Hey there and welcome to the Epcot overview! Check out the overview post here and the Magic Kingdom here. Today I’m sharing my favorite in Epcot entertainment, park tips, and top in-park dining for any budget!
Epcot has tons of unique entertainment across the lake in each country. YES! The mock countries span from Mexico, the United Kingdom, Norway to Japan! Each with their own flavors, sights, and sounds, these are wonderful for a quick bite or restful day of not riding rides and watching parades. Each country also has sideshows, so be sure to check the schedule for those coherent to the country and also for finding your favorite characters!
Epcot doesn’t have many rides, however, be sure to ride Test Track where you make your own race car or soar high above California in Disney’s Soarin’. Oh, and did I mention the aquarium in the park is Finding Nemo themed?! No? To get into the aquarium, follow your favorite characters in a clamshell ride and laugh and sing all day!
Of course, the newest in rides is Frozen found in Norway where Maelstrom was. This revamped ride takes you through Arendale, so be sure to spot Elsa, Anna, Olaf, Sven, and Kristof! Oh, and make sure you’re ready to have every song stuck in your head (kind of like It’s a Small World!)- Do you want to build a snowman or should I just let this go? HAHA!
Akershus Royal Banquet Hall is similar to Cinderella’s Royal Table, however, this is Epcot and each country has their fair share of food choices. While this princess dining is top-notch, the Norwegian food is even better! If you’re having to pick between this restaurant or Cinderella’s Royal Table for food, go here! However, each one is unique in its own way- so if you get the chance, dine at both!
Biergarten Restaurant is another fun restaurant and cuisine close to my heart is Biergarten. I love German food, one because I spent some time in Germany and two because it’s good food! You’re transported to Oktoberfest in this fun themed restaurant and you’re seated with complete strangers. Fear not though, because even my family of introverts counts this as one of our favorite meals in Epcot with the food, fun, and atmosphere! Oh, and this is a German buffet!!
The Garden Grill is fresh, delightful and it makes you feel really good eating here. Why? Found outside of the World Showcase in the Land, is this rotating restaurant that makes a full, slow 360-degree turn during your meal. Characters also treat you along the way, and the food is all grown fresh in Epcot’s gardens. You can’t beat this place! Classic characters visit your table, and your family is treated to a buffet-style family meal. A great choice for picky eaters, little ones and people wanting to see Mickey!
Tutto Italia Ristorante is the most memorable for my family. On our very first annual trip to Disney, we were the last ones in the restaurant making friends with all the servers. Since each person in these countries actually comes to Disney to work as exchange students from the country, it makes every single experience better. Our friends we made here are people we will never forget, and they liked us so much they let us try each dessert. Plus, I love Italian food right behind Mexican food, so it was a win-win.
La Cantina de San Angel – Want really good Mexican and not pay a lot? If yes, then you’ve got to eat at La Cantina de San Angel. Located outside along the water, this little hub is perfect for anyone wanting a plate full of nachos or tacos.
Yorkshire County Fish Shop is the perfect place for fish and chips. Literally, the only thing on their menu is this, but hey, if you want something cheap, good and filling, check out this little place!
Fountain View – Like Magic Kingdom, Epcot hosts a secret Starbucks found in their Fountain View!
Test Track Cool Wash – found in Future World near Test Track, is the ideal place for non-alcoholic frozen beverages.
At night, Epcot’s Illuminations lights up the World Showcase and the lake, capturing the very best that the entire world has to offer. A moving celebration and tribute to cultures, nations, and people, this firework show is sure to leave you dazzled! The easiest show to experience in the parks without much planning, Illuminations is best viewed along the lake’s fence. However, for one of the best views of the globe in the middle of the lake, may your way to the front of Germany’s pavilion. If you don’t want to stand for the 15-minute show, you will need to make sure of your time and catch a limited bench before people begin to make their way to the fence. My family loves sitting in front of Germany due to it being more centered in the back of the park. However, if you want a quicker exit from the park, sit around Mexico or Canada. Both of these countries sit on the outside of either entrance into the World Showcase.
If you have children, check with guest services to see if there is a fun world-tour adventure! When I was growing up, Disney had a special treat that you could visit all the countries and treat it like your passport!
Lastly, one of the warmest and relaxing areas of the park is found in the land and sea. The Land hosts Soarin’, but it’s also home to an unforgettable smell. Trust me on this one! You can also visit the Sea and take a self-guided tour through their aquarium. It’s a beautiful and peaceful area with tons of interactive places for your kiddies, too!
Stay in touch and enjoy your trip to the classic Epcot!
**PS as of mid-2018 Disney announced that the fireworks show, Illuminations, would be replaced with an updated show. While this is extremely sad news for the nostalgia fans, Disney has a fine-tuned way of introducing new shows that are relevant to current times, as well as still paying homage to former eras. The show is set to run until early-2019, so if you want to see this beautiful firework and laser show, catch it soon!