Originally titled the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, Epcot was Walt Disney‘s unfinished plan for a city of the future.
The land he intended to build the community on became the theme park and many of the concepts were used in the Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland and the Epcot section of the park.
It features two sections, Future World and World Showcase, set around the “golf ball” style design of Spaceship Earth. Unlike the Magic Kingdom, Epcot is more about the experiences than the rides.
It’s here that annual festivals and events take place, including the popular Epcot Food and Wine Festival, which has additional food and drink stands. There are a few rides, but only one that has a single rider lane and few that allow Fast Passes.
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Future World East
Future World is split into two and the eastern side focuses on space and transportation attractions.
Spaceship Earth is an Epcot classic, a slow ride that shows American technology and future innovations. Mission Space gives visitors a taste of what it’s like to travel in a space shuttle, complete with motion simulators.
Test Track gives visitors a taste of what the car design process is like and takes you on a fast ride through the track. This is a good ride to use the single rider lane for.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is the newest addition to the area and is a unique coaster-style experience.
The Advanced Training Lab is an interactive area for visitors not tall enough for Mission Space with digital games. Innoventions is an interactive area with three areas that use the Colortopia app.
Project Tomorrow is a similar area connected to Spaceship Earth. Jammitors is one of the fun performances that takes place here.
Food and Drink
Electric Umbrella serves healthy and casual meals like quinoa salads and mojo pork burgers. Skip the line at Starbucks in favor of the Joffrey’s coffee stand, which has iced coffee and pastries.
Future World West
Future World West is inspired by the land, including the creatures and plants that make it up.
The Seas with Nemo and Friends is a fun ride to reunite father and son, visiting the characters from the film along the way. Soarin’ Around the World brings guests above and beyond the most famous landmarks in the world as if they are in fact soaring above them.
Living with the Land is a boat tour through a farming community that grows produce and other ingredients using innovative methods.
Their ingredients are used in the accompanying restaurant. The Journey Into Imagination is a ride that introduces visitors to the senses.
Visit the Epcot Character Spot to see and snap photos with many of your favorite characters, including Baymax, Joy and Sadness, Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy. At the Imagination area, you can also find Ralph and Vanellope.
Next to the Nemo area, see Bruce’s Shark World, an interactive exhibit with characters from Finding Nemo. There’s also SeaBase, an aquarium with sea life like turtles, fish, and coral reefs.
For an added fee, guests can go snorkeling and scuba diving in the tanks. Turtle Talk with Crush lets fans chat with the character.
Located inside Imagination is the Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival, where visitors can view 3 short films, over 18 minutes, in 4D. Afterward, visit the ImageWorks “What If” Labs, an interactive space with sensory activities.
Food and Drink
Sunshine Seasons uses the healthy ingredients grown in “The Land” for dishes like turkey sandwiches, tuna poke, and stir-fried shrimp noodles.
Fountain View is the Starbucks in the park, featuring their coffee beverages and pastries. Club Cool is a place where you can try out different Coca-Cola drinks.
Chip n Dales Harvest Feast at Garden Grill Restaurant has buffet-style character dining for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Coral Reef Restaurant takes its inspiration from the sea, featuring a seafood-heavy menu. Dishes include shrimp and grits and lobster mac and cheese.
The highlight of Epcot is the World Showcase, which features smaller versions of locations found in Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, America, Japan, Morocco, France, the United Kingdom, Canada, and an African-inspired Outpost.
Located inside the pyramid in Mexico, go on the Gran Fiesta Tour, a boat ride through the country inspired by The Three Caballeros.
Frozen Ever After is a very popular ride in the Norway area, which brings visitors through the winter wonderland in a frozen vessel, following Anna and Elsa as well as their friends. Get a FastPass if you can!
Kids aren’t as excited about all the food and drink options, so get a passport for your Kidcot stamps. The Mexican Folk Art Gallery resembles a Mexican market, selling handmade goods. Catch a performance of the Mariachi Cobre, a Coco-inspired musical show.
The Stave Church Gallery features artifacts from Norway in a structure modeled after those found in the country. It’s in this area that you can also meet Anna and Elsa, but expect to wait.
Reflections of China film is a 360-degree film that tours the nation’s most stunning scenery. The Jeweled Chinese Dragon Acrobats can’t be missed.
At the House of Whispering Willows, you can get a behind-the-scenes look at the process of building the Shanghai Disney Resort.
In Morocco, stop by the Gallery of Arts and History, which has some of the nation’s impressive decorative arts. The Groovin Alps band performs in Germany, while Sergio is a mime and juggling act in Italy.
The American Adventure film features 35 animatronic figures depicting the history of the nation. It features Susan B. Anthony, Mark Twain, and Frederick Douglass and occurs ever 45 minutes.
The American Heritage Gallery features an exhibition on American Indian art, featuring pieces from museums in Santa Fe and Washington DC. Voices of Liberty is an impressive performance by costumed singers that occurs three times daily.
In Japan, check out the Bijutsu-kan Gallery, which has an exhibit on kawaii culture and Japanese art. Japanese drummers also perform throughout the day.
The Impressions de France film is an 18-minute look into the European nation, visiting the landmarks. Don’t miss the Serveur Amusant performer, a comedic show that takes place on the “streets” of France.
Browse the perfume store that sells fine French perfumes. British Revolution is a live rock show that showcases the country’s many contributions to music.
O Canada is a film about the nation, displayed in CircleVision 360 degrees. Led by Martin Short, the film visits some of Canada’s most impressive landmarks. You can also catch live music at the Canada Mill Stage.
Food and Drink
The real reason to go to Epcot is to eat. Each “country” has its own signature dishes, so come hungry.
In Mexico, there’s San Angel Inn Restaurante, La Hacienda de San Angel, Choza de Margarita, La Cantina de San Angel, and La Cava de Tequila.
San Angel Inn is full-service and serves items like mole poblano, tacos, and tostadas. La Hacienda has a similar menu. La Cantina is the quick service option with tacos and margaritas.
Choza de Margarita has margaritas and snacks like empanadas. Don’t miss the specialty tequilas at La Cava, a real cave that makes incredible cocktails.
Norway has Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus, which typically requires reservations for the character dining. It has authentic Nordic cuisine like potato dumplings, salmon, and Norwegian meatballs. For quick pastries and bites, head to Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe.
China offers full-service dining at Nine Dragons Restaurant, which is known for its kung pao chicken and General Tso’s buns. Lotus Blossom Cafe has some of the same options, like egg rolls, but as a quick-service spot. Joy of Tea has egg rolls and bubble tea.
Germany has the Biergarten Restaurant, a buffet-style eatery with Oktoberfest favorites like sausage, cabbage, and, of course, German beer.
Sommerfest has quick service highlights like apple strudel and bratwursts. Enjoy sweets at Karamell-Kuche, which has caramel apples.
Italy has some great dining options. Tutto Italia Ristorante has a little bit of everything, but shrimp and lobster arancini, osso bucco, and lasagne are favorites. The attached Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar has hundreds of bottles of wine and a full food menu.
Grab a quick bite at Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria, which focuses on the dishes of southern Italy, the original home of pizza.
America’s main dining option is Liberty Inn, which has stereotypical American cuisine like burgers, hot dogs, and barbecue.
Japan also has some great options. Teppan Edo is a traditional teppanyaki restaurant where your food is cooked tableside. Tokyo Dining offers sushi and ramen. Katsura Grill is where you go for udon noodles and teriyaki.
As you would expect, France some incredible food. Chefs de France has classic French food like escargot, tartare, and steak au poivre. The Les Vins kiosk sells their famous Grey Goose slushie, while Crepes de Chefs de France serves sweet and savory crepes.
Monsieur Paul is a modern French restaurant inspired by Chef Paul Bocuse with gorgeous plating in their black sea bass with potato scales. Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie has incredible pastries and baguette sandwiches.
The eateries of the United Kingdom take after the casual pubs and take out joints. The Rose & Crown Dining Room and Pub has a few dining options, including a full-service restaurant with bangers and mash, a pub with pints of Boddington’s, and a tea experience.
If you’re in a hurry, stop by Yorkshire County Fish Shop for fish and chips. Canada’s Le Cellier Steakhouse is one of the top restaurants in Epcot, so make reservations to enjoy their poutine and steak frites.
If you’re looking to see as much as possible, book a Walt Disney World Private Guide.
Staying Onsite and Nearby
There are a few hotels within walking distance of Epcot. The Yacht Club, Beach Club, Boardwalk Inn and Villas, Swan Resort (review here), and Dolphin Resort are all on this side of Walt Disney World and have varying rates, depending on your budget.
If you’re staying at one of the Boardwalk-area resorts, you can either walk to Epcot or take the boats. Other hotels within the resort have access to the park’s bus.
The monorail runs express to Epcot from the Ticket Transportation Center next to the Magic Kingdom. If you’re not, you’ll need to drive and park or take your hotel’s independent shuttle.