Our Epcot 1-Day Itinerary is an efficient touring plan for what attractions, shows, and dining we’d do in our ideal day at the park. This itinerary is how we’d recommend experiencing all of the, what we consider, Epcot essentials. While other touring plans are more focused on fitting in every attraction in one day, we’ll be more focused on how to have the best day possible. Instead of constantly running from attraction to attraction, this plan will also have you enjoying some of the little things that make Epcot special. Yes, we’ll get to the majority of the attractions but some are left behind in favor of, what we consider, better options. If you are more ride focused then check out our Epcot attraction rankings. We also have entertainment, table-service and counter-service rankings to help out your trip planning. We’ve made it through our Disneyland, California Adventure and Magic Kingdom itineraries with more coming soon!
Epcot is the best idea for a theme park that’s ever come to fruition. Mixing inventions and looking towards the future with cultures throughout the world is a very noble idea that succeeded for many years. Now, the park is trying to find a new identity and is lagging behind, especially in Future World. Even with Epcot showing it’s age, all of the attractions, dining and entertainment in the park make for a full day. While some areas need help, others show how beautiful Epcot was and is.
Like our other itineraries, FastPass+ plays a big role. We have our guide to FastPass+ at Epcot that we will essentially be following throughout this plan. To be honest, FastPass throughout the day at Epcot is a little less essential than in our first 2 itineraries. Having said that, getting the first FastPass ahead of time (60 days if you’re staying on-site, 30 days off-site) is one of the most important steps in this plan.
There are many different factors that go into a theme park day, so we do have to keep this plan somewhat general. I don’t know how busy the park will be when you visit, whether you were able to reserve the FastPasses we suggested, where you are staying, etc. What I do assume in this itinerary is that you are spending the full day inside of the park, getting there before the gates open and leaving after the park closes. To do this, I would recommend staying on-site at Disney World as you are able to reserve FastPasses further in advance and the transportation is simpler. If you are extremely Epcot focused and the budget allows, staying at the Yacht or Beach Club, Boardwalk Resort, Swan & Dolphin or Caribbean Beach Resort would be ideal. If not, don’t worry. Just get to the park before opening one way or another. On to the plan!
FastPass+ for Frozen Ever After
We’re just going to follow our FastPass+ Guide here and try to get a Frozen Ever After FastPass. If you have much of a choice, try to get this FastPass around lunch time to make the plan more efficient. If that isn’t an option, don’t worry about it and just get it as early as possible. There is a chance that Frozen Ever After will be out of FastPasses and if that nightmare scenario comes up then FastPass Soarin’ as early in the day as possible.
That takes care of Tier 1 on the FastPass list and Tier 2 is lackluster. Frankly, the park needs to restructure their FastPass system but this isn’t the post to address that. For Tier 2 we recommend getting Spaceship Earth and Mission: Space as morning FastPasses. That way you’ll be done with all of your FastPasses earlier in the day and can get a couple of more in the My Disney Experience app. Logging in 60 days in advance is essential to getting the Frozen Ever After FastPass.
Soarin’ and Racing
Assuming you were able to attain a Frozen Ever After FastPass, we’ll start the day heading straight to Soarin’ Around the World. Line up at Epcot’s gates at least 15 minutes before the park opens (do not go on a day with Extra Magic Hours in the morning) and head straight for the Land. If you weren’t able to get a Frozen Ever After FastPass but ended up with Soarin’ then just swap those two and start the day at Frozen Ever After. If that’s the case for you then getting to the gates even earlier may be a good idea.
After flying through the Soarin’ skies head straight to Test Track. If the line is over 30 minutes long then go ahead and do the single-rider line. If not, then the main queue is just fun and pretty fun. While we don’t love Test Track (or many rides in Epcot for that matter) it is popular and fun. Getting these two attractions out-of-the-way early should help avoid the crowds and will make for a great start to the day. After Test Track, it should be time for your first FastPass, whether that’s Mission: Space or Spaceship Earth. For what it’s worth, Mission: Space is the closest option to Test Track.
Breakfast in France
After your early morning attractions, it’s time for a little breakfast. As always, having breakfast at your hotel might be cheaper and a quicker option. With that said, Epcot is one of the few parks that has an excellent breakfast option in Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie. This bakery in the France Pavilion has several sweet and savory options that are delicious. It might not be the most filling or healthy breakfast, but it is one of the best options in all of Disney World. Sunshine Seasons is an okay option for breakfast, as well.
Future World Attractions
After breakfast, it’s time to head back to the Land Pavilion for more Future World attractions. Living with the Land is a classic Epcot attraction that is relaxing and interesting. Moving on from that boat ride, either head to your next FastPass (depending on time) or The Seas with Nemo and Friends. While we don’t love that attraction, it’s worth a ride while in that pavilion. After the attraction, explore the rest of that pavilion. There are plenty of fish to look at and a few exhibits to experience. This is one of the best spots in Future World so take your time there.
After The Land and The Seas, head over to the Imagination Pavilion for a ride on Journey Into Imagination. Again, this isn’t the best attraction but is worth doing as it’s a part of Disney history. Unfortunately, the attraction isn’t half of what it used to be but the building is innovative and worth seeing.
Fountains and Muppets
This next portion of our plan may sound a bit lame but I find it to be quintessential Epcot. Ending the attractions at the Imagination Pavilion lets you off right by the Imagination Fountain. There are jumping/ leaping fountains that are fun to watch for a few minutes. Right beside that is an ‘upside-down’ fountain that is much bigger but just as fascinating.
Moving on in our fountain tour, head down to spine of Epcot to the Fountain of all Nations. Right behind Spaceship Earth, this fountain is a little more iconic and has more of a show element. Sitting and watching this show for a couple of minutes is both relaxing and worth your while.
Around this time, try to catch Muppet Mobile Labs. I’ve seen this show right behind Spaceship Earth but have also read that it shows up by Mission: Space. Muppet Mobile Labs is a wild show with Bunsen and Beaker performing experiments for all Epcot guests to watch. This little show is hilarious and very enjoyable. The problem is that it doesn’t appear in a times guide anywhere. Hanging out in the area or asking a cast member if there is a showing that day is the best option here.
Ideally this portion of the itinerary ends with a Frozen Ever After FastPass. If you have completed all of your FastPasses at that point then select a new one. If there is one for Illuminations: Reflections of Earth then go ahead and take it as you won’t use FastPass again that day. If not, then get the best attraction available.
Lunch at Via Napoli
After a fairly busy morning we hope that you have worked up quite an appetite because the rest of the day requires a bunch of eating. We’ll start that off with lunch at Disney World’s best pizza place, Via Napoli. That might not be as high praise as it seems but Via Napoli does have good pizza and a variety of options inside of a beautiful environment. If you don’t want to go for a table-service restaurant then there are a variety of good counter-service options including Sunshine Seasons (Future World), Tangierine Cafe (Morocco) or Katsura Grill (Japan).
Dessert or Snack or Drink Around the World
Don’t fill up too much at lunch because our next step is all about eating too. This and the following step can be flip-flopped or combined. Eating/drinking around World Showcase is one of the more enjoyable parts of Epcot, even without a definite plan of what to eat. Each pavilion will have interesting options to eat, both adventurous and safe. Each pavilion will also have alcoholic beverages to enjoy, as well, if drinking around the world is more of your thing. I prefer a blend of both. Some of our favorite snacks around World Showcase include Egg Rolls in China, School Bread in Norway, Caramel Apple Oatmeal Cookie in Germany, and Ice Cream in France. I enjoy a good margarita in Mexico at La Cava del Tequila too.
If there is a festival going on while at Epcot then enjoy some of the options at the food booths. There are plenty of good options at each festival and good values to be had. No matter if there is a festival or not, there’s no shortage of good food and drink in World Showcase.
World Showcase Rides, Shows and Shopping
Believe it or not, there are other things to do in World Showcase besides eat and drink. Several pavilions have films and rides that are well worth doing. On top of that, each pavilion is worth exploring whether that be shops, exhibits, shows, or the intricate details. With an entire afternoon and early evening devoted to World Showcase, we’re confident that you can experience a number of rides, shows, and shops while eating your heart out.
Start this grand circle tour of World Showcase in the Mexico Pavilion with its beautiful marketplace and the only real ride (outside of Frozen Ever After) in the area, Gran Fiesta Tour. This ride is well worth doing even if it’s a bit weird. As long as the line isn’t too long, take a ride here. As far as shows go throughout World Showcase, we love Impressions de France, a film in the France Pavilion and The American Adventure, a show telling America’s history that features audio-animatronics. Both of these are must-dos while you are walking around World Showcase. Times for American Adventure will be in the daily times guide. Reflections of China and O Canada! are other World Showcase films that are decent but not on the level of other shows.
Live entertainment is a hallmark of World Showcase and there is plenty to get to. A main rule of thumb that I go by is that if you see live music being played, stick around for a few minutes. If you enjoy the music then stick around a while if not then move on. Live entertainment that we make an effort to see (and that is typically in the times guide) include Serveur Amusant (France Pavilion), Voices of Liberty (American Adventure) and the Jeweled Dragon Acrobats (China). If you see a performance going on then it is well worth checking out.
Shops throughout World Showcase that we like are the marketplace in the Mexico Pavilion, the Christmas shop in Germany, Mitsukoshi in Japan, and the market-style shops in Morocco. Other areas to explore throughout World Showcase are the back streets in Morocco, the beautiful gardens of Japan, the garden and maze in the UK, and the ponds in China.
World Showcase has so much to see and do that there isn’t a bad area to spend in. Be sure to walk around as the sun is setting as the area’s vibe gains more energy and the lights are inspiring.
Dinner at Chefs de France
Chefs de France embodies the energy and ambiance of World Showcase, with wide windows to watch passersby. The food is good but the ambiance is what stands out here. Other good table-service options include San Angel Inn, Restaurant Marrakesh and Teppan Edo. A number of restaurants in Epcot have decent food but dining there is about the ambiance. There aren’t many bad options but some are overpriced.
If you don’t want to spend money on a table-service meal at both lunch and dinner then eating at one of the counter-service places we mentioned in the lunch section is a great option.
Illumination: Reflections of Earth
Epcot’s nighttime spectacular, Illuminations: Reflections of Earth is my favorite at Disney World. That view may be nostalgia filled but I believe the show’s message is wonderful in its abstract nature. Line up for this anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes early. We prefer the front of house, which is the beginning of World Showcase. If you were able to secure an Illuminations FastPass then you are in great shape as that might be the best viewing area possible. Not having a FastPass isn’t much of a problem though, just get as close to the entrance of World Showcase while being right up against the fence. Enjoy the show!
Once Illuminations ends comes my favorite part of a day at Epcot. While the park may be closing, there is still plenty of time to be had in World Showcase. Let the crowds thin out for a while after Illuminations and then start your slow stroll through all of the pavilions. This is a perfect time for photos if you enjoy taking them. This is also one of the most romantic things to do in all of Disney World as there aren’t many people around and the beautiful setting and score make for a perfect setting. Most of the shops will be closed but there are plenty of pavilions to explore or just walking along the main World Showcase path is worth your time. This late night stroll is a perfect way to end the day.
That’s our itinerary for one day at Epcot. This isn’t quite as much to do as our other itineraries mainly thanks to fewer attractions involved. I will say that this itinerary might need a little adjusting if you are touring with kids. I do think they will like many of the shows and there are several playgrounds around. I’ll also note that if it’s Festival of the Arts or Flower and Garden season then take time to see the exhibits throughout the area. This can go in the afternoon/evening of the itinerary and you should still have time for nearly everything else. As always, leave time for wandering around the park although we included a good amount of this inside of the itinerary. Following this should lead to a great day!
As always, if you have questions or thoughts on our Epcot itinerary then leave a comment below. If you are planning a trip to Disney World, then check out our planning guide. If you enjoy what you are reading here on Wandering in Disney please share this post with your friends, as well as like our social media pages. You can also subscribe to the blog via WordPress or email. You can do all of that on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!
Categories: Park Itineraries