Take an Entertaining and Educational Ride through Time and Space on Ellen’s Energy Adventure

If, on any given day at Epcot, you happen to have about 45 minutes to spare and you're looking for a place to rest your weary feet, we suggest visiting The Universe of Energy pavilion and taking a ride on Ellen's Energy Adventure.

Universe of EnergyUniverse of Energy

Opened in 1982, the Universe of Energy pavilion was sponsored by Exxon, and was a marvel of energy innovation - the roof of the building featured 80,000 photovoltaic solar cells that captured the sun's power and helped power the ride's vehicles.

In the original Universe of Energy attraction, guests first viewed a pre-show that featured live action and animation accompanied by music (including the closing song, "Energy You Make the World Go 'Round") that introduced the topic of energy. After the pre-show guests would enter Theater I where they would board the ride vehicles watch an animated film about the formation of fossil fuels. Then, the real adventure started as the ride vehicles entered the Mesozoic era where guests encountered the sights, smells, and sounds of life during the age of dinosaurs. The voyage ended as a smell of sulfur indicated the end of the dinosaurs.

The ride concluded with a 12-minute video in Theater II featuring various energy resources and how they are used to improve life as we know it. The final part of the ride ends back in Theater I with a show called "The Universe of Energy" - which is full of images reflected off the mirrored walls of the theater.

Ellen Joines the Universe of Energy in 1996Ellen Joines the Universe of Energy in 1996

In 1996, the attraction was renamed "Ellen's Energy Adventure" and featured comedian (and at the time, sitcom star) Ellen DeGeneres and Bill Nye "The Science Guy," Alex Trebek, and Jamie Lee Curtis.

The current version of the attraction starts with a pre-show that features Ellen having Jeopardy-themed nightmare where she's playing against her former college friend, "Stupid Judy" Peterson (played by Jamie Lee Curtis) and Albert Einstein. After guests enter Theater I and sit in the ride vehicles they view a short video where Bill Nye takes Ellen back in time to witness the Big Bang and then they stop at the Mesozoic era.

The next portion of the ride is very similar to the original version - guest still see dinosaurs and smell the swamp, but occasionally animatronic Ellen shows up (most notably as she fights off a dinosaur with a stick). The "updated" 12-minute video in Theater II feature Ellen and Bill discussing different types of energy resources, and then finally the ride ends back in Theater I where Ellen defeats "Stupid Judy" in the Jeopardy dream.

Get Up Close With Creatures of the Mesozoic PeriodGet Up Close With Creatures of the Mesozoic Period

A few things about this ride - while it can seem rather dated at times, it's Ellen and she's always funny. We think the best part of the whole ride is the journey through the Mesozoic period (kids and adults will likely agree on this). And, young kids will probably get antsy during the "pre show" when guests are gathering before entering the theater, and maybe during the longer video near the end of the ride. An added bonus of this however, is the kids might actually take a nap. This ride loads guests about every 17 minutes, and once you're on the attraction you are riding for the duration. So, plan accordingly with small kids and any necessary "potty breaks."

Thanks so much to Traci C. for another fantastic Guest Post, and to Loren Javier and Jeff Kays for use of their images via Flickr and Creative Commons. Tell us - do you spend the time to ride Ellen's Energy Adventure or is it one of the attractions that doesn't get enough attention?

Poppet wrote on Thu, 05/23/2013 - 16:00:

Unfortunately, this ride is extremely boring and desperately needs to be updated. Has a lot of potention but just falls flat.

JeffC wrote on Thu, 05/23/2013 - 20:49:

We haven't ridden this in years. For us, just not a good time commitment value proposition!

Shannon wrote on Thu, 05/23/2013 - 21:22:

Shannon's picture

As an Exxon family, we always hit this ride first! We would get passed to the other lounges and hang out there in the heat of the day. Just staying cool and watching the Dino's over and over. I still enjoy this ride today, there is nothing like the swamp smell and AC!!

Kristen K. wrote on Fri, 05/24/2013 - 13:04:

Kristen K.'s picture

This is one of my very favorite spots to take a break (nap) at Epcot.

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