Looking for some actually helpful Epcot tips and secrets? We took our time to create this guide and it’s full of some of our best stuff!

Epcot is Walt Disney World’s largest theme park and it is impossible to cover it all in one day. We recommend splitting it into two days, but that’s not always an option.

No matter how much time you plan to spend in the park, this list of 30 tips will help to make your visit to Epcot the best it can possibly be. So read up on our extensive guide to get the most helpful advice on rides, food, navigating the park, finding attractions and other details on can’t-miss experiences!

#1. Enter Epcot Before it Opens

Epcot Early Admission Breakfast

The best way to get into Epcot early is to book a breakfast before the park even opens. We recommend setting a reservation an hour before park opening time at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in the Norway Pavilion to accomplish this. You’ll get to see the World Showcase before anyone else.

For breakfast, Akershus serves a traditional American breakfast selection with classic, plant-based and allergy-friendly options. A big plus for families with children is that Akershus is a character dining location where you can meet five different princesses during your meal.

If breakfast buffets aren’t your thing, take a look at our huge list of places to get breakfast in Epcot to find the perfect choice for your group.

#2. Do Rope Drop the Right Way

If you don’t want to go the breakfast route, another great way to get in the park early is to show up for “Rope Drop” (or park opening). The line begins to form as early as an hour before the park opens, so be sure to hurry to the entrance when you come in the morning.

A lot of people like to do this to get to all the best rides with the lowest wait times possible. Try running straight to Soarin’ Around the World, Test Track or Frozen Ever After as these wait times climb pretty high later in the day.

It takes quite a while to walk to each of these. So we suggest choosing your favorite and heading straight to it.

#3. Take the Secret Entrance

Epcot Back Entrance for Resorts

Most every guest enters Epcot through the main turnstiles at World Celebration at the front of the park. Did you know you can enter Epcot through the World Showcase, as well? The entrance is called the International Gateway.

This is reserved for guests staying at the Boardwalk, the Swan and the Dolphin, the Yacht Club and the Beach Club. But if you’re not staying at these resorts, you can still use the International Gateway by doing the following:

  1. Take a bus to one of these resorts
  2. Eat breakfast at one of these resorts then walk to Epcot
  3. Take the Skyliner here from Caribbean Beach, Riviera, Art of Animation, Pop Century or Hollywood Studios

It’s not necessarily any more convenient but it is quicker to get into the park since fewer people enter this way. If you’re looking into staying on property near Epcot, get more in-depth information on Epcot resorts & hotels here.


One of the best ways for Park-Hoppers to get to Epcot is by taking the monorail from Magic Kingdom or the Skyliner from Hollywood Studios. This is a great way to experience two parks in one day, and get a fun ride in the process from one park to the other.

Here’s what we suggest you do: Park at Magic Kingdom and spend time there in the morning. Come back to the Transportation & Ticket Center and board the monorail to Epcot for lunch or dinner reservations. If you’re starting in Hollywood Studios, begin your morning through afternoon here and then head to Epcot for dinner.

Watch the Luminous fireworks presentation, then travel back to Magic Kingdom via monorail or Hollywood Studios via Skyliner to retrieve your car at the end of the night.


Epcot Fast Pass Tips Test Track

If you’re going to wake up at 7am to plan your rides for the day, you may as well know which rides are worth it! We suggest you book your first Lightning Lane for Guardians of the Galaxy, Soarin’, Test Track, Frozen Ever After or Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and book a time that’s as early as possible. These are the most popular rides and the hardest to get. Throughout the day you can continue booking other rides as time slots come available.

The other rides not mentioned here are a lot easier to get on – you’ll just have to check the wait times to catch them at the right time.

Keep in mind that all the rides, aside from Frozen and Ratatouille, are located at the front of the park. So we typically recommend that you book rides in the morning, walk the World Showcase at the back of the park for lunch, then book more rides in the late afternoon or evening.

#6. Be Prepared to Walk

As we mentioned before, Epcot is Walt Disney World’s largest theme park – the World Showcase alone is a 1.25 mile walk. If you want to see just how big Epcot really is, we broke the entire park down for you in a separate post.

So be prepared to walk with the right shoes and other comfortable clothing items, like handbags and accessories. Trust us, these are important things to consider when you pack for the marathon that is a Disney vacation.

If you find yourself needing a break, we’ve got a few cooldown spots to check out. We like to take a break in Les Halles Boulangerie in the France Pavilion, spend time in the Land Pavilion or go inside the Mexico pyramid to cool off and hang out.

#7. Get Free Drinks

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is epcot-free-drinks-club-cool.jpg

Every Disney guest should know how to get free drinks, especially if they’re trying to do Disney on a budget during their vacation. It’ll definitely save you money each day if you know what to do.

Epcot recently renovated the popular Club Cool which is located near Connections Eatery in World Celebration. Inside you’ll find fountain drink stations that serve small samples at a time, but you could try all of them for free or bring a larger cup to fill and take with you.

For water drinkers, ask for a cup of ice water, which is free at any walk-up counter or quick service restaurant in every Walt Disney World park. Alternatively, you can bring a water bottle and get free refills at any water fountain around Epcot.

#8. Find Allergy-Friendly Food Options

Guests with specific food allergies should note which dining locations will accommodate you. Epcot has a huge number of restaurants, so you’ll be pleased with the various options. Nearly all locations listed below have special menus for guests with Gluten/Wheat, Egg, Fish/Shellfish, Milk, Peanut/Tree Nut, and Soy allergies.

  • Akershus
  • Biergarten
  • Connections Eatery
  • Coral Reef Restaurant
  • Garden Grill
  • Le Cellier Steakhouse
  • Regal Eagle Smokehouse
  • Rose & Crown Dining Room
  • Spice Road Table

#9. Best Time to See the World Showcase

Best Time to See the Epcot World Showcase

When coming to Epcot, don’t make the mistake of seeing the World Showcase at only one point in the day. There are so many things to do here and the entertainment and scenery varies from day to night.

During the day, you’ll enjoy seeing live entertainment in each individual country, like the mariachi band in Mexico, acrobats in China or the British Revolution band in the United Kingdom.

At sunset, the World Showcase glows with the last light of day – the golden hour for pictures. You’ll want to take one last walk around, possibly with a drink in hand, to catch the beauty of each pavilion lit up at nighttime.


Epcot holds a special place in our hearts as our favorite park, our rehearsal dinner location and our engagement photo location. If you want to get some great photos for a special occasion, we recommend booking a Capture Your Moment experience at Epcot. 

You’ll have to go onto Disney’s main website to book a reservation for either a 20 minute or 40 minute session with a Disney Photopass photographer. The photos are priced separately from the session unless you have an annual pass or other Photopass benefit that includes photos for free.

#11. Book Dinner at Park Closing Time

Les Chefs de France - Epcot French Restaurant

If you’re one to squeeze every last drop out of your vacation, you’ll appreciate this tip. Just like booking breakfast before the park opens to get in early, booking dinner at park close allows you to leave late.

What we suggest you do is book a reservation at a restaurant with a view of the World Showcase Lagoon so you can enjoy the Luminous night time show from your table. Restaurants with great views include Rose & Crown, Spice Road Table, La Hacienda de San Angel or Shiki-Sai: Sushi Izakaya. Here are some other suggestions on Epcot dining if you feel another option would be better suited for you.

Make sure you’ve done everything you wanted to do before getting to your dinner reservation because the park will be closed when you get out of the restaurant. The walk back to the front of the park is always a breeze and makes for great pictures of the empty pavilions.

#12. Get the Best Seats on Soarin’ Around the World

Epcot Soarin Best Seats

Most people will know from photos or from experience that Soarin’ Around the World is a simulated hang glider IMAX theater experience. It’s got three different mechanical lift systems, with 87 available seats.

With so many seats to choose from, you should know which to request from the castmember. Our favorite is Class B, Row 2: it puts you directly at the center of the screen for optimal viewing. Class A has a left-hand, curved view of the screen and Class C has a right-hand, curved view of the screen.

For guests with a fear of heights, ask to sit on Row 3, which is the lowest to the ground for the flight. Guests who want an unobstructed view (rows 2 and 3 see feet dangling above them) ask for Row 1.

#13. Get Shorter Wait Times on Test Track

Getting Lightning Lane for Test Track can be challenging as it’s one of the top 3 rides in Epcot. Wait times often climb to over an hour on the busiest days.

If you don’t have Lightning Lane, skip the line quickly by using the Single Rider line. Oftentimes, this line is far shorter and a party of two is likely to get on the same vehicle together.

#14. Mission Space has Two Levels

Epcot Mission Space Intensity Orange & Green

Mission Space (not to be confused with Spaceship Earth, inside the “Epcot Ball“) is by far the most intense ride on Walt Disney World property, reaching up to 2.5 Gs at the liftoff portion of the ride.

Therefore, Imagineers saw fit to create two different ride experiences with varying levels of intensity. More sensitive guests can choose the Green Mission that is family-friendly with smaller movements and no spinning.

More adventurous riders can choose the Orange Mission which spins to create G-Force for a life-like simulation of a launching and landing space shuttle. The Orange Mission is what makes Mission Space one of our Top 7 Rides for Adults in Epcot.

#15. Catch a Free Concert

Did you know that Epcot’s America Gardens Theatre hosts live concerts throughout the year? According to the season or festival, you can catch anything from headliner bands to cover bands, Broadway performances to celebrity guests.

During the Food & Wine Festival, Epcot hosts big name artists like Plain White T’s, MercyMe, Kenny G, Boyz II Men and Hanson. You can reserve VIP seating for these shows when you book a dining package.

Our favorite show at the America Gardens Theatre is the Candlelight Processional at Christmas. Local high school choirs sing traditional holiday songs nightly with Disney’s Voices of Liberty singers. The best part is that the Christmas story is narrated by a celebrity like Neil Patrick Harris or Whoopi Goldberg.


Epcot After 4 Dining

If you’ve traveled to Epcot before, you know how difficult it is to find reservations 180 days in advance of your trip. With the recent addition of the Walk-Up Wait List, your task just got so much easier. 

Yes, you should do your best to book important reservations in advance, but if you have a handful of restaurants you want to try or you want to have a more carefree day at the park, the walk-up list is the way to go.

Simply open the My Disney Experience app on the day of your trip around an hour before you want to eat and see which restaurants are available. On less crowded days you could score reservations for Le Cellier or Garden Grill. On busy days, there may only be one or two restaurants available for walk-up.

#17. Don’t Skip The Seas

Epcot the Seas Pavilion

The Seas with Nemo & Friends is very easy to miss as most guests take the path from the entrance through World Celebration straight to the World Showcase. The Seas pavilion is located just north of the Land in the World Nature pavilion.

This wondrous building is home to thousands of sea creatures and is one of the largest saltwater aquariums in the world. You can see and learn more about dolphins, sea turtles, sharks, rays, manatees and loads of different fish.

Some of the coolest features of this oceanic exhibit are Turtle Talk with Crush (an interactive show where Crush answers your questions), The Seas with Nemo & Friends (a ride perfect for families) and Epcot Seas Adventures – Dive Quests.

#18. Meet Characters

Epcot is so widely known for its excellent dining options that some guests don’t realize that you can still meet beloved characters at this park.

Guests will be pleasantly surprised to find Mickey or Minnie at the Epcot entrance at random times throughout the day. You can also meet Asha at select times at the World Showcase Plaza.

In the World Showcase, you can meet a lot of the Disney Princesses in their home countries, like Elsa in Norway, Mulan in China and Jasmine in Morocco.

#19. Best Breakfast in Epcot

The best table service breakfast is at Akershus, a character dining location with Norwegian-inspired meals mixed with traditional American favorites. It's located in the Norway Pavilion and serves delicious scrambled eggs, hash browns, sticky buns and more.

Epcot has loads of restaurants to choose from, but it’s helpful to know which ones are worth it, especially if you have a limited time to spend here on your vacation. Here are our top picks for breakfast to start your day:

The best table service breakfast is at Akershus, a character dining location with a traditional American breakfast. It’s located in the Norway Pavilion and serves delicious scrambled eggs, hash browns, sticky buns and more.

For a fast meal, get the best quick service breakfast at Les Halles Boulangerie, one of our top picks for restaurants in Epcot. Period. This French bakery has excellent selections from ham and cheese sandwiches to scrumptious pastries.

#20. Escape the Weather

Florida weather patterns are extremely unpredictable, so it’s well worth it for you to be prepared for all kinds of weather when you visit Disney. Most first-timers don’t realize how open Epcot is, which means very little shelter from rain storms.

In the Winter guests will be surprised at how cold it can get, especially at night through January and February. In the summer, come equipped for hot, humid weather and random downpours.

You can escape the rain by having the right rain gear for you and the kids, but you can also venture to these hideaways till the storm passes. We suggest you take a ride on Spaceship Earth, explore the Mexico Pavilion, check out the Festival Headquarters (if it’s festival season) or get in line for Frozen Ever After which is completely covered.

#21. Get a History Lesson in the World Showcase

Epcot History Gods of the Vikings
Stave Church Gallery

Imagineers did a great job incorporating the characteristics and cultures of each individual country in the World Showcase. All of these unique qualities make each pavilion in the World Showcase breathtakingly beautiful, but also educational.

History buffs will love some of the exhibits each country has to offer. Here’s a full list of the galleries and historical shows in the World Showcase:

  • the American Adventure
  • American Heritage Gallery
  • Bijutsu-kan Gallery in Japan
  • Impressions de France
  • Mexico Folk Art Gallery
  • Morocco’s Art & History Gallery
  • Reflections of China
  • Stave Church Gallery in Norway

#22. Find the “Toothpaste” & “Bubblegum” Walls

Our insta friends will appreciate this tip. You can find the “Toothpaste” wall at the Seas with Nemo & Friends. Instead of boarding the ride, go to the far right side of the attraction where the Coral Reef Restaurant entrance is. It’s painted on the side of that wall.

The “Bubblegum” wall is a bit easier to spot since it has two locations. This one’s on either side of Spaceship Earth as you exit the ride, easily seen as you walk through World Celebration.

#23. Best Quick Service in Epcot

Best Epcot Quick Service

We mentioned Les Halles for breakfast already, but it also makes a great lunch or quick dinner spot. Our other picks for best quick service meals in Epcot are Yorkshire Fish & Chips and La Cantina de San Angel.

Yorkshire Fish & Chips can be a great snack to share with a friend or a satisfying meal for one. The fish and chips come hot and made to order with an array of condiments. Enjoy it by the water in the United Kingdom pavilion or easily eat and walk to your next destination.

La Cantina de San Angel can be pretty popular depending on what time you go, since it’s got spectacular views of World Showcase Lagoon, and therefore great seating for Luminous. La Cantina has some of our all-time favorite tacos with delicious beans and rice on the side.

#24. Take Advantage of Discounts

If you are a Disney Passholder, Disney Vacation Club Member or a Disney Visa Cardholder, you have access to a world of savings with special offers and discounts. These programs have loads of different opportunities for saving money around all of the parks.

In Epcot, you’ll be able to save money at not only merchandise stands, but also many of the table service, quick service and some of the food carts all over the World Showcase. This is extremely helpful when traveling with a big party who loves to eat, as you could save at least 10% on most eating establishments.

#25. Best Date Night Restaurant in Epcot

Epcot Best Date Restaurant

The best date night restaurant in Epcot is Monsieur Paul, hands down. It ranks extremely high on our list of best Disney World restaurants for adults for this reason.

Monsieur Paul can be found around the corner from Les Chefs de France and is only open for dinner service. It has beautifully decorated walls and tables and offers delicacies such as beef tenderloin, sea bass and escargot.

The prix-fixe menu changes often, but the level of service and high-quality selections are always magnifique. It’s perfect for celebrating a special occasion, especially when paired with a dining package to an Epcot concert or show at the American Gardens Theatre.

#26. Spot Painted Characters in the World Showcase

This is a relatively new experience that many guests still don’t know about. Recently, Epcot introduced small paintings of different supporting characters from Disney movies on the walls around the World Showcase. They usually pop up or change during the Festival of the Arts during the early months of the year.

It’s done in an “I Spy” sort of way, where you have to be fairly attentive to your surroundings and the details on the walls.

For instance, you can find a painting of Mushu in China, Pascal in Germany, Lumiere in France and many more. Keep your eyes peeled as you walk through each country to see who you can spot.

#27. Best Dessert in Epcot

Epcot Best Dessert - School Bread

Dessert is a high priority when on vacation and Walt Disney World has so many options to choose from. We have a handful of favorites we rotate at Epcot, but our favorite has to be the School Bread in Norway at the Kringla Bakeri og Kafe.

Second on our list is the Croque Glace from France’s Les Artisans de Glaces, a scoop of ice cream pressed in a warm brioche bun, along with chocolate eclairs and beignets with a hot cup of coffee from Les Halles.

For all you ice cream lovers, we suggest getting the Espresso Affogato from Gelateria Toscana in the Italy pavilion: a sweet scoop of ice cream with espresso poured over top. If you’re curious about the other unique ice cream treats here, check out our ultimate guide to ice cream in Epcot.

#28. Don’t Miss the Gran Fiesta Tour

While in Mexico, it’s easy to miss the Gran Fiesta Tour water ride at the back of the pyramid. A lot of guests don’t even realize that Mexico has a ride because it’s fairly hidden and Disney doesn’t offer Lightning Lane for it.

Luckily, you don’t need Lightning Lane because there is rarely a wait longer than 10 minutes. This is a great way to get off your feet for a bit during a long day and it’s also fun entertainment for children.

The Gran Fiesta Tour stars the Three Caballeros, which includes Donald Duck, as they travel through Mexico City to a celebration. It’s patterned similarly to It’s a Small World in Magic Kingdom and is great for all ages.

#29. Best Drinking Spot in Epcot

Best Epcot Bar - La Cava del Tequila

Our top drinking spot in Epcot is La Cava del Tequila in the Mexico pavilion and has the best margaritas on Disney property.

This location has a selection of over 200 different tequilas! But we personally opt for the Blood Orange and the Classic Margaritas paired with their delicious chips and sauce trio. The interior beautifully showcases the traditional process of harvesting agave to make tequila and offers a secluded setting for enjoying your drinks.

Adults will also be pleased to discover that you can book a Tequila Tasting here on any day of the week except Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Availability is found on Walt Disney World’s website. The tasting is hosted by a certified Tequila Ambassador who will select some of the top tequilas and mezcals to pair with small bites for your experience.

#30. Best Children’s Activities in Epcot

Epcot is most well-known for being the park that’s best suited for adults with its science, history and culinary themes, but it’s actually got a lot to offer for little ones. Aside from meeting their favorite characters around the park, there are various activities kids can do.

Kidcot is an activity that gets your kids involved in each country within the World Showcase. Each pavilion has artistic stations where kids can sit with a cultural representative from that country and create a unique souvenir to take home.

Children will most enjoy rides like Journey into Imagination with Figment, the Seas with Nemo & Friends, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Frozen Ever After. We’ve also got an extensive list of the best kid-friendly Epcot restaurants so you can plan your day for the whole family.

#31. Drink Around the World

Germany Shofferhoffer Pink Grapefruit Hefeweizen

This popular challenge has long been a fun activity for friend groups, bachelorette parties, families and birthday celebrations. We’ve done it many times ourselves and have a few tips on how to make the day perfect.

First, we suggest you go during a festival, so you can not only experience drinks in each country, but easily get food and snacks at the special stands they set up in the World Showcase during the festival.

Second, travel the World Showcase counter clockwise since it’s more fun to end your night in Mexico than in Canada. We recommend wetting your whistle with a beer in Canada and ending with a tasty margarita in Mexico. Find more Drinking Around the World tips and recommendations on our post.

#32. Best Place to Watch LUMINOUS

Visitors will be happy to know that you can watch Luminous  from anywhere along the World Showcase Lagoon. However, there are a few key spots that we think you should check out. We love eating tacos at La Cantina de San Angel while watching the fireworks, or enjoying a little gelato while viewing the show from the Italy pavilion.

For the absolute best views, get a reservation at Shiki-Sai around park closing time and stand on the Japan balcony for the fireworks. Or, we recommend booking a dining package that includes dinner and a reserved viewing area on World Showcase Lagoon.

Epcot Tips and Tricks from Disney World Pros.