10 Things You Must Know About Walt Disney World’s Epcot

1. It’s expensive

It is true that all Disney parks are expensive, but chances are you’ll find yourself spending more money in Epcot than any of its counterparts. The truth about Epcot is that it’s a lot of shopping and dining, and your park ticket doesn’t pay for food and merchandise. Of course there are rides, shows, street performers, and other free activities, but the bulk of the park (especially in World Showcase) requires you to spend additional cash.

2. There is more to do besides rides

Speaking of rides, Epcot does have some great ones that should not be missed, but they do not make up for the majority of what there is do in the park. A lot of Epcot is really just taking your time exploring World Showcase and Future World and taking it all in. It’s not a park where you should skip movie attractions, or avoid spending time eating because there are so many unique things to try that are just as fun as experiencing the usual theme park rides.

3. Some of Disney’s best restaurants are in this park

If you are a self-proclaimed foodie Epcot will be your paradise. The ability to walk between countries and snack around the world makes Epcot a hit, especially during events when outdoor kitchens are set up like the International Food and Wine Festival. Even if snacking isn’t your thing, Epcot is home to so many incredible restaurants that you should have no problem using those table service credits on your meal plan.

4. And characters you won’t find anywhere else

Epcot is really one of the best parks for character meet and greets. There are a number of characters that you don’t really see as often that have regular daily meet and greets in this park like Baymax, Joy and Sadness, Belle (in her blue dress), and more.

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5. FastPass is a must

Because Epcot is really not a ride-heavy park, using FastPass here is a must. With fewer attractions that really could use FastPasses, the lines can get quite long and making selections in advance is always a good idea. Be aware Epcot has a FastPass Tier System which means your three initial FastPass selections can only be one attraction from Tier 1 and two attractions from Tier 2. Tier 1 includes the three most popular attractions: Soarin’, Frozen Ever After, and Test Track. Make plans to FastPass which attraction is the most critical to you and plan to wait for the other two.

6. Cast members in World Showcase are really from those countries

Some guests visit Epcot and fail to realize that the cast members working in World Showcase are actually from those countries. The fact that they are from the country they’re representing makes for a unique experience and while allowing guests to act in a sort of cultural exchange.

7. Safety should come first if you try drinking around the world

Drinking around the world is a fun way to experience all of these different cultures, and if you decide to explore World Showcase this way be sure to do so safely. Snack around the countries while you’re drinking, and remember to have as much water as you are alcohol. And don’t forget that with Disney’s free transportation there is no need to drive after you finish.

8. It’s not just for adults

Epcot has a reputation as being for more adults and than kids and families. While kids won’t be drinking around the world, there is still plenty for them to do in World Showcase. The KIDCOT Fun Stops provide hands on activities in each of the countries, and interactive scavenger hunts are offered during each of the festivals. Additionally if the kids aren’t shoppers, they’ll still enjoy all of the entertainment offered throughout World Showcase.

9. You shouldn’t skip the slower rides

Though there are a couple of thrill rides in Epcot, the majority of the rides here are much slower– still, you shouldn’t skip them. Rides like Living with the Land, Journey into Imagination, and of course Spaceship Earth are still enjoyable, even if you usually think of yourself as a thrill junkie.

10. Stay for Illuminations: Reflections of Earth

If you’re in the park in the evening, be sure to stay for the nightly fireworks spectacular, Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. It’s one of the most exciting shows at Walt Disney World, bringing together a globe representing all of the countries, water, torches, and of course lots of fireworks. The show can be seen from anywhere around World Showcase Lagoon, but you’ll want to arrive early for the best views.

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a graduate of St. Anselm College, where she earned her bachelor of arts degree in History. She completed two Disney College Programs, one at Dinoland U.S.A., in Animal Kingdom, and one at Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show at Hollywood Studios. She is the author of “Brittany Earns Her Ears,” a memoir about her experiences on the college program, and she currently resides in Massachusetts.