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Complete Guide to Epcot at Disney World (2024)

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Since it’s opening, Epcot has been a fan-favorite Disney World park, with its unique offerings and more “grown-up” feel. There is so much to do in Epcot (and it always seems to be changing!). From exploring World Showcase and sampling so much delicious food, to riding some of my favorite classic rides and new rides too, our Epcot guide will walk you through everything you need to know about visiting Epcot.

Looking for other park guides? We also have guides the other Disney World Parks:

Plan the Perfect Disney Trip!

Where To Stay:

Tickets & Reservations:

  • Use Undercover Tourist (an authorized ticket seller) to save money on Disney tickets. You can save up to $80 per ticket!
  • Need a stroller? We loved using Kingdom Strollers for on-site stroller delivery!

Need Help Planning?

  • Aren’t sure where to start? Sign up here for a free 7-day email course that will walk you through each step of planning your Disney World trip!
  • Download our Disney Planning Spreadsheet, a Google sheet you can take with you on the go, to organize all your Disney World plans! (And use some of our tried and true itineraries!)

Getting To Epcot

Depending on where you are staying, there are lots of different ways to get to Epcot. In fact, every single Disney World transportation option has a way to get you to Epcot. Let’s Break them down.

Taking the Monorail to Epcot

Epcot is on the monorail line, which is super convenient to guests in the monorail Magic Kingdom Resorts — The Grand Floridian, The Polynesian, and The Contemporary. You won’t be able to get to Epcot directly from your resort, though; you’ll have to change monorails at the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC). But this is super easy and still so convenient!

This also makes it pretty easy to park hop to Epcot from Magic Kingdom. Just hop on the monorail to the TTC, then switch to the Epcot monorail.

Pro Tip: If you are staying at the Polynesian, just walk to the TTC!

Taking the Skyliner to Epcot

Some Disney resorts make access to Epcot easy with the Skyliner.

If you are staying at Disney’s Riviera Resort or Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, you can take the Skyliner directly to Epcot. If you are staying at Disney’s Art of Animation or Disney’s Pop Century Resort, you can take the Skyliner to Caribbean Beach and then change to the Epcot Skyliner.

When you take the Skyliner to Epcot, you will enter the park through the International Gateway entrance in the back of World Showcase. (A great way to rope drop Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure!)

Taking the Bus to Epcot

Most Disney resorts offer bus transportation to Epcot. Check the bus schedule at your resort and/or the My Disney Experience app. Buses run regularly before park open and after park close. Note that resorts with Skyliner access to Epcot have bus transportation infrequently, or may not run buses at all.

Also note that Boardwalk area resorts (from which you can walk or ride a boat to Epcot) do not offer bus transportation to Epcot. These include Beach Club Resort, Yacht Club Resort, Boardwalk Resort, and Swan and Dolphin Resort.

Walking to Epcot

If you are staying in a Boardwalk area resort — Beach Club Resort, Yacht Club Resort, Boardwalk Resort, and Swan and Dolphin Resort — you can easily walk to Epcot and access the park via the International Gateway (i.e. the back entrance). And a bonus is that this entrance tends to be a lot less crowded than the front entrance!

Taking a Boat to Epcot

If you are staying in one of the Boardwalk area resorts you can also take the Friendship Boat to Epcot. These boats travel to both Hollywood Studios and Epcot from the surrounding resorts. If you choose to take a boat, note that you may have other boat stops before you get to Epcot. The Friendship Boats will drop you off at the International Gateway entrance.

Driving the Epcot

You can also drive to Epcot. If you’re staying at a Disney resort, you will not have to pay for parking at Epcot. Otherwise parking is $30. Annual passholders do not have to pay for parking.

Getting Around Epcot

Epcot is a huge park at 300 acres, so get ready to walk.

Luckily, there is some additional transportation within Epcot. Friendship Boats (a different set than the ones you can use to get to the park) can ferry you across World Showcase Lagoon. These boats travel between Canada and Morocco and between Mexico and Germany. Both the Canada and Mexico Friendship Boat docks are located just before you enter the country’s pavilion from the front of the park.

Guide to Epcot Rides and Attractions in 2024

Walt Disney’s original vision of Epcot was of a futuristic city living and working together with advanced technology. In fact, the name Epcot comes from “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.”

While Disney’s original vision for the park is not exactly what we have, the focus of Epcot remains both educational and technological. There are two main halves of the park: the front of Epcot where we have World Discovery, World Celebration, and World Nature; and the back half where we have World Showcase

World Discovery

In 2021, the old Future World was split into three different sections. World Discovery is to your left when you enter the park, and focuses on science and technology.

World Discovery Rides and Attractions

  • Mission: SPACE (thrill ride)
  • Test Track (thrill ride, currently closed for refurbishment)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind (dark roller coaster and my absolute favorite ride in all of Disney World!)

World Celebration

World Celebration is the center part of the front section of Epcot. In late 2023, this area began to open (after being under construction for quite awhile). Here you’ll find a very vintage Epcot feel (hello 1980s Epcot!) plus a new statue of Walt Disney called “Walt the Dreamer.”

And newly opened in 2024, are the Communicore Hall and Communicore Plaza, which are meant to be year-round areas for festival events. And on the Communicore Plaza Stage, you’ll be able to see the new Encanto show “¡Celebración Encanto!” through September 6.

World Celebration Rides and Attractions

  • Spaceship Earth (slow, dark ride located in the park’s icon)

World Nature

World Nature is located to the right when you are walking into the park, and it is home to many favorite rides like Soarin’ and Nemo. It focuses, of course, on the natural world around us. There are three big buildings or “pavilions” in World Nature: The Seas, The Land, and The Imagination Pavilion.

World Nature Rides and Attractions

  • The Seas aquarium
  • The Seas with Nemo and Friends (ride located in the aquarium)
  • Turtle Talk with Crush (interactive show located in the aquarium)
  • Soarin’ Around the World (mild thrill ride located in The Land)
  • Living with the Land (slow boat ride located in The Land)
  • Journey into Imagination with Figment (slow, dark ride located in The Imagination pavilion)
  • Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana (an interactive walk-through attraction)
  • ImageWorks: The What-If Labs (interactive elements located in The Imagination pavilion)
  • Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival (show next to The Imagination pavilion)

World Showcase

World Showcase is located around World Showcase Lagoon and is full restaurants, shops, and cultural experiences from around the world, along with a few rides.

There are 11 countries that have their own “pavilion” in Epcot. These areas highlight the architecture, food, and culture of each country. Most of the them have both outdoor and indoor spaces; however, the Mexico pavilion is almost entirely indoors.

  • Canada
  • United Kingdom
  • France
  • Morocco
  • Japan
  • The American Adventure (USA)
  • Italy
  • Germany
  • China
  • Norway
  • Mexico

While not officially a pavilion, there is also a small area called The Outpost that is Africa themed.

Most of these countries do not have rides, but there are three: Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure in France, Frozen Ever After in Norway, and Gran Fiesta Tour in Mexico.

The main attraction of World Showcase is exploring the countries of the world, sampling the food, shopping, and seeing cultural displays.

World Showcase Rides and Attractions

  • Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros (ride located in Mexico)
  • Frozen Ever After (ride located in Norway)
  • Meet Anna and Elsa at Royal Sommerhus (meet and greet in Norway)
  • Reflections of China (film located in China)
  • The American Adventure (show located in the American Adventure pavilion)
  • Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along (film located in France)
  • Impressions de France (film located in France)
  • Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure (ride located in France)
  • Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360 (film located in Canada)
Epcot Germany Pavilion
Germany Pavilion in Epcot

Kidcot

If you are traveling with kids, you might be interested in checking out the Kidcot stops in each World Showcase country.

Let’s be honest…World Showcase isn’t the most exciting thing for kids (I remember being bored out of my mind when I was a kid). Kidcot is a way to make traveling through each country a little more fun for kids.

Kidcot stops in each country provide special souvenir cards with a sticker. You can also get a little luggage-themed plastic bag to keep them all in. It’s a small thing, but making a point to stop at the Kidcot stops in each country can really help kids move through World Showcase!

On our trip in 2021, our kiddo got really into picking up the cards and it kept her from getting bored. Plus, looking for the Kidcot stops in each country can be a fun scavenger hunt in and of itself.

World Showcase Scavenger Hunts

Throughout the year, especially in association with Epcot festivals (more on those below), other scavenger hunts are offered.

However, these scavenger hunts are NOT free. You’ll need to buy a map and stickers at one of the gift shops at the front of the park. When you complete the scavenger hunt (which usually involves looking for a specific character in each country) you get a prize though!

There is also a new DuckTales Scavenger Hunt that you can access through the Play Disney Parks app on your phone. This scavenger hunt IS free, and you just need to have the app downloaded to access it. The app will send you to specific sections of World Showcase and have you look for clues.


Main Street Train Station at Disney World

Are you planning your first trip to Disney World? Check out our complete Disney World planning guide!


How to Use Genie+ at Epcot

What is Genie+?

Important Changes Coming July 24, 2024: Genie+ is changing! Genie+ will be called Lightning Lane Multi Pass and Individual Lightning Lanes will be called Lightning Lane Single Pass.

Guests staying at Disney Resorts will able able to make 3 Lightning Lane selections using Multi Pass and up to 2 selections using Single Pass 7 days in advance of their trip (up to 14 days). Other guests will be able to make selections 3 days in advance.

Genie+ is a system that gives you access to Lightning Lanes at certain rides, which are shorter lines. The cost can range from $15 to $35 per day per ticket. The price is dependent on both the day and the park you are going to. If you purchase Genie+ you can book Lightning Lane return times for popular rides. There is also one ride per park that has an Individual Lightning Lane which comes at a separate charge.

To use Genie+ after you purchase it, you will book your first Lightning Lane at 7:00 a.m. on the morning of your visit. After that, you can book your next Lightning Lane when you check into your first one OR two hours after you booked your previous one (or two hours after the park opens if you are still in the morning hours).

Note that Genie Plus is not the same as Genie. Disney Genie is a planning tool that is available to everyone within the My Disney Experience app at no cost. Genie+ costs money.

Using Genie+ in Epcot

Before your visit, make sure you get in the app and play with the features. You can go to “My Day” and then “Tip Board” to see what rides are available in each park, how long the standby lines are, and what Lightning Lane times tend to get booked quickly.

Here are the rides that have Lightning Lanes with Genie+ in Epcot (an asterisk notes a particularly popular ride where Lightning Lanes will be most useful):

  • Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival
  • Journey into Imagination with Figment
  • Living with the Land
  • Mission: SPACE
  • The Seas with Nemo & Friends
  • Soarin’ Around the World*
  • Spaceship Earth
  • Test Track*
  • Frozen Ever After*
  • Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure*

There is also one ride per park that offers an Individual Lightning Lane. You can purchase this whether or not you purchase Genie Plus:

  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind (currently also available using Virtual Queue; standby not available)

If you are using Genie+ at Epcot, we recommend getting your first Lightning Lane for Frozen Ever After or Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, as these are some of the most popular rides. Then we would rope drop either Frozen Ever After, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, or another Lightning Lane ride. Also, don’t forget that Test Track has a single rider line which can also save you time!

Between your Lightning Lane reservation times, you can pick rides that have lower waits and enjoy exploring World Showcase. There is a lot to do and see in Epcot not involving rides!

Do I Need Genie Plus for Epcot?

Whether or not you want to get Genie+ in Epcot really depends on your priorities and whether or not you are okay missing some of the bigger rides and/or waiting in a long line. While it is usually pretty possible to get everything done in Epcot without Genie+, that also means you would be spending some precious time in line when you could be seeing all World Showcase has to offer. Also, now that Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Frozen Ever After have been added to Genie+, getting it in Epcot makes a lot more sense than it did previously. (They had previously both been Individual Lightning Lanes, which is another added cost.)

But if you are trying to save money and be judicious with what money you spend on line skipping, Genie+ in Epcot is probably one of the benefits you need the least, especially if you have a good rope drop strategy and don’t mind waiting in at least one or two extra long lines (or skipping a few rides) during the day.

How to Ride Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind

The newest ride in Epcot is Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. This is a dark roller coaster with new innovative ride technology (the cars rotate while you are moving forward!). And it is INCREDIBLE. This is easily my current absolute favorite ride at Disney World.

There are two ways to ride Cosmic Rewind:

  1. Virtual Queue
  2. Individual Lightning Lane Purchase

To join the Virtual Queue, you will need to have a Park Reservation for Epcot (at least until January 9, when Park Pass Reservations will no longer be required for date-based tickets). You will then use the My Disney Experience app to join the queue at the appropriate time. The Virtual Queue for Cosmic Rewind will be distributed two to three times daily, and each one has some specific requirements.

  • 7:00 a.m. (Must have a Park Pass for that day in Epcot (although this will likely change one reservations are no longer required on January 9, but can join the Virtual Queue from anywhere.)
  • 1:00 p.m. (Must be inside Epcot to join the Virtual Queue.)
  • 6:00 p.m. (Virtual Queue only available for guests staying in Deluxe Resorts on days when Epcot has Extended Evening Hours.)

Note that Disney has been known to change Virtual Queue drop times, so check your My Disney Experience app before your trip to Epcot.

If you can’t join the Virtual Queue, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is also available as an Individual Lightning Lane purchase. This price will range from $15-$17 (it could also be more). If you plan on purchasing this Lightning Lane, we recommend doing so as soon as you can in the morning, because this is likely to sell out quickly.

Early Entry at Epcot

If you are staying at a Disney Resort, you are eligible for Early Entry, where you can enter the park 30 minutes before official opening time. This is a great way to get on one or two of the bigger rides without a super long wait!

Here are the rides available for Early Entry at Epcot:

  • Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along (please don’t spend your Early Entry time doing this)
  • Frozen Ever After
  • Mission: SPACE
  • Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
  • Soarin’ Around the World
  • Spaceship Earth
  • Test Track
  • The Seas with Nemo & Friends

Where to Meet Characters at Epcot in 2024

The fun thing about characters in Epcot is that you get to meet them in their home countries. This means you’ll see Belle in France, Alice and Pooh and the United Kingdom, and Mulan in China. In addition to opportunities like these, there are also places to meet classic characters. And I love that Epcot is where you can meet Minnie and Mickey in their classic outfits!

So let’s break down where you can see characters in Epcot. Note that this information is always subject to change, and the best way to guarantee that you can meet your favorite character is to check the times in Epcot on the My Disney Experience app on the day of your visit.

Epcot Character Meet and Greets

Epcot has a lot of characters who make regular appearances throughout the day. If you want to meet a specific character, you’ll want to check your times guide or My Disney Experience app to see when characters will be out.

In the front of the park, there are several places to either meet or wave to characters. As construction is ongoing in the front half of Epcot, these locations may be subject to change.

  • Goofy & Pluto are at the front of the park near the entrance.
  • Mickey Mouse is in the Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival.
  • Figment is in ImageWorks in the Imagination Pavilion.
  • Winnie the Pooh can often be spotted outside near the Imagination Pavilion.
  • Classic characters like Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Daisy, and Pluto can often be spotted in World Celebration.
  • Moana is near her new attraction, Journey of Water.
  • Asha is in the gazebo at the entrance to World Showcase.

Throughout World Showcase there are also areas to meet some favorite characters:

  • Alice (UK)
  • Mary Poppins (UK)
  • Belle (France)
  • Princess Aurora (France)
  • Princess Jasmine (Morocco)
  • Snow White (Germany)
  • Mulan (China)
  • Donald Duck (Mexico)

And if you want to meet Elsa and Anna, you can find them at their Royal Sommerhus in Norway. (This is one character meet and greet that often has a somewhat long line.)

Epcot Character Meals

Character meals are a great way to meet multiple characters at once while sitting down to enjoy a meal. Epcot has two main character meals: Akershus Royal Banquet Hall and Garden Grill.

Garden Grill is located the The Land pavilion. This restaurant rotates, a fun feature that shows you different spots of The Land pavilion. Characters here include Mickey, Pluto, and Chip and Dale.

Akershus Royal Banquet Hall is located in Norway and features Disney princesses. Characters you might see include Ariel, Aurora, Belle, Cinderella, and Snow White.

Epcot Outdoor Entertainment

Epcot has tons of outdoor entertainment options to choose from, with various small performances occurring in almost every country throughout the day. From the drummers in Japan to Mariachi Cobra in Mexico, there is always something going on. Check your times guide or My Disney Experience app to see when performances are occurring during your visit.

Epcot also has a nighttime fireworks spectacular. It’s new show, Luminous The Symphony of Us, debuted on December 5, 2023. It takes place in the center of World Showcase, so to see it you’ll want to line up around World Showcase Lagoon.

Guide to Epcot Restaurants and Dining

If you are a foodie, Epcot is the place to be. Honestly it would be impossible to cover all the possible dining options in Epcot. Every country has specialty restaurants, and when there is a festival going on (more on that below) there are more food options than you will know what to do with.

Let’s just cover the restaurant highlights here. There are great table service and quick service restaurants in Epcot, and here we’re just going to give you a quick list with each restaurant’s location and any food notes that might be helpful, plus they are all linked to their official site so you can easily find menus and available times.

Epcot Table Service Restaurants

Table service dining restaurants are traditional sit-down restaurants. And in Disney, of course, they can be on the pricey side. Epcot has so many great options to choose from though. Many of these will require a reservation, although some do take walk-ups.

Epcot Quick Service Restaurants

Epcot Quick Service (or Counter Service) restaurants are more like fast food — you order at a counter and take your food to your table. But many of these restaurants don’t skimp on quality! I especially love Les Halles and Yorkshire County Fish Shop! Here are the Quick Service restaurants available at Epcot.

The Land Pavilion

Epcot Quick Service Snacks

Counter Service snack locations are small stands with limited food options, usually a couple of specialty items. This isn’t an exhaustive list either; aside from these options, you’ll find other kiosks and drink stands around the park. And during a festival (see more below) there will be so many food kiosks you might have a hard time making a decision about what you want to eat!

Epcot also has a good variety of drink carts where you can get beer, cocktails and other drinks from around the world. In addition to what is listed below, you’ll find other drinks through the park, like beer stands in Germany and Norway.

Special Events and Festivals at Epcot

I can’t believe we’ve gotten this far in our Epcot guide without talking in detail about the festivals yet, because Epcot’s yearly festivals are a BIG attraction for this theme park.

Throughout the year, Epcot holds several different festivals that include specialty food stands, entertainment, and other fun activities. They occur seasonally, and usually last for months at a time.

Festival of the Arts

In 2024, Festival of the Arts runs from January 12 to February 19. It celebrates art in all kinds of forms: culinary art, visual art, and performance art. When you visit, be sure to pick up a Festival of the Arts passport to see all the special offerings. Here are a few things you’ll find during Epcot’s Festival of the Arts:

  • Food booths focused on artistically stunning food
  • Special performances (usually located in The American Adventure and World Showplace, which is located between Canada and the UK)
  • Special artists booths, where you can purchase art
  • Animation Academy (learn to draw a favorite character)
  • Interactive Wall Mural (a fun opportunity to participate in art)
  • Special photo ops that have you step into a painting
  • Festival of the Arts merchandise

Festival of the Arts is Epcot’s newest festival, starting in 2017. There’s so much to do here, and it highlights Epcot in a fun and unique way. Plus, it gives the parks a little something special during those early winter months.

Flower and Garden Festival

One of the most popular festivals at Epcot, the International Flower and Garden Festival takes place in the spring. In 2024, Flower and Garden Festival will run from February 28-May 27 (a shorter festival than in years past).

Here you’ll find a celebration of all things plants, from the food offered to the beloved topiaries dotting the park. Here’s a sampling of some of the special things you’ll find during Flower and Garden Festival.

  • Special food booths with garden focused food
  • Live concerts and music
  • Character topiaries
  • Special Flower and Garden Festival merchandise

Be sure to pick up a Festival Passport on your way into the park to check out all the latest offerings during your trip.

Food and Wine Festival

For foodies visiting Disney, Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival is a dream. In 2024, the Food and Wine Festival will run from August 29 – November 23.

Here you’ll find specialty food and beverages from around the world (including a lot of countries that aren’t otherwise featured in World Showcase) as well as some fun entertainment. Here’s a few things you can usually expect (but be sure to pick up a Festival Passport when you arrive to see what’s being offered).

  • Food booths from around the world, featuring special food and drink
  • Premium dining events with celebrity chefs (this is an extra cost/ticket)
  • Special outdoor entertainment and concerts
  • Culinary demonstrations and seminars
  • Special festival merchandise

Festival of the Holidays

Epcot’s International Festival of the Holidays runs during the Christmas holiday season, late November to late December. In 2024, Festival of the Holidays will run from November 29-December 30.

As with the other festivals, you’ll find special food booths and entertainment. Here’s a sampling of what you can expect.

  • Special holiday food booths
  • Candlelight Processional (a popular nightly show)
  • Holiday Cookie Stroll
  • Holiday Storytellers in World Showcase countries
  • Special concerts and entertainment

As with the other festivals, a Festival Passport will give you the best information for what’s being offered during your visit.

Epcot Current Closures and Upcoming Attractions

Be aware that during 2023, much of the front of the park is under construction, and paths are being re-routed. So be aware of that as you are trying to find your way around.

Upcoming Attractions:

  • TBA

Closures:

  • Test Track will be closed from June 17, 2024 – TBA for a reimagining.

Plan the Perfect Disney Trip!

Where To Stay:

Tickets & Reservations:

  • Use Undercover Tourist (an authorized ticket seller) to save money on Disney tickets. You can save up to $80 per ticket!
  • Need a stroller? We loved using Kingdom Strollers for on-site stroller delivery!

Need Help Planning?

  • Aren’t sure where to start? Sign up here for a free 7-day email course that will walk you through each step of planning your Disney World trip!
  • Download our Disney Planning Spreadsheet, a Google sheet you can take with you on the go, to organize all your Disney World plans! (And use some of our tried and true itineraries!)

Epcot Tips and Tricks

  • Don’t forget about the International Gateway entrance! This park entrance opens at the same time as the front entrance, and can be especially convenient if you are staying at a nearby Boardwalk resort or if you want to rope drop the Remy ride.
  • Be prepared to walk! Epcot is a huge park and will require a lot of walking, so wear comfortable shoes! (Really this goes for any park, but I feel like Epcot has a special way of tiring your feet out!)
  • Know about the levels on Mission: SPACE. There are two levels here, making the ride accessible to more ages. The Orange level is SUPER intense (maybe the most intense ride at Disney), while the Green level is mild and family-friendly.
  • Be sure to explore off the beaten path in World Showcase! There is so much to see in each country. The galleries often get overlooked but are definitely worth it! Plus they make a great place to cool down from the heat.
  • World Showcase scavenger hunts are often going on throughout the year, so stop in at a gift shop or kiosk at the front of the park and ask a cast member about them!
  • Visit Club Cool for a crazy drink. Club Cool is an Epcot icon. Sponsored by Coca-Cola, you can try all kinds of different soda flavors from around the world, including the infamous Beverly.

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