Oh Epcot, home to the giant geosphere, drinking around the world and our favorite bubblegum wall.
Epcot, short for every pocketbook comes out thinner- just kidding!
Epcot was called the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow when it opened in 1982, luckily, it ditched that name in the early 90s.
The park was an idea that Walt Disney had to “take its cue from the new ideas and new technologies that are now emerging from the creative centers of American industry.”
Basically, It’s a futuristic type park that is divided into 2 areas.
Future World and the World Showcase.
Future World is what you come to when you first enter the park through the main entrance (there is a secret entrance to the boardwalk in France!) focuses on innovation, technology, the environment and space exploration. It’s lots of fun and has one of the best character restaurants, Garden Grill.
In the loop is the World Showcase, which houses 11 pavilions that represent 11 countries: USA, Japan, Morocco, France, United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico, Norway, China, Germany and Italy.
Each pavilion has authentic food, music and architecture that are unique to each country. Some festivals add a land or two to the lineup.
There are even some meet and greets with Disney characters that originated from that country like, Mulan in China and Mary Poppins in the UK.
The pavilions surround the World Showcase Lagoon and they open 2 hours after park opening.
Let’s learn about the most important things you need to know about your next trip to Epcot.
Important things to know about EPCOT
Epcot is certainly one of the more popular parks out of the six options in Florida. It’s home to fun eats and covers country specific foods and discoveries as well as out of this world space adventures.
#1 Best Rides to check out at Epcot
The majority of the rides are in Future World, but there are two in the World Showcase, Frozen Ever After and Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Amigos. Both of these are fun rides and ADA accessible.
Soarin’ Around the World
Located in Future World, Soarin’ allows guests to board a hang glider and go on an amazing simulated journey around the world.
You’ll get breathtaking views of Switzerland, China, Australia, the USA and more. All five of your senses will be put to use on this ride!
Guests can find out what goes into testing a vehicle for safety as they ride in a car and go on a virtual high speed ride that gives way to a real outdoor test track.
It’s fun to design your own car using touch screens before buckling up for this thrill ride! Afterwards you can make a commercial featuring your one-of-a-kind car!
#2 Best Shows
IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth
This spectacular fireworks show takes place on the World Showcase Lagoon and tells the story of Earth’s beginning and all the achievements that humanity has made since.
A giant globe is the centerpiece and music, lights and lasers create a dazzling show. IllumiNations has had a 20-year run in Epcot and time is running out to see it. It will end in September of 2019 and be replaced with an all-new show. Make your way to Epcot before it’s too late!
Not sure what exactly they have in store- but I’m sure it will be exciting for the celebration of Disney World’s 50th anniversary.
Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival
Check out an exhibit of the behind-the-scenes process that goes into making classic characters and movies.
Then, grab a pair of 3D glasses and settle in for this 18-minute showing of Disney and Pixar short films. There are some really cool effects during the show. It’s also indoors which can be quite a relief in Epcot.
# 3 Delicious Eats that are totally instagram worthy.
The World Showcase is really the place to go if you want to try authentic food. Each pavilion has entrees, drinks and snacks to give you a small taste of each country’s most delicious cuisine!
- Mexico- Coctel de Camaron, San Angel Inn Restaurante
- Norway- Troll Horn, Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe
- China- Pot Stickers, Lotus Blossom Cafe
- Germany- Jumbo Pretzel, Sommerfest
- Italy- Pollo Parmigiana
- American Adventure- Sandwiches galore, Liberty Inn
- Japan- Spicy Salmon Roll, Teppan Edo
- Morocco- Chicken and Lamb Platter, Tangierine Cafe
- France- Chocolate Crepe, Crêpes des Chefs de France
- United Kingdom- Fish and Chips, Yorkshire County Fish Shop
- Canada- Maple Popcorn, Popcorn in Canada
You can find so many more snacks and authentic treats in the food carts and stores. It’s also interesting to see what foods are available during the festivals!
If you’re looking for a sit-down restaurant outside of the World Showcase, try out one of my favorites, The Coral Reef. The walls have huge windows that look directly into the huge tanks that house living corals reefs and more than 4,000 sea creatures!
It is absolutely breathtaking.
The food is great with lots of seafood options like grilled swordfish and a lobster seafood boil. There are chicken and steak options as well.
#4 Fun for the Whole Family
Make sure to stop in and meet Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and Pluto at the Epcot Character Spot. UPDATE- they are renovating this area. You will have to check with the parks to see where they will be meeting during the day as the venue has changed.
All your favorite Disney pals are located in one room and you get to greet them individually. The line is indoors and moves pretty quickly.
Kidcot Fun Stop is fun way to make your way around the World Showcase with kids! Each pavilion has a spot where kids can create a souvenir and collect stamps from the cast members.
You can also purchase a passport book for $10 to make the stamp collecting feel authentic!
They get their own little suitcase baggie and they can color at each stop. Plus they are in the shade and kind of tucked aside, so it’s a great way for the kids to wind down.
Now I’m sure you’ve seen some stuff mentioned about the festivals. They really are magical!
International Festival of the arts happens at the beginning of the year and features some amazing drawings, paintings and pictures.
Flower and Garden Festival is a spring into summer festival that has signature topiaries and lots of nature based activities and foods.
Food and Wind Festival happens in the fall/early winter. Try out the wonderful wine and food pairings while enjoy the best of the weather and fall season.
International Holiday Festival gathers traditions from around the world for a truly diverse and culturally friendly holiday celebration.
See you at the Parks
Epcot can be a great way to add a little learning to a vacation. There will soon be another country to explore because Disney just announced that a Brazilian pavilion will be added to the World Showcase in the summer of 2022!
This is all part of the massive update that Epcot will be undergoing over the next few years. Additions include a Guardians of the Galaxy roller coaster and a space themed sit-down restaurant! We’re so excited for all the new changes, but there is still so much fun to be had at Epcot in the meantime!