No Ride Day: EPCOT
Why a No Ride Day?
There are many reasons for a 'no-ride day' at one of the Disney parks. Maybe, you are pregnant or have some disability or illness and you can't ride any rides. Maybe you are a Florida resident looking to spend a relaxing day at the parks. Perhaps you have young children that aren't tall enough for many of the attractions. Or, maybe you just don't like theme park rides. There is nothing wrong with any of these reasons and I can assure you there is still plenty to do at the parks without riding any rides.
If you are visiting EPCOT you are in luck. This park has so many non-ride attractions that it is completely possible to spend several days at the park to do them all. Only Animal Kingdom offers as many non-ride attractions. And that is saying something. All it takes is a bit of familiarity with the park and all it has to offer to make the most of a no-ride day.
The Victoria Gardens at the Canada pavilion
The Movies and Shows
There are a lot of movies and shows at EPCOT. All of them are informational in one way or another.
In the Land pavilion there is a movie that features characters from the Lion King. This film is not very long and focuses on the important of conservation and preventing pollution. It uses characters that people are familiar with to show guests how important our role is in the circle of life.
The China pavilion has a video that showcases some of the iconic images of China, like pandas and the Great Wall. What is really unique about this movie is the screen. It forms a complete circle around guests. It is possible to watch this movie twice and not see the same images.
The Canada pavilion is home to another 360 movie. This film highlights the wonders that are Canada. The film is narrated by Martin Short, and comically tries to educate guests that there is more to Canada than ice and snow.
In the Seas with Nemo and Friends pavilion guests can actually talk with Crush from Finding Nemo. Guests are seated in a theatre like room and Crush 'swims' up to the screen and uses a special hydrophone to talk with guests. Crush will actually have conversations with the guests in the room in real time. Of course the show is meant to be a comedy, and it changes with every audience. It is truly a must do on any no ride day. Oh, and not to mention the entire pavilion at the Seas is filled with different marine creatures and a play area for the younger kinds. You could spend hours there.
This attraction is based inside of Innovations West and is sponsored by Coca-Cola. This attraction allows guests to sample Coca-Cola products from around the world. Some of these drink taste amazing, while others leave a horrible taste in your mouth. It's a lot of fun to see what other people around the world drink. Of course, these samples are free to all park guests. Where else can you sample different coke products for free? Nowhere.
In addition to sampling drinks you can purchase Coca-Cola merchandise and enjoy the nice air-conditioned attraction in the summer heat.
Innovations: East and West
Think of innovations like a giant playground. Both buildings showcase technological advances in various fields. Want to see what the house of the future might look like. Go ahead, walk through it and see the possibilities. What is really cool is some of those technologies are available now, though they are on the expensive side.
Innovations educated in a fun way. Everything is designed to be a game or competition. So, while guests are trying to win, or score more points than the other person, they are learning about saving the environment, safety, and technological advances. Habit Heroes even promotes personal health and safety in a way that is fun. There is even a station where guests can design there own thrill ride and ride it in a simulator. How cool is that? I can tell you from experience that it can be a little intense.
The attractions for innovations are always changing, so I recommend that you check what is open before you leave for your trip.
Would you do a no ride day at Walk Disney World?
EPCOT probably has the most characters available for meet and greets with guests. It is entirely possible to spend an entire day trying to see all the characters, and if you have young children that can't ride the rides this might be your best bet. The classic characters can be found in the Future World half of the park, that is the part with Innovations, Test Track, and all the other rides. While some of the more iconic characters from Disney movies can be found in their 'home' countries.
Mulan and Mushu are often seen in China. Belle and the Beast along with Marie (the girl kitten from the Aristocats) can be found in France. Wendy and Alice are often in the United Kingdom pavilion. Germany is home to Repunzel and Sleeping Beauty. Unfortunately the two newest princesses, Ana and Elsa, are no longer found in Norway. They were originally stationed in their home country, but they drew too many crowds and had obscenely long wait lines. The two sisters can now be seen at the Magic Kingdom also with the other classic Disney princesses.
If you have read any of my Disney articles you will know that I just love the World Showcase part of EPCOT. There is so much to do. You can sample food and drink, including alcoholic beverages, from around the world. You can talk with people from the different countries. You can go through the shops and see items can be found in the different countries. In Morocco you can actually get lost wondering around the streets that have been set up to look like a real bizarre.
Many of the countries even have shows that showcase their culture. In Mexico you can listen to the melodies of a real mariachi band. Japan has a very intense show that features drummers. The America pavilion has a fife and drum band that would have been found in the colonial times. It is also home to the Voices of Liberty, and they are worth a listen if you are able to catch them. If you are a Beatles fan you can even catch a tribute band playing some of their best hits in the United Kingdom pavilion.
The Fountain of Nations
- There are photopass photographers all around the park. Try to find as many as you can, I'm pretty sure you could easily spend half a day taking pictures and you won't believe how beautiful some of these pictures are. I have friends that think I actually went to Paris, when I never left the state of Florida.
- The street performers. There is a group of 'janitors' that will perform street music in the Future World part of the park. Many people walk right by them because they are so busy getting from ride to ride. Take a moment to watch them, you will be glad you did.
- The giant fountain. Yes, you heard me right. The giant fountain will actually put on a water show. It is amazing to watch all that water moving in synchronized choreography.
- Speaking of water. There are jumping fountains outside of Honey I Shrunk the Audience. These fountains are great for kinds to spend time running around in on a hot summer day.
- The festivals. Trust me there are a lot, though Food and Wine and Flower and Garden are the two most popular. The entire park is transformed and becomes a whole new experience.
- On the topic of taking in the view, take in the view. EPCOT is a beautiful park. The grounds crew spend a lot of time maintaing the expansive grounds. The flowers are amazing, the shrubs perfectly shaped, and the grass immaculate.
- The night show. Illuminations is my favorite of all the Disney night shows. I won't go into too much detail here, but I will say that it is more than worth waiting for.
- The food. It is a well known fact that Disney has some of the best food. Period. EPCOT is no exception. No matter what you are craving you will find it here. Unless it is dole whip, then you need to catch the monorail and change parks.
- Pin trading. Outside of the store at Downtown Disney EPCOT has the largest collection of pins. Each country has its own set of pins which you can only find at EPCOT.