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How To Tackle Walt Disney World’s Epcot If You Only Have One Day

1. Start Early

If you only have one day in Epcot it would be very helpful if you start early. The park generally opens at 9:00 AM, but double check the times guide before you arrive just in case it does open earlier while you’re there (or in case there are Extra Magic Hours in the morning and you’re staying at a Disney resort.)

2. Choose an Extra Magic Hours night

Since you only have one day to enjoy everything at Epcot, visiting the park on a night when there are Extra Magic Hours (assuming you’re staying at a Disney Resort) will allow you to have more time in the park while still only using a single one day ticket.

3. Use Fastpass+

The attractions that are helpful to have Fastpasses for in Epcot are Frozen Ever After, Test Track, and Soarin. Unfortunately, these three attractions are on the same tier (tier one), meaning you cannot book a Fastpass for all three – but will have to choose one of the three to Fastpass. Follow the first tip on this list and arrive to the parks early. I would suggest making a Fastpass 60-days in advance for resort guests or 30-days in advance for non-resort guest for Frozen Ever After for early afternoon. Then arrive at park opening. We suggest heading to Soarin’ at park opening as this line seems to get longer much faster than Test Track. After Soarin’, you can either use the single rider line for Test Track or wait in the stand-by line. Then you’ll have your Frozen Ever After fastpass to use later! For tier two, we typically use a Fastpass for Mission: SPACE and Spaceship Earth.

4. Dine at the right times

If I only have one day at Epcot, I usually eat a small breakfast before I arrive at the park (or I get a donut from the Joffrey’s kiosk on the way in.) On vacation, I really do like to have one table service meal each day, and with one day in Epcot I prefer to have my table service meal for lunch. I would have a table service meal for lunch towards the beginning of my walk around World Showcase. (This is assuming you’re following the usual guest flow in Epcot and doing Future World in the morning and World Showcase later. This also makes the most sense since Future World opens earlier than World Showcase anyway.) So I’d have my table service lunch in Mexico or China, and a quick service dinner on the other end of World Showcase. By having a table service lunch, I’m giving myself a little bit of a relaxing break from the heat of Future World before I go on to tackle World Showcase. And a quick service dinner will free up the last couple of hours of your day in Epcot, so that you’re not tied down to eating inside a restaurant.

5. Shop wisely

During those times when you only have one day to do an entire park, you really want to keep your shopping to a minimum, or at least shop wisely if you do choose to do so. Epcot is unique in that the items sold in World Showcase cannot be purchased at other locations at Walt Disney World. As a result, if you see something you want in World Showcase, buy it while you’re there. Chances are you won’t make it back to that shop in one day, and you’ll be kicking yourself later. As for regular Disney souvenirs, wait to shop until you’re on your way out of the park. The exception here would be if you want something specific to a ride gift shop, specifically from Test Track, Mission Space, or Journey into Imagination, in any of those cases you’d be better off buying items as you exit the rides, as the merchandise in these locations are specific to those attractions. For other Disney souvenirs, wait until you’re on your way out of the park and shop at Mouse Gear then. Note: Mouse Gear is scheduled to close for the Future World renovations beginning September 8, 2019 with a temporary gift shop available. Check your park Times Guide for the temporary location. 

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6. Make a list of priorities

Whenever you spend only one day at a Disney park, it’s important to come to terms with the fact that you may not be able to do everything in one day. This point stresses the importance of planning, and making sure you know which things you really want to make sure you do, and which things you’ll do only if there’s extra time. Even planning basic things like knowing that you want to start in World Showcase by 1:30 PM, will help you keep the day on track and allow you to get the most done without exhausting yourself by cramming everything into a single day.

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.