Wow! I’ve surely been extremely slow with posting about our August/September trip to Disney World! So continuing with that, today I’m talking about the perfect Epcot touring plan, because I feel like we nailed it this trip!
Most stress when visiting Disney World, particularly when it comes to having one of these touring plans. A lot invest time (and money!) into “professional” plans and crowd calendars, and honestly, they’re really all a complete waste. Stop and smell the roses. Plan your dining reservations, set up your fast passes, but just enjoy the rest! I’m serious!! Don’t go in with a touring plan – that’s my plan. And this is coming from someone who PLANS THE HELL OUT OF EVERYTHING.
There hasn’t been one visit where I didn’t get to do or go on something I wanted to. Really, there should be no reason for you to miss out on something you want in ANY Disney World park, especially when visiting one park per day (9 times out of 10 I say skip the park hoppers). This obviously pertains to “normal” days, which are really 360 days out of the year, and not, for example, the day they tape the Christmas parade. I’m talking about from the very empty park days, to the mid-summer crazy-busy times of year, and even most holiday weekends. The My Disney Experience app is a great tool to check wait times, change your FP+, as well as make last minute dining reservations. Don’t stress about plans that are most likely going to change ahead of time, just go and enjoy.
Okay, so onto our day at Epcot!
Park Hours: 9am-9pm
Time We Showed Up: 10:00am (rope drop is NOT in my vocabulary!)
Sit Down Meals: 2 (I note this because people tend to skip these meals because “they waste too much time.” I want to show you how you can still do it all while having not one, but TWO table service meals!).
– Belle, Sleeping Beauty, Ariel, Snow White (Akershus)
– Blue dress Belle (outside of France)
– Alice (UK)
– Mickey, Goofy, Minnie Mouse (Character Spot)
– Mickey, Chip, Dale, Pluto (Garden Grill)
The things we didn’t do (because we didn’t want to, not because we didn’t have time):
– We did not spend time in the arcades/children play areas (unless you count the time I waited at the exit of Mission Space).
– Turtle Talk w/ Crush (no interest).
– Sum Of All Thrills (it was closed).
– Circle Of Life (This is a 20 minute show we didn’t care to see).
– Captain EO (This is an 18 minute 3-D show, which we are so excited is LEAVING. It’s SO BAD).
– Phineas & Ferb adventure thing around World Showcase (no interest).
– World Showcase movies in some of the counties (no interest).
8:00: Woke up (at Disney’s Yacht Club). Too tired, went back to sleep.
8:10: Josh got up, got ready.
8:45: Josh tried waking me up (again).
9:00: I finally woke up and rushed to get ready, realizing our breakfast reservations are at 9:30! Yikes!
10:15: The actual time we got to our reservation at Akershus, and no, they didn’t charge us for a no-show, and yes, they were still able to seat us!
Note: While guests still take a picture with Belle prior to their meal, the photo is no longer included, so be sure to take it with either your own camera, or be prepared to purchase it as part of your photo pass.
The food was just as good as we remember, and the princess interaction is so fun!
11:20: Finished eating, paid, and stopped to take a picture in front of the old Maelstrom ride. RIP!
We then started to walk back towards the International gateway to meet up with my brother and his girlfriend.
The countries were now open as we walked by.
11:35: My brother called, they are running late, so we stopped by France to meet blue dress Belle, but the line was already closed. They said to come back at 12:00. We continued to International Gateway to wait for my brother and his girlfriend.
11:55: My brother and his girlfriend finally showed up. We debated to either rush towards our 11:05-12:05 Test Track fast pass, or wait in line for blue dress Belle. We passed by the Belle area, and there were only 2 other groups there. We decided to wait and then rush to Test Track, hoping they still have a grace period (although the cast members told us they no longer do).
12:00: We were already sweating our butts off. Belle makes her grand entrance! We were done by 12:10.
12:20: Arrived at Test Track, and held our breath while the Mickey heads lit up GREEN! We were good to go!
Gosh Test Track is one of my favorite rides, and FP is definitely the way to go!
After the ride, we hung out by the misters at Club Cool, because it was SO HOT. We grabbed drinks and ice cream, and we were still sweating! We got out the My Disney Experience app and picked the ride with the least wait time. Journey Into The Imagination With Figment only had a 5 minute wait, so we headed there.
It was a walk on, and the AC felt AMAZING!
Captain EO is right next door, and had a very small wait, but we just couldn’t do it. We seriously hate it lol.
Since my brother and his girlfriend were running late this morning, and didn’t have breakfast, they were starving, so after Figment it was off to The Land pavilion for them to get food.
As we were going down the escalator we saw that Living With The Land was WALK ON, so we went on that, which was a good thing, because once we got off the line was LONG.
After the ride, Josh and I had a light snack while my brother and his girlfriend had lunch at the Seasons quick service area (they have my FAVORITE chocolate cake ever!).
1:20: Still sitting in The Land pavilion. I canceled Josh and my Mission Space fast pass, since my brother and I didn’t want to go on, and my brother’s girlfriend already had two FP’s for 2:10. However, instead of CHANGING it, which I should have done so I could pick something else, I accidentally cancelled it. I’ll have to go to Guest Relations later on for them to fix it.
Once everyone was finished eating, we stopped by the bathrooms to freshen up, and then headed to Spaceship Earth (for our FP). My brother and his girlfriend had 1:05-2:05 and Josh and I had 1:20-2:20.
1:40: Spaceship Earth.
After the ride, we had time to kill before Josh and my brother’s girlfriend 2:10 Mission Space FP, so we shopped at the Art Of Disney store, before walking through Innovations. Innovations is like no man’s land. I really hope they add something good soon! It’s looking unbelievably desolate!
2:15: Josh and my brother’s girlfriend headed to Mission Space, while my brother and I went to guest relations to fix my fast pass mess up. Guest relations was WONDERFUL! I told the lady I just wanted to get my third fast pass back so I could use it and get a 4th fast pass for Soarin’. She said no problem, and just asked what time we wanted Soarin’ for! We decided on 7:10, right before our dinner reservations at Garden Grill, which is in the same building. I had Josh’s Magic Band with me, so she was able to do it for us right there. Unfortunately, Josh had my brother’s magic band, and my brother’s girlfriend had hers, so we couldn’t update theirs! The lady said not to worry. Now that they used their 3rd fast pass, they can just go to a kiosk and get their 4th.
After guest relations, my brother and I headed to Mission Space. We went inside the kids area (the advanced training lab by the ride’s exit), and waited in the nice air conditioning! Of course my “kid” brother had to play around while we waited!
Once they came off the ride, we headed to a FP kiosk to get the rest of the Soarin’ FP’s for later. We had no issue getting theirs within a 5 minute window of the ones I got before.
We were close to the soda’s from around the world area, which Josh loves, so we headed there next. Meanwhile, my brother’s girlfriend got Starbucks from next door.
Then, we spent time taking pictures in front of the Epcot ball. Definitely make sure you leave time to do this, because it’s so fun to sit in this area and stare at the ball, watch the monorail as it passes by, and listen to the water fountains!
We were getting hot again. I’ve been keeping my eye on the character spot wait time all day, and the line thus far hasn’t gone below 30-45 minutes, which is just too long for me. I randomly checked, and it was down to a 15 minute wait, so we headed there.
Notice my brother’s girlfriend is not in any of the above photos. She HATES characters, and boy is she in for a surprise for our character dinner tonight!
So I honestly have no idea what time it is by now, I’d say sometime mid-late afternoon. We hit the Living Seas next. We got such a kick out of the “mine, mine, mine” out front. The Seas with Nemo & Friends was a walk on, so we did that before checking out the manatees. We had so much fun looking at all the fish, and reminiscing about the last time we were here, when we snorkeled INSIDE the tank!
Next, we headed to the Universe Of Energy for Ellen’s Energy Adventure. This is a long movie/ride (45 minutes).
I wouldn’t recommend doing this ride EVERY VISIT, unless you want a nice cool off, or REALLY love it. We haven’t done it for a few years, and we had time, so we decided to give it a go. My brother and his girlfriend FELL ASLEEP! I kid you not! Now, it’s not a great ride, but it’s not THAT bad! LOL!
We finished everything we wanted to see and do in Future World, so we hit the counties next.
First up, Mexico! The walk over was horrible, and we were sweating, so it was time for another ice cream break.
I LOVE the shopping in Mexico, and I’ve always wanted to try the restaurant that overlooks the Three Caballeros ride. We looked around while we finished our snacks.
Then, we walked on the Three Caballeros ride. I think this may be in the top three of my favorite Epcot rides.
Next, in Norway, we went into the store, which is Josh’s favorite store in Epcot.
We didn’t watch the video in China, but had had fun looking around. The Terracotta Army exhibit is great, and walking around is really peaceful.
Josh couldn’t help but get an eggroll, because they smelled SO GOOD! He also really didn’t want me taking a picture of him eating it. Hence…
I was a little bummed in Germany, as the train display was being refurbished. We looked in the shops, and tried different beers.
Then, it was off to Italy. Italy is my favorite location to sit and relax, as there’s always so much going on in the piazza! We sipped on wine while watching the mimes and musical entertainment.
Afterwards, we spent time looking out over the water, at the amazing view of the Epcot Ball, which is between Italy and The Great American Adventure, before continuing our trek around the world.
We sort of breezed quickly through Japan, anxious to get to Morocco. We walked through where our private dessert party & character experience was the night before, already reminiscing. I’m really obsessed with the stores here, and couldn’t help but shop for a great momento!
In France, we shopped in the adorable stores (are you noticing a trend yet?), and in UK we went to another favorite location of ours – where you can buy all the BBC stuff. I also love the band that plays in the gazebo here!
UK was a huge hit this time around, as we also discovered a wonderful store that looks up your family’s name/meaning, and crest. We got an AWESOME display of ours, and I’m telling you – watch your pockets in Epcot because you will go bankrupt! So many amazing things! I also love how all your purchases can be shipped right to your Disney World hotel! It definitely made walking around way more fun, as we didn’t have to carry a thing!
On our way out, we ran into Alice, so of course we stopped for a picture.
In Canada we checked out the beautiful waterfalls, and before we knew it we went around the World. Ha!
6:50: It was perfect timing to start heading back for our Soarin’ fast pass. We had a little wait for the ride, even with our fast pass.
7:40: We finished Soarin’ and headed upstairs for our dinner reservation at Garden Grill. We checked in, before going to the bathroom to freshen up.
We were seated in no time, and overall the meal was good. There’s no menu, as everything is served family style. You start with a salad (and some of the ingredients even come from the Living With The Land ride!). Everything is unlimited. When the main course came, we wanted our steak well-done (when it came out it was PINK). They had no problem bringing us out a batch the way we wanted it. Our waitress was truly great!
Dessert is included as well, and while you eat, characters visit. Since Josh’s birthday was yesterday, they brought out a piece of cake with dessert and we sang. They even gave him a card signed by the characters who were there (Mickey, Pluto, Chip, & Dale). It was definitely a cute touch, and for about $100 for two adults it’s not bad for a character meal in Disney World.
9:10: We didn’t plan on seeing Illuminations tonight, since we saw it the night before during our private dessert party, but we finished dinner just in time to catch the tail end.
9:20: We made our way to the International Gateway, stopping in the World Traveler shop on our way out. Josh got an awesome Epcot shirt, which I’m sure you’ll see in some of my other Disney posts. We then walked back to Yacht Club.
So there you have it. We really did everything, and if we wanted to go on something again, or spend more time somewhere, we certainly had the time to do so – and that’s with TWO sit down meals! Despite it being HOT, our day at Epcot was leisurely. That word – leisurely – tends to pass by a lot of people when visiting the parks. I feel a lot of Disney-goers forget that it still should be a VACATION! So don’t stress, and don’t pre-plan too much (other than your meals and your FP’s), and you’re sure to have a truly magical experience!