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How To Tackle Epcot If You Only Have One Day

When guests plan a Walt Disney World vacation, they look forward to spending every minute enjoying themselves and embracing the magic. While many guests would love to spend weeks at a time on a Disney vacation, that length of stay is generally unrealistic. More often than not, guests find themselves with not as much time as they would like in each of the four theme parks, which makes getting the most out of each day important. Epcot is home to two very unique halves which definitely can’t be missed. If guests only have one day in the park, there are certain things that they can do to be sure to experience everything in both Future World and World Showcase. Here is an easy plan for guests to follow to tackle Epcot if they only have one day.

1. Rope Drop – This tip applies not only to Epcot but to any of the four theme parks in Walt Disney World. Guests who want to start the day right and get the most out of their time should be there before the park officially opens for rope drop. By getting there early, guests ensure that they are some of the first people inside the park and are rewarded with low crowds, low wait times, and quiet areas. Getting to Epcot for rope drop is a great way for guests to kick off their one day in the park.

2. The Land – After the park opens and guests can officially enter, they should head directly to The Land Pavilion in Future World and take the escalators to the lower level. There, guests should immediately hop on the standby line for Soarin’, an amazing hang gliding experience over California. By experiencing Soarin’ first thing in the morning, guests spend little time waiting on line and avoid wait times which can easily reach two hours on busy afternoons. After Soarin’, guests can enjoy breakfast in Sunshine Seasons which is a quick service dining location that serves a multitude of options including eggs, pancakes, and sausage. To round out a morning visit to The Land, guests can board Living with the Land, a serene boat attraction which takes them through different environments and the massive greenhouses of the pavilion.

3. The Seas with Nemo and Friends – After finishing up in The Land, guests can head next door to The Seas with Nemo and Friends where they can dive into the oceans and learn all about the creatures that live there with characters from the Pixar film Finding Nemo. The main attraction shares its name with the pavilion and retells the story of Nemo’s big adventure. After disembarking the attraction, guests can explore the rest of the pavilion which includes exhibits with dolphins, manatees, sharks, and tons of fish. Guests who love the character Crush can also head over to Turtle Talk with Crush where they can interact in real time with the righteous turtle.

4. Spaceship Earth – At this point in the day, guests should head back towards the main entrance of Epcot and enjoy Spaceship Earth. Many guests head directly to this attraction at rope drop, so by returning to it a little later in the morning guests can save some time that would have been spent waiting on a longer line. Spaceship Earth explores the evolution of communication from the beginning of time to present day and guests love boarding Time Machines to travel through the Renaissance, ancient Greece, and the burning of Rome.

5. Ellen’s Energy Adventure – At this point in the morning, guests might need a little bit of a breather and the best way to do that while still experiencing Epcot is to ride Ellen’s Energy Adventure. This forty five minute attraction takes guests on a journey through an epic dream with Ellen DeGeneres, Bill Nye the Science Guy, and several other famous faces. While sitting down and enjoying the air conditioning, guests follow Ellen back in time as she discovers the different types of energy and how they can be used responsibly.

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6. Mission:SPACE – This is hands down the most thrilling attraction in Epcot and guests can choose between the Orange Team which is full intensity or the Green Team which offers a tamer version of the experience. Regardless of the team, guests enter into the International Space Training Center where they are placed on a mission to Mars. After being given a role like Engineer or Pilot guests board their capsules and find themselves on an adventure to the red planet.

7. FastPass Test Track – One of the best ways to save time when guests only have one day in Epcot is to book a FastPass for Test Track Presented by Chevrolet. The popular attraction easily accrues wait times of two hours on busy days, so guests are smart to book a FastPass for it for the late morning or early afternoon. Once inside the attraction, guests are offered the chance to design their own SIM car and test it out on the track to see how it measures in Responsiveness, Capability, Efficiency, and Power.

8. Journey Into Imagination with Figment – Rounding out Future World is this fun attraction which takes guests into the Imagination Institute where they embark on a tour of laboratories based on the five senses. Figment the purple dragon quickly takes over the tour and shows guests how imagination works best when it is set free.

9. World Showcase – After finishing up in Future World, guests should dedicate the whole rest of their day to wandering through the eleven pavilions of World Showcase. Guests can enjoy shopping, learning about culture and history, and tasting snacks from around the world. In addition to wandering through the pavilions, guests can also enjoy O Canada! in the Canada Pavilion, Impressions de France in the France Pavilion, The American Adventure in the America Pavilion, Reflections of China in the China Pavilion, and the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros in the Mexico Pavilion. With so much to experience in World Showcase, guests are smart to leave an entire afternoon and evening to explore!

10. Dinner In World Showcase – One of the best parts of World Showcase is the fact that each country has at least one full service dining location which offers up traditional cuisine. Guests have plenty of options to pick from depending on their preferences or how adventurous they are feeling! Some of the more popular dining options in World Showcase include Nine Dragons Restaurant in the China Pavilion, Le Cellier Steakhouse in the Canada Pavilion, and Monsieur Paul in the France Pavilion. No matter what restaurant a guest chooses to dine in, they should be sure to book an Advanced Dining Reservation (ADR) as far in advance as possible to ensure that they are seated.

11. Illuminations – The perfect end to a jam packed day in Epcot is picking out a spot on World Showcase Lagoon and watching Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. Each night the lagoon comes to life with laser lights, dancing water, fireworks, pyrotechnics, and beautiful music as Illuminations tells the story of how all people are united as one. Guests who only have one day in Epcot simply can’t miss ending their day with Illuminations!

About Caitlin Kane

Caitlin Kane first visited Walt Disney World when she was two years old, and despite spending most of the trip quarantined with the chicken pox she managed to fall in love with the place. Visiting WDW every year since, she especially loves learning about the history and small details of the parks, enjoying a Lapu Lapu, and eating/drinking her way through the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. When she's not in Disney, Caitlin lives in New York teaching preschool and spending her time counting down the days to her next trip.