If you’ve got one day to experience EPCOT and don’t want to miss a thing, this one is for you. The second-born Walt Disney World theme park took a different approach to the fantastical Magic Kingdom and is divided up a little bit differently. There is so much to see and do in this park, so we are going to help you pack as much into your one-day visit as possible.
Leave Enough Time for World Showcase
Even though the World Showcase area is at the back of the park, I would consider the sizable amount of time you will need to enjoy it at the beginning of your planning stages. This area is filled with culture, specialty food and beverages, shows, and even some of the most-enjoyed rides, like the Frozen Ever After attraction in the Norway pavilion. You could spend an entire day moving through this space, so I would highly recommend leaving several hours in your afternoon free to take it on. We will come back to this one shortly, though it is important to be aware of this first up so you can plan your morning in the front of the park accordingly.
Know Your Goals
EPCOT is a park that blends exciting rides together with learning experiences and entertaining attractions. The best way to get the most out of your time here is to know what your goals are. The park is divided up into themed areas, different from Magic Kingdom:
- WORLD DISCOVERY: This is where stories about science, technology, and intergalactic adventure come to life. You will find more of your exciting attractions like Test Track, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, and Mission Space.
- WORLD NATURE: This area is dedicated to understanding and preserving the beauty, awe, and balance of the natural world and includes The Land and The Seas with Nemo & Friends pavilions as well as the Journey Into Imagination with Figment attraction and soon will be home to Journey of Water, inspired by Moana. This World area has more family-oriented attractions for those with younger kids, most of which have a natural theme to them, like Turtle Talk with Crush, Soarin’, and The Seas with Nemo and Friends.
- WORLD SHOWCASE: This is a big one. Here you will find eleven Pavillions: Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, American Adventure, Japan, Morocco, France, United Kingdom, and Canada, each with their own extraordinary theming, architecture, and culture.
- WORLD CELEBRATION: This is a smaller area at the front of the park that houses the iconic Spaceship Earth attraction.
Having a good understanding of your traveling party will help you to navigate the park better and potentially split up into sections if some want to wait for the more thrilling attractions while younger ones enjoy the slower ones.
Skip a Dining Reservation
There is a lot of great food in EPCOT, and I mean a lot. There is no chance you will get to experience all the highlights in one day, which makes planning your dining experiences even more important. This park is one of the few where I would recommend not making a dining reservation at all if only there for one day. The best way to get a taste of everything is to snack your way around the World Showcase, getting one item at a time and sharing it with everyone in your group. This is a great way to try different beverages as well without overdoing it. There are several fantastic restaurants in EPCOT, so if you have more time, then be sure to take advantage of those.
Take time to appreciate what EPCOT stands for
What makes EPCOT so special is the message it is trying to send. From conception until the modern day, this park has managed to keep up with the expectations of being a theme park with rides but also offers a friendly reminder of how precious the world around us is, from science and technology to the land and ocean, EPCOT is a reminder of how lucky we are. The more you allow yourself to appreciate the details within this park, the better your experience will be. What does EPCOT actually stand for? Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.
For more tips on EPCOT and how to maximize your time in the park, have a look a the following articles:
- Is EPCOT Boring? (Spoiler alert, the answer is no!)
- The Biggest Mistakes You Might be Making in EPCOT’s World Showcase
Tap this link to visit our One-Day Guide to Magic Kingdom.
Zoë Wood is a travel writer from Sydney, Australia. Since her first visit to Disneyland at the age of 6, she has spent her years frequently visiting Disney Parks and traveling around the world.
Join Zoë as she lets you in on all the tips, tricks, anecdotes, and embarrassments that arise from her family adventures.