Walt Disney World Park Guide- Epcot
I often get asked about the Disney parks in Orlando when clients are booking vacations. Which rides are in which park? Where’s the best place to eat? Which park will my child enjoy the most? Where do I meet Elsa? (P.S. Epcot is where you meet Elsa!)
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I hear you! So let’s go over each of Disney’s 4 parks and Disney Springs. We’ll talk Epcot here but if you’re looking for other parks, you can read about Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Disney Springs.
For those of you saying “but wait, Justine, where’s Harry Potter?” let’s clarify something. Harry Potter is not owned by Disney. Harry Potter is at the OTHER park *gasp* Universal Studios. But, good news, I CAN help you book a Universal vacation or add on a day or two at Universal to your Disney vacation! Not to worry, Harry Potter fans, we’ve still got you covered. You can read more about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter here.
Let’s talk Epcot! Epcot is divided in half: you enter Epcot in Future World and make your way to The World Showcase. In Future World you’ll find rides and attractions such as Spaceship Earth, Living with the Land, and Mission: Space. In The World Showcase you’ll find 11 areas, each dedicated to a different country. In each country you’ll find shops, dining and entertainment relevant to that culture.
Rides & Attractions
I’ve made a full list of rides and attractions in Epcot, just for you. Rides with a * after the name are available for fast pass selection, meaning you can skip most of the line! For more on fast passes, check out my article here. You can find height requirements for rides here. There are lots of interactive play areas for kids in Epcot!
- Advanced Training Lab
- The American Adventure
- American Heritage Gallery
- Bijutsu-kan Gallery
- British Revolution
- Bruce’s Shark World
- Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival*
- Disney Phineas and Ferb: Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure
- Frozen Ever After*
- Gallery of Arts and History
- Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros
- House of Whispering Willows
- ImageWorks- The “What If” Labs
- Impressions de France
- JAMMitors at Future World East
- Jeweled Dragon Acrobats
- Journey Into Imagination with Figment*
- Kidcot Fun Stops
- Living With the Land*
- Mexico Folk Art Gallery
- Mission: Space*
- Music of Mexico
- O Canada!
- Project Tomorrow: Inventing the Wonders of the Future
- Reflections of China
- Serveur Amusant
- The Seas with Nemo & Friends*
- Soarin’ Around the World*
- Spaceship Earth*
- Stave Church Gallery
- Test Track*
- Turtle Talk with Crush
- Voices of Liberty
My must do rides and attractions include the Gran Fiesta Tour in Mexico, which is a slow boat ride; Living with the Land, which is another slow boat ride; Soarin’ Around the World; and Spaceship Earth. I’m not a big thrill ride/roller coaster person, but my family always does Mission: Space and Test Track without me.
We also love taking a break at the United States pavilion and watching Voices of Liberty. It’s technically the pre-show entertainment for The American Adventure, but it’s my favorite live entertainment in Epcot. It’s an A Cappella group and they are absolutely incredible (plus it’s air-conditioned).
Fireworks & Nighttime Shows
IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth is the current Epcot nighttime show and fireworks display. It happens just as the park is getting read to close, in the lagoon in the center of the park. It is 12 minutes long, full of spectacular fire works and magical music. It’s the best way to end a fun filled day in Epcot!
There’s no seating for this show. You can make dining reservations in some of the countries in the World Showcase and get a great view from dinner. Or you can scope out a curb to sit on. Because by the end of the night, you’re going to want to sit for 12 minutes.
Beginning October 1, 2019, IllumiNations will be replaced with a new show: Epcot Forever. This new show will include fireworks, laser effects choreographed kites and some of your favorite Disney music.
Places to Eat- Future World
There are some really great food options in Epcot. Like, REALLY good food. Keep in mind that if you have a dining plan, your table service credits work for character dining experiences! I talk more about character dining here. Not sure what the dining plan is? Read more about the dining plan options here!
- Coral Reef- Table Service
- Electric Umbrella- Quick Service
- Fountain View- Quick Service
- Garden Grill Restaurant- Character Dining with Chip & Dale
- The Land Cart- Quick Service
- Promenade Refreshments- Quick Service
- Sunshine Seasons- Quick Service
- Test Track Cool Wash- Quick Service
Places To Eat- World Showcase
- Akershus Royal Banquet Hall- Character Dining with the Princesses
- Biergarten Restaurant- Table Service
- Block & Hans- Quick Service
- Chefs de France- Table Service
- Choza de Margarita- Quick Service
- Crepes des Chefs de France- Quick Service
- Fife & Drum Tavern- Quick Service
- Joy of Tea- Quick Service
- Kabuki Cafe- Quick Service
- Katsura Grill- Quick Service
- Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe- Quick Service
- La Cantina de San Angel- Quick Service
- La Cava del Tequila- Table Service
- La Hacienda de San Angel- Table Service
- L’Artisan des Glaces- Quick Service
- Le Cellier Steakhouse- Table Service (2 table service credits)
- Les Vins des Chefs de France- Quick Service
- Liberty Inn- Quick Service
- Lotus Blossom Cafe- Quick Service
- Monsieur Paul- Table Service (2 table service credits)
- Nine Dragons Restaurant- Table Service
- Refreshment Outpost- Quick Service
- Refreshment Port- Quick Service
- Restaurant Marrakesh- Table Service
- Rose & Crown Dining Room- Table Service
- Rose & Crown Pub- Table Service
- San Angel Inn Restaurante- Table Service
- Sommerfest- Quick Service
- Spice Road Table- Table Service
- Takumi-Tei- Table Service
- Tangierine Cafe- Quick Service
- Teppan Edo- Table Service
- Tokyo Dining- Table Service
- Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar- Table Service
- Tutto Italia Ristorante- Table Service
- UK Beer Cart- Quick Service
- Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria- Table Service
- Yorkshire County Fish Shop- Quick Service
There is SO MUCH good food in Epcot. Let’s see if I can narrow it down to a few favorites. La Cantina de San Angel has the BEST tacos. Refreshment Port has cronuts (croissant donuts) with ice cream on top. Rose & Crown Dining has delicious Fish & Chips, which you can also get at Yorkshire County Fish and Chips if you don’t want a sit down meal. Everything in Epcot, especially the World Showcase is delicious!
Character Meet & Greets
There are so many great characters to meet in Epcot. Some are at dining experiences (which I talk more about here), but these characters are at specific spots throughout the park during specific hours. You can check the day’s schedule at Guest Services or ask any cast member for times and spots! Here’s where you can find most of the characters that are in Epcot.
- Alice in the United Kingdom
- Anna & Elsa in Norway
- Baymax in Future World
- Belle in France
- Daisy Duck near the entrance to the park
- Donald Duck in Mexico
- Jasmine in Morocco
- Joy & Sadness in Future World
- Mickey & Friends in Future World at Epcot Character Spot
- Pluto near the entrance to the park
- Ralph & Vanellope in Future World
- Snow White in Germany
I love meeting Jasmine (and sometimes Aladdin and Genie!) in Morocco. Belle in France is another one of my favorite. Here you’ll find her in her “village attire” (blue dress) as opposed to her gold ball gown which she wears when she’s at a character dining experience and in Magic Kingdom at Enchanted Tales with Belle.
Epcot Area Resorts
Looking to stay close to the action at Epcot? Maybe you’ll be spending the most time at this park or maybe you just love the nighttime entertainment on the boardwalk. No matter the reason, Epcot Area Resorts are some of the best (and most expensive)! These are all Deluxe Resorts and Deluxe Villas except for Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort which is a Moderate Resort. You can read more about the different resort tiers here.
- Disney’s Beach Club Resort
- Disney’s Beach Club Villas
- Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
- Disney’s BoardWalk Villas
- Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
- Disney’s Riviera Resort
- Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
You can actually walk to both Epcot and Hollywood Studios from Beach Club, Yacht Club and BoardWalk. There’s also a ferry boat to both parks from these resorts. The new Skyliner transportation will service Caribbean Beach and Riviera.