The Best Things To See At EPCOT During A Rainy Disney World Day

Big Disney Parks nerds know that some of the best days to be at Walt Disney World are rainy days. If you're prepared for the unpredictable Florida weather, especially the daily mini bursts of rain during the spring and summer, these days can be a lot of fun. Many visitors dash out of the parks when these heavy rains happen, oftentimes not realizing they should only last a little while. These are the best ways to take advantage of the extra space afforded by those droves of exiting guests.

That said, you may spend more time in indoor queues when the rain hits, so you might as well put time into visiting the rides with more enjoyable lines. Or, better yet, waiting out the rain at an indoor show or even a museum–yes, there's a museum at EPCOT.

For whatever reason, it rains nine times out of ten when this writer visits EPCOT. Whether it's all day or just a little while, this list is largely based on personal experience, including the ever-important packing reminder to have ponchos with you because using umbrellas in a Disney Park crowd is really difficult. A few items are also informed by other Disney expert writers. In any case, you can trust that these items have been chosen with the best EPCOT rainy days in mind. 

Spaceship Earth

Based inside the EPCOT ball, Spaceship Earth is a fan-favorite slow-moving dark ride. Rarely is the line longer than 15 minutes, and the ball is actually a favorite shelter among parkgoers. The geodesic sphere's lines are actually funnels that channel the rainwater into a reservoir to reuse in the World Showcase Lagoon and fountains in the park, ensuring water doesn't drip off the ball onto guests below.

Beyond the ride itself, the Project Tomorrow: Inventing the Wonders of the Future area at the back of Spaceship Earth allows you to stay inside longer with a bunch of futuristic exhibits to explore. Among these interactive experiences are a driving simulator and an exhibition showcasing how technology could lead to remote surgery. Plus, you can email your video from the future (from the ride) to yourself or your loved ones as a kind of digital postcard.

Project Tomorrow is rarely crowded because folks tend to forget it's there, even though they walk through it after every Spaceship Earth journey. So even if you get tired of doing the exhibits, there are usually places to sit and rest away from the heat and the rain. Also, just a tip: Dollar store ponchos aren't always the best accessory for heavy rain. You're better off with some heavier-duty ponchos you can get for a few dollars more at retailers like Walmart or Target.

The American Adventure

Fans of the Hall of Presidents, listen up! The American Adventure in EPCOT's America Pavilion is a similar show with American history condensed and explored via animatronic storytellers. American Adventure is a nearly 30-minute show with a mini museum exhibit space on the first floor to enjoy while waiting for the show to begin. The exhibits change from time to time; at the time of writing, the semi-permanent display in the American Heritage Gallery showcased Native Indian art.

Your storytellers at American Adventure are Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain. Who better?  They present the journey of the United States from the voyage of The Mayflower onward. Franklin and Twain are joined along the way by other influential animatronics, including Frederick Douglass, Thomas Jefferson, and Teddy Roosevelt.

Hopefully, the show helps build a hearty appetite because it lets out by Regal Eagle Smokehouse, one of EPCOT's best restaurants. The burnt-end fries are fantastic and highly recommended, while the restaurant also has some of the best onion rings going. Plus, seating is usually available inside, especially if you aren't there during peak dining hours like noon or early evening. The side of the building, which leads to a bathroom area, is also covered, so even if you have to duck outside, you'll mostly avoid the rain.

Frozen Ever After

Formerly a dark ride known as Maelstrom (we still miss you), Frozen Ever After is a story ride following Anna and Elsa on their way to a Summer Snow Day celebration. Although the queue for the ride is usually pretty arduous, the inside line area transports you to a magical world, so it feels shorter. The Frozen Ever After queue puts you right in the fantastical town of Arrendele with so much to look at.

This queue area isn't interactive in the way that a ride like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is. However, the details and winding nature of the line make it easier to wait around. Try to take a peek inside Oaken's Trading Post near the end of the line, and keep an eye on the door to his sauna for some Disney-animated magic.

As this line is usually at least 45 minutes long, especially during rainy periods when everyone heads inside, feel free to bring a snack or drink into the queue, although remember that the food and drink must be finished before you actually get on the ride. The exception is a water bottle that can be stashed in a backpack.

Kawaii: Japan's Cute Culture

A favorite spot to visit in EPCOT's Japan Pavilion, the Bijutsu-kan Gallery near the back of the pavilion hosts an exhibit called Kawaii: Japan's Cute Culture. This walk-through exhibit doesn't take a lot of time if you look over the items on display, but there are plenty of areas to rest and explore the exhibit displays as well — and lament Disney World's lack of Duffy the Disney Bear merch.

The best part about the Kawaii exhibit is spotting all of the various Disney items exclusive to Disney Parks. That includes Duffy (Mickey's teddy bear) and all of his friends. You'll spot StellaLou, Duffy, and ShellieMay hanging out in displays like a recreation of a bedroom, and you're also bound to spot other iconic Japanese cuties like Hello Kitty, Gudetama, Pikachu, and, of course, Totoro.

Visitors will learn all about how integral Kawaii is to Japanese culture and even how it's rooted in ancient Shinto ways. It is fascinating how topics and trends that feel so new can be part of a centuries-old cultural phenomenon.

Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros

The Mexico Pavilion is always a safe bet for getting out of the rain. Unlike the other pavilions that are spread over a collection of buildings, much of the Mexico Pavilion is housed within a single faux Mayan temple. One of the best parts of the pavilion is the vastly underrated Gran Fiesta Tour ride, which only has a queue time of five minutes.

Hopping over to the Gran Fiesta Tour, or just The Three Caballeros ride, could outlast some of the rain showers at Disney World. The ride itself is only about seven minutes, so it won't help for a daylong rain storm, though it helps eat into the waiting around for a mini-downpour to be over. There are also a few shops and kiosks to check out and multiple eateries to enjoy. The Mexico Pavilion is one of this writer's go-to's when the sky opens up.

If you finish the ride and it's still raining gatos y perros outside, stick around the front of the pavilion. "Coco" themed interactive digital experiences allow you to create your own personalized skeleton for Día de los Muertos. Then, take a look around at the exhibits highlighting the famous celebration in Mexico.

Awesome Planet

Inside the Land Pavilion, in the theater that used to house the Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable movie, Awesome Planet is a 10-minute film dedicated to the incredible natural world. More than that, it's also focused on the importance of conservation efforts and how we can better protect the Earth. Its location right inside the front doors to the right also makes it easy to access without having to take the stairs, elevator, or escalator downstairs to experience an attraction in the Land Pavilion. Awesome Planet only opened in 2020, so many visitors might not know it's there.

The film is a 4D experience that utilizes all of your senses to showcase the grandeur of planet Earth. A bit like the ride Soarin' Around the World without the ride elements, this sensory experience is appropriate for all ages. Unlike American Adventure, this show is a much smaller time commitment, which means it's better for younger visitors, and you don't have to wait as long if you just miss the start of the show.

Impressions de France

Another movie experience you can enjoy, come rain or shine, can be found in the France Pavilion. Impressions de France is a 20-minute movie showing various scenes along the French countryside. See the Loire Valley and other areas of France via a 200-degree, widescreen theater lens, all while awaiting the end of the pluie (or rain) outside.

The theater also shares space with the Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along. In this 15-minute film show, you can enjoy singing along with some of the iconic songs from the film of the same name, including tunes such as "Be Our Guest" and "Belle." Angela Lansbury narrates the movie and provides a brisk overview of the magical romantic tale.Over here at the Palais du Cinema, you can also see the Tale As Old As Time: French Storytelling on Stage and Screen exhibit. This mini-museum is dedicated to showcasing how French literature was brought from the page to the stage and screen through costumes, artwork, and music.

Turtle Talk with Crush

Thanks to the power of social media, Turtle Talk with Crush has gotten much more attention than it used to. This interactive 15-minute experience has audiences sitting with Crush, the laidback turtle from "Finding Nemo," who is happy to answer all questions asked of him. Just please don't ask him to name all of his kids; that answer is played out. If you want to see that, just look it up on YouTube.

Inside the Turtle Talk theater, there is bench seating in the back and floor seating in the front. Don't be afraid to sit on the floor with the kiddos if you want, especially if the benches fill up before you get there. Keep in mind that you'll probably need to be on the floor area to have your question answered; Crush's eyesight isn't the best — he is a 150-year-old sea turtle, after all.

This activity is suitable for visitors of all ages. Even if it seems silly, adults have a lot of fun, too, especially when the kiddos can't contain themselves in the turtle dude's presence. Once you're done at Turtle Talk, you can head over to The Seas with Nemo and Friends aquarium area and gift shop to avoid as much rain as possible.

Living with the Land

Living with the Land is one of the most underrated rides in all of Walt Disney World. This 15-minute boat ride attraction in the Land Pavilion takes you through various areas that explain elements of food production and conservation. It always has a line at most five or 10 minutes and is entertaining and educational to boot. Kids love all the plants and fish, while adults love the relaxing boat ride.

When you glimpse the four greenhouses in the Land Pavilion complex, know that the produce and fish being grown and farmed there are used throughout the parks. In fact, if you eat at Sunshine Seasons or the Garden Grill Restaurant, you will be eating some of the fruits of that labor. Some of the video elements of the ride are a bit dated, admittedly, but in general, the information shared at Living with the Land is terrific.

Plus, if you visit the ride during the holiday season, you can experience Living with the Land in a whole new light — literally. During the holidays, from the end of November through to the new year, the greenhouses transform into Glittering Greenhouses. Holiday lights adorn the greenhouses, turning them into festive food farms and making for magical visuals.

Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival

The Pixar Short Film Festival is found at the Magic Eye Theater in the Imagination Pavilion, where Figment the Dragon also lives. The movies here change from time to time, but you'll have at least three shorts that last roughly 18 to 20 minutes. It's easy to completely miss this area since it's tucked away behind the pyramids of the Imagination Pavilion, so don't feel bad if you haven't noticed it before.

While waiting for the films to begin, you can relax in the entry waiting area and enjoy mini-films showcasing the history of Disney and Pixar shorts. These little cinematic lessons are fascinating, even for big Disney fans, and allow visitors to learn more about the process of making short films. For example, Pixar is renowned for its sometimes tear-jerking shorts, though they've only made a few dozen, while Disney has made over 500 short films.

It may ruin some of the magic, but this writer would've appreciated the heads-up, so here it is. This is a 3D film experience, and the theater seating moves. You read that correctly; the seating moves in conjunction with what's happening on the screen. It isn't intense, but if you aren't expecting it or have little kids, it's worth knowing about. Otherwise, you may have to comfort a screaming little kiddo who wasn't expecting their seat to move.

Remy's Ratatouille Adventure

Like Frozen Ever After, the line for Remy's Ratatouille Adventure is also frequently lengthy. However, the queue is much more interesting than most, largely because this ride is one of EPCOT's newer attractions. Also, like Frozen Ever After, this queue isn't very interactive, but it is fascinating to walk into a world that's proportioned for (animated) rats. Even if you aren't enthralled, at least you'll be inside. You can also peek at an artist's abode if you get stopped midway through the line. The last portion of the queue features Chef Auguste Gusteau himself delivering a prologue in English and French to keep your attention.

This 4D ride takes you through the kitchens at Gusteau's in search of Remy's rat-friendly restaurant. Astride a rat, you fit right in with the rest of the clowder. You'll experience scents, heat, and sometimes water spray, all while scurrying around the kitchens, trying not to get caught by Chef Skinner.

While this is one of this writer's favorite rides at Disney World, it can trigger nausea and headaches. Quick movements combined with the 3D effects may make some riders motion sick. If that starts to happen, close your eyes when the vehicle is turning quickly around corners. That helps with motion-induced nausea. Also, if you have musophobia (fear of rats and mice), this probably won't be for you, no matter how animated the rodents are.

The Seas Aquarium

Back to The Seas Pavilion, where we find The Seas Aquarium and exhibits known as SeaBase. You can see all kinds of adorable sea creatures, including rescued manatees! If you're lucky, you'll even get to see the manatees munching on their lunch or dinner, which is a lot of fun. There are also activities throughout the aquarium area to teach you more about sea creatures, especially the ones living at EPCOT.

One way to make the aquarium even more interesting (and a great way to wait out the rain) is to participate in the free scavenger hunt. You can grab your booklet near the exit of The Seas with Nemo & Friends ride. The self-guided scavenger hunt takes you through the aquarium, solving the clues and collecting stickers, all while learning about the vast oceans and the life within them.

You won't get a prize for this scavenger hunt as you would for the paid EPCOT scavenger hunts or the free Disney World resort hotels. Even so, the booklet with its stickers makes for a terrific free souvenir and gets you out of the rain.