EPCOT is super fun right from the moment you step through the main gates…..
(Epcot during Food and Wine Festival)
The first thing you see when you visit EPCOT, whether you arrive by car, monorail or bus, is that you are greeted by the giant EPCOT ball. It infact homes the attraction Spaceship Earth voiced by Lady Judy Dench. The slow moving dark ride takes you on a journey from the beginning of time to the present day and it is extremely enjoyable and perfect for a cool down if needed. Most people jump on it as soon as they get to the park as it is the first thing to ‘do’. It is not uncommon for a 45 minute to to 60 minute wait when the park first opens. My suggestions are either to fast pass the ride super early, late in the day or visit around lunch time, when most people are queuing for Frozen Ever After, Soarin’ or Test Track.
EPCOT is split in to two parts, Future World and World Showcase. Future World opens when the park opens, World Showcase opens around 11am, although, here is a super secret secret for you all… Norway opens at 9am and you can ride Frozen Ever After with or without a fast pass at this time, the French bakery also opens at 9am. Not many people know this so most certainly take advantage of the quiet time in these two countries, plan an early morning croissant and trip to the Fjords before everyone else.
Future World has a big gift shop called Mouse Gear, you can purchase anything from here, clothes, plushes, jewellery, homeware, princess dresses, I could go on. Club Cool hosted by Coca Cola has different colas from around the world, they are free to sample and also serve frozen coke, which I love. The Seas with Nemo and Friends, a dark ride which mixes animatronics, a real aquarium and a song from the Finding Nemo show in Animal Kingdom, I love this attraction and always make time to ride it. Coral Reef restaurant is attached to the same building, it serves seafood meals along with views of the same aquarium. Soarin’ a stunning simulator ride where you ‘soar’ over different locations over the world, certainly not one to miss. We always get a soaring’ fast pass first thing for our EPCOT day.
It is worth noting at this point that Frozen Ever After, Soarin’, Illuminations (EPCOT’s evening firework show), character meet and greet and Test Track are all tier one fast passes. Which means you can only get one of these fast passes as one of your three choices for the day. Once you have used the three for the day you are free to pick any that are left.
World Showcase is like a visit around the world in one day. There are little pavilions for each country represented. Each country so immersive, take the time to visit each one, take in the culture and the detail. There are cultural representatives (cast members) from each country, they are passionate about their homeland, it’s culture and Disney. China, Japan and the UK are my favourite. Other countries include, Mexico, where you can buy margaritas and ride on the Grand Fiesta Tour with The Three Caballeros. Morocco, here you can meet Aladdin and Jasmine. Norway, popular for school bread and the Frozen Ever After ride. Italy has a lovely gift shop and beautiful bridge thats perfect for photos, France, there is a cute little perfume shop, lovely bakery and you can also meet Belle and Aurora. We visited for Christmas last year and Belle was meteting in her Christmas outfit which was a nice touch. Canada might look a little underwhelming when you first visit but there is a lovely garden and waterfall that must be explored.
Through out the year World Showcase hosts several festivals,
- January through to mid February, The Festival of the Arts, there are art shows to view, beautiful little booths with food and even concerts to watch in the American Pavilion.
- The spring welcomes The Flower and Garden Festival, huge character topiaries, butterfly gardens and gardening experts come to the ground of EPCOT. Other than Food and Wine it is my favourite festival. There are so many things to look at, you can lose yourself for a day.
- August through mid November brings the most popular festival. EPCOT Food and Wine. People eat and drink around the world, we love it. Up to 30 different booths with food represented from different countries. The portions are a small samples. We can spend a day eating round the booths and do nothing else.
Winter brings the Festival of the Holidays, each country is decorated with trees and holiday decorations. Each country also show off their holiday celebrations to guests. Each one is different, it is fun and educational.Above, topiaries from EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival, Food and Wine Festival 2017 and Festival of the Holidays 2017)
Popular restaurants in EPCOT include Monsieur Pauls in the French Pavilion, a fine dining restaurant that is certainly a hidden gem, if the price tag here is to much then visit Chef De France is another popular choice in France. In Norway you can meet the Princesses for breakfast at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, a buffet set up for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In the UK there is a ‘typical’ English pub that serves fish and chips which is a popular location to eat and watch the Illuminations firework show, a tea shop and a fish and chips stand.
Do you love EPCOT? What country is your favourite to visit in World Showcase, which festival is your favourite and why? Let us know in the comments.