Epcot

Epcot

Epcot opened as Walt Disney World's second theme park on October 1, 1982 and is in the midst of a park-wide transformation project. Epcot is also big on food festivals, which now run almost every week of the year, starting with the Festival of the Arts in January, then continuing with the Flower & Garden Festival in the spring, followed by the Food & Wine Festival in late summer through fall, wrapping up with the Festival of the Holidays in November and December.

Ticket Icon Looking for discount tickets? Walt Disney World Resort theme park tickets

Our recommendations below come from our annual survey of Theme Park Insider newsletter subscribers. Locations with star ratings ranked especially highly among our readers. Subscribe here to our free weekly email of theme park news to participate in the next ranking survey.

New for 2023

Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana: This walk through exhibit in World Nature will open later this year.

A new, as-yet-untitled World Showcase Lagoon nighttime spectacular also will debut in 2023, replacing Harmonious.

What to Do

Top 10

  1. Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind ★ ★ ★
    An indoor spinning coaster in World Discovery's Wonders of Xandar pavilion. Height requirement: 42 inches
    Read Robert Niles' review of Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind.

  2. Soarin' Around the World ★ ★
    Flying theater ride above famous world landmarks, located in The Land pavilion in World Nature. Height requirement: 40 inches
    Soarin' Around the World

  3. Spaceship Earth ★ ★
    Dark ride through world history, located in the giant geosphere at the heart of World Celebration.
    Spaceship Earth

  4. The American Adventure
    Audio Animatronic show about American history, in World Showcase
    The American Adventure
    Animatronic Ben Franklin and Mark Twain host Disney's The American Adventure. Photo by Robert Niles.

  5. Frozen Ever After
    Indoor boat ride in World Showcase's Norway pavilion

  6. Remy's Ratatouille Adventure
    Shrink to Remy's size for a chase through a Paris kitchen on this trackless dark ride in World Showcase's France pavilion.

  7. Impressions de France
    Movie in World Showcase's France pavilion [Check showtimes as this shares a theater with the Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along]
    Impressions de France

  8. Living With the Land
    Indoor boat ride about agriculture, in World Nature's The Land pavilion
    Living With the Land

  9. Mission: Space
    Centrifuge ride in World Discovery that simulates a Mission to Mars. Height requirement: 44 inches for the Orange Mission (which simulates weightlessness) and 40 inches for the Green Mission (which does not).
    Mission: Space

  10. Test Track
    High-speed track ride/simulated factory tour in World Discovery. Height requirement: 40 inches
    Test Track

Other Attractions

World Nature
  • The Seas With Nemo & Friends: Omnimover ride to a multi-story aquarium exhibit
  • Turtle Talk With Crush: interactive video show in The Seas pavilion
  • Awesome Planet: movie in The Land pavilion
  • Journey Into Imagination With Figment: dark ride
  • Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival: movie in the Imagination pavilion
World Showcase
  • Harmonious: nighttime spectacular on World Showcase Lagoon (expected to close this year)
  • Disney's DuckTales World Showcase Adventure: game played through the Play Disney Parks app
  • Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360: movie
  • Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along: movie in the France pavilion
  • American Gardens Theater: live performance venue
  • Reflections of China: movie
  • Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros: indoor boat ride in the Mexico pavilion

Where to Eat

Epcot features table service and some walk-up counter service restaurants throughout its World Showcase national pavilions. Festival marketplaces also serve themed food and drinks during Epcot's many festivals throughout the year.

Recommended

  • Monsieur Paul
    Prix fixe dinner in World's Showcase's France pavilion. [Run by the Bocuse family]

  • Les Chefs de France
    Table service for lunch and dinner, also in World's Showcase's France pavilion. [Run by the Bocuse family]

  • Space 220
    Take a simulated space elevator 220 miles above Florida for a table-service lunch or dinner with a view of the Earth from space. Located next to Mission Space in World Discovery. [Run by Patina Group]

  • Le Cellier Steakhouse
    Table service for lunch and dinner in World Showcase's Canada pavilion

  • Rose & Crown Pub and Dining Room
    Table service dining and bar for lunch and dinner in World Showcase's United Kingdom pavilion

  • Teppan Edo
    Teppanyaki restaurant serving lunch and dinner in World Showcase's Japan pavilion

  • Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria
    Table service pizzeria serving lunch and dinner in World Showcase's Italy pavilion. [Run by Patina Group]

  • La Hacienda de San Angel
    Table service for dinner only next to the World Showcase Lagoon at the Mexico pavilion. [Run by Palmas Restaurant Group]

Park Map

Epcot is part of the sprawling Walt Disney World Resort, located in Lake Buena Vista, Florida – about 24 miles from Orlando International Airport.

Note that Disney no longer provides free Disney's Magical Express bus service to and from the Orlando airport for its hotel guests.

If you are renting a car while visiting Orlando, you can save on toll road fees by getting a Visitor Toll Pass at the Orlando airport rather than renting a toll transponder from your rental car company: Toll Discounts Return for Orlando Theme Park Visitors

Best Time to Visit Disney World?

Disney's theme park ticket prices vary by day, so you can use Disney's pricing calendar [scroll down] to see which days have the highest expected crowds. The lower the price for a ticket, the smaller the expected crowd that day.

In general, you will find the lightest crowd levels at the Walt Disney World theme parks during these periods:

  • late April through the week before Memorial Day
  • after the middle of August through September
  • late October and early November

Large crowds will fill the parks on runDisney weekends:

  • January 4 - 8, 2023
  • February 23 - 26, 2023
  • April 13 - 16, 2023
  • November 2 - 5, 2023
  • January 3 - 7, 2024
  • February 22 - 25, 2024
  • April 18 - 21, 2024

In addition, crowd levels are high during:

  • any holiday week
  • President's Day week through Spring Break in mid-April
  • the week of Thanksgiving through New Year's week

Whenever you plan to visit, you must make date-specific reservations in advance to use your tickets. You can see which dates are open to reserve on Disney's "Park Pass" availability calendar. See the next section, below, for more advice on planning your Walt Disney World visit.

Strategy

The Walt Disney World Resort now requires that all guests make date-specific reservations in advance to visit its theme parks. You can see which dates are available to reserve on Disney's "Park Pass" availability calendar.

Dates are listed up to about 15 months in advance, and reservations are available on a first-come, first-served basis. However, Disney maintains separate pools of available reservations each day for its annual passholders and its on-site hotel guests, as well as for regular ticket holders. So if a specific date is "sold out" for annual passholders, it might still be available for regular ticket holders.

If you want to visit more than one Walt Disney World theme park on a single day, you will need a "Park Hopper" ticket. You will make a reservation for the park you visit first on each date, then you can park hop to other parks starting at 2pm that day.

Once you have selected the dates you wish to visit and made your Disney Park Pass reservations, you may want to make dining reservations in advance of your visit, as well. Reservations can be made via the Disney World website, and each date's reservations open 60 days in advance, at about 5:45am Eastern Time. Disney's on-site hotel guests may make reservations for their entire stay (up to 10 days) starting 60 days before their check-in date. That gives Disney's on-site hotel guests an advantage in making reservations for the most popular restaurants.

Disney's hotel guests also get 30 minutes of early access to each of the resort's four theme parks every day. So hotel guests should plan on an early start each morning to take advantage of empty queues. Unfortunately for guests staying off site, this new early admission policy means that they no longer have any opportunity to be the first to enter any Walt Disney World theme park in the morning.

As for planning your day, Walt Disney World now offers a new tool on its official My Disney Experience app to create a custom itinerary for each day of your visit. In addition, Disney offers two ways for its theme park guests to pay to access shorter wait times for many popular attractions. You can learn more about these options in our posts:

If Guardians of the Galaxy is using a virtual queue, try to enter that via the My Disney Experience app at exactly 7am the morning you visit. If you do not get into the virtual queue, you might consider buying Individual Lightning Lane access, if there is no standby queue option. Definitely try for the free virtual queue before paying for Lighting Lane access, though.

Otherwise, do not follow the herd and ride Spaceship Earth as soon as you enter the park. That line drops significantly later in the afternoon, as does Soarin'. Choose instead to go for Frozen Ever After first thing and definitely before 11am, then maybe Test Track, whose line tends to be consistent after 11am for the rest of the day. Read our guide to Disney Genie for more advice on how to use Disney's app to avoid long wait times in the park.

Walt Disney World News