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Complete Guide to Epcot at Disney World

Complete Guide to Epcot at Disney World

Epcot was the second park built at Disney World, and it has unique offerings you can’t find anywhere else.

Whether you desire to fly above the world in Soarin’, or to check out one of Epcot’s many festivals (like the Food & Wine or Flower and Garden Festivals), or even to drop in for a visit with Anna and Elsa, you’ll find Epcot has a wide variety of options to appeal to your family.

Don’t try to go to Epcot without first planning your day, though. Check out these resources to help you maximize your time (and money) during your trip…

What to expect in this guide

We’ve taken a lot of time putting together the information we found ourselves searching for when planning *our* first visits to Epcot. That includes detailed info on attractions and dining, the best places to watch the fireworks, plus so much more.

We’ve answered a lot of the FAQs on this page, but you’ll also find a ton of links to more detailed information mixed in down below. As you read through the info here, don’t be afraid to spend some time checking those other pages out, too.

Basically, this is your one-stop shop for just about anything and everything you need to know about Epcot before your next visit.

How many days should I visit Epcot?

For most trips there simply aren’t enough days to see and do everything at Disney World, so deciding how to divide your time is an important step in planning your stay.

The table below has suggestions for the number of days you should plan to spend at each park, but depending on your family’s tastes and interests, you may want to adjust how you allocate your time.

Suggested number of days in each park

Note: For trips that are 5 days and longer, we recommend you spend time outside the parks doing things like visiting a water park, the beach, etc.

  • 1 day – Magic Kingdom
  • 2 days – Either 2 days at Magic Kingdom OR 1 day at Magic Kingdom and 1 day at Epcot
  • 3 days – 1 day at Magic Kingdom, 1 day at Epcot, 1 day at either Animal Kingdom or Hollywood Studios
  • 4 days – 1 day at Magic Kingdom, 1 day at Epcot, 1 day at Hollywood Studios, 1 day at Animal Kingdom
  • 5 days – 2 days at Magic Kingdom, 1 day at Epcot, 1 day at Hollywood Studios, 1 day at Animal Kingdom
  • 6 days – 2 days at Magic Kingdom, 1 day at Epcot, 1 day at Hollywood Studios, 1 day at Animal Kingdom, 1 day at a water park
  • 7 days – 2 days at Magic Kingdom, 2 days at Epcot, 1 day at Hollywood Studios, 1 day at Animal Kingdom, 1 day at a water park
  • 8 days – 2 days at Magic Kingdom, 2 days at Epcot, 1 day at Hollywood Studios, 1 day at Animal Kingdom, 1 day at a water park, 1 day doing something else (visit the beach, Disney Springs, etc.)
  • 9 days – 2 days at Magic Kingdom, 2 days at Epcot, 1 day at Hollywood Studios, 1 day at Animal Kingdom, 1 day at a water park, 2 days doing something else (visit the beach, Disney Springs, etc.)
  • 10 days – 2 days at Magic Kingdom, 2 days at Epcot, 1 day at Hollywood Studios, 1 day at Animal Kingdom, 1 day at a water park, 3 days doing something else (visit the beach, Disney Springs, etc.)

Epcot Updates

It always feels like something new is happening at Disney World, and if you’re wondering what to expect next at Epcot, we track all of that on our Epcot Updates page. There you’ll find the latest construction news plus you can take a look back at recently opened attractions, rides, and restaurants.

Epcot Worlds

Epcot is home to 4 distinct areas – World Celebration, World Nature, World Discovery, and the World Showcase. We have deep dives that cover each of these areas in greater detail, so be sure you check them out to see what each area has to offer – including attractions, characters, and dining/restaurants:

World Celebration

spaceship earth - fountain - epcot

You’ll find World Celebration at the front of the park from the entrance through the middle to the World Showcase. It’s the area that includes Spaceship Earth and restaurants like Connections Café and Eatery.

World Nature

te fiti journey of water

World Nature has the popular new attraction Moana: Journey of Water, plus both The Land pavilion and The Seas pavilion.

World Discovery

guardians of the galaxy cosmic rewind - nova corps starblaster

World Discovery is perfect for anyone looking for thrills. Here you’ll find Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, plus class thrillers like Test Track and Mission: SPACE. Plus, it’s also where the very popular Space 220 restaurant is located, too.

World Showcase

china pavilion - epcot

The World Showcase is home to 11 pavilions, each representing a separate country. Not only are there lots of fun places to shop here, but you’ll also find fun and unique dining, attractions, and tons of characters.

Epcot Maps

We recommend you spend some time looking over some of the maps you might need before you get to Epcot. That way, you avoid having to have your face in a map the entire time you’re in the park.

To make it easier, we’ve combined all of our most popular maps (including our maps with the best spots to watch the parades and fireworks) into one spot.

From the link below, you’ll be able to download and save to your phone any of the maps you find useful so that you’ll have them with you when you are in the parks.

Epcot Attractions

Epcot has one of the hottest new rides – Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, plus several other popular classics like Soarin’ and Test Track that always seem to have lines.

Quick Guide to Every Attraction at Epcot

Get started by exploring our overview of every attraction, and then dive deeper by checking out the detailed pages for each attraction below.

Space Mountain

Attraction Deep Dives

Whether you are new to planning a Disney World trip or a veteran, you probably have questions on stuff like what the ride vehicles look like and what, if any, the height requirements are. The posts below have all of that.

In addition, we also have accessibility information, the history of the attractions, plus lots, lots more. For detailed information on each attraction, check out the links below:

1 – Eligible for an Individual Lightning Lane
* – Included with Genie+

Epcot Rides for Babies and Toddlers

Traveling with a baby or toddler? Epcot has come a long way in adding things for little ones to enjoy and we’ve put all our recommendations into 1 spot to make it easy for you:

Characters at Epcot

Epcot is PACKED with tons of opportunities to meet lots of characters.

Some of the character meet and greet opportunities are even a part of Genie+, which makes it easier to avoid waiting in long lines.

We cover everything there is to know about characters, including who signs autographs, where they meet, and if PhotoPass is available in the link below.

How to Tour Epcot

The best way to avoid standing and waiting in long lines is to have a good touring plan.

But knowing how to put one together can be more than a little intimidating.

We’ve done a lot of the hard work for you, though – with our Epcot touring plans. Check them out below!

Genie+ at Epcot

FastPass+ is out and Genie+ is in, but it can be pricey. Make sure you understand how it works before you spend any of your hard earned vacation funds on it:

Dining at Epcot

When it comes to food, you’ll have lots of options for dining both in Epcot and at the nearby Boardwalk area:

space 220 dining area with space views

Epcot Festivals

Epcot plays host to nearly year-round festivals, which means you’ll often find new things to see, do, and try.

Probably the most popular part of the festivals are the food booths where you can purchase food and drinks – all perfectly paired to whatever the current festival’s theme is.

cogsworth and lumiere topiaries in front of impressions de france
hibuscus lemonade farmers feast

How to get to Epcot

Epcot has 2 entrances: one at the front of the park, and another one at the back in the World Showcase called the International Gateway. And, between those 2 entrances, you’ll find every form of Disney transportation available:

  • bus (front of the park)
  • boat (International Gateway)
  • monorail (front of the park)
  • Minnie Van (front of the park)
  • Disney Skyliner (International Gateway)
  • walking (International Gateway)

If staying on property, here are our recommendations for how to arrive to Epcot in time for Early Entry:


While we used to recommend arriving at the bus stop 60 to 75 minutes before Early Entry begins, after testing the timing out many times, we now recommend 90 minutes. That 90-minute window is especially important if you:

  • want to be on the first bus (which we recommend), or
  • if you are staying at a large resort like Art of Animation, Pop Century, or the All-Stars, or
  • if you are staying at a resort with multiple internal stops, like Caribbean Beach or Coronado Springs.

Expect the first bus of the day to arrive between 1 hour to 75 minutes before Early Theme Park Entry starts. The goal is to be on the first bus of the day, and the lines for the buses will get very long, very fast. Arriving 90 minutes before Early Theme Park Entry will get you to the front of the pack, and likely on that first bus.


If traveling by boat, 60-75 minutes before Early Theme Park Entry is probably good.


Plan to get to your monorail stop about 60-75 minutes before Early Theme Park Entry. For reference, the Resort Monorail Loop goes:

  • Transportation and Ticket Center
  • Polynesian Resort
  • Grand Floridian Resort
  • Magic Kingdom
  • Contemporary Resort


For the Disney Skyliner, aim for 75 minutes before Early Theme Park Entry begins if you don’t have to transfer, and 90 minutes if you do. Both the Hollywood Studios and Epcot lines start up about 1 hour before Early Entry begins.


Walking? You’ll have it the easiest!

Guests that walk are typically allowed to line up at the tapstiles around 60 minutes before the park opens for Early Theme Park Entry. If you want to be at the front of the pack of the walkers, plan to arrive ahead of that. (If you arrive before they begin allowing people to line up at the tapstiles, you’ll be held back by security.)

Driving and Parking at Epcot

Parking at Epcot is pretty straightforward, and way easier than parking at Magic Kingdom (in our opinions).

It’s basically the same as parking at any theme park or large venue. The parking lots are HUGE, but the good news is that there is a tram to help you get to and from the front entrance if you’ve parked far away.

How much does parking at Epcot cost?

  • Free for Walt Disney World Resort hotel guests
  • Offsite guests $30/day
  • Passholders – Free with Passholder card and photo ID
  • Preferred Parking – $45-$55/day

FAQs about Epcot

What should I bring with me to Epcot?

Since Disney allows you to keep your bag with you on every attraction, many people find it handy to carry a bag or backpack with them into the parks.

What you pack in your backpack will vary on your age and who you are traveling with but to help you decide what you might want to bring we have an entire post dedicated to Disney World park bags.

Here are some other common questions on what to bring with you:

Can I bring food with me?

Yes! You can bring your own food items with you. The only restrictions are no glass containers (baby food is an exception) and no alcohol. Also, for the safety of the animals, no straws are allowed at Animal Kingdom.

Can I bring a cooler?

Yes, small coolers are allowed; however, the total size can’t exceed 24″ by 15″ by 18″. We recommend bringing a cooler small enough to fit into a locker or in the bottom of a stroller (note: as of 5/1/19, loose ice and dry ice are not allowed in the parks, so you will need to use an ice pack or something similar if you plan to bring cooled items).

Are wagons allowed?

Items that can be pulled behind you are not allowed at Disney World, and that includes wagons.

Can I bring my selfie stick?

Sorry, but no. Selfie sticks are banned at all Disney World parks, including Animal Kingdom.

Can I bring my tripod so I can take pictures?

Tripods (and monopods) that are small enough to fit in a backpack are allowed.

I heard the lines are long. Can I bring a folding chair with me to sit in while I wait?

Folding chairs are not allowed, and we’d never want you standing in a line long enough that you’d need one! Make sure you read the touring plan information above so that you avoid standing in long lines.