by Brittany DiCologero
1) Use Fastpass for Soarin or Test Track
Due to the tier system with Fastpass+, you cannot book a Fastpass for both Soarin’ and Test Track in the first three passes you make for the day. The best way to experience both attractions with short waits however, is to book a Fastpass for one of them, and experience the other either right when the park opens or right before the park closes. As long as you get in line for an attraction before the park closes, you’ll be able to ride, and this can be a great alternative to waiting in long lines during the day.
2) Take your time
Epcot, perhaps more so than some of the other parks, is best experienced when you’re able to take your time going through it– especially in World Showcase. I find that when I take short trips to Walt Disney World, I’m always left wishing I had spent more time in World Showcase. I would plan to spend at least two days in Epcot alone, because wandering through World Showcase is so much more enjoyable when you’re really able to take your time to see everything you want to see.
3) Bring extra spending money
Compared to the other parks, Epcot has a lot of unique shopping and dining options, so you might want to be prepared to spend some extra money there. Between all of the different countries in World Showcase, as well as restaurants in Future World like the Garden Grill, Sunshine Seasons, and the Coral Reef Restaurant, you’ll want to make some extra room in your budget for dining. This is especially important if you plan on visiting during Food and Wine Festival, where you can expect to spend about $5 to $10 at each kiosk. Especially in World Showcase, Epcot is also home to some unique shopping opportunities, so you’ll want to make sure you’re alright spending extra money on souveniers if you’re a shopaholic.
4) Drink around the world (but be safe!)
Drinking around the world can be a fun way to experience Epcot, but there are a few things you should keep in mind if you plan on doing this to still get the most out of your visit to the park. Believe it or not, it is possible to have a drink in every country, and still be able to function and remember your day in the park. The best way to drink around the world, is to start when World Showcase opens (at 11:00 AM) and take your time! In between drinks, have plenty of water, and snack around the world as well. Spend time looking through the shops in each country, and experience the attractions there without rushing.
5) Take advantage of Extra Magic Hours
Unless it’s a particularly busy time of year, Epcot is typically open from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM, so if you’re staying on property, I would recommend taking advantage of Extra Magic Hours, which allow you to either enter the park earlier or stay later. Evening Extra Magic Hours are a great time to experience some of your favorite Future World attractions without spending a lot of time waiting in line. Most guests at Epcot will do Future World in the morning, and spend the later part of the day in World Showcase, so if you’re there after Illuminations the wait times for the rides in Future World will begin to decrease.
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6) Get to the park early
When visiting any of the Disney parks, I would always recommend arriving early. The parks are not generally busy right when they open, so this is one of the best times to hit up some of your favorite Future World attractions before the crowds set in for the day. Just make sure that when you arrive early to the park you plan on visiting Future World, as World Showcase does not open until 11:00 AM.
7) Bring your pins
Epcot is my favorite park to spend the day pin trading. For whatever reason, maybe simply because there are so many locations to get pins with World Showcase, and the pin trading area behind Spaceship Earth, I always come home from Epcot with some excellent finds.
8) Meet characters
Epcot is the only place where you can meet Mickey in his classic outfit. In addition, there are lots of characters that you can easily meet with a stroll around World Showcase, including some lesser seen characters like Mary Poppins and Alice in Wonderland. Baymax, from Big Hero 6 is also currently meeting guests in the Epcot Character Spot!
9) Spend the whole day in the park
While I usually enjoy park hopping, I like to spend at least one day per trip in Epcot alone. I often find myself wishing I was able to spend more time in this park, so park hopping just doesn’t really make any sense. Ideally I would plan on getting to the park when it opens, and staying at least for Illuminations that night.
10) Do some research
Doing some research prior to your trip to Epcot is especially important if you’re visiting during a special event. The Food and Wine Festival and Flower and Garden Festivals are really fun events, but they really do require some extra planning if you want to make sure you get to do everything you really wanted to do. Just double check the official Disney website leading up to your trip, and make a quick itinerary for what you plan on doing.