By Lauren Tjaden
Be transported to a Bavarian village when you feast on German classics at the Biergarten Restaurant; count down to liftoff for an intergalactic NASA-style journey through the cosmos on Mission: SPACE!® in Future World; delve under the waves on The Seas with Nemo & Friends®; and board a primeval Nordic vessel for a musical tour in the icy realm of Frozen.
Special events and tours, delectable eateries, characters and entertainment, thrilling attractions and rides, and a dazzling nightly fireworks extravaganza come together to make your vacation at Epcot theme park extraordinary and memorable.
Here are some things to do at Epcot, plus some information about how to plan your trip:
The areas of EPCOT have been updated into 4 neighborhoods: World Showcase, World Celebration, World Nature and World Discovery.
The World Showcase encompasses 11 pavilions representing countries from around the world, including the U.S.A, U.K., Japan, Morocco, France, Canada, Mexico, China, Norway, Germany, and Italy. Each pavilion is filled with attractions, dining, drinking and shopping relating to the country.
EPCOT features scream-worthy thrills, fascinating adventures and classic stories with beloved characters. Check out some of these popular EPCOT rides, below. (Note: For safety, some rides have minimum-height requirements.)
Your trip on this hang-gliding simulator begins when the clouds open, revealing the regal Swiss Alps below your feet. You’ll swoop over awe-inspiring wonders that include polar bears in Greenland, sailboats on Australia’s Sydney Harbour and Iguazu Falls in South America. Slow and graceful, with small drops, this ride overwhelms the senses with its 180-degree, 80-foot IMAX digital projection, magnificent aerial footage and enjoyable scents.
Buckle up for a high-octane adventure on this thrill ride. The fun starts with a spin over to the Chevrolet Design Center to design your own virtual concept car. When you’re finished with your masterpiece, the adrenalin ramps up with a cruise on the test track in a 6-passenger “SIM Car,” where you’ll reach speeds of up to 65 miles per hour. Prepare to be challenged with switchbacks, nasty weather, rough terrain and obstacles, along with steep curves banked at 50-degrees and hills towering as high as three stories. After every test, check the scoreboard to see how your vehicle fared.
Getting wet is part of the fun on this slow-moving boat ride, an expedition to the icy-blue world of Frozen that includes forward and backward drops over small waterfalls. Sing along to your favorite Frozen tunes as you explore a wintery willow forest, witness the beauty of an enchanted ice palace, and discover trolls disguised as boulders. Remember to keep your eyes peeled Anna, Olaf and other Frozen friends.
The Spaceship, EPCOT’s iconic signature symbol, invites visitors to journey through the ages to experience the chronicle of human communication. This slow, 16-minute ride is suitable for all ages, using detailed sets and advanced Audio-Animatronics figures to highlight how people exchange ideas, from early men scrawling on cave walls to today’s remarkable technology.
In this 4D ride experience, join Chef Remy on a daring culinary caper that will captivate all your senses as you zip, dash and scurry through the bustling kitchen, dining room and walls of Gusteau’s famous Paris restaurant. C’est magnifique!
Take off on an intergalactic chase through space and time with the Guardians of the Galaxy. This family-thrill attraction features the first ever reverse-launch on a Disney coaster and is one of the largest fully-enclosed coasters in the world! A new innovation from Walt Disney Imagineering—this coaster rotates 360 degrees so you can focus on the action!
Save time to discover attractions that include The Seas with Nemo & Friends, a foray into an undersea paradise that your smallest tykes can enjoy, and Living with the Land, a gentle boat tour that reveals farming’s unexpected history and how it’s focused on feeding our planet today. For more options, check out this complete list of EPCOT attractions.
Disney Genie Service lets you use the Lightning Lane entrance at select attractions and experiences at the Walt Disney World Theme Parks. On average, guests can enter 2 to 3 attractions or experiences per day using the Lightning Lane entrance if the first selection is made early in the day. You may make one selection at a time, starting at 7:00 AM on the day of your visit (experiences are subject to limited availability). If your Theme Park ticket includes the Park Hopper option, you can select Lightning Lane arrival windows across multiple Theme Parks.
Make sure to download the My Disney Experience app; it gives you attraction wait times, showtimes for fireworks and parades, and finds Character Greeting locations and times.
The app offers other nifty features too, including browsing restaurant menus, making dining reservations and placing mobile orders at select quick-service restaurants.
And you’ll never get lost when you use the ‘Get Directions’ function.
Disney’s planning page can help you answer other questions.
EPCOT promises character experiences to warm the heart; concerts to get your feet moving; and fireworks and nighttime spectaculars to make your spirit rise. Its stage shows will elicit gasps and giggles, while its parades will march into your favorite-experiences list. Here are some EPCOT must-dos.
This magnificent show brings to World Showcase Lagoon an innovative combination of floating giant screens, choreographed moving fountains, lights, pyrotechnics and lasers in a 360-degree view. Enter amazing worlds inspired by Moana, Aladdin, Coco, Brave, The Lion King, Mulan, The Princess and the Frog and other classic stories. Colorful images and effects dance and change as Harmonious weaves familiar Disney music and stories together. Through unique perspectives as diverse as the world itself, Disney songs hop from language to language as the show brings people from different parts of the world together to unlock the magic of possibility.
Who doesn’t love a princess who dares to be different and adores reading? Meet Belle, from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, in a shady spot by the water at the France Pavilion.
Chill out with royal sisters Elsa & Anna from Frozen at their charming summer cabin.
Dressed in finery from the 1800s, the Voices of Liberty deliver a soaring 15-minute choral performance of patriotic classics in The American Adventure Pavilion. Choose a place as close to the rotunda as possible to get the full benefit of its amazing acoustics.
EPCOT offers more-- a lot more. The JAMMitors get high marks for drumming up music with some improbable instruments, while Matsuriza displays the thundering sound of Taiko, an ancient form of Japanese drumming. You can meet inspiring princesses like Jasmine in Morocco or Snow White in Germany, or get a hug from beloved characters like Donald Duck in Mexico. Check out this complete list of EPCOT characters and entertainment to find the ones perfect for your gang.
Check the Entertainment Schedule, My Disney Experience app or the Times Guide at EPCOT for the schedule and showtimes. Be aware that outdoor parades and events may be cancelled due to inclement weather, and that showtimes are subject to change.
Swimming with dolphins! Holiday celebrations! A flower and garden extravaganza! Check out these events, festivals and tours at Epcot.
A springtime gala that’s budding with magnificent gardens, fresh food and toe-tapping entertainment, the Flower and Garden Festival invites you to discover topiaries sculpted into your favorite Disney characters, wander through interactive gardens designed to light your imagination, and connect with nature on a guided tour like ‘Behind the Seeds.’ Foodies can refuel on inspired cuisine highlighting the season’s freshest ingredients at the Outdoor Kitchens. If you have kids, make sure to visit play areas and exhibits designed to keep them smiling.
If you’re yearning for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, look no further. Intriguing and intimate, this three-hour dolphin encounter includes interacting with dolphins in waist-deep water, learning firsthand how the dolphins are cared for, visiting backstage areas, and even sitting in on a training and research session with Epcot’s team of marine mammal specialists.
Celebrate the senses on a taste tour spanning six continents at more than 25 Global Marketplaces, a heady indulgence of global cuisine and beverages with a backdrop of international live music. Fun for all ages includes a scavenger hunt and kid-friendly treats like the oh-so-delectable Shimmering Strawberry Soft-serve in a Waffle Cone. Shopping opportunities round out the entertainment. There’s even a Remy-inspired scavenger hunt and the return of the Eat to the Beat Concert Series.
EPCOT boasts marathons, backstage tours, yuletide galas and other seasonal celebrations in addition to the offerings listed above. Here’s where you can check out all of EPCOT’s special events and tours.
Just glancing at the types of cuisine offered at EPCOT is enough to make to your mouth water: seafood, sushi, Spanish, Chinese, Mediterranean and oodles more. Almost 60 eateries offered across World Showcase's 11 Countries as well as Future World tempt visitors with authentic dishes. Read on to savor a taste of a few favorites.
Take your taste buds on a tour around the world with dishes inspired by Italian, French and Asian cuisines. Highlights include French Bistro Burger, General Tso Chicken Salad and Pepperoni Pizza.
Teppan Edo, Japan
Consistently ranked among EPCOT’s best restaurants, Teppan Edo is a hibachi-style grill where highly skilled Teppan chefs chop and stir fry traditional Japanese dishes right at your table. Pair Japanese beer, wine, hot or cold sake and even a sake cocktail with steak, chicken, seafood and vegetable entrées, served with Udon noodles and rice. Especially yummy: Hotate (scallops)
La Hacienda de San Angel, Mexico
Highly rated yet affordable, the dinner-only La Hacienda de San Angel welcomes you to feast under vibrant globe lamps and star lanterns on simple yet delectable fare that includes corn tortillas that are fresh-made every day, lively salsas and appetizers like Queso Fundido, dancing with warmed cheese, poblano peppers and sausage. This waterfront restaurant promises fireworks with your feast, boasting lofty windows overlooking the lagoon and prime views of Harmonious. Especially yummy: La Cava Avocado Margarita
Spice Road Table, Morocco
Spicy garlic shrimp, fried calamari, beef and chicken skewers, and coriander-crusted rack of lamb are a few of the reasons that Spice Road Table is a favorite with Disney insiders. Its atmosphere is reminiscent of the outdoor cafés on Moroccan seaside, kicked-back and quaint. You can’t beat the location, either, nestled against the lagoon and offering great views of the nightly fireworks. Especially yummy: Hummus Fries
The Rose & Crown Dining Room features time-honored favorites that include bangers and mash, Shepard’s pie and sticky toffee pudding, worth every sinful calorie. Ideally situated on the waterfront with both indoor and outdoor seating, this family-friendly British pub is sure to whet your whistle with its generous selection of British beers, ciders, scotches and cocktails. Especially yummy: Fish and Chips
This brochure and map shows EPCOT's layout, including its restaurants. Here’s must-read Epcot foodie insider advice: Drinking and Snacking Around the World at EPCOT: What You Need to Know. Here’s a list of all the restaurants and dining experiences.
In addition to a confirmed dining reservation, in-park dining at table-service restaurants requires a park reservation and valid admission for the same park on the same date for each person in your party ages three and up. Dining reservations don’t guarantee admission to the park.
Make sure to make reservations, and make them early. Dining reservations can be booked online up to 60 days in advance.
The My Disney Experience app lets you browse restaurant menus, make dining reservations and place mobile orders at select quick-service restaurants.
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