Walt Disney World Theme Park in Orlando, Florida is huge! It is so big it is divided into four amazing parks- Epcot, Magic Kingdom Park, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park. You can get tickets to visit one specific theme park or you can choose Park Hopper tickets that will allow you to visit multiple parks on the same day. Our kids are 12 and 14 and we let them choose which park they wanted to visit on our day trip and they chose Walt Disney World Epcot. They had previously been to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and loved it but they always want to try new things. After our family trip to Walt Disney World Epcot where we spent about 12 hours exploring, I would sum it up by saying that Epcot is a lot like a trip around the world with some fun rides included!
Disclosure: I was provided two complimentary Media Passes in order to help facilitate our visit.
What To Expect At Walt Disney World Epcot
Epcot is pretty huge and it can keep you busy exploring all day long but it is possible to feel like you did most things in one day if keep moving. I suggest you make use of the Disney App because it allows you to see a map with wait times so that you can avoid long lines. Three FastPass+ selections were included with our tickets so we used those to plan ahead and reserve times for the most popular rides we chose with long lines (Soarin’, Mission: SPACE, The Seas with Nemo & Friends). I was pleasantly surprised and most wait times were fairly low.
According to Magic Insiders, “The distance from Epcot’s gates to the back of the park is just under 1 mile and takes about 15 minutes to walk…Don’t be fooled though- Epcot is actually the largest park in terms of guest-accessible areas. The walkable guest areas at Epcot absolutely dwarf the walkable guest areas in every other park.” My husband clocked us in at about 18,000 steps for the day with over 9 miles traveled!
When you enter Walt Disney World Epcot, you enter an area divided into Future World West and Future World East. This area has the big Disney World Epcot Rides that let you explore the land, sea, outerspace, and even the future! There are a few exceptions, like the Frozen Ever After ride, that are located in the countries area.
As you can see on an Epcot map, the World Showcase countries area is located in a circle around a body of water and behind the Future World. Although you can’t visit the entire world in one trip to Walt Disney World Epcot, they do have 11 countries represented and it is an amazing feeling to be surrounded by the sights of Venice, Italy one moment and walking through Japan the next. Each country has an attraction where you can learn more about the country in a fun way in addition to typical food, architecture, shopping, and cool cultural experiences to take in like the Japanese Taiko drum show.
Disney World Epcot Rides
We started off Walt Disney World Epcot with the rides. We wanted to make sure we experienced everything Epcot Future World had to offer including the major Disney World Epcot Rides, then we went on to travel around the countries.
This ride gives you a glimpse into our history on Earth so far and into the future.
My daughter and I loved this and I would say don’t miss it. You feel like you are flying and it is one of the more thrilling rides to me.
Epcot Test Track
The long line can be avoided either through the FastPass+ option or by getting in the individual travelers lane. If your kids are old enough to ride alone it is a big time saver and this option saved us about 35 minutes of waiting! While in line, you pass a spot with computers where you customize your vehicle. Don’t skip this- it is an important part of the fun. This one is a racing good time, especially for older kids and adults.
Epcot Living with the Land
Not a thrill seeker ride but so interesting and educational. I loved it.
The Seas with Nemo & Friends Spaceship Earth
After you get off the ride, you get to explore the really cool aquariums. The aquariums stole the show!
Turtle Talk with Crush
This one is aimed at little kids. We realized this too late but we all still enjoyed it anyway because it was so cool how interactive the show seemed to be even though it was digital.
Mission: SPACE Orange
This was a group favorite. It was so much fun that my husband and son did it again before we left the park! They love thrill rides.
Mission: SPACE Green
My daughter and I did the Green at the end of the day after doing the Orange in the morning. It was a super cool mission too and just a little less intense than the Orange, which was perfect after eating food.
Frozen Ever After
This Disney Epcot Ride is located in Norway instead of Future World like most of the rides. We missed this big attraction because the line was too long. We didn’t feel like waiting that much being that my children are on the older side.
Disney World Epcot Countries
Walt Disney World Epcot has a lot of cool rides. However, to be honest, this park is actually centered on the amazing chance to experience 11 countries in one day. If you proceed clockwise around the Epcot World Showcase, as we did, you will encounter the countries listed in the order below.
We loved the First Nations artwork in the Canada Pavilion at Epcot World Showcase as well as the O Canada! show in Circle-Vision 360° film featuring Martin Short.
The United Kingdom Epcot is very authentic feeling. You may enjoy this list of 12 things you will love about the UK Pavilion.
France was very nicely done and we loved the Circle-Vision 360° film. It is funny but I noticed French speaking families in France and at first I thought why would they come to this country when they know it so well already. Then I realized that they were probably giving their children a sneak peak of France. And I bet it made them feel a little like being home. Walt Disney World Ecpot really focuses on the details and it does capture the feeling of being in the country.
This was my son’s favorite and mine too. Both of us have never been so we enjoyed learning a bit about a new country. We loved the architecture and tile work. We ate here at the Tangerine Cafe and we both really enjoyed our meals.
This was my daughter’s favorite. She has an obsession with Japan and Japanese things. It might be because she visited Japan with us when she was a toddler. In Epcot’s Japan, she loved the Japanese architecture, gardens, statues, food, and drum show. Furthermore, she could have spent all day in shops! She selected a tea set as her souvenir for the trip.
The American Adventure
To be honest, my kids were captivated by the Guardians of the Galaxy – Awesome Mix Live! show located in the World Showcase American Gardens Theater.
As someone who has had the good fortune to visit Venice twice, I can say I felt such deja vu when walking into Epcot’s Italy. The kids love their gelato too!
There are plenty of cool things to do in Epcot’s Germany – you can see more here.
This was another one of my favorite Epcot countries. Just stunning details and it made me want to explore China in real life even more.
The living roofs blew me away and my son loved all the Viking details.
Epcot’s Mexico is super cool! As when you enter the building, you go into an evening themed market with so many cool Mexican products. There is also a fun boat ride- especially cool for younger kids but I still enjoyed it!
Then on the way back out you can catch more Future World Epcot Attractions. Then head over to enjoy fireworks over the water as we did.
Walt Disney World Epcot is packed with fun rides, attractions, and cultural experiences. If you haven’t gotten to travel much outside the country, it is a must is introduce you to the excitement. Even if you have traveled abroad a lot, you will still love it because familiar countries make you feel like you are visiting an old friend. We loved our family trip to Disney World Epcot and made lots of great memories!
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You are right – Epcot is huge! Some people say it stands for Every Person Comes out Tired. World Showcase is such a unique place. I am glad you enjoyed Tangerine Cafe. I think it is one of the best quick service meal venues in Disney World. Very different and great value too. There are so many great places to eat and shop in Epcot. I hope that you get the chance to go back some time and explore even more.