Maximising your time and money is always a high priority when travelling. For our visit to Disney World in Orlando, Florida, we chose a 3 Day Park Hopper Ticket and visited Epcot on day 2.
But there’s no rest for the wicked, so Day 2 meant brunch with the princesses at Magic Kingdom, followed by an easy monorail ride over to Epcot, where we spent the afternoon.
Epcot at Disney World
Epcot opened in 1982 and was originally called EPCOT, which stood for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. While they have left the acronym behind, the park is still dedicated to new technology and different ways of living.
Epcot is split into two parts –
- Future World is all about spaceships, fast cars, flying and underwater exploration, and
- World Showcase is designed to experience a variety of cultures from around the world.
Almost all the Epcot rides are located in Future World.
My planning fell down a little here, so we didn’t have much in the way of Fast passes organised for Epcot. But the wait times were bearable for most of the rides we wanted, so we did really well. Just missed Soarin’, which is a very popular hang-gliding simulation. There’s a very similar ride at California Adventure in Disneyland Resort, which hubster and I LOVED years ago, so I’m sure this one would be wonderful too.
This ride is AWESOME. I am so not into space stuff, but this ride seriously feels like you’re in a spaceship taking off into space and floating around up there. I don’t know how they create the weightless feeling, but it is wonderful!
As a 4 person family we had a cockpit to ourselves with each of us assigned a role – pilot, navigator, commander or engineer – with mission-critical sequences to initiate during the trip to Mars. So much fun!
The best part of this ride is designing your own car on a computer beforehand, then testing it out on the track. It’s like a computer game brought to life.
And it goes SUPER FAST!
The Seas with Nemo & Friends
This is a very sweet and gentle ride for fans of Finding Nemo. Go under the sea without getting wet to meet Nemo, Mr Ray, Bruce, Crush and Squirt.
We had no character goals for Epcot, but Hamish loves Chip & Dale, so when we walked past a meet & greet that was ending, we made sure we were first in line for the next one.
I hope the people behind us in the queue were not too annoyed, because Chip & Dale spent ages playing with the kids! There was certainly no feeling of being rushed through. Between getting autographs (they played with the autograph book), giving them little koalas as gifts (they stole each other’s and hid them in a tree) and getting hugs and photos, I think this was the highlight of Hamish’s day.
While this section of Epcot is very “Disney”, it is still a lot of fun and the perfect spot to soak up a bit of international culture without the plane trip. However, the 11 pavilions are set up around a large lake, so it takes a fair bit of time and walking to do the full circuit. The countries included are Mexico, Norway, U.K., China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Morocco, France, Canada and the U.S. (not entirely sure why that one is necessary!).
In the interests of relaxing and enjoying our holiday, rather than rushing around seeing everything, we chose one pavilion, the U.K., to visit, because it was close to one end of the circuit and it is the country we would most like to visit next.
Once we’d done the rides that we wanted to in Future World, we headed to the U.K. for an early dinner and cold beverage or two at the English-style pub.
United Kingdom pavilion
Around the pavilion are some U.K.-style street scenes, buildings and shops.
Food & Wine Festival
This annual festival at Epcot lasts for 2 months from mid-September to mid-November.
Described as a “spectacular celebration of global cuisines, music & more”, this is a massively popular event that people come to Orlando specifically to enjoy. But while we enjoyed the parts we saw, it seems to gear up as evening begins. There were crowds of generally childless visitors entering Epcot as we were leaving in the early evening.
While there’s not a permanent Australia pavilion at Epcot, we do have a stand during the Food & Wine Festival.
There’s various food-specific rather than country-specific stands too. This one on cranberries was particularly interesting with the presenter wading about in water to demonstrate how the berries are flood-harvested.
Deciding how to spend 3 days at Disney World is not easy, but we were very glad we chose to visit Epcot. Our time at Magic Kingdom had a tendency to be princess-focussed, so I felt Epcot gave Hamish more of the activities that he enjoys.
Do spaceships and fast cars float your boat?
How would you spend 3 days at Disney World? Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom or Hollywood Studios?