Best Epcot Rides & Attractions for Adults
I often see posts online where people ask if it’s “worth it” for adults to go to Disney World without any kids.
Um … yes!
Honestly, one of the best trips I had was when I went to Disney World with a friend of mine. We both have three kids (and some amount of cats), but it was just the two of us, and it was great. Not for one second did we feel embarrassed or bored or like we shouldn’t be there.
I already wrote a post about great rides for adults at the Magic Kingdom.
Today my friend and fellow blogger Kim Luker, from Lakehouse Mom, is going to tell you about the best adult-friendly rides at Epcot, her favorite Disney Park.
Epcot has something for everyone, but it’s truly one of the best theme parks for adults. There are plenty of rides and attractions that are perfect for us grown-ups, from thrilling roller coasters to chill boat rides. Not to mention the food!
Epcot is actually my favorite park at Walt Disney World.
Every part of Epcot – from the World Showcase to World Nature and World Discovery – has something unique to offer. In addition, if you visit during one of the special events like the Food and Wine Festival or the Garden Festival, there’s even more to see, do, and taste. But no matter when you visit, Epcot is a great place to get your dose of Disney magic!
Here is the complete guide to not-to-be-missed rides for your next Disney trip!
(NOTE: I’m sorting this list by my personal favorites, not by location. Epcot is a really large park, so consult the map and plan out your day to avoid too much park crossing.)
Soarin’ Around the World
Soarin’ Around the World is one of the best rides at Epcot, hands down! We never miss it when we visit. It might be my favorite ride (it’s so hard to choose)!
The ride itself is a simulator that gives you the sensation of flying in a hang glider. On this thrilling ride, you are lifted into the air in front of a giant, curved IMAX screen. It’s completely immersive. The film that is shown takes you on a tour of different locations around the world, including the Great Barrier Reef, Monument Valley, and Mount Everest – all soaring through the scenery.
Infused with Disney magic, sometimes you’ll find wind blowing through your hair or feel the splash of the waves as you glide over the water and an orca splashes right in front of you! As the view from the camera changes, your seat will tilt and turn too – changing angles as if you were truly flying.
Like many of the most popular rides at Epcot and around the Disney parks, Soarin’ often has long lines. You can use Genie+ to book a time slot, but I also recommend downloading a ride wait app that’s updated by real users in real time. Sometimes, the posted ride times aren’t accurate and you can find a perfect moment to hop on a popular attraction with little wait.
Or, you can head straight for Soarin’ at rope drop!
Don’t miss Test Track on your Epcot visit!
Test Track is a high speed attraction and is the fastest ride at Epcot, clocking in at 65 miles per hour – even faster than the new Guardians of the Galaxy coaster!
While in the queue, you use touch screens to design your own vehicle of the future. Your final car will be ‘reflected’ back at you during the ride, as if you’re driving it! Our family has a great time designing our super cars and laughing at the different choices.
Once you board the ride, you’re taken though an inside safety test simulator that runs your car through four tests. Capability, which tests rough weather and road conditions; Efficiency, which tests fuel use and the effect on the environment; Responsiveness, which tests steering and handling.
Lastly, you’ll head out onto the open road of the elevated test track around the building to test your vehicle’s speed – banking on curves and hitting 65 miles per hour (sometimes a little more – a screen tells you). Throw your hands in the air and have a blast!
Exiting the ride, screens will show you how your car scored against other rider’s vehicles from that day. More interactive touch screens let you tweak your car design and even create a commercial featuring your car!
Test Track is one of the few rides at Epcot that has a single rider line. If you’re not using Genie+ and don’t mind missing the queue, you can experience the ride a lot faster from the single rider line!
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is Epcot’s newest ride and adds a whole new set of thrills to the list of attractions at Epcot. Epcot’s first roller coaster!
You’ll see your favorite characters – Gamora, Drax, Rocket, Groot and Star-Lord as you explore the Wonders of Xandar pavilion, built for all of us at Epcot by the Xandarians to showcase their amazing technology!
As always, when the Guardians show up, chaos ensues… this time in the form of a roller coaster trip through the galaxy.
Cosmic Rewind takes you on a reverse launch coaster ride through the Guardians of the Galaxy universe. You’ll zip around at high speeds – up to 60 miles per hour. The Disney imagineers have done their jobs on this new coaster and you’ll see some pretty amazing special effects as you travel the cosmos.
And you’ll hear some pretty great tunes, too – pop hits from the 70s and 80s (right up this mom’s alley). They tested a lot of music before landing on the final choices!
You can expect long standby wait times for Guardians of the Galaxy since it’s a new ride – so plan ahead and hit it at rope drop, during the fireworks show in the evening, or use Genie+ to skip the standby queue.
Frozen Ever After
Disney did a fantastic job re-theming the classic boat ride attraction in Norway – the Maelstrom – into one of Epcot’s newest rides, Frozen Ever After. If you need a break from Florida’s heat and humidity and want to experience gorgeous Disney theming and storyline, head over to the Norway pavilion to Ride Frozen: Ever After.
The decoration in the queue is pretty magical too – wander past Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post in the dim twilight. Listen for Oaken to call, “Yoo-hoo!” You might see him wiping the steam from the sauna windows, too.
Once you board your boat, you’ll have a fun ride through the Arendelle “Winter in Summer” celebration with a few surprises along the way! Laugh along at Olaf’s antics and see all the rest of your favorite characters… Anna, Elsa, Sven, and Olaf, along with Grandpappy Troll.
The finale of the ride features Elsa singing “Let It Go” on the balcony of her ice palace while faux snow flies around you.
Free Printable Frozen 2 Coloring Pages
As a fan of Frozen, I really love this ride! It’s immersive, the theming is just gorgeous, and it captures the emotional journey of Frozen so well.
Living with The Land
We are a homeschooling family, and attractions like Living with the Land are why I consider Disney trips to be so educational and full of learning – not just entertainment. I’m an avid reader and learner (call me a geek if you must) and discovering that Disney is involved in cutting edge science in plant growth and even fisheries is so cool.
Living with The Land is so underrated!
This is one of the longest rides in the parks at 13 minutes. You’ll board a cool boat and wander through various themed growing areas of the Epcot greenhouses: a tropical rain forest, a prairie, a desert, and a family farm (the theming here is lovely).
The narration talks about the struggles of food production in the past and present and showcases Disney’s work in hydroponics (growing plants in water instead of soil), aeroponics (growing food without soil and with less water) and aquaculture (fish and shellfish farming).
The Epcot greenhouses actually grow a lot of the produce and fish that you’ll eat around Disney World!
You’ll see food and herbs grown in ways you’ve never seen before! At the end of the tour, you’ll pass the biotech lab and might even see some cast members working.
The Land Pavilion is also where you’ll ride Soarin’ Around the World. There’s also a film called Awesome Planet that’s a great watch if you have a few minutes. The Land pavilion also has a food court and a sit down restaurant, along with lots of seating.
Where in Epcot do you start?
In general, we like to arrive at Epcot via the Skyliner into the International Gateway in the World Showcase. So, our first ride is usually Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure in the France Pavilion. We work our way around one side of the World Showcase during the day, visit the pavilions up front near the Epcot golf ball during the hot part of the day, then head up the other side of World Showcase.
If you love to rope drop and run to get in line at the big attractions first, you might decide to use the main entrance and hit Test Track or Soarin’ as your first stop.
The World Showcase also offers Disney character meet and greets. Check the schedule at the time you’re visiting, but on our recent visit we met Alice in the garden near the Twinings Tea house in the UK, Anna and Elsa at the Royal Summerhaus in Norway, and Cinderella along the way.
Meet and greets with Disney characters are so fun as adults – don’t be shy or think they’re just for kids!
Rides at the World Showcase Pavilions at Epcot
The pavilions of the different countries in the World Showcase have a variety of attractions and rides.
Part of what I love about World Showcase is the magical Disney attention to detail in every bit of the architecture. It’s so much fun to look at every building and realize that the details are taken from actual places around the world – and to look for Hidden Mickeys. Did you know that entrance to the Morocco pavilion is a reproduction of the Koutoubia Minaret of Marrakesh, a prayer tower of the 12th century mosque.
As you make your way to the rides, don’t miss the tempting snacks from the different countries!
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
Oh la la! Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is one of Epcot’s newer attractions that opened in 2021. You’ll find the queue in the very back of the France Pavilion, behind the Eiffel Tower, shops and boulangerie.
Side note: you really can’t visit the France pavilion without getting some delicious pastries. I’m partial to a lovely Croque Monsieur sandwich and a chocolate croissant – but there are so many pastries to tempt your taste buds! [I agree — we get a Napoleon on every single trip — Jen] Using my college French with the cast members from France while ordering food is one of my favorite things!
Back to the ride: in Remy’s Adventure, you magically become rat-sized and enter the world of Gusteau’s restaurant. You’ll zip around at high speeds in trackless cars, being chased by Chef Skinner under chairs and around the restaurant floor. The trackless innovation is really cool: every time you ride, the experience will be different!
Disney calls this a 4D experience: you’ll whiz along the ride and also experience the smells of a French kitchen, heat coming from the stoves, and large screens that add to the story. The rat-shpaed cars move backward, forward, and side to side and you never know which way you’ll be heading!
Note: If you or anyone you’re adventuring with is prone to motion sickness, be aware that this ride is quite jerky and the special effects can trigger some nausea.
The Three Caballeros: Gran Fiesta Tour
The beautiful Mexico pavilion, modeled after a pre-Colombian pyramid and surrounded by gorgeous jungle landscaping, is one of my favorite pavilions. As you walk inside the Plaza de Los Amigos, you enter an evening scene with a bustling town square filled with colorful souvenir carts.
In the distance is the San Angel Inn restaurant, along the river of The Three Caballeros ride. It’s similar to the Blue Bayou restaurant at Disneyland, which fronts the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.
Gran Fiesta Tour rarely has a long wait and is a cute, slow, relaxing boat ride. This time, you’ll join Donald Duck and his friends Jose and Panchito on an adventure as they head to a Three Caballeros performance in Mexico City.
If I’m being honest here, I preferred this ride’s previous incarnation as El Rio de Tiempo which was rich in the history of Mexico (that’s the geek in me coming out again).
However, Donald and his pals don’t get much billing around the parks, and Epcot is working to make the entire park more family-friendly. The Mexico pavilion is not to be missed and this ride is a great little break for your feet.
Adult-Friendly Rides in the Rest of Epcot
The section of Epcot called “Future World” for many years is officially no more.
That area now has three lands:
- World Celebration
- World Nature
- World Discovery
Here are the rides we love from the section of the park:
The Seas with Nemo & Friends
The Seas pavilion is home to Disney’s amazing aquariums, and The Seas with Nemo and Friends ride. Hop aboard a Clamobile and take a relaxing journey through the aquariums!
The dimly lit queue takes you from the beachy land down into the waves as you wait for your ride to start. As you marvel at the variety of sea creatures and coral on display, Disney magic appears once again as Nemo, Dory, and all your favorite characters from the movie are projected into the actual Disney aquarium among the real fish!
If it’s an especially steamy Florida day, this pavilion is a great place to be. All that water plus the air conditioning keeps it super cool inside!
If you’re in the mood to sit a little longer and have a laugh, check out Turtle Talk with Crush! It’s not a ride, but a fun little interactive attraction with seats and a screen at the front, where the animation actually follows the voice actors, who interact with the audience. My daughter talked to Crush the first time we visited with her and it blew her mind!
We always end up spending more time at the aquarium in The Seas than we anticipate – I could watch manta rays for hours. I highly recommend planning to visit this pavilion – along with The Land and Journey Into the Imagination – during the hottest part of the day for plenty of places to sit, grab a meal or a snack, and enjoy some sweet A/C.
Get ready for a trip to outer space: Mission: Space takes you on a simulated space mission. You’ll feel like you’re truly blasting off into space as you experience the g-forces of a rocket launch and landing.
The queue takes you to the International Space Training Center, where you’ll get some training and safety tips about your mission on the X-2 Deep Space Shuttle. The theming here is on point and there’s lots to see while you’re waiting.
After your training session you’ll enter your pods for the journey to space. Each pod holds 4 people and each one is assigned a job for the flight: pilot, navigator, commander or engineer. You’ll use your controls to help bring the mission to completion! (Don’t worry: Disney’s got your back if you miss an instruction.) The seats tilt back for takeoff and there’s all the typical countdown audio you’ve heard when watching NASA launches.
You have two choices on Mission: Space. I like to call them “chill” and “insane” but the actual designations are green and orange. Green is the more tame mission to orbit the earth, and orange is the mission to Mars.
The orange experience is intense, simulating extreme gravitational pull and LOTS of spinning as your capsule heads into space and you experience near weightlessness. Astronauts who have ridden the experience say it’s quite realistic – and it’s one of the only Disney rides that has motion sickness bags easily available! I was game for this as a younger adult but now – no way.
For a fun but not so intense experience, choose the green mission. You still get to be in the pods, experience the takeoff and landing, and do your job at the controls – but none of the spinning.
[Note: even the green path is a dark, pretty intense ride in a very small enclosed space. If you experience claustrophobia this might not be a ride you’d enjoy. I still get a bit antsy at the end and I’m ready to get off. I don’t know how astronauts do it.]
Exiting the ride, there is a very cool, interactive space-themed game area called the Advanced Training Lab where you can work together with other guests to complete missions and learn about space travel.
This classic ride is really worth visiting on your Epcot trip. It’s a great attraction and although it’s an older ride (last updated in 2008), it’s such an iconic part of Epcot history!
Located in the “giant silver golf ball,” Spaceship Earth takes you on a trip through time, learning about the history of communication and moving through to the present day. You’ll see some of Disney’s amazing animatronics in scenes depicting the invention of papyrus in Egypt, the Italian Renaissance, ancient Rome, and the invention of the printing press.
The music is one of the best features – a live orchestra and choir were recorded for the soundtrack. Dame Judy Dench narrates (perfection). Another fun fact: Science fiction author Ray Bradbury helped design the dome and helped write the original iteration of the storyline!
As the ride ends among the stars, the descent back to Earth is interactive where you get to answer a small quiz to envision the future. The omnimover car you’re riding in will take a picture of your face and transpose it onto cartoon pictures depicting your quiz answers. It’s fun to compare your answers with others’ on the big screens at the end of the ride, and see where other guests are from on a giant, ever-updating map.
When you exit the ride, you’ll enter “Project Tomorrow: Inventing the World of Tomorrow.” This area has interactive games and activities and you can also email the pictures from the ride back home to keep!
Journey Into the Imagination with Figment
Visit the Imagination Pavilion to ride Journey Into Imagination with Figment!
As you enter the pavilion, the queue leads you through the lobby of Dr. Channing’s Imagination Institute. Various doors lead off to different offices and labs, and you’ll see a wall showcasing inventors of the year (lots of famous actors appear here!), including Professor Wayne Szalinski from Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and Professor Philip Brainard from Flubber.
Journey Into Imagination is a slow, dark ride. You’re on a tour of the Imagination Institute, learning about all your senses in various labs. Imagineers bring you into the story as you ride through lab experiments including sound effects and – get ready for it – nasty smells!
Figment the purple dragon appears and interrupts Dr. Channing’s tour, reminding him of the importance of imagination! At the end of the ride are some cool, hands-on exhibits – don’t miss them (Science! Music! Yes, I’m a geek.)
There’s also a character meet and greet area in the Imagination pavilion at the end of the ride – one visit we met Vanellope Von Schweetz there, to my daughter’s delight.
What are Your Favorite Epcot Rides?
I hope this tour of Epcot rides inspired your next – or first – trip to Walt Disney World! We love Disney – even the anticipation and trip planning is part of the fun. We also find creative ways to get our Disney fix at home when our next vacation seems too far away.
If you’ve been to Epcot, share your favorite rides in the comments!
Kim Luker is a homeschooling mom who lives in the foothills of the Olympic Mountains with her husband, daughter, and a black lab named Yukon. When she’s not at my computer blogging or designing printables, you’ll find her crafting, reading, or relaxing with a little Animal Crossing. Come visit www.LakeHouseMom.com for her homeschooling encouragement and fun educational printables.