How to Plan a Great Day at Epcot
Updated: Feb 26, 2020
Our family loves to visit all of the #DisneyParks and we want to share what we’ve learned over the years to help other families get the best experience possible at each of the Disney Parks. In this blog, we’re going to talk about our best tips to help you plan the #BestDayEverAtEpcot in Walt Disney World (WDW). Your visit will start with planning the day that you will visit this park. We recommend going during the least crowded times. School holidays, weekends and summertime are the most crowded times of the year. Late September, October, early November, January-February and early March are less crowded and these would be the best times of year to plan a WDW vacation. One great thing about the #EpcotPark is that it is the most relaxed and least crowded of all the WDW parks. So even if you have chosen a busy time of year Epcot Park will be a great experience. We hope you enjoy our tips for a great day at Epcot and be sure to download our free Disney Parks packing list at the end of this blog so you are fully prepared for a magical day at Disney!
We have always purchased the non-hopper tickets at WDW because we plan to go for at least 4 days and we choose one park to visit each day. The non-hopper tickets are cheaper than hoppers. Also, the price per day drops dramatically with each consecutive day that you visit so we recommend a minimum of 4 days at WDW but we always try to plan as many days as possible. On our most recent trip, we purchased 7-day park tickets. On the last 2 days, the price per person per day was around $10. If you click the affiliate link below or on the side for CityPASS and search Orlando you will find ticket deals for WDW and package tickets for other attractions in Orlando too. CityPASS is a great way to #SaveMoneyOnTravel in all major cities around the world.
After you have purchased your tickets and decided which park you will visit on which day of your trip it is time to book your fastpasses. A fastpass allows you to skip ahead in the line and you are allowed three preselected fastpasses for each day of your visit. After you use the preselected passes you can book more passes at the park on your mobile device if they are available. To reserve the fastpasses you will log in to your Disney account or make an account on the Walt Disney World website. You can also download the Disney World App on your mobile device, which is probably the preferable method since you will use this app a lot during your WDW visit. You can book fastpasses 60 days prior to your visit if you are staying at a Disney property and 30 days prior to your visit if you are staying off property. If your visit is during a busy season you will want to book your fastpasses as soon as possible. Epcot has a tiered fastpass system so you can book one preselected fastpass from tier 1 and two fastpasses from tier 2. Here’s our breakdown of the fastpasses and which ones we chose and the reason we chose them.
Our FastPass Recommendations for Epcot
Teir 1 = Frozen Ever After (especially great for little ones)
or Test Track (for rollercoaster riders)
Tier 2 = Spaceship Earth and The Seas with Nemo & Friends
(or Mission Space if you like simulated motion rides)
Tier 1 Fastpasses at Epcot Explained
(you can only book one of these as a preselected fastpass)
Frozen Ever After – Yes, we booked this one for the youngest rider and mom. This is currently the most difficult fastpass to get at Epcot. If we go to Epcot again in the near future we would probably book this fastpass for everyone in our group. This new ride is fabulous and we loved it! Check out our youtube video for highlights from the ride to see it for yourself.
Test Track – Yes, we booked this for the oldest riders in our group. Our boys love this ride! In fact, the day that we went they wanted to ride Test Track twice so they jumped in the single rider line and rode it again. The single rider line is an excellent way to cut down on wait time and still enjoy the ride.
Illuminations: Reflections of Earth – No, we didn’t book this one. This is the evening show and you can generally get a decent spot to watch it without a fastpass. Our family doesn’t enjoy the night shows as much as some people do so we generally leave before it starts to beat the crowds at the park exit.
Soarin – No, we didn’t book this one. We love this ride! So we didn’t skip the fastpass because we didn’t want to ride it. We figured we could check wait times the day of our visit through the WDW app and go over to ride it when the wait time was 30min or less. Our hunch was right and we were able to wait in line for about a 30min early in the day and everyone in our party rode the ride. Going to this ride right when the park opens or shortly after the park opens will be your best bet for a short line. The line also goes down late in the day close to park closing so this would be another good time to ride Soarin.
Epcot Character Spot – No, we didn’t book this one. We did a character spot at another park the week of our visit so we didn’t feel it was necessary to do two of them. If you have very young children who love to meet Mickey this fastpass might appeal to you. However, the wait times for this are not too long so you might consider using your fastpass for Frozen Ever After instead and waiting in the regular line to meet the characters.
One things you will need on any Disney Park day is a hat to keep the sun out of your eyes. We always bring hats for everyone in our family. Of course, when you are at a Disney Park it's fun to have a Disney Hat. We've got the whole family covered here so feel free to shop away. Clicking these links below to shop on Amazon will cost you nothing extra but it could give us a small commission so we are able to keep bringing you great family travel blogs. Thanks!
Tier 2 Fastpasses at Epcot Explained
(you can book two of these as preselected fastpasses)
The Seas with Nemo & Friends - Yes, we booked this one. We love this ride! The line isn’t too long so you can ride it without a fastpass but it’s always nice to skip a line so we went ahead and booked this as a fastpass selection.
Spaceship Earth – Yes, we booked this one. This is a fun ride that tells you about some of the history behind the technology we enjoy today. You get to travel through time and see scenes from history as a narrator tells the story of each scene. The line for this attraction is not terribly long so it’s worth waiting in line to ride it even if you don’t have a fastpass.
Mission: SPACE Green or Orange – No, we didn’t book this one. This is a great fastpass for most people but for our family, it isn’t high on our list. When we visit the parks Dad takes the older boys on rollercoasters but he doesn’t enjoy the simulated motion type rides so we skipped this one.
Living with the Land – No, we didn’t book this one. We enjoy this little boat ride and the interesting facts that they tell you about plants and farming. However, the line for this attraction isn’t very long and it’s not worth booking a fastpass for it.
Journey Into Imagination With Figment – No, we didn’t book this one. Our kids enjoy this little ride and the interactive things at the end. However, the line is typically very short. On one of our visits to Epcot, they actually started up the ride when our party arrived because no one was on the ride. So you definitely don’t need a fastpass for this one.
Disney/Pixar Short Film Festival and Turtle Talk with Crush – No, we didn’t book these as fastpasses. These are both show type attractions with plenty of seating so a fastpass doesn’t help you very much. At some of the shows, the seating for fastpasses is a little better than the regular queue but we prefer to use our fastpasses to skip lines and not just get a better seat in a show. That being said, we love Turtle Talk with Crush and highly recommend taking your little ones to see him.
Our Top Ride Suggestions:
Our top rides at Epcot would be the ones mentioned above: Test Track, Frozen Ever After and Soarin. Our next level of great attractions would be Seas with Nemo & Friends, Spaceship Earth and Turtle Talk with Crush. We also love the little boat ride in the Mexico pavilion called The Three Caballeros where there is hardly ever a line. Living the Land and Journey Into Imagination With Figment are also worth checking out if you have time. Walking the World Showcase is a must and watching the movies in Canada, France, and China is great if you have time.
Be sure not miss this! We generally do several of the rides at the front of the park first and then take a walk around the world in the World Showcase. On one trip we made the mistake of taking too long to do the rides at the front of the park and we didn’t get into the World Showcase until later in the afternoon and it was harder to see all of the wonderful architecture and decorations after the sun went down. On our most recent visit to Epcot, we made it a goal to get to the World Showcase right after lunch and leave plenty of daylight to enjoy all of the sights, scents, and sounds of each country. There are 11 countries represented in the World Showcase and they are extraordinary! Each country has been built with attention to detail. Even the cast members in the countries are from the country they work in and they are happy to tell you about their homeland. Our kids love the World Showcase and they learn new things on each visit. On our most recent visit, there was a Kidcot activity where the kids could collect stickers and a card from each country. In some of the countries, the cast member would write each child’s name in their native language. One of our sons was captivated by this and later looked up the writing online and practiced writing his name in Arabic over and over.
Where Can You Get Free Drink Refills?
We noticed on our most recent WDW vacation that at most of the restaurants the drinks you purchase are filled up behind the counter and then placed on your tray. So you can’t refill them. However, there are a few special spots where the cast members give you empty cups and you get to fill up and refill your drinks during your meal. The drink refills are free at these restaurants for the duration of your meal so our frugal family of 6 took advantage of this deal. I particularly enjoyed refilling my coffee cup at Epcot. After several late nights and early mornings on a Disney trip, a mom could use three free refills on her cup of coffee! Yay! The restaurant at Epcot with free refills is the Electric Umbrella located right in the middle of future world.
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For even more tips on saving money and cutting down wait times please see our 7 Ways to Pay Less, Wait Less and Have Fun at All Disney Parks.
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Free Packing List
We have created a free download with our Disney Parks checklist (see below). This list includes all of our 10 essential items for every family trip and our 10 essential items for Disney Parks. Some of the first 10 essential items will be necessary on your way to Disney such as movies and pool stuff (if you stay at a hotel) but those items can be left in the hotel on your actual park days. Some of the items on the essentials list like snacks, a great camera and first aid supplies should be on your list of things to bring into the parks each day. All 20 items are good to bring along on most any family trip but they are particularly great on a Disney trip.
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