Over 11 million people visit Epcot each year at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. This interactive, educational and immersive park offers attractions, performances and opportunities to engage in the world around us and learn from it—and all with a Disney twist. The park is generally divided into two parts—Future World and the World Showcase—but you’ll still need to make use of FastPass+ selections as well as at least a partial touring plan so that you can experience as much of this amazing park as possible. Not sure how to make the most of your day at Epcot? Here are 11 tips on how best to enjoy the park—from before you ever get there to the end of your day at Epcot.
11. Make your FastPass+ selections in advance.
Though Epcot is the second oldest park at Walt Disney World—and sometimes the most underappreciated park as well—it isn’t an outdated or uninteresting park. In fact, it boasts some of the most popular attractions at Walt Disney World—including Mission: SPACE, Soarin’ and Frozen Ever After (and soon a new Guardians of the Galaxy attraction). Because these attractions are so popular, the first thing an Epcot pro does is make FastPass+ selections—60 days in advance if you’re staying on Disney property and 30 days in advance if you’re staying somewhere else.
10. Get there at rope drop.
With the exception of nights that offer extended hours, like holidays and Extra Magic Hours at Epcot, the park’s hours of operation are generally 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., with the World Showcase opening at 11:00 a.m. and closing at 9:00 a.m. Contrary to what you might think, there really is a lot to see at Epcot, so getting there at opening helps you to have time to experience as much of the park as possible during your day. Epcot pros don’t use the Epcot day of their visit for sleeping in.
9. Don’t head straight for Spaceship Earth.
You can’t miss it. Spaceship Earth stands as an iconic beacon at the park’s gates. This 109,000-square-foot sphere has stood at the entrance since the park first opened in 1982, and an attraction of the same name is housed inside the “giant golf ball.” And since it’s the first attraction Guests see when they get to Epcot (you must go under/past it to get to any other part of the park), Epcot rookies often stop to enjoy the attraction first thing in the morning. And that makes for some of the longer wait times of the day for Spaceship Earth. Epcot pros know that the queue gets smaller as the day goes on—and it’s almost non-existent after 8:00 p.m.
8. Enjoy Future World first.
There are two reasons Epcot pros visit Future World first. One is obvious—it opens two hours before the World Showcase. The second reason just makes sense—the World Showcase is set around the lagoon along a partial circular-shaped promenade, on which Guests walk and experience one country after another—11 of them. And it’s a bit of a trek from the furthest point of the Showcase back to Future World. So enjoy Future World during the first half of your day, and save the World Showcase for later in the day. Going back and forth between the two sections will cost you a lot of precious park time.
7. The Seas with Nemo and Friends is not just for kids.
This fun and interactive pavilion inside Future World has something for everyone in your family. Start by boarding a “clam-mobile” for an exciting journey through the Big Blue in search of Nemo. See Dory, Marlin, Crush and all the lovable characters from Disney/PIXAR’s Finding Nemo on your journey. At the end of your journey, as you disembark from your ride vehicle, you are immersed in marine life all around you. Enjoy dolphins, fish of all kinds, sharks and more in an enormous aquarium that’s so big, Spaceship Earth could fit into it! Interact with Crush at the “Turtle Talk with Crush” show. Thanks to a magic hydrophone, Guests of all ages can talk with Crush, ask him questions and learn more about sea turtles during this experience. Epcot pros know that this pavilion is not one to skip because there’s so much to see and do!
6. Visit the Land pavilion and eat lunch too.
The Land pavilion is another place full of things to see and do. The Living With the Land attraction is a slow boat ride through greenhouses and other growing areas used to produce the fruits and vegetables used in the restaurants at Epcot. Learn about current and future agricultural techniques used around the world and see the effects humans have on agriculture. If you’re interested in delving deeper into this attraction, you can book the “Behind the Seeds” Tour for yourself and your family. This one-hour guided walking tour takes Guests through the greenhouses as a guide talks about how Epcot grows food, raises fish, etc. in this area. The Soarin’ attraction is also in The Land pavilion. You’ll need a FastPass+ for this attraction, unless you relish the queue. During this “ride” (you’re not actually moving), you will feel the rush of soaring over famous landmarks in the world like the Great Wall of China. The simulation is amazing, and the attraction has been wildly popular since it opened in 2005. The Land pavilion is also a good place for lunch, as it is a large food court, offering something for everyone’s tastes. Picky kids welcome!
5. It’s your choice—Mexico or Canada
As you proceed through the park toward the World Showcase, you will see two pathways that lead to the World Showcase promenade. Because the promenade makes almost a full circle, it is up to you where to start—either way, you’ll still get to see each pavilion. To your left, the first pavilion is Mexico, and to your right, the first pavilion is Canada. There’s no wrong way to do the World Showcase, so you choose—“Ole’” or “eh?”
4. Anna, Elsa and Frozen Ever After
Frozen Ever After is a water ride aboard a Norwegian vessel that takes Guests through the story of Frozen using some of the most advanced animatronic robots in the parks. It has been very popular with Guests since it opened in 2016, so try to score a FastPass+ time well in advance of your trip. While you’re in Norway, stop into Royal Sommerhus, a charming little cabin where you can say hello to Arendelle’s royal duo—Queen Elsa and Princess Anna. PhotoPass Photographers are on hand to capture the looks on little faces as they meet their frosty friends.
3. Tour and taste the World Showcase
Eleven different countries are represented along the World Showcase. But Epcot pros know that the Showcase isn’t some boring history lesson about 11 different countries. Rather, it’s a fascinating place with 11 pavilions full of history, culture, costumes, art and even cuisine. You might decide to use a full day to explore the World Showcase because there’s so much to it. It’s a wonderful place for inquisitive Guests to learn more about these countries and to even experience them in very unique ways. And you can also sample traditional and ethnic foods or even stay for dinner at quick-service and table service restaurants in each pavilion.
2. Stay for Epcot Forever
The nighttime spectacular at Epcot is called Epcot Forever. It begins at 9:00 p.m. most nights, and you can see the show from anywhere around the World Showcase Lagoon, as it is presented over the lagoon. This production makes use of fireworks, water fountains, lasers and pyrotechnics. Pros always include this nighttime show on their Epcot touring plans.
1. See Spaceship Earth at the end of the day.
Spaceship Earth is not an attraction to miss. But it’s usually better to experience it later in the day—even in the evening toward the end of the day when the queue has virtually disappeared. The attraction takes Guests on a journey to the past aboard an “omnirover” time machine—40,000 years ago—when humans were discovering and creating ways to communicate with one another. Move ahead toward the present day and see how different cultures communicated, kept records and interacted with the world around them throughout time.
Epcot is really a group of journeys, more than just a theme park—a journey through time, a journey through imagination, a journey into the future and a journey around the world. You might be an Epcot rookie, but these 11 tips will help you experience the park like a pro!