First visit to Walt Disney World’s Epcot? Or maybe you’ve been, but it’s been a few years since your last visit? Looking at everything Epcot offers may be overwhelming but trust us, planning your Epcot visit will make your experience tremendously better! So, before you slap on your Mickey ears, check out these 10 planning tips to make your Epcot day(s) exceptional!
1 – Plan for Two Days
While we understand that sometimes the schedule (and budget) only allow for one day at Epcot, we’d highly recommend that if at all possible, enjoy two days at this park! Spanning 305 acres, there is plenty to do and see. It impossible to do it ALL in just one day! We like to keep one day focused on attractions and the second day for the entertainment, exploring, shopping, and dining. If you are a Disney Resort guest, be sure to see when Extra Magic Hours are offered each day so you get even MORE time in the park.
2 – Schedule Your Visit Around A Festival
Epcot offers four festivals throughout the year including: Festival of Arts (mid-January to early February), Flower and Garden Festival (late February to late May), Food and Wine Festival (late August to mid-November), and Festival of Holidays (mid-November to late December). The beginning and ending dates of each Festival slightly change from year to year so be sure to check dates well in advance. Each Festival is included in your Epcot admission price with a few exceptions for special ticketed events within festivals. If you’re looking for the most beautiful time to visit, that would have to be the Flower and Garden Festival. Looking for great eats and drinks? The Food and Wine Festival is for you! Visiting during a festival makes us feel like we’re getting more bang for our buck! Plus, we can’t get enough of the extra special sights, sounds, and tastes!
3 – Research and Reserve Restaurants
Flooded with numerous restaurants, Epcot is by far our favorite park to dine. There is literally something for EVERYONE. From character dining to table service, to quick service, and kiosks… dining at Epcot is spectacular! Our suggestion is to take some time well before your trip researching the restaurants. What type of cuisine are you looking for? Need some entertainment to go along with it? If you decide to go to a table service restaurant, we’d highly recommend booking your dining reservations as soon as possible (180-days in advance). Restaurants fill up fast and you wouldn’t want to miss out on that ideal dining location because you don’t have reservations.
4 – Schedule FastPasses
Pass up a few stand-by lines and be sure to select FastPasses 60-days (for resort guest) or 30-days (non-resort guests) in advance. FastPasses are such an incredible way to save time and bypass the crowds! Keep in mind, Epcot is on a Tier FastPass System. Guests can only select one FastPass from Tier 1 and two FastPasses from Tier 2 in advance. If we want to ride the three most popular attractions on Tier 1, we typically arrive early to ride Soarin, single-rider Test Track, then FastPass Frozen Ever After. The most popular Tier 2 attractions would have to be Spaceship Earth and Mission: Space. Finished with the three FastPass selections? Check out your My Disney Experience App to select a 4thFastPass and so on until the park closes. This is another reason why we recommend two days in the parks, as you can split up the popular attractions over two days with a total of six FastPasses instead of the three!
5 – Purchase the Right Gear
Now that you’ve planned how many days to spend at Epcot, when to visit, where to dine, and what to FastPass… what you WEAR is just as important when visiting Epcot. There is a lot of walking at Epcot and the shade seems few and far between. Purchase the right gear so you’re comfortable and can enjoy the day! Most importantly, wear broken in, comfortable shoes to save your feet. Light clothing, sunscreen, hat, sunglasses are other Epcot necessities!
6 – My Disney Experience Is Your Friend
Epcot without the My Disney Experience App makes for a tough day in our opinion! You can do so much right from your phone like view showtimes, make dining reservations, make FastPass selections, Mobile Order at quick service dining, check wait times, and find out exactly where you are on the park map. While we’d recommend the free My Disney Experience App at any one of the Disney Parks, we find it especially important at Epcot to save our legs as much walking as possible!
7 – Future World Excitement
Since Epcot is split into two “lands” (Future World and World Showcase), we suggest you come up with a game plan for each land. Future World typically opens two hours before World Showcase, so the morning is definitely the prime time to visit. Study the map or your My Disney Experience App well before arrival. Which way do you need to go first and what are your Future World must-dos? A couple of specific tips here would be to skip Spaceship Earth first even though it’s the first attraction you’ll encounter. Head right to Soarin’ or Frozen Ever After and tackle those popular attractions if you don’t have FastPasses for them.
8 – The World Showcase Loop
While the World Showcase may open two hours after Future World, there are a few exceptions such as the Frozen Ever After attraction opening with Future World. When you decide to take a break from the Future World excitement, the best way to enjoy the World Showcase is at a slow and steady pace. There is SO much to see here as you travel around the world to explore 11 countries (aka Pavilions). Be sure to check the Times Guide to catch the special street entertainment. And don’t forget to taste your way with small, quick eats and drinks from each country! “Slow your roll” is key to enjoying the World Showcase loop.
9 – Make Time for Character Meet and Greets
The most popular character meet and greet at Epcot is the Character Spot in Future World. Here you can meet Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy. There are loads of other characters located throughout Epcot however that shouldn’t go overlooked! Epcot is the only place guests can meet the popular Frozen sisters, Anna and Elsa. Same goes for the beautiful Mulan! More unique characters like Baymax from Big Hero 6and Joy and Sadness from Inside Out are also ready for hugs. Epcot holds such a great mix of classic characters and unique ones that it would be a shame to miss out on these meet and greets!
10 – Fireworks and Dinner
Epcot’s nightly spectacular, known as IllumiNations, is not to be missed! While there is a FastPass selection for IllumiNations, we find this to be a waste. There are so many locations to stand around the World Showcase that if you plan to locate a spot 30-45 minutes or so in advance, you’ll have no problems viewing the show. Better yet, make a reservation to dine at one of the Epcot restaurants that offer spectacular views of the fireworks! Our favorite is to have dinner at Rose and Crown Pub while IllumiNations takes place. Great food, amazing drinks, and fireworks… it doesn’t get any better than that!
For a no obligation, FREE Quote on a Disney vacation package, please contact our travel partner Magical Vacation Planner at 407-442-0227 (407-442-0215 for Spanish). You can also request a FREE quote online by Clicking HERE.