Epcot is a diverse place as it houses two very thematically different theme parks – Future World and World Showcase. It is also a very expansive park, so any day there is sure to include a good amount of walking around. With so much to see and explore, it is easy to get distracted or overwhelmed trying to do it all. However, these are our list of ten things you must do first at Epcot!
10 – Pick up a Times Guide – this is advice that we recommend at every park and it is important because the Times Guide has all of the information on when attractions open and close, when specific entertainment options will be offered on that day, as well as information on restaurants. It also includes the Character Greetings Times at each of the parks.
9 – Go Around Back – Epcot is unique because it has two entrances to the park. There is the main gate in front of Spaceship Earth (which will welcome a lion’s share of the guests on any given day) and there is a second entrance located at the International Gateway (located between the United Kingdom and France). Even though World Showcase doesn’t open till 11 a.m., you can enter this gate at park opening and take a leisurely (and uncrowded) stroll through some of the countries of World Showcase.
8 – Grab Some Breakfast – Epcot has some of the best breakfast options that the parks have to offer. If you enter Epcot through the International Gateway, you can opt to try Les Halles Boulangerie & Patisserie, a wonderful French bakery that offers some truly delicious food. If you are looking for something more formal, you can travel to Norway and have breakfast in the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall. This experience is characterized as princess dining, so it is likely to be very popular, but like the Crystal Palace at Magic Kingdom, you can get reservations before park opening to be able to explore the park without anyone else there. The last breakfast option to check out is Sunshine Seasons in the Land Pavilion. My family and I stumbled upon it last year and love the variety and quantity of food they offer – plus, free beverage refills!
7 – Thrill Rides – if you are not taking your time to enjoy some food at rope drop, be sure to ride one of the thrill rides that you cannot get a FastPass for because of the tiered FastPass distribution system at Epcot. I always enjoy riding Test Track at dusk, so I make the mad dash at rope drop over to Soarin’ before the lines get too out of control (and you can always follow up your adventure with some breakfast at Sunshine Seasons).
6 – Fountain of Nations – for those of you who do not need food in their stomachs in the morning, but rather need their coffee fix, I’d suggest heading to the Starbucks just to the right of the Fountain of Nations. Afterwards, take the time to enjoy the fountain itself as the water dances and the music hums. It is an oft-overlooked piece of Epcot, but one that is worth checking out!
5 – Get Some ADR’s – ideally one of your party is the obsessive-compulsive planner like I am and your dining reservations were made long before arriving in the park, but if that is not the case, be sure to stop by the many restaurants in World Showcase earlier in the morning to see if you can get in. With so much variety to choose from, you’ll be sure to find something new and different that the entire family will enjoy!
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4 – Explore Off the Beaten Path – with a lot of people making a mad dash to Test Track or Soarin’, you can explore areas of the park with little interruption. Even though most of the stores and restaurants in the World Showcase aren’t open, you can meander around back there. And there are plenty of paths and seating areas throughout Future World to find and explore!
3 – Get a Photo Taken – utilize one of the Disney photographers and have a picture taken. I am always amazed in Epcot the number of places where photographers are. Be sure to look beyond the common one centered around Spaceship Earth.
2 – Go Shopping – with the multitude of ways that Disney makes it easier for you to be able to shop, I always like popping into MouseGear or into the Art of Disney to see what new selections they have. If you are staying on site, you can have your purchases sent back to your resort, and if you’re not, you can always have it sent to the front of the park to pick up on the way out of the park at the end of the day.
1 – Sunscreen – be sure to wear sunscreen (this is good advice for all of the parks, but especially Epcot)! There have been many times when I have just popped in for a quick trip around World Showcase and end up with a painful sunburn on my face and the back of neck. Epcot offers little shade or reprieve from the harsh Florida sun. Save yourself some money and be sure to buy this off-site!!
Epcot has a whole bunch for intrepid travelers. You may want to try and spend time on two days at Epcot – there is really that much to see. What is your favorite thing to do first thing at Epcot?
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