Epcot is a very large park, but with 1 day you can still hit up all of the attractions that are the most worthy of your time. My preferences is to always split this up in to two days, but it can still all be done in 1 day. This itinerary is for a full day at the park, however you can take a break in the middle or cut the day short if you feel it is too long for your family. Just note that if you do not plan to spend the full day in the park, you will have to cut out some of the attractions on the itinerary. Please note that these itineraries are based on a moderate crowd level and you may not be able to get everything done if you visit on a higher crowd level day.
**Make sure to check out my Epcot Rides Guide to help you pick out which rides you want to plan for at the park.
Park Map: (click for larger view)
I highly recommend that you start your day as early as you can. If you are a Disney Resort guest, then you will have access to the park for 30 minutes before official park opening. With that in mind, aim to arrive at the park an hour before official park opening and be ready to head to your first ride of the day so you can maximize that extra 30 minutes.
If you are not staying on-site, then I recommend you arrive approximately half an hour before rope drop. Rope drop refers to the time that they officially open the park.
Genie+ can be a hit or miss at Epcot. If the cost of it doesn’t bother you, then by all means, go ahead and buy it. I don’t think it is essential for this park though.
When scheduling your initial Lightning Lane selections, I would recommend trying to start them around 1 hour after park opening. That will give you a chance to ride other attractions on stand-by while they still have short lines during that first hour. After the first hour, lines start to get longer and that is when your lightning lane selections will come in handy. For your first Lightning Lane selection of the day, this is the ride I would select first:
- Test Track
I highly suggest purchasing the extra Lightning Lane access for Frozen Ever After and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure (you do not need Genie+ to do that). Both of these rides traditionally have long stand-by lines. The Lightning Lane access is very useful for these two if they are on your must-do list.
**You will want to make sure you know how to use Genie+ and how to purchase those extra Lightning Lanes for the premium rides. You can take a look at my tutorial at How to Use Genie+ at Disney World.
Early Morning Touring:
Depending on what you scheduled for your first lightning lane, you may need to change the order of this itinerary. Also, as you go throughout the day, the order may change depending on when you are able to grab additional Lightning Lane rides. Make sure you read my tutorial (linked above) and know EXACTLY when you can schedule your next Lightning Lane. The more Lightning Lanes you can schedule in the day, the less time you will spend waiting in lines.
If you are not using Genie+ and are a Disney Resort guest with access to early entry hours, this is the order of rides I recommend:
- Test Track
- Mission: SPACE
- Living with the Land
- The Seas with Nemo & Friends
This would be a good time to head over to Club Cool. This is always a stop for me on my day in Epcot as you will have the chance to sample a lot of free beverages from around the world. You can cool off on a hot day in the air conditioning while you enjoy some free drinks! Right next door is Connections, where you can browse and do a little souvenir shopping.
Late Morning Touring:
- Spaceship Earth
- Journey Into Imagination with Figment
There are a lot of options in Epcot, probably some of the best food you will find on property. If you want to eat in the Future World area, then I would suggest the Sunshine Seasons quick-service restaurant. It has a great selection of food and I have not been disappointed with anything I have eaten there.
If you prefer to head in to World Showcase, Mexico is one of the first countries you will pass if you go to the left and they have a good quick-service restaurant called La Cantina de San Angel.
You can also make yourself a reservation in advance at one of the many table service restaurants in the park. If you don’t have a reservation though, you could always try walking up to get a table. Since there are so many choices in Epcot, it is the park where you will have the best chance of getting a table without a reservation.
This is usually the hottest time of the day, and the World Showcase does give you lots of opportunity to get out of the sun. Mexico and Norway both have indoor rides, so you may want to hit those up first. In Mexico they have the Gran Fiesta Tour. Norway has the Frozen Ever After ride, but if you purchased the Lightning Lane access, I would suggest waiting to use it since the lines can be very long for this ride.
For the first half of the afternoon, you will want to aim to get as far as The American Adventure. If you have young children with you, then keep an eye out for the Kidcot stations in every country. Kidcot offers a great opportunity to take a rest while keeping the little ones entertained.
China offers an indoor movie that you can watch called “Reflections of China”. Also, make sure to check out The American Adventure for some more indoor entertainment and opportunity to escape the heat.
Epcot also has a lot of opportunities to meet characters. Here is who you will find in the countries (schedule subject to change, check your Times Guide):
- Mexico – Donald
- Norway – Anna & Elsa
- China – Mulan
- Germany – Snow White
- Morocco – Jasmine
- France – Aurora
In America, you will find a food booth offering funnel cakes if you have the taste for something sweet. If you would like something to cool off, head in the direction of Japan and you will come across a booth that offers a delicious snack. The snacks are called Kakigori and it is a cup of shaved iced that they cover with a delicious selection of flavored syrups. You can choose from rainbow, strawberry, melon, tangerine and cherry. It definitely hits the spot on a hot afternoon!
Late Afternoon Touring:
The rest of the afternoon will be spent touring what is left of the World Showcase. Here are some of the interesting things to check out in some of the countries:
- Japan – be sure to check out the Mitsukoshi store. There is also a very cute Kawaii exhibit in the pavillion.
- Morocco – explore the back streets of Morocco and you may find an opportunity to meet Jasmine.
- France – check out the indoor show “Beauty & the Beast Sing-Along” and then grab an ice cream at L’Artisan des Glaces. You will also find Princess Aurora doing meets in this area.
- United Kingdom – you’ll find some live music in the back gardens of the UK and you can sometimes find Alice in Wonderland and Mary Poppins in this area.
- Canada – check out the indoor movie called “Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360”.
The choices are really endless at Epcot. If you have made advanced dinner reservations, then you may want to head over to them right now. If not, then there are many quick-service options to choose from. It really all depends on what you have a taste for. If you think you may want to do a character meal, then I would recommend trying to get reservations for either Garden Grill. Garden Grill has some classic Disney characters (Mickey, Pluto, Chip n’ Dale).
If you were able to get more Lightning Lane reservations for later in the day, then now may be the time to head over to that ride. You could also head over to the Seas with Nemo & Friends to check out the amazing aquarium they have in the park. You could also check out the show they have there called “Turtle Talk”, which is very popular with young children. If Soarin’ is showing low wait times, then now would be a great time to try and catch a second ride.
End of Day:
As the end of day nears, you will want to start to stake out a spot for the fireworks show at the lagoon in World Showcase. If you want to get a spot right at the gate with no obstructions, then I recommend staking out your spot at least an hour in advance. There are specific locations that are best to watch Harmonious from. I suggest either getting a spot right at the gate where you enter World Showcase from Future world, or from the Japan pavilion.
Once the fireworks are over, take your time strolling to the front of the park. It takes awhile for this park to clear out, so no need to rush. The Spaceship Earth ball always looks amazing at night and is a great backdrop for photos.
Depending on how quickly you toured, you may not of gotten everything done on this list, but if you got 75% of it done, then you had a great day 🙂