Hi all and welcome to my latest post. Today I thought I’d write about Epcot. I’d love to share some information that we have discovered over the years and hopefully help people out if they’re unsure on what there is to do at this amazing park. I will admit that over the years I probably didn’t appreciate Epcot as much as I should have. I always felt like it wasn’t as much fun as the other parks. Florida weather is always so hot that walking round World Showcase took a lot of effort. However for the last few years I have come to appreciate everything about Epcot. I love to wander round all the World Showcase pavilions, sampling the food from the 11 countries and then sitting down to watch Illuminations: Reflections of Earth after a long day.
Epcot stands for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. The original vision that Walt Disney had for Epcot was for it to be a futuristic city in Florida. This vision was never developed and instead, in 1982, Epcot opened as the second Disney theme park to be built in Orlando, after Magic Kingdom. Epcot is actually much larger then Magic Kingdom, spanning across 300 acres. The park’s ‘icon’ is Spaceship Earth, a giant structure at the front of the park. The structure houses a ride of the same name. In October 2018, Disney announced that Spaceship Earth will close from 2020 to be reimagined. Fans hope it will be reopened in time for the parks 40th anniversary in 2022.
Epcot is split into two main areas; Future World and World Showcase. World Showcase is where the 11 country pavilions are located and Future World has areas dedicated to technical and scientific advances through the years.
The 11 countries currently located around World Showcase Lagoon in Epcot are Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, United States of America, Japan, Morocco, France, United Kingdom and Canada. There is space available for another 9 countries and there have been rumours that Brazil will be the next country pavilion to be created. In each country pavilion you will find shops, restaurants and buildings that are commonly found in their respective countries. Often the staff working in the country pavilions are also from that country, which I feel gives them an extra magic touch. There are also rides in some of the countries, including the extremely popular Frozen Ever After ride in Norway.
I don’t have a favourite pavilion, they’re all beautiful and unique so it would be too difficult to choose. However, I do love the Mexican village and marketplace inside the pyramid at Mexico’s pavilion, the stunning traditional Morrocan market in Morocco pavilion and the amazing waterfall in the Canada pavilion. The United Kingdom pavilion has an English village setting and is so beautiful but this pavilion doesn’t actually have a lot to see, so I do hope they add to this one soon. There have been rumours of a Mary Poppins ride being added to the UK pavilion at some point, but this has not yet been confirmed so could be years away.
World Showcase has such a lot to see, so make sure you give yourselves enough time to explore every nook and cranny. I’d recommend you spend at least a day on World Showcase. We have visited Walt Disney World 11 times already and still discover something new at World Showcase because we never used to spend a lot of time at Epcot, but on our most recent holiday we stayed at Disney’s Beach Club Resort, which is just a short walk from Epcot so we got to spend a lot of time there throughout our 2 week holiday.
Future World has several areas to explore and enjoy. There are some fantastic rides in the Future World areas and some great shops to buy all the cute Disney merchandise that you might have had your eye on for a while.
Spaceship Earth is located in Future World. You can’t miss this attraction as it is the park icon. This ride moves along a series of displays showing how humans have communicated through the years and how our communication technology has advanced. It’s a 15 minute ride and is perfect for when you want to cool off and rest your feet.
Test Track is our favourite ride at Epcot. The queues do get really long so make sure you get a Fastpass+! Everyone gets to design their own car and save it to your Magic Band or park ticket, which then gets uploaded to the system as you board your car and as the car goes around the track each car gets marked on several features. The final feature is a speed test and the car goes as fast as 60mph or more. As you leave the ride you enter an interactive area for everyone to enjoy extra attractions such as creating an advert for your car, which you can also save to your Magic Band.
Mission Space is another simulator ride, where you get to experience what it’s like to be an astronaut and you get to travel into space. It’s not one of my favourites; I always feel quite sick when I come off it. You can choose from the Orange mission experience or the Green mission experience. The Green experience is less likely to cause motion sickness, so choose this one if you’re not sure which one to go for.
The Seas with Nemo & Friends takes you on an underwater trip where you get to view the massive aquarium, which you can also view when you get off the ride. There is also an interactive animated show starring Crush from Finding Nemo, where you can ask Crush questions.
Innoventions used to have lots of exhibitions to enjoy, but the majority have now closed and so far Disney have not announced what the plan is for this area. This area does have a character spot, where you can meet Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Goofy. As you can imagine, the queues get long for this character meet so grab a Fastpass+ if you can.
The Land pavilion has two attractions which are also really popular rides. Soarin’ Around the World is a simulator that takes you on a tour of different regions around the world. Queues for this ride are notoriously long and Fastpass+ tickets get snapped up so quickly!
Living with the Land is the other attraction at The Land pavilion and we absolutely love this one. It’s a slow moving boat ride that takes you through various greenhouses. On this ride you learn about future innovations of agriculture. This isn’t a very popular ride so the queues aren’t long. Some people feel it is due an update, but it’s another nice family ride where you can just sit and cool off.
Imagination is home to the Journey into Imagination with Figment. This is a dark ride so some children might find it a bit scary, but it is a lot of fun. There is another interactive area after this ride called ImageWorks: The What-If Lab, which is popular with children so if you want your whole family to make the most of the day at Epcot, then definitely spend some time in the lab.
Dining at Epcot
There are so many choices of food and drink at Epcot. Each country pavilion has various dining options. The food in each pavilion is based on the food from it’s respective country so there is a lot of variety. You can have fish and chips in the UK, pizza in Italy or fajitas in Mexico.
The table service restaurants in Epcot are
- Akershus Royal Banquet Hall – Norway
- Biergarten Restaurant – Germany
- Chefs de France – France
- Coral Reef Restaurant – Future World
- Garden Grill Restaurant – America
- La Cava del Tequila – Mexico
- La Hacienda de San Angel – Mexico
- Le Cellier Steakhouse – Canada
- Monsieur Paul – France
- Nine Dragons Restaurant – China
- Restaurant Marrakesh – Morocco
- Rose & Crown Dining Room – United Kingdom
- San Angel Inn Restaurante – Mexico
- Spice Road Table – Morocco
- Teppan Edo – Japan
- Tokyo Dinning – Japan
- Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar – Italy
- Tutto Italia Ristorante – Italy
- Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria – Italy
As you can see there are loads of Table Service restaurants at Epcot. As well as these you can also choose from all the quick service counters too, so you have plenty of choice and will certainly not go hungry at Epcot. If you would like to eat at any of the Table Service restaurant, you really should try and get a Dining Reservation in advance. The reservations do get booked up quickly and the stand by lines tend to get quite long.
Epcot hosts many festivals throughout the year. The festivals always pull in huge crowds and add to the incredible atmosphere at the park. The festivals held at Epcot are
- Festival of the Arts – January to February
- Epcot’s International Flower & Garden Festival – March to May
- Food & Wine Festival – September to November
- Epcot’s International Festival of the Holidays – November to December
We have been to Walt Disney World at various times of the year, so have been lucky enough to visit Epcot during the Flower & Garden Festival and the Food & Wine Festival. The Flower & Garden Festival is beautiful, with stunning topiaries, themed gardens and wildlife habitats all around the park. There are also outdoor kitchens and a scavenger hunt around World Showcase. The Food & Wine Festival is our favourite, because we love food. Located all around World Showcase are booths serving food and drinks specifically created for the festival.
Epcot Resort Area
There are many Disney resorts located around Epcot and some are within walking distance of the park. Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club, Disney’s Boardwalk and non-Disney Swan and Dolphin Hotel are all visible from International Gateway, which is another entrance to Epcot away from the main gates and is located between the France and United Kingdom pavilions. There are more dining and shopping options in these areas. You can even hop on the Friendship Boat over to either of the resorts or to Hollywood Studios, although the boats aren’t currently travelling to Hollywood Studios while extensive works are going on at the park.
Epcot is such a wonderful park and has a lot of fun and exciting experiences to offer. I highly recommend you take your time around each area of the park, to fully appreciate everything there is to enjoy and you don’t miss anything at all.
Have you visited Epcot yet? Which attraction is your favourite? I would love to hear your Epcot stories. You can find out more about Epcot on Disney World’s page.
If you want to find out our favourite rides at Magic Kingdom, click here.