We booked this tour after taking the Keys To The Kingdom tour at Magic Kingdom. We did the Keys tour about 5 months ago. We entered Epcot prior to the park opening thru the International Gateway and had a leisurely walk to Guest Relations where we checked in and were given our name tags. Our total group size was 14. One person was being pushed in a wheelchair. They were able to access everything and had no problems keeping up with the group, nor was the group slowed down. The tour spent the first 15 - 20 minutes in Guest Relations using the photos behind the counter as a prompt for discussion. This portion was somewhat redundant from information in the Keys tour, and also subject to distraction as many people were coming into Guest Relations for information, DAS cards, etc.From here we went outdoors and learned a few things about Spaceship Earth while sitting down. A sample similar to the material used to construct it was passed around with an picture card. Picture cards are used many times during this tour, which was nice. We went thru Guest Relations and saw the cast member pin trading department. We went thru Innoventions with a brief stop to talk about the Vision House and how it relates to Epcot, but we did not go through it. We walked past the Fountain of Nations and learned about it's origins and the designer, and were able to sit down here, too. I believe there were 3 restroom breaks during the tour, and one 15 minute break in the Land Pavilion. There is no lunch stop in this tour like there is in the Keys Tour.We saw the VIP Lounge above the Seas and spent alot of time (too much) looking at the tanks there and talking about the fish. We did ride Soarin' and entered thru the back entrance, after learning about the murals outside of The Land Pavilion and going inside to hear more information. We were told a little about the filming of the Soarin' film, which was interesting. We saw the area where the 3D glasses are washed, and learned about the creation of Figment and how he was named. We also the HP Lounge at Mission Space (for HP staff, their families, and other specified associates), which is nice, but small. We were mildly amused at the levels of "security" to obtain access. Outside of Mission Space we learned about its history and the previous attraction that was there.We spent some time looking at the mechanic's facilities for Test Track, and noting how the support beams sway when the cars come over. We also saw the Illuminations barges in their daytime parking spots at the marina and where the Friendships go for refurb. By this point we were feeling a little held captive by the tour and were ready for it to be over!The most interesting thing was the cast building. The laundry/uniform area and system is pretty neat to see. We saw some princesses getting ready for their day as well and saw where they get their hair done.We did not go into the Universe of Energy as some other tours did. I believe Soarin' replaced that in our tour. We finished in China, were told of the VIP viewing area in Italy, and received our pins. I believe we finished up at about 1:15. We were not offered a discount at Nine Dragons as others have reported. Our tour guide was polite, but did not have the enthusiasm that our Keys guide had. He was knowledgeable but spoke off script and would have to go back to start over if he got tripped up. He showed great and genuine concern for one person who had never been on Soarin' and had a fear of heights.The tour was good, but we knew much of the information already from our own research and visits. At times it seemed to drag on a bit. We toured on an overcast day. If it is sunny, it would be a very hot tour. Is the tour worth it? Everyone would have to decide for themselves. We are glad we did it, and it was enjoyable, but it was a little too long for our liking and for what we saw.
If you're an Epcot nerd like I am then you will appreciate this tour. Our tour only had about 8 people but it was a lot of fun. James was our tour guide (and I highly recommend him). Highlights of the tour: finding out what Spaceship Earth (or the "golf ball") was made out of and getting to touch a piece (hey, I'm a nerd I enjoy those types of things), the VIP sections of the Living Seas (or whatever it's called these days) and Mission Space, cutting ahead of the line via a back door for Soarin', seeing 2 of the original dinosaurs from the Universe of Energy, seeing where they wash the 3-D glasses, the costuming/uniform areas, and seeing the old Image Works. Seeing the old Image Works brought back a lot of memories. We were allowed to take pictures of certain areas that are considered "on stage." I'm sure I'm forgetting some things *smacks head*, but like I said I highly recommend this tour if you love Epcot. The tour lasts about 4 hours and was around $60. Definitely worth it!
I just got back from EPCOT Center today, and took the Undiscovered Future World tour.There was only four of us, so it was almost like a private tour. Robert, our tour guide was excellent! We spent the first half hour or so talking about general Epcot history, and the history of Walt Disney and the company. After a brief walk through Innoventions (always Communicore!) we visited the United Technologies (former) VIP lounge in the Living Seas. We even got to see the clear piano!
Robert was also kind enough to grant this JII fans ultimate wish; to visit the original Imageworks! He said its not on the tour anymore, but that he would take us up there since I wanted (so badly!) to see it. It was amazing to get to go up there again. The actual Imageworks area is only half accessable now due to construction. We were able to see the old Electronic Philharmonic, pin screens, and kaleidoscopes. Everything else has been blocked off due to construction. I was sad to hear from Robert that the Rainbow Corridor has also been mostly demolished. I still cant get over the fact that it is still up there and unused after 10 years. An area with the BEST view in the entire park has sooo many possibilities. But I guess all I can do is just hope everyday for a JII version 4 (a good one this time) and a new Imageworks upstairs where its supposed to be.
We then visited Mission Space and got to visit HP's VIP lounge, very nice! We also went backstage at Test Track and saw where they work on the ride cars. It was freaky to get a look at the exterior track supports when the cars go over. They are mounted on ball bearings and the whole thing flexes about a foot in both directions.
We visited the cast building and saw the wardrobe/costume department. Afterwards we saw the area where the wigs are kept, as well as the makeup room. All very interesting! Robert then walked us down to the marina and we saw the inferno barge and the LED planet barge. The tour then ended at the China pavillion.
Regular visitors from the UK me and my sister know the 'stage' side of Epcot well and thought we would take this tour having read about it extensively on this and other web sites. It is a good tour and well worth the money. Amy was our tour guide and carried the tour very well indeed. Everyone wears descreet headphones and the guide wears a descreet microphone, meaning we could always hear her no matter where we were. This was also useful when crossing from one side of the park to the other among the crowds. As the other reviews have said we visited lots of interesting areas. We also entered Soar through the back door and jumped the queues to get a front seat ride. I must admit there were a couple of disappointments. Firstly one of the reasons we did this tour was that there seemed to be a VIP viewing of illuminations in the evening..sadly this was not offered to us. Also we were offered 20% lunch discount at the Nine Dragons restaurant which we accepted and were shown in by our guide at the end of the tour. Sadly, again, the discount was not offered or applied to the bill but as I never bothered to check my bill thoroughly I didn't find this out till we got home. I guess you just need to accept that on these tours the 'goodies' on offer vary from day to day and depend on your tour guide. Still good value though and would do it again.
This is a great tour for Epcot fans. Lots of backstage areas are visited, including the corporate lounges of Spaceship Earth and the Living Seas. Each tour varies, depending on the guide and operational conditions, but as well as the lounges, we visited the Reflections of Earth marina, costuming, the backstage maintenence areas, walked under the Test track tracks, the international cast member building, Mission Space tower control, and the former Image Works area in Imagination. The tour lasts around 4 hours, and involves a lot of walking, so you need to be in reasonable condition. A real nice bonus was being given VIP viewing of Reflections of Earth for that evening.
As usual with tours, a lot depends on how good the guide is, and the attitude of the other members of your tour group.
The cost was around $100 each, and the meeting point was Guest Relations at 8:45am.
I would highly recommend this tour, but it's backstage nature might not be ideal for first-timers to Epcot, or anyone who wishes to preserve the mystery of the workings of Epcot.
Tour guide very good and friendly. Included a backstage visit to Mission Space monitoring control room, a visit to the house of the future at Space Ship Earth and a ride on Soarin\'. Guide answered all of our questions and the tour group was small which was more than helpful. Have been on larger tours and received less information due to the size. This tour was just right and I would do it again in a few years.
This is THE tour for big Epcot fans (like me)! We took the tour back in 2002, and what a blast it was! It was super neat to go back to the upstairs of the Imagination pavillion... and going backstage at the Universe of Energy was awesome. Backstage Epcot is super cool...
It really depends on how knowledgable the tour guide is... but we had an absolute blast!
As with all tours, this is strongly dependent on the tourguide and the group. We had a rather obnoxious and distracted guide (last minute replacement) and some people in the group that had no business being there (ie I like the big golfball and where is the Mummy ride?)
The tour was slow in starting spending too much time talking about the Epcot vision, and Walt and other boring common knowledge stuff. You get to visit one or more of the "private" lounges, go backstage in some exhibits (we did backstage at UoE and got to get photo's with the pterodactyl anamatronic that was replaced by Ellen) You also tour backstage on MS and TT (tour may now include soaring...) most groups get to sneak on an ride one or more...we didn't do any.
There was a breakfast break midway that was a real waste of time...we're here to tour!
We also got to do backstage at the dockyards for all water craft including the "fire barge" (before being damaged). There was also a meeting with international CM(s) that wasn't organized well for this tour. You also got to see cast wardrobe for Epcot.
So there were some neat things to see, but this one was poorly presented.