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 ten planning tips to make your Epcot day(s) exceptional!
1 – Expect to See Construction but be Minimally Affected by It
You may not have heard, but Epcot is undergoing a massive transformation, but biggest in Disney Parks history actually. Not surprisingly you should expect to see construction going on at the park while Imagineering creates an unreal new experience for us to enjoy. HOWEVER, you will find there is very little impact on your experience. Contrary to a lot of alarmists bemoaning “everything being closed,” this simply isn’t true. In fact, in September and October of 2021, EPCOT opened many new stores, restaurants, and a new attraction, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, in the France Pavilion. More is to come, but there is so many new things to enjoy now! To read more about the amazing new Epcot, click here.
2 – 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 is impossible to do it ALL in just one day! We like to keep one day focused on attractions and the second day for entertainment, exploring, shopping, and dining.
3 – 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 (early March-early July), Food and Wine Festival (late July to mid-November), and Festival of Holidays (late November to late December). The beginning and end dates of each Festival change slightly 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!
4 – Research and Reserve Restaurants
Flooded with numerous restaurants, Epcot is by far our favorite park to dine in. 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 to research 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 (60-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.
5 – Consider Purchasing Access to the New Lightning Lane
On busy days, you might want to consider purchasing access to the new Lightning Lane. There are two Lightning Lane paid options that include different attractions. First, you can purchase Disney Genie+ for the day of your visit. This costs $15 per day, per person. With Genie+ you can access the Lightning Lane at nine attractions at EPCOT. Much like the original FastPass system, you can only book one Lightning Lane attraction at a time. At 7 am on the day of your visit within the My Disney Experience App, you’ll book your first return window at one of the attractions below. After that, you can make one selection at a time, based on availability. Also, note that you can only use the Lightning Lane for each attraction on the list one time. You will not be allowed to book another return window for an attraction you’ve already used for Lightning Lane that day. See the list below for the nine Genie+ attractions at EPCOT.
Disney Genie+ Attractions:
- Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival
- Frozen Ever After (now-August 7, 2022)
- Journey Into Imagination with Figment
- Living with the Land
- Mission Space – Green and Orange
- Soarin’ Around the World
- Spaceship Earth
- Test Track
- The Seas with Nemo & Friends
- Turtle Talk with Crush
A second option for purchasing Lightning Lane is the a la carte method. The two attractions below are NOT included with your Genie+ purchase and must be purchased separately. Lightning Lane selections for the top-tier individual attractions will also be made on the same day of your visit and can be made across multiple theme parks (great for those who have the Park Hopper Option). Access to purchase Lightning Lane for the individual top-tier attractions will be available to all guests when the park that attraction is at opens. Guests staying on Disney World property will receive the benefit of early access to top-tier reservations and can make their purchases at 7:00 am on the day of their visit. Prices will vary by date, attraction, and park.
Individual A la Carte Lightning Lane Attractions:
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
- Frozen Ever After (now-August 7, 2022, this attraction is included with Genie+)
Keep in mind that you do not have to purchase either of these options to enjoy these attractions.
6 – Purchase the Right Gear
Now that you’ve planned how many days to spend at Epcot, when to visit, where to dine, and where to pay for Lightning Lane access… what you WEAR is just as important when visiting Epcot. There is a lot of walking at Epcot and the shady spots seem 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!
7 – My Disney Experience Is Essential
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 using the free planning tool Disney Genie, view the Tip Board including wait times and showtimes, make dining reservations, Mobile Order at quick-service dining, 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!
8 – The World Showcase Loop
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 eleven countries (aka Pavilions). Be sure to check the My Disney Experience app 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
Editor’s Note: Disney has announced that they will begin phasing in “normal” character greetings without restrictions at select locations “as early as April 18.” Click here to learn more. However, at this time, up-close character greetings are temporarily suspended. Some modified meet and greets have returned to their original spots that give you “individual time” with the characters but from a distance. You may also see characters pop up at different locations throughout the parks and greet guests from a distance. Check the My Disney Experience app for locations and times.
While meeting Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy is always high on everyone’s list, 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. The same goes for the beautiful Mulan! More unique characters like Ralph and Venelope from Wreck-it Ralph and Joy 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, Harmonious, is not to be missed! 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 for a fireworks dining package at Epcot restaurants that offer spectacular views of the fireworks! Our favorite is to have dinner at Rose and Crown Pub while Harmonious 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.