EPCOT at the Walt Disney World Resort
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.
At this time EPCOT consists of two separate themed areas known as Future World and the World Showcase. However, Disney is in process of transforming EPCOT with new themes and new rides & attractions.
At the 2019 D23 Expo, it was announced that Future would undergo a massive redevelopment and new theming with four new neighborhoods known as: World Celebration, World Nature, World Discovery and World Showcase (existing).
As of January 2022, construction continues on EPCOT’s redevelopment plan. There are a large number of construction walls surrounding buildings and attractions in Future World and we anticipate this will continue throughout the entire year.
More details about the expansion of Epcot are in the EPCOT Expansion Section.
As of December 2022, The Future World area of Epcot is looking more like a construction site than a theme park. There are construction walls surrounding multiple projects that start from just past the entrance gates as wall as that on the far side of Spaceship Earth.
The good news is progress has been ongoing and we are seeing new attractions and dining options like the Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and the Connections Cafe. The following video was taken from the Epcot Monorail in February 2022 and it shows show things are proceeding within Future World.
Reservations are required to enter EPCOT on a specific day (unless park hopping after 2:PM) and it is highly recommended to check the theme park web site before making plans for your next visit. Additionally, as of October 2021 Disney introduced the Disney Genie, Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lanes which replaced the FastPass+ at the for theme parks. Click here to learn more about this new system.
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.
Future World was inspired by Walt Disney’s dream of a place to showcase new technologies, ideas and innovations. You will be able to explore space, learn new ways to grow food and fly through the skies. Some of the Disney’s most exciting rides and attractions are located in Future World.
Future World East
Future World East begins just after the park entrance and is home to some of EPCOT’s most exciting rides and attractions. This area will also play a big part in the expansion of EPCOT.
Spaceship Earth (Endless Summer favorite)
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 passing by cavemen, ancient Egyptians, Roman charioteers and monks up until more modern times with the ride ending at our current “Digital Age”.
After departing from the ride vehicle but before the exit, guests pass through Project Tomorrow: Inventing the Wonders of the Future. Project Tomorrow is a great place for kids to play as there are a number of fun filled high tech experiences including:
- Body Builder: You can reconstruct the human body.
- Super Driver: A video driving simulation game.
- Power City: A high tech shuffleboard style game where you power a city.
- InnerVision: An active game using physical coordination
There is also an illuminated globe which highlights the home locations of visitors to Spaceship Earth.
There are no height restrictions on Spaceship Earth and this attraction is suitable for guests of all ages. Disney Genie+ Lightning Lanes are available but it will not be needed if you visit this ride first thing in the morning upon entrance. Later in the day wait times can exceed 30 minutes on a typical summer day.
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.
There is a 44-inch height restriction for the Orange Mission and a 40-inch height restriction for the Green Mission. Disney Genie+ Lightning Lanes are available and wait times can exceed 30 to 60 minutes on a typical summer day.
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 (Endless Summer favorite)
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.
There is a 40-inch height restriction for Test Track and the ride is suitable for most kids that meet that height. Disney Genie+ Lightning Lanes are available for this attraction as wait times can easily exceed 60 minutes on the typical summer day.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind (Endless Summer favorite)
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
- 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.
- Eats at the Epcot Experience: Quick service dining with flatbreads, salads and sandwiches.
- Creations: 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.
- Space 220: The price fixed restaurant was recently opened in the fall of 2021. The venue is entirely themed as a space station 220 miles above the earth.
Learn more about the upcoming rides, attractions and dining experiences coming to Future World East in the EPCOT EXPANSION section below.
Future World West
Just on the other side of EPCOT is Future World West which features a number of more classic Disney rides and attractions as well as character meet & greets.
The Imagination pavilion is exactly what you would expect to see at a Disney Park with classic Disney characters. Attractions at Imagination! include:
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.
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 (Endless Summer favorite)
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.
There is a 40-inch minimum height limit to ride Soarin’ and since this is a gentle ride, it is suitable for pretty much guests at thrill levels. Disney Genie+ Lightning Lanes are available and highly recommended as wait times will exceed an hour on just about every day of the year.
Living with the Land (Endless Summer favorite)
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.
This attractions is perfect for guests of all ages and FastPass+ reservations are offered. Disney Genie+ Lightning Lanes are available but wait times are fairly moderate and don’t normally exceed 30 minutes.
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 with Nemo and Friends
In this amazing water themed pavilion, it’s all about the living seas in The Seas with Nemo and Friends. 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.
This attractions is perfect for guests of all ages and Disney Genie+ Lightning Lanes are available.
Turtle Talk with Crush (Endless Summer favorite)
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.
This attractions is perfect for guests of all ages and Disney Genie+ Lightning Lanes are available. Since wait times are fairly moderate and don’t normally exceed 30 minutes.
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.
The World Showcase is a world traveler, cultural aficionado and foodie’s delight! Circling a 40-acre lagoon, there are 11 individual nations hosting pavilions with themed attractions & experiences, food, art and culture from the respective country. You can sample delicious cuisine and enjoy amazing wines from around the world in the numerous restaurants.
There is a ferry boat ride on Epcot’s Friendship Boats that you can take from Showcase Plaza at the entrance of World Showcase (near the Canada Pavilion) to the Morocco / France area at the other side of the World Showcase Lagoon. As a tip, the boat is much slower than walking.
The all new “Harmonious” show commenced in October 2021. This amazing show features classic Disney songs accompanied by a powerful display of lights, fountains, pyrotechnics and digital media.
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.
There is no height requirement for Frozen Ever After and the attraction is suitable for guests of all ages. Since this is a very popular ride, Disney Genie+ Lightning Lanes and individual Lightning Lanes are available.
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. The show is displayed on a 72-foot screen featuring 35 Audio-Animatroics figures and is a must see for any guest as it highlights many of the significant events in the history of the United States.
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 pavilion at Japan 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
- Takumi-Tei (temporarily closed)
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
In addition to the shows above, there is an exhibit called Tale As Old As Time: French Storytelling on Stage and Screen and the comical waiter called Serveur Amusant (current unavailable as of the spring 2022).
The themed table service and quick service dining restaurants in France include:
- Chefs de France
- Monsieur Paul
- Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie
All new as of October 2021, is Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure where guests go on an adventure with that lovable little mouse Remy. Disney Genie+ Lightning Lanes and individual Lightning Lanes are available.
The International Gateway is located at the rear entrance to EPCOT and features souvenir and merchandise locations as well as pin trading opportunities.
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.
Stay tuned for updates coming soon the the United Kingdom pavilion.
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:
JAMMitors at the Mill Stage
Make sure you check out the JAMMitors who are a drum band that uses everyday items like trash cans, brooms and cans to entertain the Epcot guests.
There are multiple shows throughout the day lasting about 10 minutes.
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
This annual 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, Fantasia – Sorcerer Mickey, Lady and the Tramp, Simba and Friends from The Lion King, Topiary Flowers, Snow White and Dopey and Winnie-the-Pooh & Friends.
In addition to the topiaries, there are a number of amazing exhibits, gardens and tours found throughout the park in both Future World and the World Showcase. A few of our favorites include The Goodness Garden Butterfly House, the Shakespeare Garden, Growing the Future, Garden Italiano, Floating Gardens, Festival Blooms, English Tea Gardens and the Bonsai Collection.
If you love to eat, Epcot’s International Flower & Garden Festival has a number of amazing “outdoor kitchens” for you to indulge your palette. These include Florida Fresh, Hamami, Flavor Full Kitchen, the Bauernmarket: Farmer’s market, The Citrus Blossom and many more.
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. In addition to food & beverage pairings, there are culinary demonstrations, beverage seminars, cheese seminars and the ability to have Sunday brunch with a celebrity chef.
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.
The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival typically runs from mid-July 15 to mid-November and features a variety of different cuisine and beverages including:
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.
How to get to EPCOT
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:
What does is cost to go to EPCOT?
As of January 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.