not, have a wander around the Royal Sommerhus area looking for runic inscriptions, and be sure to watch for strolling Vikings! If it’s open when you visit (opening “Spring 2018”), check out the new Gods of the Vikings exhibit inside the Stave Church.
30 minutes or more: You’ve already got your comfy shoes on, so it’s time for a little hike. Destination? The Japan pavilion. Mission? A front row view of Pick-A-Pearl inside Mitsukoshi Department Store. Far from being a boring sales gimmick for selling pearls (and the jewellery setting they’ll go into), this is a charming little ceremony that is strangely addictive. You’ll probably return to the shop later today, but make time for this delightful show now. And get a refreshing Kakigori at the kiosk outside for your stroll back to Norway. You deserve it.
Must-have Selfie: If you’re not Anna and Elsa averse, go for the meet-and-greet selfie. If you are, there really is only one choice here, and that’s the Troll. Pop into The Puffin’s Roost gift shop, to the left of the entry to Frozen Ever After, and you’ll find a gigantic troll, left over from the previous Maelstrom attraction. Put a Viking helmet on your head and take that selfie!
Have you ever been the odd man (or woman) out? What are your favourite distractions while waiting for your group to ride? Join us on Attraction Tickets Direct’s discussion forums and tell us all about it!
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