Overlooked Attractions: Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Red Loop. Today we are exploring experiences that people tend to overlook at Disney.


Located inside the pyramid of Epcot’s Mexico pavilion sits one of the most fun, yet often overlooked, attractions at Epcot. Upon entering the massive pyramid, guests will have the opportunity to admire Mexican artifacts before heading into the “outdoor” marketplace. The perpetual twilight adds to the atmosphere of the marketplace.   Beautiful strings of lights shine above San Angel Inn Restaurante.  To the left of the restaurante, you will find Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros, a charming boat ride which gives guests a glimpse into the Mexican culture.

Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros has long been one of my favorite Epcot attractions, even before The Three Caballeros arrived at this attraction. As a child, I remember riding El Rio del Tiempo, as the attraction used to be called, many times. After disembarking our boat, we would stop to see the glass blowers as they created fascinating works of art, before getting back on the ride, which rarely had any wait at all.  I enjoyed the beautiful Mexican scenery of the attraction and the mariachi music. In fact, I still find myself singing the song from El Rio del Tiempo quite often.

In 2007, El Rio del Tiempo was refurbished to incorporate Donald DuckJosé Carioca, and Panchito Pistoles into the attraction. In the new version of the attraction, guests follow José and Panchito as they search throughout Mexico to find Donald. Along the journey, guests will float past mariachi bands, cliff divers, chefs, and many other scenes showcasing the wonderful culture of Mexico.

Of course, no Gran Fiesta Tour would be complete without attending a fiesta! In my favorite part of the attraction, you’ll find audio-animatronic dolls designed in a similar style to those of “it’s a small world.” A mariachi band of skeletons, ready for El Dia de Los Muertos, play their instruments atop a bridge over the water. Children dance and play with piñatas in the village alongside the water. If you look closely, you’ll notice one of the piñatas resembles Donald Duck.

In 2015, Disney refurbished this attraction once again, this time adding the original audio-animatronics of The Three Caballeros from the Mickey Mouse Revue attraction which ran in the Magic Kingdom from the park’s opening in 1971 until 1980. In addition to The Three Caballeros singing their famous song of the same name, the Gran Fiesta Tour finale features fireworks over the water. Upon the end of your cruise, I’m sure you’ll find yourself wanting to take another tour of the Mexican culture. Luckily, the short wait time, if any at all, usually experienced at the Gran Fiesta Tour makes it so easy to ride this attraction again and again!

Next time you’re at Epcot, be sure to make your way to the back of the Mexican pavilion for one of the best attractions in the park. If you just can’t wait until your next Walt Disney World vacation to experience the culture of Mexico with The Three Caballeros, take a look at the ride video below!

For more overlooked Disney experiences,
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Kimberly's love of Disney began at an early age and grew even more when her family won a Walt Disney World vacation from a local radio station. She grew up visiting the parks every one to two years and is fascinated by Disney history and trivia. Whether at the parks or at home, Kimberly is constantly looking for hidden Mickeys. She enjoys sharing tips and helping others plan their Disney vacations. In addition to Frontierland Station, her writing can also be found at The Magical Blogorail, Sand 'n Sea Adventures, and Blogsprout.
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  • This ride has always been special to me. When I first visited as a kid my brother and I got so scared by Honey we shrunk the Audience that we only wanted to ride El Rio del Tiempo over and over again because it didn’t have anything scary, haha. Then my second visit as a teenager I went with a group of friends and we ended up spending hours going on this ride so we could talk/flirt with the Mexican CMs haha! And one thing that I thought was pretty cool was the fact that when the installed the new animatronics in 2015, I was actually one of the first people to see them/ride it with them in it. I had no idea it was happening but I just happened to be there that day and one of the CMs told me to look out for “something new.” I was blown away when I saw it!

  • Yes yes yes! I have always loved this ride as well, and was surprised to find I loved the Gran Fiesta Tour as much or more than El Rio del Tiempo. I think it’s so fitting for the Three Caballeros/Saludos Amigos project, and imagineers did such a nice job incorporating the updated theming while still keeping the charm and cultural spotlight of the original ride. Awesome recap!

  • Tim Brooks

    My family absolutely loves this attraction. It rarely has a wait. It’s fun. The music is great to sing along to. It’s a great chance to get away from the crowds and out of the sun….and into the air conditioning. If there is no line, we will usually ask to stay on for a second ride.

  • Michael Teague

    I will have to add this to the list next time I go! Thanks for pointing it out, don’t know how I’ve missed it in the past. :/

    • Given its location in the very back of the pavilion, it can be very easy to miss if you don’t know it’s there. Hope you enjoy the ride on your next vacation!

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