01 PLAN YOUR VISIT
Epcot is a Disney theme park so it is bound to be busy no matter what day you go, but it is still important to try and plan your visit as best as you can. If you are spending a while in Disney World you might benefit from something other than a day ticket, like a park hopper or three day pass. You can buy cheaper tickets online and it saves you waiting in a long queue on the day. If you're there for the day, just get a standard ticket and if you can try and plan ahead for things you might want to see/do while you're there.
02 INVEST IN FAST-PASSES
Fast-passes are essentially your ultimate lifeline at any Disney theme park, allowing you to skip ahead of the line for the most popular rides. Each ride has a wait time, and a fast-pass time which constantly change but will be advertised all around the park. Don't make the mistake I did when I first visited and think that they cost, fast-passes are free. You can only have ONE fast-pass at any time though, and it will pick an allocated time period for you to visit the ride. For example, if you arrive at 10am, you could see that there is a fast-pass available for Soarin' between 1-2pm. Alternatively the wait time is 4 hours (trust me, this happens), so you would be better off getting a fast-pass and visiting the ride between 1-2pm rather than waiting in line for 4 hours. It is always best to look at the wait time board and try to plan what rides you want to do around your fast-pass.
03 VISIT EVERY COUNTRY
Epcot is split up into two sections, or realms as I think they like to call them. There's the Future World which is all about technology and the future (duh), and there's the World Showcase which presents the culture and cuisine of 11 different countries which includes Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, France, United States, Japan, Morocco, United Kingdom and Canada. Each country is filled with some great cultural scenes and usually a place to grab food or a snack. I highly suggest you visit every one and allocate enough time to explore them all properly.
04 WATCH ILLUMINATIONS REFLECTIONS OF THE EARTH
On my first visit to Florida (which was also my first visit to Epcot) my family and I made the mistake of doing two parks per day and it is still one of the most exhausting things I've done. However on the last day we ended up at Epcot from around 2pm, and once we had done all of the rides we stuck around for the firework show which tends to start at around about 7-ish I believe (though it does tell you on the leaflets they give out). It was one of my favourite things about the trip, and I got to see it again last year and it was still as mesmerising as ever. It is the best firework show I've ever seen, it's a definite must see. No excuses. No exceptions.
05 PICK YOUR RIDES IN ADVANCE
If you can it's best to research what rides you would most like to do, especially if you're travelling with a group. Obviously the wait times will determine a lot, but if you go into the park with a solid idea of the rides you just HAVE to do, that will help you a great deal. My favourite rides are Mission:Space (the green, not the orange intensity), Soarin', Test Track, The Seas with Nemo and Friends (honestly this ride is really underrated, it's not just for little kids) and Spaceship Earth.
06 DON'T FORGET THE ESSENTIALS
This is a generic top-tip, but yet so many people forget about these things that I thought best to include it.
- Wear comfortable shoes because you will be constantly walking around and there's nothing worse than spending hours in uncomfortable shoes that are slowly cutting away at your feet.
- Get a map. I'm pretty sure there are always Disney workers handing out maps, you may even get one on arrival, but they're so handy to have and often give you some extra information about the rides and dining options. That's right, information without having to Google something - put your phone down!
- Hydrate yourself and wear sunscreen. These are probably the two most important things people take for granted. Walking around in the heat can be dangerous so don't forgot to stop for a drink every now and again and be sure to keep topping up that sunscreen, even if it's over cast you've got a good chance of getting sunburn.
07 SEE THE INSIDE SECRETS
I didn't know about this until I visited Epcot last year, but a lot of the countries and monuments have indoor attractions! There is an amazing boat ride inside Mexico as well as an impressive restaurant which overlooks an incredible view, or you can can hop on another boat ride inside Norway. These are only small rides but they're a lot of fun!
08 SPOT THE CHARACTERS + SHOW TIMES
If you're travelling with kids, or even if you just want to say you met some of your favourite characters, they're hidden all over Epcot and it's really quite fun seeing who you can spot. Belle tends to be in France, Alice in Wonderland is in the UK, Donald Duck in Mexico and there's a separate designated character spot in Epcot for all those photo opportunities too. If you're a show lover, it's also worth checking show times and seeing what's on where and when to avoid missing out!
09 MAKE TIME TO EAT
With 11 different countries on offer as well as Epcot's general food stalls you're spoilt for choice when it comes to food. I know things can be a little pricey, but its worth stopping for a bite to eat somewhere. I recommend Germany and the UK for food, but don't ride some rides i.e Mission:SPACE on a full stomach, it's not a wise idea - trust me.
10 TAKE IT ALL IN
Epcot is a truly unique and marvellous place and from time to time you'll forget you're actually in a theme park in the middle of Florida. Whether you're strolling through the streets of France, stopping for a bite to eat in Mexico or Soarin' through the skies, don't forgot to take the time to snap some photos and make some memories. After all, that's what it's all about.
I hope you find these tips helpful! Have you ever been to Epcot before, what would be your top ten tips?