This article with podcast is adapted from my new Amazon book, “Epcot 2018: One Perfect Day in Disney World”. The book is designed as an Epcot 2018 travel guide and day planner to help provide the best use of your time and money while enjoying the Future World and World Showcase attractions and dining at Epcot. Must-see attractions are included in one-fast paced day that can be spread over several days if you have more time or wish to proceed at a slower pace. For more information and more of my personal recommendations, be sure to click on the audio bar at the end of this post to listen to the accompanying podcast.
Tips for before you go:
(1) Decide when you will visit Epcot and Disney World. Consider hotel prices and ticket prices during peak times and Epcot special events for 2018.
Epcot Festival of the Arts
Culinary, visual, and entertainment arts – tastings, art shows, Broadway entertainment, and classes in arts, calligraphy, origami, glass blowing and more are available during Epcot Festival of the Arts. The 2018 dates are January 12 – February 19. New in 2018, the festival will be open daily. Last year, the festival was held on Fridays through Mondays only, but the inaugural festival was so popular that it has been expanded!
Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival
Special flowers, including floating gardens and topiaries; free Garden Rocks concerts on Fridays through Mondays; weekend appearances by gardening gurus; outdoor kitchen displays; and special dining menus with farm-to-table meals. The 2018 dates are February 28 – May 28.
Epcot International Food and Wine Festival
The largest Epcot event of the year, this festival brings in chefs, presenters and guests from throughout the world. Food and wine tastings, concerts, cheese tastings, special dinners prepared by world-renowned chefs, culinary demonstrations, and beverage seminars. The 2018 dates are not yet announced. The 2017 dates were August 31 – November 13, so the dates will likely be approximately in the same range.
Epcot International Festival of the Holidays
This celebration of holidays from around the world highlights the different cultures of the 11 World Showcase nations of Epcot. The 2018 dates are not yet announced. The 2017 dates were November 19 – December 30, so the dates will likely be approximately in the same range.
For hotel prices and considerations, consider hotels that offer walk-in or direct monorail connections to Epcot. These include:
Epcot Walk-in Resorts at Disney World:
Disney’s Beach Club Villas
Disney’s Beach Club
Disney’s Yacht Club
Disney’s Boardwalk Inn
Disney’s Boardwalk Villas
Starwood’s Walt Disney World Dolphin
Starwood’s Walt Disney World Swan
Disney World Magic Kingdom Monorail Resorts:
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Villas
Disney’s Polynesian Resort and Bungalows
Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Bay Lake Tower Villas
Check out my earlier post and podcast with information and recommendations of over 30 Disney World and Disney World area hotels and resorts here:
(2) Get Fast Passes for your selected days at Epcot.
Note: If you stay at a Disney resort or at Starwood’s Walt Disney World Swan or Dolphin, you will have the option of making ride and attraction “reservations” called FastPass+ reservation 60 days in advance. This can be especially helpful if you want to visit some of the more popular attractions or ride some of the more popular rides rather than spend your valuable time waiting. (If you have purchased tickets in advance, but if you do not have a Disney hotel reservation, you can make FastPass+ reservations 30 days in advance.) See Disney’s facts here about FastPass+:
Disney and Swan and Dolphin hotel guests also benefit from Extra Magic Hours. During this time, a theme park will open early or stay open late for an hour or so late just for Disney resort guests.
Disney resort guests also get free parking at all the parks, free transportation via bus and resort monorail throughout Disney World.
Recommendations for Fastpasses and times are:
Spaceship Earth – 10:45 am
Mission: Space (Orange) or Epcot Character Spot – 2:00 pm
Frozen Ever After – 3:15 pm or later (Note: If you cannot get Frozen Ever After Fastpasses, use your third Fastpass+ option for Test Track or Soarin’ and ride this ride as soon as the park opens.)
Guests have one hour to enter each of the attractions from the start of your FastPass+ times. For example, if you are able to reserve a 10:45 am time for Spaceship Earth, you can enter any time between 10:45 am and 11:45 am. If you wish to use your three FastPass+ options for other attractions, note that there are two groups of FastPass+ offerings. You may only make one choice from Group 1 and your other two choices from Group 2.
Group 1 FastPass+ choices are: Frozen, Soarin’, Test Track and IllumiNations. Of these choices, Soarin’ and Test Track are possible to ride with a short wait if you ride them first thing in the morning, as soon as the park opens. Also, if you are willing to ride in the Single Rider line of Test Track, your wait time will be significantly reduced.
Frozen almost always has a significant wait, so it is recommended that you use your Group 1 FastPass+ for this attraction. Since it is in the Norway pavilion in the World Showcase part of Epcot, almost everything around it will be closed until 11 am. So, it is recommended you try to get your Frozen FastPass+ in the afternoon or evening when you will enjoy some of the World Showcase entertainment that will be available near Frozen as you stroll past them (and perhaps stop in for a while).
The FastPass+ option for IllumiNations is not really necessary, as there are great viewing options for this nighttime spectacular all around the lagoon. See the Evening section of this book for more about IllumiNations.
Group 2 FastPass+ choices are: Disney/Pixar Short Film Festival, Journey Into Imagination With Figment, Epcot Character Spot, Living with the Land, The Seas with Nemo & Friends, Spaceship Earth, Turtle Talk with Crush, Mission: Space (Green), and Mission: Space (Orange). See more about Mission: Space in the Afternoon section of this eBook. If you and/or your children want to meet Disney characters, usually inclusive of Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, without much of a wait, select Epcot Character Spot.
7:00 am – Get up early and enjoy breakfast at or near your resort.
8:00 am – Walk or take the boat, bus, or monorail to Epcot. Yet another option is to drive and park at Epcot.
8:30 am – Enter the gates at Epcot. Pick up the entertainment brochure so you will know the times of afternoon and evening special entertainment you might want to plan to enjoy later.
9:00 am – You will enter one of two gates that open onto one of two major sections of Epcot: Future World or World Showcase. Make your way to The Land pavilion and ride Soarin’ Around the World. Or, if you have very small children skip this attraction and walk to the Living Seas pavilion and ride The Seas with Nemo and Friends.
9:30 am – Walk to the next pavilion. Select either the Living Seas attractions or Test Track for your next adventure.
Option 1 – The Living Seas has an aquarium, a fun slow-moving ride, The Seas with Nemo and Friends, for all ages, and time to experience Turtle Talk with Crush for those who skipped Soarin’ Around the World and rode The Seas with Nemo and Friends earlier.
Option 2 – Test Track is a thrill ride sponsored by Chevrolet where you “design” a virtual concept vehicle and ride in a six-seater car that goes around a track at speeds of up to 65 miles per hour.
10:30 am – After you enjoy one of the options of the Living Seas or Test Track, walk toward the main entrance of Epcot and use your first FastPass+ to ride Spaceship Earth.
10:45 am – Ride Spaceship Earth, the quintessential Epcot experience! You will enter inside the underbelly and board a slow moving vehicle that will take you up 18 stories as you pass by scenes depicting the world’s landmark communications achievements.
After Spaceship Earth, if you have time before lunch ride “Living with the Land” in The Land pavilion or return to “The Living Seas” to spend some time at the aquarium.
Noon – Enjoy lunch at one of Epcot’s recommended restaurants.
2:00 pm – After lunch, use your second of three FastPass+ to ride Mission: Space (Orange) or to meet Disney Pals at Epcot Character spot. Or enjoy another recommended Future World option: Mission: Space (Green), The Circle of Life, or Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival, Turtle Talk with Crush, or Living with the Land. If the park is not too crowded, you should have time to use your FastPass+ and ride one of the additional options, as well.
3:00 pm – Walk to and ride the nearby Journey Into the Imagination in Future World or select another Future World option from the 2:00 suggestions.
Note – If you need a break after lunch, return to your hotel and re-enter the park in time to use your Frozen Ever After FastPass+.
3:30 pm – Walk to Frozen Ever After in the Norway pavilion of World Showcase.
4:00 pm – Use your third of three FastPass+ to ride Frozen After Ever.
4:30 pm – Enjoy World Showcase attractions and entertainment options.
Use my book and/or my earlier post with diagram and podcast detailing Epcot’s World Showcase dining options here:
7:00 pm – Have dinner at a recommended World Showcase restaurant.
8:30 pm – Walk to your IllumiNations viewing spot.
9:00 pm – Enjoy IllumiNations around the World Showcase lagoon.
In the new edition of “Epcot 2018” two new chapters have been added featuring reference sections with details about attractions and restaurants in Future World and World Showcase by location. Dates, special events, ticket prices, and website links have been updated for 2018, as well. Hotel choices are expanded to include descriptions of hotels near Magic Kingdom, Disney Springs, and Bonnet Creek area.
Future World and World Showcase dining choices are detailed in the book to help you make decisions about advance reservations. More than 30 hotels are reviewed near Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Disney Springs, and in the Bonnet Creek area. The Amazon paperback is $6.99, and the Amazon Kindle book is $3.99. Click the link here for more information or to purchase either version:
One Perfect Day In guides are not affiliated with Disney or Disney partners. Check the Disney World resort for the latest updates and to make Disney World resort and dining reservations:
Epcot Day Planner:
For a pdf of the Epcot Day Planner, send a request with “Epcot Day Planner” in the subject line to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Until next time, I hope all your travel days are just perfect!