There is something for everyone at Epcot. You’ll find thrill rides, unique dining options, shopping, shows, and characters galore. Plan to spend a full day at Epcot. Here are eight pro tips for getting the most out of Walt Disney World’s second theme park.
8. Arrive Early
Disney pros know that you need to arrive at Epcot when the park opens. That is the best time of the day to explore Future World and ride anything that you might not have a FastPass+ for. Most of World Showcase opens two hours later (11:00am most days), and that is a great time to head in that direction. World Showcase gets crowded later in the day, so hitting it early will allow you to explore with fewer people around.
7. Visit During a Festival
If you really want to see Epcot at its finest, visit during a festival. In late winter Epcot offers the Festival of Arts which hosts beautiful presentations of the arts through paintings to masterful food. The spring season offers the International Flower & Garden Festival. The park comes alive with color, and there are topiaries of your favorite Disney characters. Each fall the International Food & Wine Festival is held. It features dishes and beverages from around the world that you can’t usually find in the park. Epcot also has an early winter festival called the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays. This is perfect time to take in all the holidays from around the world! These festivals include seminars, demonstrations, free concerts, and event merchandise. The festivals are included with park admission, although there is a fee for some of the extras.
6. Remember the Size
If you’ve only seen a map of Epcot, it is hard to picture just how large it is. Disney pros know that they will be doing a lot of walking, so they will wear comfortable shoes that will not give them blisters. They will also recommend that you use sunscreen, because there are some pretty large areas without much shade. Pros will drink plenty of water while at Epcot, and they will take the family to L’Artisan des Glaces in France for ice cream…to make sure that no one gets overheated.
5. Use FastPass+
FastPass+ is kind of tricky at Epcot. It is one of three parks (the other being Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom) where the selections are in Tiers. Pros agree that you need to make FastPass+ reservations well in advance, because of the Tier One selections. If you don’t have a Tier One FastPass+, you will end up waiting in a long line. You have a hard choice to make because Soarin’, Test Track, and Frozen Ever After are all Tier One attractions. The lines can get crazy for any of the three, so you’ll be thankful that you can skip the standby line for one of them. Get in line for one of the other two as soon as you arrive, since the crowds will grow larger as the day goes on.
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4. Explore World Showcase
World Showcase is incredible. Where else can you experience 11 different cultures, all in one place? You will feel like you have traveled around the world in just a few hours; if you take the time and explore. Pros know that there is more to World Showcase than the shops and restaurants. They will walk through the gardens, watch the entertainment, learn about the architecture, and talk to the Cast Members. They will also enjoy the food and the shopping, but they realize that there is more to World Showcase than that.
3. Stop a Lot
Disney pros know that having a plan is good, but they also know that it can be hard to stick to that plan at Epcot. If you have never been there before, be ready to stop quite a bit, especially if your kids have short attention spans. Expect a lot of “oh, look, there’s _____” at Epcot. You can fill in that blank with characters, live entertainment, funnel cake, or even koi fish. If you know ahead of time that you will be stopping, you’ll be less frustrated. You could also end up with some great pictures.
2. Drink Responsibly
There is a lot of alcohol sold at Epcot, even when the Food & Wine Festival is not going on. If you are of age and you plan to try a few, please drink responsibly. Pros take it easy so that they will be able to fully enjoy the park. There is an unofficial game that some adults play that is known as Drinking Around the World. In it the players will buy one specialty drink from each of the 11 World Showcase countries. If you decide to give it a try, bring along a couple of other adult friends and share the beverages. Don’t drink on an empty stomach, and keep drinking water. You could also break the game up over two or three days. It still counts.
1. Plan to Eat
One of the nicest things about World Showcase is the variety of food options. Where else can you buy specialties from 11 different countries in one place? Disney allows you to bring snacks into the parks, but why would you want to at Epcot? Pros know that you can enjoy pastries for breakfast, sushi for lunch, and authentic Italian pizza for dinner. For snacks you can munch on international ice creams, croissant doughnuts, or Curry Chicken Pockets. You can also find food grown on property, incredible seafood, and fine dining in a steakhouse. If you’re still hungry, make reservations for the Frozen Ever After Sparkling Dessert Party which offers reserved viewing for Illuminations. You’ll then end your day at Epcot in the most delicious way possible!