Disney’s Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, known as EPCOT is the second of the four theme parks in the Walt Disney World Resort. Spanning across 305 acres (which is twice the size of the Magic Kingdom), Walt Disney originally intended for for EPCOT to be a true city where people would live, work and play but today it is one of the most visited theme park in the world.
The Ultimate Guide to Epcot at Walt Disney World is a comprehensive resource for anyone planning a trip to this iconic theme park in Florida. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned Disney veteran, this guide has everything you need to know to make the most of your time at Epcot.
From the park’s attractions to dining options and insider tips, this guide covers it all. You’ll learn about the park’s different themed areas, like World Celebration, World Nature, World Discovery and the World Showcase, and the must-see attractions in each. You’ll also discover great places to eat, from quick-service options to fine dining experiences.
This Ultimate Guide to the EPCOT (2023) is not only perfect for first time visitors, but for seasoned Disney fans are are looking for the latest information about this amazing theme park.
Important Information about EPCOT
EPCOT is located at 200 Epcot Center Drive in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The park is located about 20 to 25 minutes from the Orlando International Airport and fairly easy to get to from all areas of central Florida. From outside of the Walt Disney World Resort, the best route to take is Interstate 4 to Epcot Center Drive. Epcot Center Drive heading west will take you directly to the parking entrance.
EPCOT Ticket Prices
As of October 2023 on Walt Disney World web site, prices at Epcot for a standard theme park single day ticket is $109 per day but prices vary during the course of the year up to $179 per day. Discounts for multiple day passes are offered and the more days you buy, the more you save. Please note that these prices are for one park per day and do not include the Park Hopper Option.
Disney is always running promotions with discounts and specials so be on the lookout for what they have to offer. There are a number of other sources which at times offer discount ticket prices. These include:
- AAA (American Automobile Association)
Where ever you decide to go to purchase your tickets, please make sure they are from a reputable source as there has been ticket fraud reports over the last several years.
Parking at EPCOT
Guests to the four Walt Disney World theme parks pay one parking fee that is good all day for all the four parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom). The parking fees are as follows:
- Standard Self-Parking (car or motorcycle): $25.00 per day
- Preferred Self-Parking (car or motorcycle): $45.00 to $50.00 per day
- Oversized Vehicle Self-Parking: $30.00 per day.
There are no parking fees for registered hotel guests and select Annual Passholders as it is included as a benefit of being a Disney hotel guest or Annual Passholder.
Are Theme Park Reservations Still Required?
Theme parks reservations are required to enter EPCOT until January 8, 2024. It is highly recommended to check the theme park web site before making plans for your next visit. After that time, reservations will not be required for “date-based tickets”.
It should also be noted that theme park reservations will still be needed for Student Group Tickets, Sport & Convention Tickets and Annual Passholders. Annual Passholders can visit any Walt Disney World theme park after 2:00 PM without a reservation (except at the Magic Kingdom on Saturdays and Sundays).
Is construction taking place at EPCOT?
As of October 2023, there is still a fair amount of construction taking place to the World Celebration section of the park. However, a number of construction walls have been taken down and the all new Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana just opened for guests to enjoy.
CommuniCore Hall, CommuniCore Plaza and several other new features are still in process but it is being widely reported that Epcot’s transformation will be complete before the end of 2023.
World Celebration is designed to be the heart of Epcot, with a focus on innovation, storytelling, and global culture. The neighborhood features several new attractions, including the upcoming “Luminous The Symphony of Us” nighttime spectacular and the Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana.
In addition to attractions, World Celebration also features new dining and shopping options, as well as interactive exhibits and entertainment. The neighborhood is designed to be a celebration of human achievement and creativity, with a focus on the power of imagination and the importance of global community.
Spaceship Earth is EPCOT’s iconic symbol and the centerpiece of the park. At 180-feet in height, this geodesic sphere cannot be missed from just about anywhere in the greater Orlando area. Even if you are staying at a hotel 10 miles away, you can probably see Spaceship Earth if you are staying on the fifth floor or higher.
This attraction is home to a 15-minute dark ride about the history of man in a time travelesque experience. The ride is narrated by Judi Dench who is an award-winning British actress that played in a number of major films and theater productions.
You board a two-person ride vehicle and start out on a journey beginning in the prehistoric stone age then moving forward in time visiting some of the most seminal moments in the history of man. After departing from the ride vehicle but before the exit, guests pass through Project Tomorrow: Inventing the Wonders of the Future.
Journey Into Imagination With Figment
In the Journey Into Imagination with Figment you will take a tour of the Imagination Institute where you will learn about how your five senses. This is a cute and fun inside attraction that great do in the heat of mid-day.
This attractions is perfect for guests of all ages and Disney Genie+ Lightning Lanes are available. Wait times are typically less than 30 minutes on most days.
Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival
Grab your 3D glasses and watch three short Disney/Pixar films with spectacular in-theater effects. This attraction lasts about 18 minutes and if perfect for guests of all ages.
Shops and Dining/Restaurants
- Connections Eatery: Quick service dining with a variety of American, Italian, French and Asian cuisine.
- Connections Cafe: Get your STARBUCKS® coffee or specialty Disney baked goods.
- Creations Shop: Disney themed souvenirs, apparel, toys and more. You can find all of your Disney gear here.
- Club Cool: Guests can sample out Coca-Cola and other sodas from around the world.
- Gateway Gifts
- Pin Traders – Camera Center
World Discovery is designed to be a celebration of science, technology, and intergalactic adventure. The neighborhood features several new attractions, including the Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind coaster. Other attractions in World Discovery include Mission: SPACE, which simulates a mission to Mars, and the Space 220 restaurant, which offers a dining experience set in space.
In addition to attractions, World Discovery also features interactive exhibits and entertainment that highlight the latest advancements in science and technology. The neighborhood is designed to inspire guests to explore the frontiers of space and to appreciate the wonders of the universe.
Mission: Space is simulated space launch (motion simulator) ride where you will blast off on your “X-2 Deep Space Shuttle” just like an astronaut from NASA. Each member of your four-person ride vehicle has a role in the mission. There is a commander, navigator, pilot and an engineer and you will have to work together as a team during your flight.
There are two different rides on Mission Space. The first being the mission to the planet Mars (Orange Mission) which is a more intense experience while the more gentle ride is the orbit around planet Earth (Green Mission). In the Orange Mission you can expect a variety of spins and tilts while the Green Mission is a much lighter experience with limited motion and no spinning. Those who get motion sickness or are claustrophobic should not ride either mission.
After the ride is over but sure to head over to the Advanced Training Lab which is a high-tech play area consisting of space-themed games.
Test Track is one of our favorite attractions in all the theme parks at Walt Disney World. It’s starts off letting you design a concept car using the latest advances in vehicle creating technology. You will be able to choose engines sizes, vehicle shapes, accessories, paint jobs and more.
Once your concept car is built you head off onto the track in your six-person ride vehicle where you will put your car through a variety of tests. From acceleration to maneuverability, inclement weather and rough terrain, you will see how your design stacks up against the others in your car.
Towards the end of the ride your car will take you on a high-speed run on a 50-degree banked curve at speed of up to 65-miles per hour. And since your vehicle is a convertible, you get to feel the wind in your hair.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
The all new Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind takes the experience of riding a roller coaster to a completely other level. Riders will go along with Quill, Rocket and the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy on cosmic adventure to save the universe.
Officially opened on May 27, 2022 at a rumored cost of $500 million, this coaster will set the standard for indoor themed roller coasters for the next several years.
Shops and Dining/Restaurants
- Space 220: Dine 220 miles above planet earth inside a space station. This is truly an out of this world experience.
- Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Company
- Refreshment Station
World Nature is designed to be a celebration of the natural world, with a focus on conservation, sustainability, and the beauty of the planet. The neighborhood features several attractions, including The Land pavilion, which explores the relationship between humans and the environment, and The Seas with Nemo & Friends pavilion, which features a variety of marine life exhibits and interactive experiences.
The Land Pavilion
The Land is one of the most exciting pavilions in all of EPCOT and features some of the most popular attractions.
Soarin’ Around the World
Soarin’ Around the World is one of the most amazing rides at EPCOT and in our top 5 in all of the Walt Disney World theme parks. In Soarin’ you will embark an a hang gliding type adventure where you will fly high across the globe. Starting out in the Swiss Alps, your journey takes to to Greenland, Australia, Mount Kilimanjaro, China, Egypt, India, Fiji, South America and Paris.
The ride itself is a motion-simulation that provides a smooth and easy ride as you view a 180-degree, 80-foot IMAX screen. With in-theater effects you get the experience of “soaring” across the globe.
Living with the Land
Hop about a boat to experience another of our favorite rides at EPCOT. In Living with the Land you will learn the history of how food is grown as well as what is being done today to help feed our growing population. This attraction takes you through a working greenhouse as well as a number of tanks that perform aquaculture (fish farming). A number of Epcot restaurants use the produce and seafood grown here.
Enjoy a fantastic 10-minute video and experience in-theater effects while learning about the story of life on planet earth. This attraction is suitable for guests of all ages.
Shops and Dining/Restaurants
- Chip n’ Dale Harvest Feast at Garden Grill Restaurant: Table service character dining with Chip ‘n’ Dale in a “rotating” restaurant. Enjoy family style American fare for breakfast, lunch and dinner in a casual and fun atmosphere. The cost for dinner is $59.99 per adult and $35.00 per child; reservations are recommended and some dining plans are accepted. Click here to learn more about the Garden Grill Restaurant.
- Sunshine Seasons: Quick-service dining right in The Land Pavilion featuring American fare. Some dining plans are accepted and this restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Click here to see the menu at Sunshine Seasons.
The Seas Pavilion
In this amazing water themed pavilion, it’s all about the living seas in The Seas Pavilion. If your kids loved the Nemo movies then they will really enjoy this attraction.
The Seas with Nemo & Friends Attraction
Enjoy an under the sea adventure with Nemo and his friends aboard your “clamobile”. Find the East Australian Current and ride along with Crush until you find Nemo.
Turtle Talk with Crush
One of the funniest family-friendly experiences in Epcot, your kids can talk directly with Crush, Dory and others in a 15-minute interactive setting.
Explore a massive 5.7 million gallon salt-water aquarium that holds sharks, turtles, dolphins, clown fish, rays and over 4,000 other sea creatures from 60+ species. There are amazing walk through “window-lined room” that lets you get up close and personal with all the marine life.
This attractions is perfect for guests of all ages and since SeaBase is a walk through experience, there are no lines to wait in.
Shops and Dining/Restaurants
- Coral Reef Restaurant: Guests dine while facing 50 foot long windows that provide stunning views of the attractions aquarium.
The World Showcase features 11 pavilions, each of which is themed to a specific country. These countries include Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, the United States, Japan, Morocco, France, the United Kingdom, and Canada. Each pavilion features architecture, food, music, and entertainment that are inspired by the culture of the represented country.
The World Showcase is a popular destination for visitors to Epcot, and it is a great way to experience the diversity of world cultures in a fun and engaging way. Guests can explore the different pavilions, sample traditional foods and drinks, and enjoy live performances by musicians and dancers from around the world.
The Mexican Pavilion is immediately adjacent to Future World East and designed as a striking Mesoamerican pyramid. Within this pavilion you can tour the art gallery ‘Remember Me!’ La Celebracion del Dia de Muertos which displays the works of prominent Mexican / Mexican-American artists. Additionally, there is an acclaimed Mariachi Bank “Mariachi Cobre’ that plays the music of Mexico.
The Mexican pavilion also features the “Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros” attraction which is a gentle boat ride down the Rio Grande river highlighting the sights and sounds of Mexico. The “Three Caballeros” are a group of very funny feathered friend that entertain the guests with their wacky antics throughout the trip.
Themed lounges, table service and quick service dining restaurants in Mexico include:
- San Angel Inn Restaurante
- La Hacienda de Sang Angel
- Choza de Margarita
- La Cantina de San Angel
- La Cava del Tequila
Norway is one of the more popular countries in the World Showcase due to it featuring the attraction, Frozen Ever After. Based on the Disney movie “Frozen”, Frozen Ever After is a themed boat ride to the mystical world of Arendelle about a classic Viking vessel. Guests will enjoy the music and characters from the popular film during their voyage.
In addition to Frozen Ever After there is a character meet and greet with Princess Anna and Queen Elsa as well as an exhibit called “Gods of Vikings” featuring the Norse gods including Thor, Odin, Freyja and Loki as well as authentic Viking artifacts.
Themed table service and quick service dining restaurants in Norway include:
- Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (Princess Storybook Dining): Dine with your favorite Disney Princesses including Cinderella, Belle, Ariel, Snow While and Aurora. The cost for this experience starts from around $35 per child for breakfast to over $60 per adult for dinner.
- Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe
The design and theming of the Chinese pavilion at Epcot is what you would expect to see if you were in Shanghai or Beijing. The pavilion features a reproduction of the “Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests” which sits is the Temple of Heaven near Beijing. Throughout the day you will witness the Jeweled Dragon Acrobats perform in front of the pavilion displaying feats of balance, strength and skill. There is also an exhibit entitled “Ignite the Dream: Inside Shanghai Disney Resort” . Ignite the Dream is the nighttime spectacular at Shanghai Disney.
The main attraction at the Chinese Pavilion is Reflections of China which is a 360 degree film where within less than 15-minutes will take you to visit both ancient and modern China. This 360 degree theater is absolutely amazing as you fell surrounded by all that is China.
Themed table service and quick service dining restaurants in China include:
- Nine Dragons Restaurant
- Lotus Blossom Cafe’
- Joy of Tea
Germany at the World Showcase is a German themed pavilion with architecture inspired by the Bavaria region of the country. There are a number of shops and exhibits to see but the main attraction at the German pavilion is Lebendig which is a German pop rock band.
Oktoberfest is also a popular time at the German pavilion with a offering of traditional German fare to go along with a number of select beers.
Themed table service and quick service dining restaurants in Germany include:
- Biergarten Restaurant (all you can eat German buffet)
Italy is the Italian themed pavilion at Epcot and its architecture is inspired by that in Venice, Florence and Rome. There are a number of small shops that sell Italian merchandise throughout the pavilion and guests are entertained by Sergio the Italian mime and juggler.
Themed lounges, table service and quick service dining restaurants in Germany include:
- Tutto Italia Ristorante
- Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria
- Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar
The American Adventure
The American Adventure is the host pavilion at Epcot and is designed after a large colonial mansion similar to what you would find in Boston or Philadelphia during the colonial era.
Within the halls of this mansion you will experience The American Adventure which is a 30 minute show that is hosted by Mark Twain and Benjamin Franklin. Also at The American Adventure you will find the Voices of Liberty which is an a cappella signing group that performs classic American songs in the rotunda of the mansion building.
Across from the building located directly on the lagoon is an outdoor and amphitheater called the America Gardens Theater. This amphitheater hosts a number of special events at Epcot including Garden Rocks (Flower and Garden Festival), the holiday Candlelight Processional and Eat to the Beat (during the Food and Wine Festival).
The themed quick service dining restaurants in The American Adventure include:
The Japan Pavilion is quite striking featuring a five story replica of a seventh century Horyuji Temple. There are numerous Japanese gardens through the pavilion with footbridges, koi fish and spectacular garden displays. The pavilion includes a number of Japanese exhibits and shops as well as the Japanese Taiko drummers called Matsuriza.
The themed quick service dining restaurants in Japan include:
- Teppan Edo (hibachi style dining)
- Tokyo Dining
- Katsura Grill
The pavilion at Morocco is designed after a prayer tower for 12th century mosque called the Koutoubia Minaret of Marrakesh. Features include the exhibit Race Against the Sun: Ancient Technique to Modern Competition as well as Atlas Fusion which is provides festive Moroccan music.
The themed table service and quick service dining restaurants in Morocco include:
- Restaurant Marrakesh
- Spice Road Table
- Tangierine Cafe
The pavilion at France is one of the most inspiring within Epcot front its replica of the Eiffel Tower the cobblestone lined streets. The main attraction in France is the two shows held in the Palais du Cinema which include:
- Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along
- Impressions de France
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure,
The themed table service and quick service dining restaurants in France include:
- Chefs de France
- Monsieur Paul
- Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie
The International Gateway is located at the rear entrance to EPCOT and features souvenir and merchandise locations as well as pin trading opportunities. Guests have access to the Water Taxi and Disney Skyliner transportation services just outside the International Gateway.
Like you just landed on the streets of London, the United Kingdom pavilion features a array of British architecture with Tudor, Victorian and Georgian heritage. The main attraction at the United Kingdom pavilion is British Revolution which is a British rock cover bank playing songs from Queen, The Beatles and The Who.
The themed table service and quick service dining restaurants in the United Kingdom include:
- Rose & Crown Dining Room
- Yorkshire County Fish Shop
- Rose & Crown Pub
When in Future World West you just can’t miss the Hotel du Canada that is the centerpiece of the Canadian pavilion at Epcot. There are amazing gardens, waterways and walking area throughout Canada which makes it a very picturesque spot for a photo opportunity.
The main feature in Canada is Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360 which is a 360 degree 12-minute film of the great white north. In addition to Canada Far and Wide, there is Suroit which is a Arcadian-Cajun and Celtic rock band that performs in the pavilion.
The themed table service restaurants in Canada includes:
EPCOT Nighttime Spectaculars
Epcot Forever is the current nighttime fireworks spectacular that will continue until early December 2023 until it is replaced by Luminous, The Symphony of Us.
The current Epcot Forever show is a celebration of the history and culture of Epcot, featuring fireworks, lasers, and music. The show featured a variety of classic Disney songs, as well as music from iconic Epcot attractions like “The Living Seas” and “Journey Into Imagination.”
EPCOT Annual Festivals
EPCOT hosts a number of fun filled events throughout the year with each having its own theme. There are typically four amazing events that are scheduled at various times throughout the year.
Epcot International Festival of the Arts
The Epcot International Festival of the Arts typically runs from early January to late February and features a number of art exhibits, entertainment, special merchandise, food offerings and experiences.
Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival
The Epcot International Florida and Garden Festival event brings amazing gardens, delicious food and rocking entertainment to Epcot from late spring until early summer. The festival features a number of beautiful topiaries inspired by some of the most popular Disney characters which include Anna & Elsa from Frozen, Bambi & Friends, Beauty and the Beast, Buzz Lightyear and more.
In addition to the topiaries, there are a number of amazing exhibits, gardens and tours found throughout the park. And if you love to eat, Epcot’s International Flower & Garden Festival has a number of amazing “outdoor kitchens” for you to indulge your palette.
Not to be forgotten is the Garden Rocks Concert Services which features a number of popular recording artists performing their greatest hits. All these amazing concerts are free with admission and are held at the stage in front of The American Adventure.
Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
One of the most popular festivals in all of Florida is the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival which runs from late summer to early fall of every year. Foodies and wine aficionados from around the world rejoice when they visit to Epcot for this spectacular event.
The Eat to the Beat concert series is held during this event and features a number of popular recording arts from pop to country and rhythm & blues. Stay tuned for the announcement of the artists and band.
Epcot International Festival of the Holidays
For the holiday season, Epcot hosts the International Festival of the Holidays which typically begins in the late fall and runs through the holiday season. Guests experience the holiday traditions for the 11 nations in the World Showcase which is highlighted by a Candlelight Processional with a celebrity narrator, a full choir and a 50-piece orchestra.
There are two entrances at EPCOT which is quite rare among theme parks. The main entrance is obviously located at the front of the park adjacent to the parking area as well as a ride sharing drop off area, a bus transportation center and Monorail station that provides access to the Transportation and Ticket Center. Each of Disney’s hotels provide shuttle bus transportation directly to Epcot and a number of off-site hotels provide transportation to the Transportation and Ticket Center.
If you are personally driving to Epcot take the Epcot Center Drive exit off Interstate 4 and head west. Follow Epcot Center Drive and it will take you right to the entrance ramp leading to the Wonder and Discover parking lots. As a bit of trivia, the Epcot parking lot is approximately 160 acres or about the size of 140 football fields; there is space for more than 11,000 cars.
There is a second entrance to EPCOT at the International Gateway near the France Pavilion in the World Showcase. This entrance provides direct access to the Epcot area hotels and resorts which include:
- Disney’s Beach Club Resort
- Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
- Disney’s Boardwalk Inn
- The Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort
- The Walt Disney World Swan Resort
- The Walt Disney World Swan Reserve
While the walk to the International Gateway entrance is not far, there is also boat transportation available using the friendships boats. There are docks at each of these resorts and the boats drop off/pick up at the International Gateway.
A fairly new way to get to EPCOT it to take the “Disney Skyliner” gondola system which is one of the most fun and enjoyable ways to arrive. The Skyliner can be accessed from any of the following Disney hotels: