If you’re looking to become an Epcot expert, today’s post is just for you! Here are 10 insider tips to take you into the future and around the world:
- Stroll through an Empty World Showcase – Disney insiders know to arrive at the park first thing in the morning at rope drop to take advantage of the short lines; but once they’ve hit up the Future World attractions, Epcot pros will take a stroll over to World Showcase. The countries technically don’t open until 11 am, but you can snap some photos with no crowds in them by walking through early.
- Eat at Akershus Early – Restaurant Akershus in the Norway Pavilion opens for breakfast at 8:00 AM, so you can make an early reservation and dine with the princesses before the park or Future World even opens. If you’re on the Disney Dining Plan, this is a great value for a one-credit table service meal, and if you have a princess fanatic in the family, it’s the perfect way to meet the Disney royalty without having to stand in meet and greet lines all day.
- Refuel at Club Cool – When you need a drink in Future World, there are free cold sodas from around the world to try inside Club Cool, located just next to the Fountain View Starbucks. There are some pretty unusual and exotic flavors, and insiders will often try to trick their friends and family into trying the Beverly!
- Meet Micket at the Disney Visa Photo Spot – This one is for insiders who are also Disney Visa card holders: head into Innoventions West for an exclusive meet and greet with the characters. It’s available throughout the afternoon (1 PM to 7 PM), and the line is usually very short. You never know which of the fab five it will be (Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, or Donald), but you might find more than one character greeting you! There is a PhotoPass photographer inside, and afterwards Disney Visa members are given a certificate they can take to the Epcot Camera center to pick out a free 5×7 print.
- Find the Live Entertainment – Throughout Epcot, Disney offers free live entertainment, from big name bands that perform at the Garden Rocks event in the Spring and the Eat to the Beat event in the Fall to daily performers such as the JAMMitors, Japanese Drummers Matsuriza, Chinese Acrobats and the new lumberjack show in the Canada pavilion. Take a look at the daily schedule and catch a few of these fantastic performers.
- Watch the Circle-Vision Movies – There are three movies throughout World Showcase: Oh Canada! in the Canada pavilion, Reflections of China in the China pavilion, and Impressions de France in France. All three are a great way to escape the heat for awhile, and the 360 theaters in Canada and China are very unique. The downside to the Canada and China movies is that you have to stand during the show; Impressions de France isn’t 360 degrees, but it does have seating. All three have air conditioning too!
- Listen to the Voices of Liberty – This a capella singing group performs inside the American Adventure rotunda, and Epcot insiders will stop by at showtime to enjoy the classic American songs and amazing acoustics. The singers are dressed in their Victorian best, and if you stick around after the performance, you can have a chat with them and take some photos.
- Cross the Strait of Gibraltar – As you’re walking between the Morocco pavilion and the France pavilion, you may notice a darker, wavy stretch of pavement. Disney lore has it that this represents the Strait of Gibraltar, which (in real life) connects the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea between Morocco and Spain.
- Collect World Showcase Stamps – The “KidCot” stations throughout World Showcase let younger (or older!) guests decorate a cardboard Duffy the Bear puppet and collect stamps from the countries. If you don’t feel like coloring, scrapbooking Disney insiders know you can still stop by and get the cute stamps from the KidCot cast members on a piece of paper. You’ll also find special stamps to collect at the booths during the Food & Wine Festival and the Flower & Garden Festival.
- Watch Illuminations While You Eat – If you’re ending your Epcot day with the Illuminations fireworks, you’ll want to stake out a spot along the railing 30 minutes to an hour early…or you could make a reservation at a World Showcase restaurant with a view of the lagoon. La Hacienda de San Angel in Mexico, Tokyo Dining in Japan, Bistro de Paris in France, and the patio at the Rose & Crown Pub in England are all restaurants with views of water and fireworks. Don’t forget, you will still need to arrive early to request a window table.
- Use the International Gateway Entrance/Exit – Epcot is unique because it has two sets of turnstiles – one at the front of the park and a second between the England and France pavilions. The International Gateway turnstiles almost always have shorter lines and are ideal for guests staying or visiting at the Beach & Yacht Club, the Swan & Dolphin, or the Boardwalk. At the end of Illuminations, you can zip right out of the park instead of fighting the crowds through Future World.
- Enjoy the Sparkly Sidewalks – One reason insiders might not use the International Gateway exit is because they’ll want to see the twinkling lights in the sidewalk of Future World as they walk out of the park after dark. This pavement pixie dust is underfoot near Innoventions, and strolling over it is a magical way to finish off an Epcot day.
What is your favorite Epcot insider tip?