While the Epcot of today is not close to Walt Disney’s original vision, it is still a fun and fascinating place to visit. Where else can you visit Mars and Morocco on the same day? Epcot is huge and you will do a lot of walking, so make sure that you wear comfortable shoes. There are also large areas of bright sunshine, so pack the sunscreen and use it. Here are seven rookie mistakes that you’ll want to avoid.
7. Not Joining the Right Team
Mission: SPACE gives guests a chance to be a crew member on a mission to space. It’s a love it or hate it ride for most people. The ride uses a centrifugal motion simulator to allow you to feel what it would be like to actually take off and land. It is one of the most intense rides that you will ever experience. In fact, it is so intense that you will pick one of two teams. The Orange Team members will get the full effect and blast off to Mars, while a tamer version is offered to Green Team members which orbits Earth. Motion sickness is possible no matter which team you’re on, and the ride is not for people who don’t like small spaces. If you’re nervous about the ride, you might want to try out the Green Team first, there’s no shame and it’s still a thrill. You can always get back in line for the more intense Orange Team if you liked it.
6. Not Learning About the Festivals
Epcot transforms for annual festivals! In the late winter, Epcot hosts Festival of Arts. In the spring, it is the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival that takes over the park. In the fall, the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival takes place. Over the Christmas holidays, Epcot holds Festival of the Holidays. These festivals offer new foods, arts, special guests, concerts, and more. They can be a lot of fun, but they are not for everyone. If you’re interested in stopping by Epcot during one of the festivals, try to plan your visit for a weekday because weekends are more crowded. If you aren’t interested in what either festival has to offer, you might want to visit during a different time of year.
5. Not Using FastPass+
With FastPass+ you can make three reservations for rides or shows before you leave home. If you’re staying at a Disney Resort you can make the reservations 60 days in advance, for everyone else it’s 30 days. The lines can grow long at Epcot, so you’ll be glad that you made those reservations. At Epcot the system uses tiers, you’ll make one choice from Tier One and two from Tier Two so be sure to understand the system and schedule time and FastPasses accordingly. After you’ve used all three you can use the My Disney Experience App to add another!
4. Not Arriving Early Enough
Most days Epcot opens to the general public at 9:00am, with World Showcase opening two hours later. Since the whole park isn’t open it sounds like it might be a good day to grab a couple of extra hours sleep, right? No such luck. If you sleep in you’ll miss seeing Epcot when it is least crowded. You’ll miss the chance for a short Wait Time at the more popular rides like Test Track. When the park opens you might also have a better chance of catching characters without waiting too long.
3. Not Taking Advantage of Dining Packages
The Candlelight Processional is a highlight of the Christmas season at Walt Disney World. A celebrity narrator will tell the Biblical Christmas story, backed by an orchestra and mass choir. It is truly magical, and it is also packed. Fortunately, there is a way to save a spot in line; book the Candlelight Processional Dining Package! You’ll have a delicious meal at your choice of over a dozen restaurants, and then you’ll receive a voucher for preferred seating for the Candlelight Processional. Dining Packages are also offered for other special events, such as the Eat to the Beat Concert Series. Many rookies do not know that the dining packages exist. Another rookie mistake to avoid with the Dining Packages; make sure that it is the package that you reserve. Just eating at a participating restaurant will not get you a voucher.
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2. Not Making Dining Reservations
Epcot is filled with incredible full service restaurants. There are so many that you might think that a reservation is not really needed. While there are a few places where you might be able to get a table if you walk up, you don’t want to leave anything to chance. Dining reservations can be made up to 180 days in advance, so make them as soon as you can. You can always cancel later if you change your mind. If you arrive at Epcot without a dining reservation, visit Guest Relations, or check the My Disney Experience App to see what is available.
1. Not Exploring World Showcase
World Showcase is incredible! Eleven different countries are authentically represented. You’ll have a chance to see architecture that mimics the home country, shop at stores that carry the country’s merchandise, and try favorite foods from halfway across the planet. Too often rookies just rush through World Showcase and don’t pay attention to the details. Stop and literally smell the flowers in England, or enjoy the peaceful feeling of watching the koi fish in Japan. Check your Times Guide and take in the live shows, they could be a highlight of your vacation. Talk to the Cast Members. Most of them are from the country in question, and they are more than happy to tell you about life back home. Hurrying through World Showcase could be the biggest mistake that rookies make at all of Walt Disney World.