Diane Schroeder, Authorized Disney Vacation Planner
with If You Can Dream It Travel
Walt Disney World’s Epcot may be the most diverse Theme Park in the area. It allows you to have fun while thinking about nature, science, the future, other cultures, imagination, and so many themes all in one place. The attractions at Epcot are thoughtfully added to educate and entertain in a way that reflects the areas they are placed in.
Soarin' Around the World: My Top Pick
Epcot is home to my favorite attraction at Walt Disney World, "Soarin' Around the World" located in the World Nature area. Formerly called "Soarin' Over California", this virtual hang-gliding ride lets you soar high in the sky and feel the wind in your hair as you glide over the world's attractions such as the Taj Mahal, the Eiffel Tower, Fiji’s Lau Island, and the Swiss Alps. I always make this one of my Genie+ selections for Epcot. Pro Tip: Politely ask for Row 1 when lining up in rows prior to entering the theater.
Living with the Land
After you soar, don't miss "Living With The Land," an educational boat ride attraction located inside the same building. See firsthand how Walt Disney World horticulturalists are using innovative growing techniques and cross-breeding high-yield crops to help feed our planet.
You will float through greenhouses featuring these interesting food growing techniques, and you may eat some of that food during your Epcot visit. There is even a fish farm inside! There are often layovers or special decorations here for different holidays and celebrations. Pro Tip: Consider politely asking for the first row for the best views.
Inside this same building you will find "Sunshine Seasons," the downstairs food court with often-changing selections. Upstairs is a terrific Character Meal at Garden Grill Restaurant with Chip ‘n’ Dale where you can eat some of the food that is grown at Epcot! (reservations recommended)
Vintage Attractions=Shorter Waits
Next door to The Land pavilion is the World Celebration area. When you want a few minutes of calm, look to the classic, now less-visited attractions at any park, like “Journey Into Imagination” (the Figment ride). Following the ride is an interactive zone called "ImageWorks" that kids love to play in!
On the other side of The Land building is “The Seas with Nemo and Friends”, an attraction that takes you through a large aquarium and into a giant zone of learning about the ocean, complete with manatees!
Tip: “The Seas” a great place to go if your child needs a short nap in a darker, quiet place, or if you need some downtime to have some snacks. Relax and watch the fish swim by in the 5.7 million gallon aquarium!
Spaceship Earth is the iconic attraction for Epcot, its giant sphere is recognized globally. The ride inside takes you on a fantastic and somewhat lengthy journey through time as you learn about communication throughout the ages. This is a must-do attraction! Tip: Either reserve Genie+ for it later in the day or walk up in the evening when the line is short or you can’t even see the line from the outside. This attraction is quite crowded in the morning with Guests who have just entered the park and get into the first line they see. Skip it at that time and wait until later!
These vintage attractions are still fun, full of memories, often less chaotic, and usually with shorter wait times.
Did Someone Say “Free”?
Yes, get year-round refreshment at one of our favorite Epcot attractions in World Celebration. “Club Cool” hosted by Coca-Cola features samples of their carbonated beverages from around the world, and best of all, it is all FREE!
We pop in to Club Cool one or two times a day when we are at Epcot to get our fill of favorite drink samples. It is always a fun place to take first time visitors and see if they try Beverly.
Free Photo Shoot with Characters
Do you have a Disney Visa card like I do? If so, take advantage of your free photo shoot with characters daily. Just show your Disney Visa card, and you are in!
You never know which characters will be there. Your pictures will show up in My Disney Experience after your MagicBand is scanned. Want to know more about the other benefits? Just ask me or your If You Can Dream It Travel Advisor.
Fast Track to Test Track
While waiting for another Genie+ ride time, we often go to the Single Rider line at “Test Track”, the high speed car ride in the World Discovery area. We don't get to sit together but we avoid a long wait. If you absolutely want to sit together or have younger kids who can’t ride alone, I recommend that you make this a Genie+ early morning selection because it is one of the first attractions to run out of Genie+ reservations each day.
PUSH, the Talking Trash Can
I was sure surprised when I threw away some trash at the Electric Umbrella restaurant and this talking trash can thanked me! Maybe you can find PUSH, the Talking Trash Can on your next visit.
World Showcase Highlights
The World Showcase always has a busy calendar for live performances. This is especially true during the International Food & Wine Festival, happening now. One of the best experiences is the Mariachi Band shown above. You might get to join in the show if it is your birthday! Be sure to pop inside the Mexico building while you are there for the "Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros", a pleasant ride at the back that rarely has a long wait.
Check your My Disney Experience app to find out about other live performances that will enhance your day if you are there at the right time. This musical trio in “Germany” was delightful to listen to and watch. We are so glad we didn’t miss them.
Tip: If you are in “Germany” on the hour, you will see the clock show! Try to see it if you can. Don’t miss the miniature trains around the corner near the restrooms.
China and Canada both have nice Circle-Vision 360 film shows. Those with motion sickness can’t always tolerate it, but these are beautiful views of those countries! (photo by Disney)
Tip: If you have kids with you, consider taking their photo with a native-costumed Cast Member in each country. This makes for a great pictorial memory of your time visiting with the worldwide representatives of the Epcot World Showcase.
If there are any little girls in your party, they may be begging to "Meet Anna and Elsa at Royal Sommerhaus" in "Norway". Make their day by securing Genie+ for the "Frozen Ever After" ride as your first selection so you can sail through the fantastical world of "Frozen" and then try the School Bread at Kringla Bakeri Og Cafe for a delicious treat.
Also in this area is Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall. Tip: If you want to eat there and meet princesses, I recommend going for breakfast instead of lunch or dinner for two reasons; breakfast is less expensive and unless you are adventurous eaters, it is more likely that your family will like the food served.
In "Germany", our family loves the Biergarten restaurant! The authentic polka band show is fun and interactive for all ages. You can celebrate Oktoberfest all year long with a good selection of German beer and wine. The buffet is one of the lower priced ones, is the most food-allergy friendly for me, and is delicious! There are many dishes that will appeal to many palates. This restaurant is also on the list for guaranteed seating tickets for the many concert series that play at Epcot throughout the year. (reservations recommended)
If you don’t plan to have a meal in “Germany” they have many great snacks like giant fresh pretzels!
If you have wanted to go to “Italy”, here is your chance! There are two table service restaurants here, Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria, and Tutto Italia Ristorante. The pizza ovens in Via Napoli are very unique, so try to check them out.
A fan favorite choice for lunch at Epcot is in “France”, delicious and somewhat inexpensive fare at Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie. Besides the delectable desserts, the sandwiches and other savory selections are fantastic. It is a great place to pop in for a sweet treat and then enjoy it in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower or by sparkling fountains. Bon appetit!
Want to ride the Skyliner but you aren’t staying at a Skyliner Resort Hotel? Here’s how:
Between the “United Kingdom” and “France” you will find a path that leads down to the International Gateway. If you exit here, you can board either the Skyliner or the Friendship Boats. These modes of transportation are both included with your Walt Disney World admission. They can take you to several of the Disney Resort Hotels or to Disney’s Hollywood Studios Park. You can also take a ride just for the fun of it! To re-enter Epcot, you will need to go through Security and scan your admission (ticket card or MagicBand) again.
Year-Round Fun at Epcot
There are always wonderful happenings at this Disney Park!
The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival started on July 27th and will wrap up on November 18th to make way for the Holiday season celebrations. The International Festival of the Holidays will enchant you from November 24 to December 30, 2023 with fantastic Christmas-time decorations and characters! In January 2024, the International Festival of the Arts will begin. In early March 2024, my favorite showcase of the year will begin anew with the must-see International Flower & Garden Festival. I highly recommend them all!
I hope my tips and suggestions from this 3-part series will help you to have a wonderful visit to Epcot and try something new!
Diane with If You Can Dream it Travel (fb)