Epcot theme park in Disney World is a hidden gem. For a long time, it was considered by many an afterthought or a half day experience. This year, the theme park is celebrating its 40th anniversary and my, how things have changed.
So how do you get the most out of your time at Epcot today?
Epcot is all about experiences. Its focus is on experiencing the advancement of technology, the land, the sea, the imagination, and the world around us. It also has a few exciting attractions mixed in for more fun. In addition, it hosts nearly year-round festivals celebrating the arts, nature, food, and the holiday season.
You should go there with the idea that you are there to take it all in. This park has the fewest number of attractions. The best part about it is that you don’t necessarily have to purchase Genie+ for your day there. BONUS!
You may have to make an Individual Attraction Purchase if riding certain attractions is on your bucket list. To learn more on how to make that purchase you can get the information in an Easy Way to Explain Disney Genie, Disney Genie+ and Individual Attraction Purchases
Let’s look at the attractions first!
Big ticket Attractions at Epcot
There are 2 maybe 3 popular rides in this park. If any of those are attractions you would like to jump on then you need to know the best way to do that without wasting your time in a long line.
Disney Worlds latest and greatest indoor coaster type attraction opened this past spring in May. Based on the Marvel series Guardians of The Galaxy, an interplanetary pavilion is the newest to join the Epcot World. To hear all about it you can find more info in the provided link in the heading.
Disney is still using a “virtual queue” for guests to ride. You can join the queue at 7am (strongly encouraged to do this at 6:59). You can also join the queue at 1pm while inside the park based on availability. Finally, you can make an Individual Attraction Purchase at a variable rate per person to ride the attraction.
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
Do you want to be shrunk down to the size of rat and race through Gusteau’s Restaurant? This combination simulator/trackless ride opened last fall. It has seen lines over an hour or more in the stand-by queue. If this is a must do for you, I strongly encourage you to make an Individual Attraction Purchase.
Frozen Ever After
Frozen Ever After is a popular dark boat ride with the characters of the movie Frozen. It sees long lines most of the day. This ride does have a lightning lane and does require the purchase of Genie+ if you would like to skip the wait. If this ride is a must do, I recommend hoping in line first thing in the morning before the crowds arrive. If you are a resort guest, you can get into the parks a half hour before the general public.
Epcot Attractions that Warm Your Heart
Some rides just speak to you, even the ones that aren’t super-fast or overly exciting. Maybe it’s nostalgia or that cool air conditioning on a hot Florida day, but these rides will make you say, “ahhh”
- Spaceship Earth- journey through the advancement of technology over time on this iconic opening day attraction.
- Living with the Land-take a boat ride through the agricultural advancements Disney is sharing with the World
- The Seas with Nemo and Friends- enjoy a dark ride with Nemo and friends then walk around the 2nd largest aquarium in the US
- Soarin over Earth- Fly over famous landmarks around the world
- Journey into Imagination with Figment- learn about the senses with a little figment of imagination.
Rides that divide us
Then there are those rides that you either love or you hate. Let’s talk Mission Space! Um, do you want to experience taking off into space the same as the astronauts? Does that sound like a nightmare or a dream?
Maybe you want to drive a car on a highway. You probably did that getting to Epcot. But Test Track allows you to design your own car and experience driving on a …track!
I’m not judging you if you like either of these attractions, I just personally don’t NEED to get on them when I’m there. To each their own!
Visit the World over 1.2 miles at Epcot
The second part to Epcot includes the World Showcase. It is a walking journey around 11 national pavilions where you can experience the culture, food, and history of the countries around the lagoon. Those countries include:
- The United States
- The United Kingdom
Walk through the recreated buildings, shops, and treasures of these countries while eating and drinking around the world.
You can visit space at Epcot
One of the most highly anticipated dining experiences opened at Epcot in September 2021 with Space 220. You can now take a ride to a simulated space station 220 miles above the park to relax surrounded by views of Earth from above. It is a prix fix meal with the option to add on to your meal and advanced dining reservations are recommended. To find out whether the hype is worth it read: Is Space 220 Really Worth the Hype.
This restaurant also offers a lounge experience where you can get a bite, have a drink, and take in the atmosphere (no pun intended) without the full price of the meal. Seating is on a first come first serve basis.
Nearly year round, Epcot hosts festivals that celebrate the season. The festivals are included with regular park admission and are full of food samples at small kitchens around World Showcase from different countries and more. You will also experience entertainment and special events related to the celebration at each festival. The festivals are as follows:
- Festival of the Arts- January to February
- Flower and Garden Festival-March to June/July
- Food and Wine Festival- July/August- November
- Festival of the Holidays- November to December
Most of the countries also feature table service restaurants with some of the best food in Disney World. Lastly, Epcot offers the option to dine at some of the lagoon front restaurants and then have reserved seating for the nightly fireworks show Harmonious.
Do you prefer dessert? You can also reserve the “Frozen” themed dessert party where you dine on sweets and drinks while being front and center for the show. As part of the reservation, you can also ride Frozen Ever After after the fireworks when the park is closing
Shopping at Epcot
In addition to the shops inside the countries around the world, step into the Creations Shop. One of the largest Disney merchandise shops on property. You can also visit Club Cool where you can try small free samples of soft drinks from around the globe (look out for that Beverly).
Wrapping it up like a big Spaceship Earth
Epcot is an experience. Over the last 40 years it has evolved like the focus of the park itself into a full day theme park. I have a feeling it will continue to evolve as Walt Disney had envisioned. Visit this park for a trip through nature, a journey to space, a walk around the world and use your imagination while you are at it!
To check out the highlights of the other 3 Disney World Theme Parks as well as Disney Springs, follow the links below:
If you have had a great experience at Epcot that you would like to share comment below.