Once upon a time, Walt Disney had the idea for a self-supporting utopian community called EPCOT—the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. Walt envisioned EPCOT being a place where people could live, go to work, go to school, go to church and live out their lives. Sadly, Walt passed away before his vision of EPCOT could ever be realized. However, his Imagineers moved forward with a theme park called EPCOT that would focus on the future, how we have progressed over the course of history, space travel and more. And while it’s not a place where people can live, it’s an amazing place. If you’re wondering about visiting EPCOT, here are ten questions we are often asked about Disney World’s second theme park.
10. What’s that big silver sphere I see in pictures of EPCOT?
The silver oversized golf ball is Spaceship Earth. It not only serves as the park’s icon, but it also houses an attraction by the same name. Spaceship Earth’s construction was an engineering marvel, and it’s interesting to see the huge iconic sphere from its base. The Spaceship Earth attraction takes Guests back in time aboard a time rover and looks at how communication has played a role in mankind’s growth and progress over the last 40,000 years.
9. Does EPCOT have anything for kids to enjoy?
Yes! There are many hands-on interactive things for kids to do. Visit Project Tomorrow after you enjoy the Spaceship Earth attraction and enjoy several different hands-on exhibits. The kids will love the rides at EPCOT, such as Test Track, Misson: SPACE, Soarin’, Living with the Land and Frozen Ever After. Let them try foods from all over the world at the World Showcase as they learn about the different cultures and customs of 11 different countries.
8. We will only be in the parks for 3 days. Should we just skip EPCOT?
Because EPCOT has a more educational feel to it, some families consider skipping it if they don’t have time to visit each park. We happen to think that none of the four theme parks should be skipped, and especially EPCOT. Disney World’s second theme park is full of opportunities to learn—in exciting and creative ways! And the attractions are great too!
7. Can we meet any characters at EPCOT?
There are lots of characters to meet at EPCOT! You can meet Daisy Duck at the front of the park and Donald Duck just outside the pyramid in the Mexico pavilion on the World Showcase. Say hello to Snow White at the wishing well in the Germany pavilion. You can also meet Princess Aurora and Belle in the France pavilion, Mulan in the China pavilion, Princess Jasmine in Morocco, Queen Elsa and Princess Anna in Norway and Mary Poppins and Alice in the Great Britain pavilion. So yes, I’d say you can meet a character or two at EPCOT.
6. Which restaurants at EPCOT should we try?
Inside the Land pavilion, the Garden Grill is a great restaurant that serves food that is grown in the greenhouses seen on the Living with the Land attraction. It’s like Thanksgiving every day of the year, and you can meet Mickey and the gang while you eat! Biergarten is a great German restaurant on the World Showcase that serves an expansive German buffet. There is also live entertainment to enjoy while you dine. San Angel Inn at the Mexico pavilion is known for its authentic Mexican fare, and the Rose and Crown Dining Room is perfect for all things British. Remember to make your dining reservations up to 180 days in advance of your visit by calling (407) WDW-DINE or via the My Disney Experience app.
5. Which attractions should I get FastPasses for?
Use your three FastPass+ selections at EPCOT on attractions like Soarin’ Around the World, Test Track, Mission: SPACE and Frozen Ever After. You won’t regret it!
4. What’s the best time of year to visit EPCOT?
There’s no bad time to visit EPCOT, but if you’re looking to visit the park when it is clad in all its EPCOT best, do so during the Flower and Garden Festival in the spring, during the International Food and Wine Festival in the fall or during the International Festival of the Holidays in November and December.
3. It’s just my husband and me on this trip. What can we enjoy at EPCOT?
Anything and everything! EPCOT offers some of the best dining options for couples—try Le Cellier Steakhouse in the Canada pavilion or Chefs de France in the France pavilion. Lots of couples like to visit EPCOT during one of its many annual festivals. Exploring the World Showcase is an excellent way to spend the day with your spouse as well.
2. What’s in the works for EPCOT?
There are some great new things coming to EPCOT—and they’re already in the works now! Future World is getting a new coaster. Ellen’s Universe of Energy attraction closed in August of 2017 to make room for an exciting new Guardians of the Galaxy attraction, which will be one of the longest enclosed roller coasters on earth once it’s completed. It will feature a unique story created by Walt Disney Imagineering and will also showcase an innovative new ride system. Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek said that in this attraction, “the real will become fantastic and the fantastic will become real.” We don’t have an official opening date yet, but we’ve been promised that the ride will be open in time for Disney World’s 50th anniversary in 2021.
EPCOT’s World Showcase will also get a new attraction in the France pavilion. The ride is inspired by Disney/PIXAR’s Ratatouille. The ride has yet to be named but we do know that it is a trackless 3D dark ride and that it is expected to open in late 2019 or early 2020. The new expansion behind the France pavilion will include the attraction, as well as a “build-your-own” crepe stand. PLUS, EPCOT’s Future World is getting a massive overhaul with many exiting plans in the works!
1. Is the nighttime spectacular worth staying for?
Note: Illuminations’ last show will be on September 30, 2019. “Epcot Forever”, a temporary fireworks spectacular, will begin on October 1, 2019.
EPCOT’s nighttime spectacular is called Illuminations: Reflections of Earth and takes place on the World Showcase Lagoon each night (weather permitting). The production lasts about 15 minutes. You can see the show from many locations—just sit or stand anywhere around the Showcase where you have a clear view of the lagoon. IllumiNations tells the story of Earth in three different parts: “The Earth is Born,” “The Triumph of Life,” and “Hope for the Future.” Balls of fire are launched 60 feet in the air as the story is told, and a 350,000-pound globe is used as a video display system. The globe was the first spherical video display system in the world. This nighttime spectacular is definitely worth staying to see!