Ultimate 1 Day Epcot Itinerary

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Coming up with the perfect 1 day Epcot itinerary is a harder task than you might think. There are so many factors in play at Epcot, things can get complicated.

Epcot is unique compared to all the other parks. Between the rides, the festivals, the countries, and all the food, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. The fact is, there are a lot of things to do at Epcot.

That’s where this Epcot touring plan comes into play. I want you to take a look at all of the various entertainments and identify what your priorities are.

From there, you can begin to create your ultimate 1-day Epcot itinerary. This post is a monster, but I really wanted you to be able to get a true picture of what Epcot has to offer (Updated July 17, 2022).

New entrance to Epcot, Spaceship Earth

Basics for Your Epcot Itinerary

Before we get to the more exciting aspects of planning your Epcot itinerary, it’s important to know the lay of the land.

Epcot Hours

For a very long time after the reopening, Epcot consistently opened at 11:00a everyday. This was obnoxiously late, especially for people accustomed to taking advantage of rope drop.

Fortunately, this, like many other things at Disney World, has returned to normal.

The typical Epcot hours are from 8:30a-9:00p.

The closing time primarily depends on the projected crowds. If Disney feels crowd levels will be higher, they extend the closing time. Epcot can be open as late as 11:00p during very busy times of the year.

Epcot also offers Extended evening hours, usually once a week. This is a benefit for guests staying at Disney Deluxe resorts and other Disney Good Neighbor hotels.

The extended evening hours run for 2 hours after the normal closing time. Epcot has Extended Evening Hours on Mondays. But this can change, so always double check.

Epcot Map

Click Image to Enlarge – Image Courtesy of Magic Guides

Epcot has an entirely different layout from any of the other Disney parks.

First, there are two entrances instead of one. The most heavily used is the main entrance, over by Spaceship Earth. This is the entrance used by anyone coming to the park via bus, parking lot, monorail, or ride share.

The second entrance is called International Gateway. This is located in World Showcase, in between United Kingdom and France pavilions.

Guests staying at Beach & Yacht Club Resort, BoardWalk Resort, and Swan and Dolphin Resorts can walk to International Gateway.

The Skyliner Gondolas also drop guests off directly outside of International Gateway. Guests staying at Riviera Resort, Caribbean Beach Resort, Pop Century, and Art of Animation use the Skyliner to get to Epcot.

One thing you’ll likely notice is that World Showcase is huge. It’s actually 1.2 miles around. So plan on doing a lot of walking when you’re at Epcot.

New “Lands” in Epcot

One of the changes happening at Epcot with the remodeling is new names for the section of the park which used to be called Future World.

I would still expect people to refer to them as World Showcase and Future World for a while until we all adjust, but let’s take a look at their new names:

  • World Celebration (the center section of Future World)
  • World Discovery (the side with Test Track and anything having to do with outerspace)
  • World Nature (the side with Soarin’, the aquarium, and so on)

Seriously, not the best names they could have come up with.

What is the BEST day to visit Epcot?

Now that the Epcot festivals are taking up 95% of the year, this question is relevant for most people’s trips.

How does this impact deciding what day to go to Epcot? Because Epcot is very much a locals park, and during festivals they swarm Epcot on the weekends.

From Friday evening through Sunday, Epcot is a popular date night/hangout spot for the locals. There are times on a Saturday night when World Showcase can get a bit of a college party vibe.

That’s not exactly what most families are looking for.

Because of this, the best days to visit Epcot are Monday through Thursday.

Construction Projects Currently Going on at Epcot

There are a lot of projects going on at Epcot right now. The entrance and World Celebration are undergoing a rather substantial redesign.

The entrance itself has been finished, but the rest of World Celebration is still heavily worked on.

The good news is that for the most part, the construction won’t impact your trip. There’s nothing closed down that will really bring down your trip.

The main impact it has is in terms of simply being an eyesore. There are construction barricades up throughout World Celebration, creating some detours.

It’s a little bit of a maze getting through some sections, but it’s well labeled and not confusing. It’s just not as attractive as you might like.

At this point, we have no official word on when this project will be finished. But everything indicates we still have a ways to go.

How long does Epcot take?

Ok, most people are going to say that Epcot is a one day park. Some even say there’s not enough to do to even fill a full day.

I strongly disagree with those people. Epcot is NOT a half a day park. At the very least, Epcot is a full day park.

Truly, Epcot is at least a 1 and a half day park, but you can easily spend 2 days in Epcot. We have gone to Epcot many times now, and we’ve never managed to see and do EVERYTHING we wanted to do in one day.

In fact, we have yet to see and do everything the park has to offer. Because we’re always distracted by rides and food.

Admittedly, that’s because we enjoy experiencing what the different countries have to offer, not just eating the food and running (though trust me, we really enjoy eating the food too…).

But that’s how Epcot is meant to be enjoyed. The whole purpose behind Epcot is to learn about technology, the natural world, and the cultures of the world, while also having fun.

However, I recognize that most people only want to designate 1 day to Epcot, so this post focuses on how to do Epcot in one day.

So, plan on spending 1 full day at Epcot.

How the Epcot Festivals Impact Your Day

Really, this question all comes down to how much of the Festival you want to experience.

Most everyone wants to eat and drink at the outdoor kitchens. But even that “eats” into how much you can experience. See that pun there?

But beyond the food and drink, each of the festivals has other things to experience which are unique to that festival. If you want to take advantage of some of these things, you’ll have to cut some other things out of your day.

Luckily, there’s really no wrong answer to this. Whether you focus on the Festival activities or on the traditional Epcot offerings, you’ll still have an amazing day.

But now you can probably see why we have yet to manage to do everything. We fall into the category of people who get sucked into the festivals.

What is there to do at Epcot?

The general assumption is that there’s not a lot to do at Epcot. On the whole, this assumption is false. There are tons of things to do in Epcot.

However, everyone who goes has different priorities and expectations. I’ll be the first to admit, Epcot is likely more fun for adults than kids.

But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing for kids to do. And yes, your vacation should be about the grown-ups too, not just the kids!

Nemo and Dory at Epcot

Epcot Rides

Compared to other parks, the list of Epcot rides is definitely on the shorter side. And many of them are frequently written off by people.

I’m going to break this list into two different categories: rides and attractions. Epcot has many different short movies/presentation style experiences.

Epcot Rides

  • Frozen Ever After (Norway)
  • Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros (Mexico)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind (World Discover, 42″ height requirement)
  • Journey into Imagination with Figment (World Celebration)
  • Living with the Land (World Nature)
  • Mission: SPACE Green or Orange (World Discovery, 40″ height requirement)
  • Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure (France Pavilion)
  • Soarin’ Around the World (World Nature, 40″ height requirement)
  • Spaceship Earth (World Celebration)
  • Test Track (Future World East, 40″ height requirement)
  • The Seas with Nemo & Friends (World Nature)
  • Turtle Talk with Crush (World Nature)

A note about Mission: SPACE. There are two options for the ride, orange or green. Orange is a more intense version, involving spinning at rapid speed.

The wait time for Mission: SPACE Orange is always longer than Green. The Green version often has a wait of under 20 minutes.

Also, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is Epcot’s newest ride. It just opened up in May 2022. It’s amazing and I highly recommend it.

To learn more about it, I have a whole guide for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.

Other Epcot Attractions

  • SeaBase (World Nature)- did you know there’s an aquarium inside Epcot?
  • Awesome Planet (World Nature)
  • Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360 (Canada)
  • Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival (World Celebration)
  • Impressions de France (France)
  • Reflections of China (China)
  • House of the Whispering Willows (China)
  • The American Adventure (America)
  • Beauty and the Beast Singalong (France)
  • Walt Disney Imagineering presents the Epcot Experience (World Celebration)
  • Kidcot Fun Stops (World Showcase)
  • ImageWorks – The “What If” Labs (World Celebration)

Other Epcot Attractions Coming Soon

  • Moana’s Journey of Water

Epcot Festivals

Epcot has four different festivals throughout the year. Each festival has it’s own theme and offerings, but the general formula is the same.

There are outdoor food booths (the largest draw for any festival), entertainment, special decor, and so on. Many of the festivals looked different in 2020 and 2021, but now the festival offerings have returned to normal.

The four festivals of the year are:

World Showcase

Have you ever wanted to travel around the world, but didn’t have the money or tolerance for all those plane rides? Well, World Showcase at Epcot might be the next best thing.

There are 11 countries represented in World Showcase.

  • Canada
  • United Kingdom
  • France
  • Morocco
  • Japan
  • The American Adventure
  • Italy
  • Germany
  • China
  • Norway
  • Mexico

Each of these pavilions is actually sponsored by a private company associated with the country it represents.

Morocco was previously sponsored by the Moroccan government, but Disney recently took over control of the Morocco pavilion.

Typically, the countries are staffed with Cast Members from the representative country to provide a more authentic experience.

This wasn’t possible during the height of the pandemic, but this too is starting to return to normal.

Each of the pavilions represents architecture of their respective countries. They also typically have restaurants, bakeries, stores, entertainment, and a couple have rides.

Entertainment

At long last, international performers are starting to return to World Showcase!

This is crucial because having the international performers there is such an enriching part of the Epcot experience.

I highly recommend taking the time to watch whatever international performers are around during your stay. My personal favorite are the Matsuriza Taiko Drummers in Japan.

Epcot's Matsuriza Taiko Drummers performing in Japan Pavilion

Activities for Kids in World Showcase

A major concern that most people have is that Epcot is not a good park for kids. This is a common misconception, but there’s actually a lot for kids to experience at Epcot.

The main issue seems to be when adults want to spend time eating and drinking in World Showcase while kids get bored.

But Disney is pretty smart. They make a lot of money on food and drink sales in World Showcase, so they want both kids and parents happy to stay there.

Kidcot Fun Stops

Each of the pavilions in World Showcase has a designated Kidcot Fun Stop. Kids can collect activity cards from each Kidcot station while engaging in an activity and learning about the cultures of different countries.

Here’s where you can find the Kidcot Fun Stops:

  • Mexico Pavilion (near Mexico Folk Art Gallery) 
  • Norway Pavilion (at The Puffin’s Roost) 
  • China Pavilion (near the exit of Reflections of China) 
  • Germany Pavilion (at Volkunst) 
  • Italy Pavilion (outside, near La Bottega Italiana) 
  • American Adventure Pavilion (outside, near Art of Disney) 
  • Japan Pavilion (in the Bijutsu-kan Gallery) 
  • Morocco Pavilion (at the Marketplace in the Medina) 
  • France Pavilion (at Souvenirs de France) 
  • United Kingdom Pavilion (at The Toy Soldier) 
  • Canada Pavilion (at the exit of Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360)

Scavenger Hunts

Each Epcot festival has at least one scavenger hunt for kids (and adults) to participate in. Typically, the scavenger hunts cost around $8 to get the map.

However, sometimes there are some free scavenger hunts to participate in.

1-Day Epcot Itinerary

Ok, now, let’s start putting together all the pieces of the puzzle. But there are some things I want you to think about first. The answers to these questions will help shape your itinerary.

  1. Is your priority to get on as many rides as possible?
  2. Do you qualify for Early Theme Park Entry?
  3. Do you want ample time to explore the nooks and crannies of the countries?
  4. How many shows/movies can your family tolerate?
  5. Do you plan to focus on eating/drinking at a lot of Festival booths?
  6. Will you buy Disney Genie+ or Lightning Lane access?

You’re going to take the answers to these questions, and use them to adjust the amount of time you spend at each step of your Epcot touring plan.

If you know you want to focus on eating and drinking around the world, then you’ll eliminate some of the rides in the afternoon.

Conversely, if rides are king, you’ll spend less time in World Showcase. You can still follow this basic Epcot itinerary I’m presenting, you’ll just customize the amount of time you spend in each step.

Also, as a warning, there’s a lot of walking at Epcot. In order to get on rides with lower lines, or break up long stretches in World Showcase, you have to zig-zag the park.

If you’re more concerned with minimizing walking, you’ll want to tackle attractions located close to one another.

And I’m going to warn you, this itinerary is designed for the shortest wait times. There is nothing about this that equals efficiency with walking. You will crisscross the park like crazy.

Also, if you have small kids with you, you’ll have a slower pace than I did while walking around by myself.

As a random side note, because of all that walking, make sure you have happy feet! Here are some of the best shoes I’ve tried out at Disney World.

Disney’s Early Theme Park Entry and Epcot Itinerary

The advent of Early Theme Park Entry now has a significant impact on an itinerary at any of the parks.

If you are staying at a Disney World resort or a Disney Good Neighbor Hotel, you qualify for Disney Early Entry into all of the parks. This allows resort guests to get into the park, and on the rides, 30 minutes before non-resort guests.

Make sure you understand how Disney Early Theme Park Entry works before your trip.

For guests who are eligible, those extra 30 minutes will likely have some of the shortest lines of the day. If you can take advantage of early entry, I highly recommend it. This is the new rope drop.

Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lane at Epcot

Also, this particular itinerary is assuming you don’t have Disney Genie+ or plan to buy Lightning Lane access. Essentially, this is the free version of the Epcot Itinerary.

For people with Disney Genie+, your itinerary will look different based on what you’re able to book, and when. You can still use this basic framework, simply plug in the rides you’re able to get passes for and go from there.

But if you are planning to purchase Disney Genie+ or Lightning Lane access, here are the rides which are eligible:

Epcot Disney Genie+ Rides

  • Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival
  • Journey into Imagination with Figment
  • Living with the Land
  • Mission: SPACE – Green
  • Mission: SPACE – Orange
  • Soarin’ Around the World
  • Spaceship Earth
  • Test Track
  • The Seas with Nemo & Friends
  • Turtle Talk with Crush

Epcot Lightning Lane Rides

  • Frozen Ever After
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
  • Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure

Please note, Disney can, and does, change these around. For example, through August 7, 2022, Frozen Ever After and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure are actually available via Genie+, not Lightning Lane.

If you do plan to use Genie+ (which unless you are going during high crowd times, I don’t think is truly necessary at Epcot), make sure you are ready to start booking right as the window opens at 7a the day you go to Epcot.

The running joke right now is that when people request a popular ride for early in the day, they’re being offered a show in the evening as the available option.

So be prepared to be flexible with your ride and time options.

But I digress…

Head on over to my general guide about Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lane if you don’t have a clue what I’m referring to. But the short version: this is the paid FastPass replacement to allow you to skip the lines.

What is the first thing to do at Epcot?

Regardless of what your overall plan is for Epcot, the first thing you should do is head for a ride at park opening.

But to determine which ride, there are a couple of factors I want you to consider while answering this question.

  • Which gate are you entering at?
  • Is there a ride you absolutely want to get on?

The most popular rides for standby at Epcot are Test Track, Soarin’, Frozen Ever After, and Remy’s.

Across the board, all the guests at rope drop are heading to one of those rides.

Once Guardians of the Galaxy switches to a standby line, that will hands down be the most sought after ride at rope drop. At that point, if I haven’t updated this post yet, just plan accordingly.

If you enter Epcot through the main entrance, you are pretty close to Test Track and Soarin’. If you’re entering at International Gateway, you are closest to Remy’s and Frozen Ever After.

So, the most obvious strategy is to simply head to one of the rides that’s closer. That gives you a leg up on people coming from a longer distance.

However, there are some facts to take into consideration. The rides in World Showcase are at their most crowded later in the day because that’s when everyone is in World Showcase, eating and drinking.

So if you don’t get them done early, you might not get on them at all.

My family has almost always followed this pattern, regardless of entrance gate: Test Track, Soarin’, check wait times to determine next ride.

And that pattern definitely still works, but it might not be the best if you want to get on Frozen.

With Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure now offering standby lines, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to head there first if you’re entering through International Gateway.

Because of that, I’m now going to create 2 slightly different morning Epcot itineraries:

  • Main Entrance Plan
  • International Gateway Plan

With these plans, its the morning that will be slightly different, the afternoon and evening will generally be the same.

How does the virtual queue for Guardians of the Galaxy fit in?

Right now, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind can only be ridden by using the virtual queue or booking an individual Lightning Lane.

Because of this, there’s no way of knowing what time of day you’ll be able to ride until it happens.

However, it just requires a little rearranging of your day on the fly. Just hope you aren’t all the way back on Morocco when your boarding group is called, because that’s a looooong walk.

Make sure you understand how to use the Disney virtual queue system so you don’t struggle to use it the day of your trip.

Morning Epcot Itinerary – Main Entrance Plan

Fortunately for us all, now that Epcot is opening up earlier, there is so much more morning to play with.

In this plan, I’m assuming you are arriving for early entry. Though, this plan does have a chance of still working even if you can’t enter until the official park opening time.

But a word to the wise, you want to be as close to the front of the rope drop line as you can manage. The closer you are to the front, the more you’ll get done before the crowds hit.

Step 1: Let it Go!

Ok, this is going to be a little bit of a hike, but not too bad. After this, you can concentrate more on being efficient with your walking.

Head on over to Norway to take a ride to visit with Anna and Elsa on Frozen Ever After. Turn left when you enter World Showcase from World Celebration. You’ll go through Mexico and hit Norway after that.

The main reason I suggest that you do this first is because the line for Frozen will get significantly longer as the day goes on. As I mentioned, the afternoon is prime time in World Showcase.

If you’ve gotten to Epcot about an hour before early entry starts, you should be pretty darn close to the front of the pack. If that’s the case, Frozen Ever After is a walk on.

This means you’ll be on and off the ride very quickly and ready to head to the next ride.

Step 2: Feel the Need for Speed

It’s time to head to Test Track. Yes, that’s right, you should walk back where you came from!

But seriously, this is another highly desired ride and has long lines throughout the day. If you can get on Test Track before the official park opening time, you have a leg up on thousands of other people.

This line won’t be a walk on, but it should be a reasonable wait time. Think in the realm of 20-30 minutes, and for Test Track, that’s not bad.

A word of warning: Test Track does break down frequently. If it’s down when you get there, move on to the next ride. You’ll know if it’s running by the sound of the cars flying by on the track.

Likewise, if the posted wait time is crazy high, come back later in the day and skip to another ride.

But if all goes to plan, once you get off Test Track, the park is officially open.

Step 3: Take a Trip to France

You are now at a cross-roads in the morning. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is known to have pockets of availability that pop up after the initial rush.

When I followed this exact itinerary, once I got off Test Track, Remy’s had a 15 minutes posted wait time. That is crazy low!

So, I hope you brought your walking shoes because it’s time to walk all the way to France, and it’s not close.

Before you make the hike, check My Disney Experience to see what the posted wait time is. If it’s 30 minutes or above, it’s not worth the walk. You can get on other rides in the time you would wait.

Just keep looking for that pocket of a short line to show up, it usually does. Once you see a low wait time, hoof it over there.

But if it’s low when you get off Test Track, head on over there and become a rat.

Gran Fiesta Tour at Epcot

Step 4: Fly Through the Sky

It’s time to head back into Future World, where the majority of the rides are located. With that, it’s time to go ride Soarin’. Odds are pretty good that the wait time for Soarin’ is in the 15-20 minute range. It’s always the headliner that fills up later than the rest.

This also has the benefit of putting you in a good position to get on rides for the rest of the morning.

Step 5: Bounce around World Nature, World Celebration, and World Discovery

Pull out your My Disney Experience app and check the wait times of the other rides. At this point, the crowds are going to start catching up with you.

But there should still be a pocket of time to get on one or two more rides before it’s time to switch gears. For these rides, if there’s a posted wait of more than 15-20 minutes, don’t ride them yet. These rides often have walk on wait times throughout the day.

This should bring you very close to 11a when the food booths for the festivals begin to open. Since the lines have become inflated for rides, it’s time to switch gears.

Morning Epcot Itinerary – International Gateway Plan

For all of you coming in from Crescent Lake or the Skyliner Gondolas, this is the plan for you.

Because of where you are already, the first half of the day is very heavy on World Showcase, it simply makes the most sense.

However, if you have people in your group who desperately want to get on Test Track (this is my family, it’s our favorite), then simply go for it.

As long as you walk fast and are at the front of the pack at International Gateway, you can make it to Test Track and have a short wait.

But if not, give this plan a try.

Step 1: Parlez-vous Francais

From International Gateway there is really only one option that makes the most sense: Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.

France Pavilion is literally right next door to International Gateway and this is a hot new ride. Lines throughout the day are going to be pretty darn long.

If you were good at getting to Epcot early and are at the front of the pack entering International Gateway, Remy’s should be a near walk-on for you.

For this plan, you want to be as close to the front of the pack as possible. That’s because you want to get off the ride as fast as you can to head to step 2…

Step 2: Let it Go

Because I’m an absolute geek, I actually measured out the distance between Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Frozen Ever After, Soarin’, and Test Track.

I found that the distance for each and every one of those rides is 0.6 miles. So you’re looking at an equidistant hike to all of them.

With that in mind, it turns to strategy.

Frozen Ever After is the other Lightning Lane access ride, meaning you can always purchase access to it as a back up, but this is a free itinerary, so we might as well try to ride it for free!

Because of that, Frozen Ever After is my pick for step 2 of the International Gateway strategy.

According to Google Maps, it’s actually 1/10 of a mile quicker to turn left out of France Pavilion and head back towards United Kingdom Pavilion and head towards Norway that way.

However, I think I’d head right towards Morocco for the sheer fact you should encounter less people walking. At this point you’ll have people coming from World Celebration if you go the other way. Might as well avoid the crowds while you can.

Step 3: Soar Around the World

I’d love to tell you to head to Test Track, but it will be after park opening time by now, and all the off-site guests just headed straight towards Test Track. You’re better off waiting until later for that ride.

Instead, go into World Nature and get on Soarin’.

Step 4: World Nature, World Celebration, and World Discovery Rides

Seriously though, it was so much easier when I could just write “Future World” instead. I’ll probably do that anyway just to avoid having to write that out every time.

This is the point where you’ve caught up with the itinerary for the front gate. Except you’ll have more time and be able to get on more rides.

Spaceship Earth is the ride I’d probably head to first, it tends to get decently long lines at some points of the day. After that, the world is your oyster.

Remember, use My Disney Experience as a tool to help you make decisions.

Afternoon Epcot Itinerary – Both Plans

There will be some slight differences in the exact rides you choose to do in this section, but there is much about this part of the itinerary that will be the same for everyone.

I’m writing this with the assumption that there is a Festival of some sort going on during your trip. Because really, they’re pretty much year round at this point.

With that understanding, it’s time to eat!

Step 5: Eat and Drink Around the World

Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival Macaron Lollipop

I’m sure everyone is hungry by now so it’s time to eat! Start making your way around World Showcase sampling the outdoor kitchens or restaurants.

It’s up to you whether you want to head clockwise or counter-clockwise. There is much debate whether the correct way is to start with Canada or Mexico, but really it doesn’t matter. Go whichever way has the first booth you want to eat at!

As you do this, consider popping into the different countries to explore. You’ll need time to let your food settle. Each country has some really cool things to look at.

Explore the shops, watch some of the movies. Don’t sweat about deeply exploring every country on this round. You’ll be back through again later.

Pick the countries that most interest you for this first loop around World Showcase. That way you know for sure you get to experience your priority countries.

Remember, it’s 1.2 miles around World Showcase, so you’ll get the miles in today. By eating as you go, you won’t need to stop for lunch.

If the kids needs something a little more standard, stop at Regal Eagle Smokehouse at the American Adventure. It’s the best quick service restaurant in Epcot.

It’s also halfway around World Showcase so it’s the perfect spot for lunch.

Some highlights to consider as you make your way around: American Adventure animatronic show, Beauty and the Beast Sing-a-long, and Gran Fiesta Tour.

As a bonus, this is the time of day it’s starts getting HOT. And World Showcase always feels even hotter. By going into some of the shows, it gives you a break to sit down in air conditioning.

Step 6: Head back to World Celebration

As the afternoon wears on, World Showcase becomes more and more crowded. As such, it’s time to head back to the front of the park.

A lot of the “lesser” rides should have quite reasonable wait times at this point. Rides like Journey into Imagination, The Seas with Nemo & Friends, and Living with the Land tend to always have waits on the lower end.

As you head back in that direction, pull out My Disney Experience and see where everything stands. Your plan for the next little while is to simply bounce around this area and see what you can get done.

This is where things might start to differ slightly depending on what you accomplished earlier in the day. The main difference being whether or not you rode Test Track and Soarin’.

If you haven’t ridden those rides yet, save them towards later in the afternoon/evening. They will still have long lines in the early afternoon.

I would suggest something along these lines:

  • Journey into Imagination
  • Living with the Land
  • The Seas with Nemo & Friends
  • Turtle Talk with Crush
  • SeaBase (it’s in the same building as Nemo)
  • Spaceship Earth
  • Mission: SPACE
  • Soarin’
  • Test Track
Hidden mickey in Epcot aquarium

This makes the earlier part of the afternoon a bit more efficient. You don’t have to start criss-crossing back and forth until you get to the later part of the plan.

Even if you’ve already gone on Soarin’ or Test Track, if you see the waits go down, you might as well ride again!

Our mission is always to ride Test Track at least twice since it’s a family favorite.

This should take you into evening.

Evening Epcot Touring Plan

The sun is setting and the lights are turning on. I LOVE how beautiful Epcot is all lit up at night. Once the sun goes down, please take some time to simply enjoy the beauty and take some pictures.

A note on dinner: depending on how much Festival food and/or snacks you want to eat, you might not need dinner.

My husband and I have successfully done an entire day at Epcot without ever needing a restaurant. There’s just so much food.

But, I also understand if you want to eat at one of the amazing Epcot restaurants. It’s really a hard call. We are big fans of Rose & Crown Pub, Biergarten, and La Creperie de Paris.

Journey into Imagination building at night at Epcot

Step 7: Go Back and Explore the World

The evening is a great time to head back to World Showcase. Your plan now is to eat more booth food, drink more drinks, find more snacks…oh and explore the countries you missed earlier today.

World Showcase will probably feel a little more crowded at this point, but unless it’s a Friday through Sunday, it should be pretty reasonable.

Also, the later it’s open, the more everything will thin out.

While you’re here, keep an eye on the wait times for Frozen Ever After and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. Be opportunistic!

Step 8: Last Minute Rides and/or Harmonious

This is of course going to vary depending on what time Epcot closes. The later the closing time, the more opportunity you have to re-ride your favorites.

One of the big tricks at Disney is to hop in line for a ride right before park closing. Disney artificially inflates the wait time as a deterrent. It’s often one of the shortest waits of the day.

If there is any ride you weren’t able to get on earlier in the day, now is the time to revisit that attempt.

Test Track has always been my number 1 recommended ride for getting on right before closing. As a bonus, riding Test Track at night has a completely different feel than during the day.

However, if you haven’t been able to get on Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure or Frozen Ever After, right before closing is probably your best bet.

But truly, this strategy would apply to any of the top 4 rides.

The main hiccup to this strategy is if you want to watch Harmonious, Epcot’s fireworks show. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend watching it.

However, it usually runs right at closing. This means you need to choose which is more important to you: a hard to get on ride with short waits or a very entertaining fireworks show.

It’s a tough call.

If you’re lucky, the show will run prior to closing. If that’s the case, watch as much as Harmonious as you can, then book it to a ride.

Final Thoughts on This 1-Day Epcot Itinerary

I think this is a pretty solid Epcot itinerary. It could be a little overly ambitious on a heavy crowd day. You simply can’t get as much done when there’s a big crowd. There’s no way around that.

I’m hopeful that this strategy helps you to experience a full day at Epcot without having to spend the extra money on Disney Genie+ or Lightning Lane.

As always, you never know exactly what’s going to happen on the day of your trip. Test Track might be out of commission most of the day, driving up demand for night time.

You could get distracted by all the food and miss some of the rides. Just remember to think on your feet and be adaptable.

While this Epcot touring plan gives you a good framework of a successful plan, you WILL need to alter it on the big day. But don’t worry, you’ll still have an amazing time.

If you’re looking for some other itinerary ideas, take a look at these:

Epcot itinerary pin image featuring Mission space entrance

Your Thoughts

What do you think about this Epcot touring plan? Do you think it’s doable or a little over ambitious? What have you tried that worked really well? Let me know in the comments below.

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1 thought on “Ultimate 1 Day Epcot Itinerary”

  1. thank you for the tips on what to do when. One thing really disappointed me though in Epcot. You wrote “The whole purpose behind Epcot is to learn about technology, the natural world, and the cultures of the world, while also having fun.” No, it is not. Is USED to be. Now? now it has turned into a commercial movie based place, like the other parks. Sad if you think about it. Now, instead of learning about Energy, you get a roller coaster for Guardians of the Galaxy. instead of learning about the future in Horizons, you get a ride to space to ohh and ahh over. Instead of learning about the entire history of motion cumulating in the auto, you get a fast car ride. All nice rides, but not what EPCOT was supposed to be. Instead of a ride that educated you a “little” about Norway, you get a ride about the movie Frozen. It’s still different than the Magic Kingdom, but too much focused like the M K is. ON rides and movies. Not on the Experimental city of the Future that it was originally set to be. I remember the old days. I saw the new days. I miss the original concept for this one. 🙁

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