Continuing on with my posts on Disney World, today’s post is going to be all things Epcot! For my full park review on Hollywood Studios visit here and for our itinerary of a packed day of park hopping visit here.
Epcot has long been one of my favorite parks bringing a unique vibe compared to the other parks. Epcot feels more mature with rides focused on sustainability and the environment and the Around The World offers a fun glimpse into different countries that many may otherwise not get a chance to visit. Epcot always feels exciting since the intricate details within each of the countries would requires multiple days to see all of which means each time you visit, you’re discovering something new.
Although Epcot isn’t necessarily known for their rides, what they do have still packs a punch! I will say, if you’re trying to prioritize parks and thrilling rides are important to you, then Epcot is not the park for you.
Test Track– This ride is fast! For the first element of the ride you get the opportunity to digitally create a car that you’ll eventually ride in. You can pack in a lot of power or efficiency and can add unique design elements to make the car your own. During our most recent visit, we created a car that had extremely high power because we knew we wanted to go fast. Once you’re on the ride, you’re seated in what feels like a convertible. The ride experience takes you along a series of tests that measures the performance of the car you built! There’s skidding, sliding, and quick pick-ups that are thrilling. At the very end the car is maxed out going as fast as it can in a large loop and wow – it feels like you are flying.
Soarin’ – We actually rode this for the first time recently and it was really enjoyable. You sit on a large swing that is raised up and you effectively soar as you travel around the world by the large screen in front of you. I had been mistaken and thought this was a thrill ride but it’s certainly not and is suitable for all ages. If you’re looking for something for the whole family to participate in, regardless of age, then this is a great option.
Living With The Land – A boat ride that is educational and informative. You learn about sustainability and how Disney World strives to make decisions that won’t harm the environment. We learned that at Disney World they actually grow much of their own food served in their restaurants!
The Sea With Nemo & Friends – This is one of my favorite rides because of how sweet it is. Nemo is one of my favorite movies and while sitting in a shell you dive in as if you’re under the sea with Nemo and the gang. Plus, there’s almost never a wait with easy hop on and off. When you exit the ride you’re near the aquarium which you should check out as they have beautiful sea creatures like manatees and dolphins.
Frozen Ever After– I’ve never ridden this however if you’re a Frozen fan and want to ride this, then I suggest snagging a Fast Pass! Easily one of the longest wait times for a ride in Epcot.
As far as fast passes go, our most recent trip was the first time that I used our Fast Passes in Epcot and if I’m being honest, I regret it. Test Track does build up a wait that can be longer than an hour as does Frozen but otherwise, most rides are accessible with shorter wait times. Soarin’ can also have a long wait time but to me, it’s not worth a long wait or using a Fast Pass on. It’s a perfectly lovely ride but Fast Passes are like gold and should be used as strategically as possible! If the only park you’re doing for the day is Epcot then use your Fast Pass on either Test Track or Frozen (since you Fast Pass both) but if you’re park hopping then save them for another park.
Where To Eat
There are so many restaurant options in Epcot that I truly feel that I’ve only scratched the surface! If you’re looking for good food in Disney World though, Epcot is surely the place to go (even when the Food & Wine Festival isn’t happening). Here are some of my favorite restaurants in Epcot.
Coral Reef Restaurant – We ate this this restaurant during one of our first Disney World visits and I still look back at the memory fondly. The appeal of this restaurant is the full glass wall that backs up to the aquarium. While you’re dining look over and see dolphins and fish swimming around happily which feels magical. This restaurant does require a reservation and books up fast so if you’re interested in visiting be sure to plan ahead for it!
Spice Road Table – Located in Morocco this restaurant has seating right on the water. During our most recent visit we had reservations and had planned to have a relaxing meal while looking out and watching the sunset. Instead, we opted for more rides and enjoyed the food at the Food & Wine Festival but this restaurant still remains high on my list. Another one that I recommend making a reservation for ahead of time!
Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar– Nestled into Italy, stepping into this cozy restaurant you truly feel like you’ve been transported to Italy. The food here is some of the best I’ve ever had in Disney – which is saying a lot! The pasta here was incredible and flavorful. Another lovely thing about this restaurant is how quiet it feels. Because it’s small and off the beaten path there isn’t as much foot traffic or chaos. I highly recommend eating here if you’re looking for a good meal, glass of wine, and a break from all the noise.
Crepes des Chefs de France – When I first visited Paris in college I fell in love with the crepes. Although nothing will quite compare to the real thing, these crepes are such a tasty dessert. I recommend grabbing a crepe and finding a spot nearby for the firework show – enjoy your chocolatey sugary goodness while you wait.
Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival
Another festival in Epcot that makes this park unique. During the festival you’ll find hedged displays with your favorite Disney characters. They’re beautiful and amazing and make for the best pictures. Note that if you do want to take pictures with some of the displays there are often lines, so be prepared to wait!
International Food & Wine Festival
I was so excited to attend the Food & Wine Festival for the first time! What’s incredible about this is it costs you no extra to participate and because the food options are sampler size, it is relatively affordable. Before venturing Around The World pick up your passport that details all of the dining options. The sampler sizes are also wonderful because you get to try many things and the risk of ordering something you might not love is low! We got warm bread and dips in India, drank pomegranate beer in Germany, ate lobster rolls in America, and topped it off with fried hummus in Morocco. For dessert we got chocolate raspberry cake in Canada. We loved almost everything we ate and wished we had room for more. If you’re a foodie and love trying new foods, then this is a must-do.
This is a new show that just opened up in the Fall of 2019. We got to experience it first hand during our most recent visit! The theme is about preserving the world and environment which overall is a great message however the show itself felt a little lacking until the big finale. Sure, it was bright and colorful and they had some fun elements, like the glowing and gliding snake creatures, but it doesn’t compare to the nighttime show in Magic Kingdom.
During The Holidays
Epcot seems to be one of the least holiday decorated parks. Because they have the Food & Wine Festival going on during holiday season it seems that the festival is the park’s main priority. The park certainly doesn’t feel like anything is lacking however if you are visiting with the hopes of seeing some holiday magic, don’t miss Magic Kingdom.
One thing coming to Disney World that I’m most excited about is the new Ratatouille ride, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure which will be in France of Epcot. Ratatouille is easily one of my favorite Disney movies and I can only imagine the nostalgia I’ll feel as this ride shrinks you down to the size of a rat and takes you on a fun adventure.