Rookie Mistakes to Avoid at Epcot This Year
EPCOT is nearly 40 years old, and it just keeps getting better!
Even now, Imagineers are working hard to ensure that the EPCOT of tomorrow seems even more impressive than the one of yesteryear.
While some construction fences are up, you’ll still have a terrific time during your next visit…as long as you’re prepared!
Here are nine rookie mistakes to avoid at EPCOT!
In 1964, Walt Disney visited the New York World’s Fair and immediately fell in love. He gushed over all aspects of the experience.
In particular, Disney admired the melting pot of international cultures, coinciding with a dazzling array of cuisine.
While the internet has made the world feel smaller, you still cannot eat ten types of international cuisine in all but the largest metropolitan areas.
However, when you visit EPCOT, you’ll enjoy your choice of foods at the various pavilions at the World Showcase.
Also, some restaurants in Future World deserve a long look, too. In fact, Sunshine Seasons offers ingredients cooked on-site!
You’ll never go hungry at EPCOT. As such, you should always plan to eat at least two meals here during a park visit.
Otherwise, you’re just cheating yourself.
Forgetting about the Back Entrance
I visited EPCOT several times before I learned about the International Gateway.
If you’re like me, you might not have known until now that there’s a second way to enter the park.
Sure, you can come in from the front, the place where you’re looking straight up at Spaceship Earth.
What you may not realize is that a second entrance lies at the back of the park.
Disney calls it the International Gateway because it resides close to the France and United Kingdom pavilions.
Guests who use this entrance can often enter the park faster.
Just as importantly, when you exit here, you’ll only need to walk a few steps to reach Disney’s BoardWalk, a fun hangout spot.
Ignoring the Other World Showcase Ride
Look, I don’t have to tell you about Frozen Ever After, and Disney will add Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure later this year.
Both those attractions will draw crowds for the next decade…and rightfully so.
Still, you shouldn’t overlook the other World Showcase ride, as it frequently comes with the shortest lines.
Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros functions as the Mexico pavilion’s version of It’s a Small World.
I’ll take it a step further and say that this one’s even better. Why? It costars Donald Duck and his other two Caballeros!
The zany cartoon violence on display during the ride should put a smile on anyone’s face. Kids will love it on the surface level.
Meanwhile, adults will remember the cartoons of their childhood and cackle with glee at an art form they haven’t watched in a while.
Gran Fiesta Tour is legitimately a phenomenal ride, yet nobody seems to know it.
How else do we explain the frequent wait-times of 15 minutes or less?
Not Knowing about the Transportation Situation
You should know two things about EPCOT transportation right now.
The first involves the monorail. Disney has temporarily disabled the EPCOT monorail line.
I had expected it to return by now, as cast members point-blank said as much in private conversations.
Since that hasn’t happened, I’m warning you not to expect monorail access to EPCOT during your trip.
I always prefer to brace people for the worst, thereby positioning them to be pleasantly surprised.
The other transportation update to know is that the Disney Skyliner has become the go-to method for many EPCOT visitors.
This gondola system will drop you off right by the International Gateway entrance.
Just as importantly, the Disney Skyliner earns the title of the safest form of transportation during the pandemic.
Cast members only seat one party per gondola, and the interiors include fan vents.
The Disney Skyliner will also transport you from EPCOT to/from Disney’s Hollywood Studios in less than 15 minutes, a pleasant bonus.
Overlooking the Aquarium
The Seas with Nemo & Friends falls into the same category as Gran Fiesta Tour. It’s comically underrated.
I would describe the Nemo ride as one of Disney’s finest movie-themed attractions overall. It perfectly captures the spirit of the Nemo franchise.
Even so, I’m not referencing the ride alone here. Many people skip the water pavilion altogether. Those who do visit tend to skip out after the ride.
In doing so, you miss out on some marvelous exhibits and shows involving marine life. Plus, you don’t get to watch the fish play.
The Seas with Nemo & Friends is quietly one of the best overall pavilions in Future World. It provides a ton of entertainment but rarely claims large crowds.
Rushing through the World Showcase
I think you’re getting the point about the World Showcase. It’s a masterpiece of Imagineering.
Beyond the food and attractions, you’ll discover architectural masterworks like a small-scale Pyramid and a smaller Eiffel Tower clone.
You’ll also get to experience cultures through arts, shows, and even shopping.
Disney has hired cast members for all the countries represented at the World Showcase.
Their feedback throughout the years has perfected the authenticity of each pavilion.
Ride-focused rookies tend to rush by these places in search of the next thrill. That’s the worst mistake you can make on this list.
You should allot time in your itinerary for the exploration of three or four pavilions.
Even diehard Disney fans would struggle to do more than that in a single visit, as it can grow tiresome after a time.
However, a full walkthrough of a few pavilions will prove extremely rewarding. Don’t get too rushed and skip this!
I don’t want to beat a dead horse here, but you must know this. Several EPCOT attractions feature short wait-times to ride.
You shouldn’t mistake that fact as an indictment of overall ride quality.
To wit, Journey into Imagination with Figment counts as one of my wife’s favorite EPCOT attractions.
As a content creator, she loves the spirit of Figment, an attraction that celebrates the creative process.
The presence of this character in many EPCOT merchandise campaigns speaks volumes.
Figment has earned the title of EPCOT’s star intellectual property. It’d be rude to skip his ride. Just, you know, set your expectations low.
Visiting on Non-Festival Dates
I know that you don’t always possess a lot of leeway about your travel dates.
At the times when you can pick whenever you want, you should always aim for a festival.
EPCOT hosts four annual festivals and has maintained that tradition even during the pandemic.
The schedule has gotten a bit messy due to the emergency nature of last year’s Taste of the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival.
Still, I think it’s fair to say that EPCOT hosts festivals at least 225 days per year.
You should visit the park on one of those days if possible. The food kiosks will serve the finest cuisine and cocktails you’ll ever find for under $10.
Also, several amenities exist during these festivals. For example, Disney carves shrubs into film characters like Lightning McQueen and Mickey Mouse.
During another part of the year, arts are on display. And the holidays come with several memorable storytelling and musical performances.
EPCOT’s just plain better during festivals.
Wearing Uncomfortable Shoes
The World Showcase alone stretches for 1.3 miles. That’s how much you’ll walk if you make a full loop.
Due to the nature of attractions and your various tourist patterns, you’ll likely backtrack several times. And that’s just the back of the park!
Due to renovations, you rarely have the opportunity to walk directly to attractions at Future World.
Instead, you’ll follow circuitous paths that will make you feel like a rat who deserves cheese at the end.
What I’m saying is that you should prepare to walk. A lot.
Do you really wanna do that in uncomfortable shoes? Of course not!
I’m not telling you how to dress, as you’re almost certainly more fashion-forward than me.
Still, I’d strongly recommend that you throw on a pair of beat-up sneakers for an EPCOT park day.
Comfort matters more than style during an EPCOT visit.
Feature Image Rights: Disney