Epcot opened on October 1st 1982. It covers 300 acres and is more than twice the size of Magic Kingdom. It was the 2nd Theme Park to open in Walt Disney World.
The park is represented by Spaceship Earth, a giant sphere that also serves as an attraction of the same name.
Epcot is dedicated to the celebration of human achievement and is split into 2 sections Future World & World Showcase. It is often described as a permanent World Fair.
Epcot was known as EPCOT Center until 1994 but is now commonly known as just Epcot.
This article was last updated January 2018 and is part of a series forming a Beginners Guide to Walt Disney World. It is still in development and will be expanded further over coming months. Please keep checking back.
Epcot is an acronym for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. It was intended to be a utopian city of the future planned by Walt Disney to be built in Florida.
Following Walt’s death his vision for Epcot was not developed but it became the name of the 2nd theme park. A model of Walt’s vision can be seen by riding the Tomorrowland Transit Authority attraction in Magic Kingdom.
Like all the Disney Theme Parks Epcot has many interesting facts & statistics. Read some of our favourite facts here.
Disney World is in the middle of a major transformation of Hollywood Studios. Recently Animal Kingdom expanded with Pandora: World of Avatar. Prior to that was the major expansion of Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom.
To experience Epcot you should spend time planning your experience. Whilst there has been some attraction closures in Epcot in recent times it remains a massive park. The majority of guests will need 2 or even 3 days to experience the full park. As a minimum you should plan a day for each of Future World & World Showcase.
Not having a plan could mean you miss your top attractions.
It is important you understand about Fastpass+ before you visit and the key booking windows. Have a look at our guide to aid with the planning.
In addition Epcot attractions are tiered when booking Fastpass. You can book 1 attraction from Group A ride & 2 Group B.
In Epcot Soarin, Test Track, Illuminations & Frozen Ever After are all in group A.
Once you have used your first selections you can always try for another fastpass. Alternatively the options are the standby line or returning on another day. For Test Track you have the extra option of the Single Rider line.
We have also created a selection of Top Tips to get the most out of your day at Epcot.
If time is limited you might want to consider skipping these attractions.
Future World consists currently of 7 pavilions celebrating technical and scientific achievements. Don’t think that just 7 pavilions means you will complete in half a day. Many of the pavilions are lengthy and Future World does take a full day to explore fully.
However; Future World will be the site for the majority of the future expansions at EPCOT. Attractions such as Innoventions have been cut significantly and Universe of Energy has recently closed.
The current pavilions in Future World are:
Spaceship Earth is one of the most recognisable structures in any theme park. Inside is a 15 minute ride that shows the advancement of human communication. It is a dark ride and is built on an omnimover system. There is a post ride exhibit called Project Tomorrow: Inventing the Wonders of the Future.
Guests get to design their own car and then test it on a simulated test track. This is the fastest ride in Walt Disney World reaching speeds of almost 65 miles per hour. The ride is great fun and one of the most popular in the park. The ride is one of the few in Disney World that has a Single Rider line consider using this to save time. After the ride there is an interactive area for guests to enjoy.
Riding a Clamobile guests take an underwater trip with Nemo & Friends. The ride includes views of a massive aquarium which you can explore further after the ride.
Turtle Talk with Crush is an interactive animated show where guests can ask questions to Crush from Finding Nemo. I find the animation of Turtle Talk very impressive and the entire family seem to enjoy the show.
There are 3 main attraction in this pavilion.
Soarin’ Around the World is a hand gliding motion simulator that takes guests over various regions of the world. The video for Soarin was recently updated and an extra cinema was added due to the historical lengthy waits.
Living with the Land is a narrated boat ride in which you will visit various greenhouses and learn about agriculture innovations. Living with the Land will not appeal to many children and is rumoured for a potential update.
Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable starring the cast of the Lion King. Even the biggest Lion King fans might find this video a little slow.
This used to consist of a huge collection of hands-on walk-through exhibits. However; the majority of attractions are now closed with no announcement yet of future plans.
The Character SPOT still remains and you can meet Mickey, Minnie and Goofy.
Guests can also meet starts from Inside Out & Baymax from Big Hero 6. Characters do change from time to time…make sure you check your park guide or app.
This is a simulator ride that is meant to replicate what an astronaut might feel in space. The ride has just been updated .
I don’t get Mission Space…It just feels a bit odd and not very enjoyable. A ride I am happy to give a miss if time is tight.
A new Space Themed restaurant is getting built adjacent to the attraction. Hopefully it will be better than the ride!
Figment the mischievous cartoon dragon stars in Journey into Imagination with Figment. This is a fun dark ride experience. However; my children have both found Figment to be a little scary. ImageWorks: The What-If Labs is an interactive area you can explore after the ride.
The former Honey I Shrunk the Audience Theatre shows Pixar shorts if you want a break from the summer sun.
World Showcase is a permanent world fair containing 11 pavilions each representing a country. The pavilions contain architecture, attractions, shops and restaurants you would find in that country. Staff usually are citizens of their respective countries.
The pavilions surround the World Showcase Lagoon where the nightly Illuminations take place. There are 11 pavilions and theoretically space for a further 9.
Epcot’s International Gateway, between the United Kingdom & France provides a less hectic additional entrance and exit for the park. It can be reached from the Epcot Resorts and by boat from Hollywood Studios.
World Showcase could be considered the centre for Disney World Boutique Shopping and International Dining.
Please note this remains work in progress and additional information on each pavilion will be added over coming months.
The central indoor area of the pavilion is themed as an outdoor twilight-lit Mexican village and marketplace
The Norway Pavilion is the most recent nation to be added to World Showcase in 1988.
Illuminations: Reflections of Earth takes place every night prior to park closure. It features fireworks, lasers and fountains over the World Showcase Lagoon. This is a popular attraction and when the park is full you may need to reserve a spot early.
If you are a foodie then Epcot is probably the park for you!
There are multiple Quick Service Locations & Food Carts throughout EPCOT. Those located in World Showcase serve traditional food from the country you are at. During the Food & Wine Festival there are additional counters serving various speciality treats from around the world.
Unlike Magic Kingdom where alcohol is still limited, Epcot has many locations serving speciality drinks. Drinking around the World is a popular way many adults seem to enjoy World Showcase.
The following are the current table service restaurants in Epcot:
Please note this remains work in progress and additional information on each pavilion will be added shortly.
In recent years EPCOT have developed several festivals which have become key parts of the annual celebrations.
Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival is a celebration of food and drink from around the world. Held annually from mid-September through mid-November. It draws increasingly big crowds especially at the weekend.
Located throughout the World Showcase there are Specialty Booths serving Drink and Food. Guests with the Disney Dining Plan can taste many of the dishes by using snack credits.
Eat to the Beat is a series of concerts held nightly throughout the Food & Wine Festival.
Held annually between March & May is the International Flower & Garden Festival. Held nightly is the Garden Rocks concert series.
Now in its 2nd year this festival starts the Epcot year celebrating food, art & entertainment.
EPCOT is one of the best parks at Walt Disney World for meeting characters.
Character meals are available in the Land(Chip & Dale, Mickey) and Norway(Princesses) but there are plenty of characters throughout the park.
It is also used as a training ground for new actors and you will occasionally spot some of the rarer characters at EPCOT making unscheduled visits.
Regular characters who can be met in EPCOT include:
Make sure you check the park guide or My Disney Experience App to check where characters are.
Learn more about Walt Disney World in our Beginners Guide.
This article is part of a series forming a Beginners Guide to Walt Disney World. It is still in development and will be expanded over coming months. Please keep checking back.