Epcot Center, part of the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, is a theme park packed with internationally and futuristic-themed attractions, rides, pavilions, shows, and entertainment. Created from a concept developed by Walt Disney himself, Epcot is dedicated to human achievement, technological innovation, and international cultures.
Epcot—an acronym for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow—moves at a slower pace than many other parts of the Magic Kingdom, with no roller coasters screeching overhead, no parades, no water rides, and plenty of greenery. Here you can smell the incense in Morocco, listen to the Beatles in the United Kingdom, eat sushi in Japan, and munch on an authentic pastry in France. Epcot Center is divided into two. The modern Future World, with its can’t-miss iconic geosphere known as Spaceship Earth, explores modern technologies through myriad rides and displays. The World Showcase allows visitors to tour the world in a day by dipping their toes into the cultures of 11 countries, including Mexico, Norway, China, France, Germany, and Italy.
Tours of Epcot from Orlando include those with a private guide, which allow insiders to get expert advice on the best ways to navigate the park, or helicopter tours that offer aerial views of the park and greater Orlando.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Unlike other parts of the Magic Kingdom, most stores and restaurants in Epcot serve alcohol.
- Illuminations: Reflections of Earth is an award-winning light show that takes place every night at 9pm just before the park’s closing.
- Epcot is connected to the Magic Kingdom by the Disney World monorail system. To make the entire trip, transfer at the Transportation and Ticket Center.
- Epcot is accessible to strollers, wheelchairs, and guests with mobility, hearing, and visual disabilities.
How to Get There
Epcot Center is easily accessed via Florida Interstate 4 (I-4). Pay for preferred parking (close to the entrance gate) or ride the tram from your spot to the gate. Orlando International Airport is 22 miles (35 kilometers) away, about a half-hour drive.
When to Get There
Epcot is open every day from 9am to 9pm. The holiday season and spring break bring huge crowds and long lines for rides and attractions. Throughout the year Epcot hosts a variety of festivals, including the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival; the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival; and Holidays Around the World, which showcases each pavilion’s traditional holiday celebrations.
Visiting Epcot with Small Kids
Although there is a distinct lack of animated characters prancing around Epcot, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing for small kids. Upon entry, pick up a guide map and entertainment schedule. Look for Kidcot stops, play and learning stations for the younger set. The Soarin’ ride is a winner, and Mission: SPACE is good for getting the adrenaline pumping after a string of educational exhibits. Additionally, three fountains in the park encourage splashing and playing; these are particularly great for kids too small for traditional water rides in other parks.