Epcot was the second theme park to open at Walt Disney World. Although it does not quite match Walt Disney’s vision of a living, working, futuristic city, there is still a lot there that he would probably be proud of. The park is part thrill and part world’s fair. Future World features rides for thrill seekers and families. You can blast off to Mars, ride a hang glider across the world, test drive a concept car, travel back in time, and help Marlin search for his missing son. In World Showcase you can learn about 11 different countries, try some of their foods, enjoy their gardens and architecture, and purchase international souvenirs. Epcot has lots of live entertainment, and it’s also a great place to meet characters…including princesses. If you are planning your first trip to Epcot, here are eight mistakes that you’ll want to avoid.
8. Underestimating the Park’s Size
Epcot is huge. You will do a lot of walking while you are there, especially as you make your way around World Showcase. There are stretches where there is little shade, so use your sunscreen. Wear comfortable shoes, and drink plenty of water. You don’t want to get sick while on vacation.
7. Skipping the Festivals
There are two special events held within the park each year. In the spring you can enjoy the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Each fall the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival takes place. These special events are included with park admission, although some extras will cost more. Some rookies assume that the park will be packed during the festivals, so they skip Epcot all together. If you’re visiting during the spring or fall, don’t let a fear of crowds keep you away. Both festivals are special. While it’s true that the crowds may pick up a bit, the size of the park keeps things manageable. There’s no wrong time to visit Epcot, but for a different type of magic you might want to plan your first trip for when a festival is taking place.
6. Forgetting to Make Dining Reservations
Epcot has the most full service restaurants of any of the four theme parks. Many rookies assume that since there are so many dining options, reservations aren’t really necessary. That is not true. While you may be able to find something if you show up without a reservation, you probably won’t be able to get your first choice. If you’re having a tough time finding the perfect restaurant, consider booking at one of the restaurants in the Epcot Resort Area hotels. You can easily leave the park, enjoy a delicious meal, and return to Epcot. It won’t take a huge chunk of time.
5. Wasting FastPass+ Choices
FastPass+ is tricky at Epcot. You can make one reservation in Tier One and two in Tier Two. The problem is that Frozen Ever After, Soarin’, and Test Track are all Tier One attractions. Test Track has a single rider line, which makes this decision slightly easier for some parties. The best way to make sure that you wait as little as possible is to arrive when the park opens, and then head immediately to an attraction that you couldn’t get a FastPass+ for. Most of World Showcase opens two hours after Future World, but not Norway. That pavilion currently opens when the park opens, to help people who don’t have a FastPass+ for Frozen Ever After.
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4. Eating the Normal
Where besides Epcot can you find food from 11 different countries, all in one place? Since there are specialties from around the world sold within the park, consider trying something different. You don’t have to settle for chicken nuggets or soft serve ice cream, try Chicken Bastilla or Pomegranate Sorbet instead. There are so many food choices that there’s no reason to settle for what you would normally eat.
3. Drinking too Much
There is a lot of alcohol sold at Epcot. If you’re of age you can try beverages from all of the countries represented in World Showcase, and there are drinks sold in Future World as well. There is an unofficial game known as Drinking Around the World, where a specialty from each of the 11 countries is consumed. Rookies sometimes will try to do that by themselves, which isn’t a good idea. Maybe all of the adults in your party can share a specialty drink from each country, or you could visit Epcot more than once on your vacation. If you plan to drink, please do so responsibly.
2. Thinking the Kids Will Be Bored
There is an educational aspect to Epcot, and so many rookies assume that there’s little for the kids. That could not be further from the truth. There are family friendly rides, live shows around many corners, and plenty of characters. If your little ones love sea creatures, prepare to spend some time at The Seas. Many kids love some of the extras in World Showcase, such as the waterfall in Canada and the Koi fish in Japan. Don’t forget to stop by the Kidcot Fun Stops. Your children will be able to show their creative sides, and they’ll also have a fun souvenir. Visit each country to get all of the Duffy stamps, and have your kids ask the Cast Members about their countries. Your whole family might learn something about other cultures.
1. Ignoring the Details
World Showcase is more than just a bunch of restaurants and shops. It’s a chance to learn something about each country. Take your time and really explore each of the 11 pavilions. Wander through the gardens, read the information plaques, walk through the buildings, and talk to the Cast Members. Really notice the details, and you will feel like you’ve been transported across the planet. Hurrying through World Showcase is one of the biggest mistakes that a Disney rookie can make at Epcot.