August 3, 2019
Epcot Planning Tips & Tricks

Epcot Planning Tips & Tricks


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Here are lots of Disney World Planning advice for families headed to Epcot. Learn what there is to do at Epcot, Epcot planning tips, the best Epcot restaurants, and Epcot touring plan.

Epcot Planning Tips - Everything you need to know to plan your Disney World trip. Great Disney vacation tips, touring plan, best Fastpass+, tips and tricks, and more #epcot #disneyworld #familyvacation

Updated January 2019

Grab your passport because today you are headed to Disney’s Epcot where you will  travel through 11 different countries and get a chance to tinker with some cool innovations, learn a little history, explore outer space, and of course ride some amazingly themed rides in the process.

You really need 1 full day to see it all. Sadly many people overlook this wonderful park. But those that go are always impressed with the rides, dining, character interactions, and beauty of this special Disney World Park.

Note: Characters are in teal below.


Epcot Planning Tips & Tricks

What Epcot Fastpass+ to Get

First, learn about Disney Fastpass+. Second, make sure you reserve them up to 60 days in advance for hotel guests and 30 days in advance for all other ticket holders. Finally, here are our recommended Animal Kingdom Fastpass Selections in order of best first:

  • Frozen Ride – this whimsical family friendly ride is a favorite with kids. Although it seems strange to use a Fastpass on it, it will get over 60 minute wait all day long!
  • Test Track – for everyone who meets the 40″ height requirement this ride is a must. First kids will design their own car, then they will get to put it to the test during the ride and compete against other guests designs. NOTE: If you don’t get a fastpass head hear first for a shorter wait….you can also go single rider for a shorter wait.
  • Soarin – this amazing ride will take you soaring over landmarks around the globe! Truly an amazing ride for the whole family 40″ and taller. They recently added another track which has helped some with wait times which is why it is #3 on our list. Still… it will get a 45 minute wait so head here early in the day too
  • Other than that…. the Fastpass+ don’t really matter. Pick up whatever is left to shave 15 minutes off your wait time to the other attractions available

EPCOT has the most amazing restaurants. So plan to use your dining credits at this park; make sure you have reservations as far in advance as you possibly (See dining recommendations here).

Epcot is 300 acres so there is a lot of walking. You want to be strategic since you will not be able to do a lot of cutting back and forth with the large lake in the middle.

The following is my suggested Epcot touring Plan:

Epcot Touring Plan

Akershus Royal Banquet Hall best character dining 
Princess Storybook Breakfast at Akershus – I highly recommend this character meal. Not only is the building beautiful and the food delicious, this is THE BEST place to see all the Princesses without spending all day waiting in various lines! I highly suggest making reservations 180 days in advance and snatching up the slot for 1 hour before the park opens to not “waste” any park time.

You will meet 5 princesses including Belle. The other princesses are subject to change but usually include Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Ariel with human legs.

New frozen ride is a must for families

Depending on the age of your children, you will want to start at the Frozen Ride (which gets a LONG line) or Test Track (which also gets long lines).

The new Frozen Ride is a cute, fun boat ride (set on the exact track of the previous Norway ride). You will get to see your favorite characters from the movie including Sven, Olaf, the Trolls, Kristoff, Marshmallow, Snowglies, and of course Anna and Elsa!

The line itself is fun to wait in (especially Oakens)! You may want to know the ride is dark, it goes backwards at one point, and Marshmallow is a little intimidating right before the drop.

NOTE: Epcot’s Fastpass+ System is set-up so you can only pick ONE of the major attractions: Soarin, Test Track, or Frozen Ride. (ugh!) So depending on the age of your kids I’d pick Frozen or Test Track so you can ride it again in the afternoon.

Test Track Ride at Epcot

Test Track

I would make this one of your first rides of the day because it gets a LONG ride. This popular thrill ride  allows you to design your own car and then see how your car fairs in different challenges. You must be 40” tall to ride.
HINT: You can go through the exit of the ride & see new showroom cars and play some games.

Mission Space in Epcot Disney World

Mission Space – This is a really fun ride where you get to feel the thrill of blasting into outer space as a “real” astronaut with a designated job (including buttons to push). The front will close practically on your lap giving you tight quarters just like real astronauts (hope you’re not claustrophobic) You need to be 44” tall to ride (or 40″ and use a booster seat)HINT: If you have kids that are too short to ride you’ll want to go through the gift shop (left of entrance) to find a fun play tunnel for kids to climb in while they wait for family members to ride!!! It’s an air conditioned oasis =)Note: There just updated the ride with a whole new “story” for the less intense side
Finding Nemo Ride
The Seas with Nemo  & Friends – You will know you are almost there because you will hear the seagulls saying, “Mine, Mine” like in the movie. You will make your way through a very cool (and a little dark) line. Then you will board the continuously going clam shell that will take you through the story of Finding Nemo. It uses screens and live fish so beautifully blended it is a really unique ride.
When you get off the ride take some time to browse at the 5.7 million gallon salt-water tank. Getting here early means you will get to watch the fish get fed (which means they are extra active). The are some truly spectacular fish!
Hint: There is a super cute photo op inside a shark. Before you start looking at the fish see when the next Turtle Talk with Crush is so you can use your time wisely.
Turtle Talk with Crust at Epcot Disney World

Turtle Talk with Crush –  This is a continuously running 15 minute live, interactive show. In this VERY cool show with a computer generated Crush who will actually interact with your kids.
Now make your way to the Living with Land Pavilion to see The Circle of Life movie (20 minutes about conservation, if time permits).

Soarin – This is a very popular ride for good reason! You will sit in your assigned row, buckle, up, and put any hats/sunglasses/loose shoes in the storage pocket. Then the ride lifts row after row until you are all facing this JUMBO screen. You will feel like you are soaring above sights around the world (as the ride moves you to feel the surge and pipes in smells too).NOTE: This ride became Soarin Around the World in mid 2016. Now you will soar over a heard of elephants, the Taj Majal, the Eiffel Tower, Great Wall of China and so much more. It is truly spectacular.

Plus in the new updates they added more capacity, making the wait time shorter (hooray) plus a fun interactive trivia game to play as you wait!


Living with the Land Ride at Epcot Disney World

Living with the Land Ride – I wasn’t sure that I was going to care for this 14 minute boat ride, but I actually thought it was very interesting and would do it again next visit.  You will sail through various different habitats and then into my favorite part – Disney’s own greenhouse. They have some very unique and interesting way of growing things that was very cool. And if you are planning on eating at one of my recommended restaurants (The Garden Grill) the food for that restaurant is all grown right in this greenhouse!

epcot attractions - imagination with figment ride at epcot in disney world

Journey Into the Imagination with Figment – My kids love this silly ride and ask to go on it 3x in a row! You will be stretched to use your imagination with the help of the friendly purple dragon Figment. Everyone is welcome to ride although smaller kids may get a little frightened by the dark or loud music.

Meet Disney Pals at the Epcot Character Spot  (Fastpass 12:30 pm) – This is my favorite place to meet Mickey and friends. The reason I like it so much is you will get to meet 3 (formerly 5) classic characters all at once; plus while you wait in your air conditioned line you get to watch cartoons.

At this point it is about 1 pm and I bet you are hungry! I suggest you eat a little something in each country as you make your way around the world (Snacking Around the World at Epcot). Don’t forget to make reservations for one of Epcot’s fabulous restaurants for dinner.

Hint: You can meet Chip and Dale and Goofy just outside under the awning.

Canada – As you walk by Canada you will see larger than life Totem Poles and have the opportunity to see O Canada!, an 18-minute, 360-degree film.

united Kingdom epcot disney world

United Kingdom –  You’ll know your in the United Kingdom by the cobblestone streets and red telephone booths. Your kids may enjoy the short hedge maze.

Hint: You can meet Alice in Wonderland, Mary Poppins, and Winnie the Pooh in this area.

France area in Epcot Disney World

France – Enjoy some quiet places to sit around the fountain area in France. The small meandering streets lead to shopping, Impressions de France movie, and some delicious food.

Hint: Belle and Aurora from Sleeping Beauty can be seen in this area.

Disney World Epcot Countries Around the World

Morocco – Get lost in the stunning architecture, wander through the market for a truly unique experience. Both the table service and quick serve meal in this area offer a delicious, unique food for a memorable meal.

Hint: Aladdin & Jasmine are found in Morocco, but be warned they have VERY long lines.


Japan Pavillion in Epcot Magic Kingdom
Japan – Explore the tranquil rock garden or catch a thrilled performance from the Matsuriza Japanese taiko drummers.
Hint: For a truly unique and memorable souvenir let kids pick their own clam to get a pearl made into a necklace. It is a souvenir my daughter loves that will grow with her.
USA Pavillion Epcot Disney World

USA – At first, I thought it was funny to see a spot dedicated to USA, but it depicts a wonderful historical America.  Kids will enjoy the Fife & Drum performance followed by the stunning vocal talents of Voice of Liberty. Then take in very well done 30 minute show featuring 35 animatronic figures telling the story of America.

Italy – Now stroll through the replica of Venice, see the gondolas along the lake, and make sure to enjoy a delicious Gelati by the fountain. You may also catch the Italian clowns performing on the ‘streets’ in Italy.

Germany Pavillion in Epcot Disney World
Germany – I think Germany is particularly striking. If you are not eating at the Biergarten why not grab a delicious pretzel, take in the scenery, and listen to the Oktoberfest Musikanten perform (Note: if you do lunch at the Biergarten you will have already seen this performance.)
Hint:  Snow White poses here by the wishing well. 
China Pavillion in Epcot Disney World
China –  This area is stunningly beautiful with bright colors and beautiful roof lines.  Enjoy a special 13 minutes look at China in Reflections of China, a 360 degree show. As you exit you will get a chance to see some amazing Chinese artifacts sure to impress especially the boys in your family. If times work with your visit the acrobats are really amazing and fun to watch!
Hint:  You can find Mulan in this area throughout the day.

Norway Pavillion Epcot Disney World

Norway –  You may have already walked by this beautiful area to eat with the princesses, but if not you will want to make sure and take in the beauty. Previously this was home to the very popular ride Maelstrom, but is now home to the new Frozen Ride that opened in 2016.

Three Caballeros Mexican Donald Ride in Epcot Disney World

Mexico – The Aztec pyramid itself is gorgeous to look at and grab a picture by. There are various dining options including snacks and either sit-down or table service restaurants. Around the pyramid you will find a 12-piece Mexican Mariachi band playing on and off throughout the day and Mexico Donald. Inside you will find Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros, a fun boat ride for everyone in the family that shows clips from the 1944 Disney movie The Three Caballeros. It is a fun silly ride.

It is probably around 4pm and it is time to make sure you get over to Ellen’s Energy Adventure if you are planning on riding as it closes at 5pm. This attraction about fossil fuels combines a movie featuring Ellen Degenerous and a Jeopardy dream with a ‘ride’ seeing some non-threatening dinosaurs; it takes 45 minutes. I think it is cute and worth doing once, but if you are pressed for time you aren’t missing too much. Closed August 13, 2017. They are building a Guardians of the Galaxy attraction coming in 2021.

Spaceship Earth – I think this ride is cool because you actually go up in the ball! It is a continuously loading ride where everyone can ride. The 16 minute ride will take you though history (invention of printing press and other important discoveries). I think it is pretty cool & interesting. The ride uses animatronic figures. When you get to the top you tip back and go back down the ball while you can use the computer screen in your vehicle.

Innovations – If you have time before your dinner reservations you may want to take some time to play with some really cool innovations. There are lots of cool things and fun buttons to explore.

Restaurant Marrakesh in Epcot Disney World
Go ahead and repeat any favorite ride or area of the park until your dinner reservations. Our favorites are The Garden Grill, Biergarten, and Nine Dragons. You can read more about them in my Top 5 Disney World Character Dining and 12 Must Try Disney Restaurants.
Walt Disney World Gallery Photo

Epcot Touring Plan for Families

And just in case you don’t want to print of this whole page to get a balanced 1 day at Animal Kingdom Schedule for families. Includes at a glance attraction list, suggested order, height requirements, character locations, and helpful tidbits.

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