Epcot Guide: Essential Pre-Visit Information on Dining, Rides, Transportation

Our kick off guides to the Disney World theme parks serve as a easy reference to planning your day at the work from everything to the touring strategy to follow and the must see snacks!

Epcot can often be thought of in two areas: the Future World and the World Showcase- our Epcot guide will help you navigate this large park known for some of the best food in Disney World.

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Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind Opening Date

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is Epcot’s newest e-ticket ride at Walt Disney World opening on May 27th! 

This is a Marvel themed roller coaster that is coming to Epcot with a brand new themed pavilion all based on the Guardians of the Galaxy movie. This new coater features brand new OmniCoaster technology that allows the ride system to spin at a 360 degree angle making it the first coaster to feature a reverse launch at Walt Disney World plus it’s also one of the longest enclosed coasters in the world. This coaster is a balance of thrills and Disney storytelling- it’s going to be a blast!

Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure Now Open!

Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is now open in Epcot! This new ride based on the popular Pixar movie “Ratatouille” uses similar technology to what we’ve seen on Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway with trackless ride vehicles. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure allows guests to feel like they’ve shrunk to the size of Chefy Remy as the ride takes you through Gusteau’s restaurant on an adventure for the whole family- there is no height requirement.

This experience expanded the France Pavilion with a new restaurant called La Crêperie de Paris. This new restaurant offers both table- and quick-service options with a menu that will feature sweet crepes, savory buckwheat galettes (naturally gluten friendly) and authentic French hard cider.

This new expansion of the France pavilion transports guests into the fanciful version of Paris straight out of the Ratatouille film inspired by Remy’s love for the city of lights.

We anticipate both this ride and new restaurant to be extremely popular when they open for Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary so keep our Epcot guide bookmarked so we can share all our ride tip strategies so you don’t miss out on this new addition to the World Showcase.

Transportation to Epcot

The first step for planning your day in our Epcot guide is thinking about how you will get to and from Epcot. You have three possible options to choose from: a Disney World Resort Bus, the Disney Skyliner, or driving. If you’re staying off-site, you will only be able to drive or use ride share to get to Epcot.

  • Disney World Resort Bus– line up at your bus stop at your Disney World resort at least 90 minutes prior to the park’s official opening time.
  • Driving – you can drive yourself to the parks or use rideshare (read our guide to using Uber at Disney World) which some people prefer especially if they plan to park hop.
  • Skyliner- if you’re staying at the Caribbean Beach Resort, Pop Century Resort, Art of Animation, and the Riveria Resort. If you plan on using the Skyliner, arrive 60 minutes prior to park opening.
  • Ferryboat- you can access Epcot by ferryboat if you’re staying at one of these resorts: BoardWalk Inn and Villas, Beach Club Resort and Villas, Yacht Club Resort, Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin.
    • Keep in mind this option might not be as quick as the other ones!

The Skyliner will typically run for an hour past closing time to get guests back to their hotels. The buses will stay until every guest has exited the park so you are guaranteed a way back to your hotel via the bus no matter how late you leave which can come in handy if you have a dinner reservation that goes past park closing time.

>You can read all about transportation at Disney World in our guide.

Epcot Guide to Festivals and DiningWine in front of Epcot

Epcot is known for its abundance of great dining selections largely due to the presence of the World Showcase which offers themed areas that represent different countries from around the world. There is usually always a festival going on which will also feature themed marketplace food booths that are popular with guests which is why we included them in our Epcot guide. You can expect to see these festivals throughout the year:

  • Festival of Arts
    • January-February
    • This festival is a showcase of the arts with accompanying food booths, chalk art displays, and Disney artists selling gorgeous art pieces.
  • Flower & Garden Festival
    • March-July
    • This festival includes Disney themed topiaries, themed garden areas to explore, and food booths.
  • Food & Wine Festival
    • August-November
    • One of the most popular food festivals showcases international food and wine along with live music around the World Showcase.
  • Festival of Holidays 
    • Runs through Thanksgiving to end of December
    • This festival celebrates international winter holidays with traditional foods and elaborate holiday decor around Epcot.

There is a large variety of great food options from table service to grab and go options inside the World Showcase. Each country will have its own dining options which gives guests the best selection of food out of all the Disney Parks. The World Showcase countries include: Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, United States, Japan, Morocco, France, United Kingdom, and Canada.

If you’re visiting during a festival you can browse the menus for the food booths in advance to see the options. One of the best ways to tackle Epcot at dining is to get most of your day open to cruise the marketplace booths during a festival and treat yourself to a table service dining reservation for dinner. On our last visit we enjoyed dinner inside the Mexico pavilion at a themed restaurant called San Angel Inn seated right next to the Grand Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros attraction complete with Mayan ruins for scenery.

>You can read about all the dining options at Epcot in our guide. 

Epcot Guide to Characterscharacters at epcot guide

Let’s talk characters in our Epcot guide! You can find a variety of characters in Epcot tied to connections their movies have to the park. Even though there are currently no character meet and greets right now you can find characters in areas around the park including:

  • Frozen
    • You can see Anna & Elsa near the Norway pavilion throughout the day and in character cavalcade
  • Joy & Winnie the Pooh
    • Near the Living with the Land and Soarin’ attraction, you can see Joy and Winnie the Pooh alternating throughout the day
  • Alice & Mary Poppins
    • In the UK pavilion you have the chance to see Mary Poppins or Alice rotated throughout the day

You can also see these spontaneous character cavalcades throughout the day:

  • Mickey & Friends World Tour features Mickey, Minnie, Pluto and Goofy.
  • Frozen Promenade features Anna & Elsa greeting guests around the World Showcase.
  • Princess Promenade features Belle, Aurora, Jasmine, and Snow White waving from a carriage.

Disney has been extremely creative with introducing characters into the parks to keep the magic alive with character cavalcade and spontaneous character appearances from a distance.

>Read our guide to Disney World right now to see why we love these new character interactions.

Touring Plan for EpcotFrozen Ever After- Epcot guide

If you follow the strategy in our Epcot guide, it takes you in a circle around Epcot and directs you back into the World Showcase so you can leisurely explore and take in the shows that are offered in that area of the park. We usually take our time with this plan and not rush from attraction to attraction. Once you finish Frozen Ever After and Test Track, the wait times for most of the rides should be reasonable throughout the day. Epcot is definitely the most ‘relaxing’ park in that sense.

We have a complete Epcot morning strategy ready for your use. This will help you to experience the most at Epcot if you start your day here.

  • Frozen Ever After
  • Test Track
  • Mission: SPACE
    • Green is the mild Earth mission which usually has a shorter line all day
    • Orange is the intense Mars mission which usually has a longer line
  • Spaceship Earth
  • The Seas with Nemo & Friends
  • Soarin’ Around the World
  • Living with the Land
  • Journey Into Imagination with Figment
  • Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros
  • Explore the World Showcase

As for Test Track and Frozen Ever After, you could always save one of those rides for right before the park closes if the line is already long by the time you get to the ride. Since Epcot has two entrances and more options of arrival for guests (Skyliner, busses, resort guests nearby can walk, etc.) it’s a bit trickier to be at the ‘front of the group’ for this park. We were one of the first groups to arrive at the Skyliner and we entered the park 20 minutes early. We headed straight for Frozen Ever After and there was already a large line formed from guests arriving from the opposite side of the park! Despite that, we were off the ride 10 minutes after official park opening since they started running the attraction early so it still worked out well.

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About Lindsay Brookshier

Lindsay is a college English instructor and has years of writing experience through various nonprofits, charities, newspapers, and online magazines. As the content director of Mickey Visit, she oversees article content and leads our fantastic team of writers to meet guest vacation needs. You can still find her writing weekly content to help make your Disney Parks trip fantastic here on Mickey Visit and Disney Dose- you can also view her recently featured posts on Disney Parks travel on Visit Anaheim, Nerd Wallet and SFGate. Lindsay comes from a dedicated Disney family and enjoys taking her son to the Disney parks as often as possible.

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