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  • Writer's pictureBrenda

Epcot - Tips for Planning Your Day

Updated: Jun 25, 2023

Every family is different, so instead of giving you a step by step plan (that may or may not work depending on so many factors) we will provide you with some tips and tools to make your own park touring plan. See our general planning post over here, for Epcot specific tips read on.




 


Starting Your Day


Starting Your Day

To make the most of your Epcot time we recommend getting to the park prior to opening so you can get inline for one of the popular attractions. At the moment you cannot rope drop Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, however you can be prepared to ride Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, Test Track, or Frozen Ever After.


If you are staying at one of the Disney resorts you can make use of Early Theme Park Entry and enter the park 30 minutes before non-resort guests. At Epcot you will get to enter the park about 20 - 15 minutes prior to the Early Entry opening time to join a queue for one of these rides. Then once the clock reaches the official opening time guests will get to start riding. If you wait to enter the park at the official Early Entry time there will already be a 30 minute or more wait for most of the popular rides.


If you are aiming to ride Test Track, then it is easiest to enter through the main entrance at the front of Epcot. However, if your aim is to rope drop Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, then entering through the International Gateway, which enters right next to the France Pavilion, will cut your walk to that attraction down considerably, putting you ahead of a lot of people hustling their way from the front to the back. This of course is easy for guests staying at either Epcot area resorts or Skyliner resorts. However, if you do not fall into one of those categories we recommend getting an early morning breakfast reservation at either Cap May Cafe (at the Beach Club Resort), or Topolinos (at Riviera). From either of those hotels you can make use of the International Gateway entrance. Unfortunately, you cannot be dropped off at one of the Disney resorts without either a hotel reservation or dining reservation at one of the resort’s restaurants, so you cannot just uber to one of the resorts and then enter in the backway.


The majority of the World Showcase does not open until 11am. There are a handful of places that open with the rest of the park however. This includes the two popular rides: Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Frozen Ever After. There are also a few additional places open in France for the masses of people currently flocking there. The other attraction open is The Beauty and the Beast Sing Along, this is a cute show that will appeal to kids who adore Beauty and the Beast. You can also grab an early morning bite to eat at either Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie or La Crêperie de Paris where there is both a sit down option and snack via a window. Similarly in Norway, where Frozen Ever After is located, you can grab a snack at Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe (we recommend the School Bread) or have breakfast with royalty at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall’s princess character dining (reservations required).


Early Theme Park Entry Rides:

  • Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along

  • Frozen Ever After

  • Mission: SPACE

  • Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure

  • Soarin’ Around the World

  • Spaceship Earth

  • Test Track

  • The Seas with Nemo and Friends.


Extended Evening Theme Park Hours


If you are staying at a Disney Deluxe or Deluxe Villa Resort Disney offers 2 hours of extended evening hours at Magic Kingdom and Epcot on select days. This is a free amenity for deluxe resort guests only. Extended Evening Hours are only available twice a week, usually every Monday at Epcot and Wednesday at the Magic Kingdom, but you should check your My Disney Experience app for when you are there.


For these guests, an additional virtual queue for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind opens at 6:00pm.


While most of the World Showcase closes down during the Extended Evening Hours, the Mexico Pavilion remains open.


Rides available:

Frozen Ever After

Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind (via a virtual queue)

Mission: SPACE

Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure

Soarin” Around the World

Spaceship Earth

Test Track

The Seas with Nemo & Friends



Navigating the Crowds


Some areas of the park, and rides, are busier at specific times and for specific reasons. Below are some examples of how the ebb and flow influence how crowded an area feels and the corresponding wait time of rides in that area.

  • As you enter the park, through the main entrance, the first attraction you will come to is Spaceship Earth. Often, around mid-morning for a couple of hours, the wait time for this attraction will spike. This is because many people will stop and join the queue as they enter the park from 9am to 10am. We recommend either lumping it in with some shortly after opening riding, or wait until after lunch to ride. This is also a great ride to grab a later in the day Genie+ return time for, as there is often still availability.

  • There is a popular quick service restaurant inside the Land Pavilion, Sunshine Seasons. As a result, around lunch time inside the Land Pavilion can get hectic and crowded. In addition, many people will plan to ride either Soarin’ Around the World or Living with the Land while they are there, so wait times will often spike for a bit around then.

  • Less about navigating the crowd at Epcot and more about avoiding one at the other parks: if you want to meet Mickey mouse and are not particular about where you meet him, Epcot is a great place to do it. Over in the Imagination Pavilion, as you enter the Magic Eye Theater, there is currently a Mickey meet and greet that often has only a short wait.

  • Main promenade around the World Showcase can feel very congested during peak travel times. The one area that seems to always be overly crowded is the outside area of the Mexico pavilion. This is a result of multiple restaurants situated to one side along the water area, the main pyramid to the other side, a snack stand (with margaritas) on one side of the pyramid, and a popular character meet and greet to the other. All of this plus the more narrow walkway to make room for it all makes this area particularly intense. We are not particular proponents of starting on one side of the World Showcase over another, but if crowds are really not your thing and you are entering the World Showcase around lunch, like many people, then we recommend going through Canada first and ending in Mexico at the end of your evening when things will have calmed down somewhat.

  • Typically people will tackle the park front to back, with peak crowds in World Celebration, World Discovery, and World Nature starting around 10am. Those crowds will then start migrating into World Showcase starting around lunch through the early afternoon. By the early evening many of the attractions toward the front of the park will have lower wait times as many people are now touring the World Showcase.

  • If you are feeling overwhelmed by the crowds and need to find a quiet area to take a breather, wind back into either the Canada Pavilion or the Morocco Pavilion. Both of these have secluded areas that rarely have many, if any, people hanging out in them.


Making Genie+ Choices


If you do choose to get Genie+ for your day, there is some strategizing you can use to make the most of your day at the Epcot. First and foremost you should be familiar with how Genie+ works in the MDE app, you can read our post about it here. Below is our recommendation for the order to try to get Genie+ reservations in:


Most Popular Rides (make these selections first):

  • Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure

  • Frozen Ever After

  • Test Track


Moderately Popular Rides (good for after you’ve made the initial reservations):

  • Soarin’ Around the World

  • Spaceship Earth

  • Mission: SPACE


Low Priority Rides (really don’t need to use Genie+ on unless you have nothing else to book):

  • Journey into Imagination with Figment

  • Living with the Land

  • The Sea’s with Nemo and Friends


Shows (generally make little sense to book on Genie+ because you can almost always just walk in at the start of the next show):

  • Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival

  • Turtle Talk with Crush


For Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmis Rewind we recommend grabbing an Individual Lightning Lane (ILL). You can try to join the virtual queue at 7am, and again at 1pm - but if you get in at 7am you will not be able to try again at 1pm. The virtual queue is hard to get however, and you will likely still have to wait in a long line after your boarding group is called. The ILL is still popular but does not sell out as fast as the virtual queue vanishes, and you will have a shorter wait. As a bonus, if you do snag the virtual queue and get an ILL you can ride twice in one day. This is currently the only way to ride more than once in a given day. Read more at our Virtual Queue post here.



Random Tidbits


The fireworks at Epcot take place on the World Showcase lagoon and can be seen from all sides. The best views will be found on the bridge by the International Gateway, from the main World Showcase plaza, and on the bridges by Italy. However, the view is reasonable from almost any location as long as there is not a tree right in your way.


If you want to take in a meal and watch the fireworks simultaneously there are a few different options. You can see the fireworks from La Hacienda de San Angel, Spice Road Table, and Rose and Crown.

  • La Hacienda de San Angle only has indoor seating, but you can get a partially obstructed view of the fireworks through the windows. During the nighttime show they turn down the lights and pipe in the music. You can ask to be seated by the window, but many other people will be asking the same thing so it’s luck of the draw on that.

  • Spice Road Table has indoor and outdoor seating. The outdoor area is set aside for a special dining package where you will pay $79 per adult, and $29 per child (ages 3 to 9) for a choice of 2 small plates, a shared tagine, a dessert platter, and a beverage. Plus, of course, your reserved seated viewing of the fireworks.

  • The indoor area of Spice Road Table is not part of the package but if you time it right you can watch the fireworks from the windows. The view is fairly restricted, so it’s not the best if you want the full show, but for people who have already seen the show it’s a nice way to pair dinner with the fireworks and avoid the crowds.

  • Rose and Crown also has a fireworks dining package for its patio area. The view from here is one of the best around the lagoon, and the pricing for this package reflects that. It is $89 per adult and $39 per child (ages 3 to 9). Included in that cost is one appetizer, one entree, one dessert, and a beverage each per person.


When you first enter the pyramid in Mexico you will find a little museum looking entryway. There are a set of double doors on the back wall, go through those to enter the main area in the pyramid. Lots of people will stop with the museum, thinking that’s all there is.



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