Epcot has always been the park that keeps the adults coming back year after year. This one -of-a-kind park is guaranteed to provide your family with fun, great dining and amazing culture. From intense thrill rides, to cuisine from all over the world, to many types of beer, Disney World’s Epcot Center is a fun all-around park that the family is sure to enjoy.
The one downside to Epcot is that the park is HUGE! Coming in at 300 acres, it’s more than twice the size of the Magic Kingdom! Today we will go over the layout of Epcot, walking you through the different areas, so that you can be prepared when you take your family through the gates! Your aching feet can really act up at Epcot! Planning ahead will be very beneficial!
Layout of Epcot
Of course the first thing you notice is the “Giant Ball”! This is actually a ride, called Spaceship Earth. It’s a neat interactive ride that really sets the tempo for what you’ll experience at Epcot. Epcot has always celebrated technological innovation, and this is largely what the entire front portion of the park is about. However, as you arrive early, don’t ride this ride just yet, save it for later.
As you walk past Spaceship Earth, you’ll enter a large courtyard. There are two areas entitled “Innovations East” and “Innovations West”. Both of these are indoor facilities with a number of really neat exhibits, video games and activities for children. I highly recommend saving the front area for the hot part of the day.
As you approach the fountain in the middle, there are three paths to choose from. We’ll outline all three and help you determine how to structure your day at Epcot.
Future World East
Head left from the fountain and you’ll enter Future World East. There are two extremely fun rides here that your family will enjoy. The redesigned Test Track is a Disney World favorite and we suggest making it your first stop. Mission Space is a simulation of a blast-off into space and can be extremely intense! There are two levels to choose from. If you get dizzy or sick on rides, choose the “Green Team” for a less intense experience.
Future World West
Back at the fountain, a turn right will take you to Future World West. As you head that way, you’ll notice the Epcot Character Spot. This is a great way to knock out a large number of characters at once. However if the lines are long, just skip it. (The best way to get these characters is by scheduling a character meal)
Future World West has a number of interesting rides. There are two main sections: The Land and The Seas. One of the most popular rides in Walt Disney World is Soarin’, a virtual “hang-gliding” adventure. It’s a very fun and POPULAR ride. Make sure to FASTPASS this ride very early in the morning, as it is extremely popular and you will find that even the FP’s will run out quickly. Also, if you have small children, don’t miss the “Nemo ride”.
The World Showcase is what makes Epcot tick. The entire back half of Epcot is dedicated to the World Showcase. First of all, you’ll notice the “World Showcase Lagoon”, a large man-made lake in the Center of the World Showcase. Surrounding the lagoon are 11 different pavilions, representing 11 nations. At each pavilion, you’ll find restaurants, gift shops, architecture, and even a few rides mixed in.
The food at Epcot is amazing, and you won’t be able to try it all! One reason we always recommend buying the park hopper passes, is that you can come to Epcot in the evenings and try 3 or 4 different restaurants. You’ll be able to purchase beer from all different parts of the world as well, which is certainly a crowd-pleaser on hot summer days!
A word of caution regarding the World Showcase. It is a LONG way around the world. I wouldn’t recommend heading that direction (unless you have lunch reservations) for a leisurely stroll during the mid-day. It’s hot, and while there are a number of places to cool down, children can get bored quickly in this portion of the park. We try and break up the World Showcase and see all the pavilions on different days.
Every night around the lagoon there is a fireworks display entitled “Illuminations: Reflections of Earth”. This is a really good display, and I highly recommend getting a good spot up to 30 minutes before it starts. Once it’s over, the crowd clears out quickly. We usually sit back and enjoy the atmosphere. There is no reason to run with the crowds. In fact, you’ll find that if you wait ten to fifteen minutes after the fireworks display, you’ll have the back section to yourself. It’s one of the most relaxing parts of the trip for us! A night-time stroll around the World Showcase!
More Tips for Touring Epcot
We hope you enjoyed this brief overview. We highly recommend heading over to our Epcot Touring Plan section if you’d like to see even more recommendations on planning out a day at Epcot. As with the other parks, getting to Epcot early can be crucial if you want to do everything in one day.