It would be wonderful if personal preference were the only factor when choosing what to do and when to do it at a Walt Disney World park but, unfortunately, there’s more that goes into those decisions. Let’s face it, we’d all love to be able to waltz onto any ride whenever we’d like, but that’s hardly ever the case. Here then, are a few of the first things we like to do when arriving at Epcot.
1. Ride the Monorail
Technically, this would be something we’d do before arriving at Epcot, but let’s not split hairs. If there’s anywhere to ride the monorail during your stay, this is the place. Arrive in style on this single track elevated train that actually takes you inside the park on a loop around Future World, where you can glimpse World Showcase Lagoon and attractions such as Test Track before standing clear of the doors as you debark for a day full of fun at Uncle Walt’s Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.
2. Get a Photo Taken in Front of Spaceship Earth
After passing through security, there’s no better time to stop for a photo op in front of the giant golf ball that is Spaceship Earth. We’ve made the mistake of telling ourselves we’ll do it later, but that’s hardly ever the case. Don’t give yourself the chance to forget or to bail on this iconic backdrop after a long day of walking around the park. Disney’s professional photographers are stationed here and, whether you’ve purchased Memory Maker — which includes unlimited photos from throughout your stay — or not, they’ll be happy to capture a snapshot of you and your family, which you can later access conveniently through PhotoPass.
3. Glide Over to Soarin’
Now is where things can get a little tricky. Normally, there is a very clearly defined strategy for tackling the more popular rides at the park, which is largely dependent upon FastPass+ selections as well as taking advantage of the single rider line on Test Track. However, due to restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, these options are not currently available. This creates a bit of a Sophie’s choice when it comes to Epcot’s big three (Soarin’, Frozen Ever After, Test Track). If you’re staying all day, you can plan on visiting Frozen Ever After later in the evening when many of the younger children have left the park. Which means at rope drop you’ll want to head for Soarin’ and knock that out before the lines get too long. It also brings you to an area of the park that you’ll explore next.
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4. Visit The Seas with Nemo and Friends
Many of the children who will want to enjoy this ride will be dragging their parents to Frozen Ever After upon entry, which makes this the ideal time to visit Nemo and friends. In addition to this ride, there are also several other activities to explore, including SeaBase, a 5.7 million gallon aquarium that houses more than 4,000 underwater creatures.
5. Burn Rubber to Test Track
Without the benefit of FastPass+ (and even with), a long wait for at least one of the most popular rides is unavoidable. This is where you’ll want to take the hit. The queue for Soarin’ is more claustrophobic and less visually stimulating than that of Test Track. Even without its interactive elements, there are automotive-themed displays to view while you wait and being able to hear the cars zipping by outside will increase your anticipation for when your turn finally arrives.
6. Rope Drop to Frozen Ever After
This is an alternative strategy to the previous entries on this list. If your party includes one of the aforementioned youngsters clamoring to visit Arendelle, you’ll instead want to head straight to the Norway Pavilion once the rope drops. Much of the crowd will have the same idea, but it beats the possibility of having to wait in line for several hours. If you wait until later, your little one might be too worn out to wait around and end up missing out on the experience altogether. Nobody wants that.
7. Enjoy a Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros
After visiting Arendelle (via Norway), you’ll want to head to Mexico right next door and take in another delightful boat ride. This one features the titular trio as Donald’s musical cohorts attempt to track him down in time for their big concert.
8. Snack on Crepes from Crepes des Chefs de France
One of the perks of being able to explore World Showcase is having the opportunity to sample foods from all over the globe. We can’t think of anywhere better to enjoy some delicate crepes than this snack cart in the France Pavilion. Some of our favorite offerings come with strawberry preserves or homemade hazelnut and chocolate spread. It’s the perfect morning dish to start off your walking world tour.