Everything you need to know about Epcot

Entrance to Epcot with Spaceship Earth

Size of Park: 298 acres (so more than double the size of Magic Kingdom)

Days I think you should spend there: 2 (1 will be enough with young children)

Number of “lands”: 4

Best Ride: Test Track

Give it a miss if you don’t have time: Soarin’ and Mission Space

What to FastPass: Epcot has a tiered Fast Pass system – read more below. We Fast Pass Test Track, Living with the Land and Character Spot.

As a bit of background Epcot stands for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow which was Walt Disney’s idea for a park that resembled what life could be like in the future. The park now has very little to do with this but some of the names such as “Future World” have stuck.

The Fast Pass System

Epcot has a tiered Fast Pass system. You can book one Fast Pass from Tier 1 and two Fast Passes from Tier 2. Once you have used those three, you can book one Fast Pass at a time from any tier (however, it’s unlikely that Frozen, Test Track or Soarin’ will be available at this point).

Tier 1: Illuminations, Frozen Ever After, Test Track, Soarin’

Meeting Mickey at Character Spot

Tier 2: Turtle Talk with Crush, Mission: Space, Character Spot, Journey into Imagination with Figment, Living with the Land, The Seas with Nemo and Friends, Spaceship Earth

To be honest if I had my pick I would do three from Tier 1 and none from Tier 2, but alas, that is not allowed. Unless it’s peak peak time you shouldn’t have too long of a wait for anything in Tier 2 so don’t stress about this too much. Even though I love Epcot, I think this problem stems from having a few really good attractions and a lot of not very good ones which is why they’ve had to put these tiers in place – it’s the same thing over at Hollywood Studios.

Illuminations is a waste of a Fast Pass – they put far too many people into the section so sometimes you can be 4 people back anyway and the lake is huge! There are so many spaces to watch the fireworks from you will be fine without one.

That leaves us with three attractions to choose from – I am not a Soarin’ fan but accept some people are. So, either you go to Epcot more than one day to get more than one definite Fast Pass. Or, you get there at Rope Drop and get to whichever ones you haven’t got a Fast Pass for as early as possible to minimise your time stood in a queue.

The “Lands”

Inside Living with the Land

Future World West – this is a must visit for meeting the main mouse himself as well as varying characters, at the moment it’s Baymax but it has been Joy and Sadness from Inside Out. The Seas are also featured here with a Nemo ride and aquarium tucked away on the edge of the park. The Land is the biggest attraction in this area with Soarin’ and Living with the Land. Soarin’ I’m so sorry but I just don’t get it. I don’t understand why people stand in line for 3 hours to go on a simulator with other people’s feet blocking their view. I’m sure the new video is great and lots of people love it, but for me, I’ll never be going back. Living with the Land, however, my favourite! SO under-rated, the beginning is a bit naff but a boat ride through the greenhouses where they grow the food for the Disney restaurants was really interesting.

IMG_5570Future World East – Spaceship Earth (the ride in the golf ball) is in this area and is a must do because it’s iconic. It could do with an update but Judi Dench’s voice is just like being back home and you even get to plan your life in the future. Test Track – our favourite thing in Epcot, design a car and then test it. We have created some real monstrosities in our time. Mission Space is right across the way – I wouldn’t recommend unless you have a strong stomach. Every review I’ve ever read says it’s motion sickness city and my sister who is usually great with rides was out of it for a couple of hours after riding.

Showcase Plaza – If I’m honest I’m not sure why it’s got it’s own land. It’s two places to get food! But, this is where you’d come if you have a Fast Pass for Illuminations.

Inside the Mexico Pavilion

World Showcase – 11 country pavilions all around the lake. Our top picks are Mexico with the Donald Duck boat ride and Norway which is now Frozen themed. We loved Frozen BUT you do get a bit wet so prepare to waddle round with a wet bottom for half an hour afterwards. The rest of the pavilions are just shops, restaurants, artefacts and maybe a film about the country. I’ve heard it described as a huge gift shop and I can understand why. It’s great for a walk around but they could have done so much more with it (another blog to follow on this topic) and it’s not great for young children. However, they do offer Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure which is a must do with kids, giving them missions to complete in seven of the pavilions. There are also meet and greets, mainly with princesses e.g. Jasmine is in Morocco around the world showcase which can keep younger ones entertained.

Top Tips

  1. If you aren’t big into Nemo then you can access the aquarium without riding the attraction through the aquarium exit (hidden round to the left of the building). This was great for us and meant we could just allocate 20 mins for looking at dolphins and manatees.
  2. If you enjoy Living with the Land you can go on a “Behind the Seeds” tour which is probably the most reasonably priced thing on Disney property. It lasts about an hour in total and gives you loads more information. I’ve never done it but I’ve heard great things so it’s definitely on my list for next trip.

    Designing the future on Spaceship Earth
  3. Spaceship Earth has a long (20 mins) wait around opening time as everybody heads through the gates straight onto it. If you head back later in the day in low-medium season you are probably going to walk on.
  4. It is a lot of walking, probably the most of the holiday so make sure you put it near a rest day.
  5. There’s a boat at Italy so if you get too tired halfway round it will take you back to Future World so don’t worry about getting stranded 5 countries from the car park.
  6. Epcot runs festivals throughout the year which adds extra content whether it’s Food and Wine, Flower and Garden or International Festival of the Arts. Whilst this can make a visit even more special bare in mind this brings in a lot of locals to the park. If you are visiting during one of these events then aim to visit on a weekday.

    The China Pavilion
  7. We take a packed lunch to the parks to keep costs down, but if there’s one park you’re going to eat in this is the one. There are so many choices from all around the world to suit most price points.
  8. This is the worst park to visit on a rainy day, so little of it is indoors. If you can go to any other park (other than a waterpark) the world showcase would just be miserable in persistent rain. Therefore, don’t leave Epcot until last in your itinerary in case you need to switch your days around for the weather.

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