A question people frequently ask us is, “I’m going to be in Orlando for a conference and thought I’d go to Disney. “What should I do at Epcot?” Today, we tell you how to have an epic day at Epcot.
How to Have an Epic (One) Day at Epcot
- Discussion of Epcot Layout
- Why and how you should use Genie+
- Decide if you want to focus on attractions or on World Showcase
- Pick your top priority ride
- Making your Lightning Lane reservations
- Getting the attractions you want
- How about an adult day?
Question: What’s your top must-do experience at Epcot?
Please let us know in the All Things Travel Podcast Facebook group!
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Episode 96 Transcripts
Episodes are transcribed with artificial intelligence so there are likely some highly amusing translations!
Shayne: Hello, and welcome to All Things Travel. A question people frequently ask us is I’m going to be in Orlando for a conference and thought I’d go to Disney. What should I do at Epcot. Today, we’ll tell you how to have an epic day at Epcot. You’re listening to All Things Travel, episode 96, original air date, February 16th, 2022.
Ryan: So Shayne, when you have somebody ask you a question like that, where they’re going to be in the parks for one day, or maybe a couple evenings in conjunction with their conference in Orlando, what’s the biggest piece of advice that you give them?
Shayne: I’m glad you phrased it that way, I
Ryan: Well, thank you.
Shayne: You’re welcome. I think it’s important to distinguish between a Disney day and the complete Disney experience.
Ryan: Absolutely. I agree with you there.
Shayne: And so that’s the way we’re going to do it. We’re going to look at a Disney day. This is just a day trip to Disney while you happen to be in the area for something else. You’re not going to be staying at a resort. you are not using the services of an expert, Disney planners, such as you or me.
you’re just there.
for the day. Cause you want to have some Kind of Disney experience, not the complete, but just some kind of Disney experience.
Ryan: of wet the whistle, if you will.
And for this type of trip, Ryan and I will both recommend that you upgrade to Genie plus. And that’s what we’re going to base this discussion on is how to have an epic day at Epcot.
Ryan: All right. So before we talk about this epic. I want to know where in the world is. All things travel, Shayne.
Shayne: west branch, Iowa.
Ryan: Well welcome, Iowa.
Shayne: This is our first Iowa to show up on where in the world is all things.
Ryan: All right.
Shayne: It’s 10 miles east of Iowa city. And I think we would have a joyful time at the down under brew pub.
Ryan: Who I liked that? Tell me about it.
Shayne: named not for its atmosphere, which is not Australian, but because it’s in the basement right there in downtown.
it’s down under,
Ryan: under. That sounds pretty cool. I bet there’s a speakeasy vibe maybe to that.
Shayne: Yes, there is that dive bar type feel that I love.
Ryan: I like it. I like it a lot. Hey, Iowa, reach out to Shayne and I either on the Facebook group or via email, we’ve got a little thank you gift for being featured on the show. And we’d love to hear from you.
So, okay. Shayne Epcot is going to be, and I say going to be, because they’re still reconfiguring and redesigning Epcot is going to be broken up into four different neighborhoods, world celebration, is going to be right at the front area there with the Epcot ball, if you will where everybody’s, when you think of Epcot, that’s what you think.
World discovery, which is going to be all about science and some science fiction and different things like that. And then world nature, which has to do with the seas and the land, some of the traditional things that have been that have been part of Epcot. And then the back part of Epcot, which is world showcase.
These four neighborhoods are going to make up what Epcot is going to be here in the next couple years.
Shayne: What did you think of the name changes
Ryan: I think it’s fine. It breaks up a little bit more than just having future world and world showcase. So I think that’s, I think that’s good. I’m always in favor. evolution when it comes to the parks. don’t need things to always stay the same. I don’t like to see things going away, I always like to see changes and movement forward.
I think the scale of what they were to do with Epcot was so great. That unfortunately, I think COVID has backed those up a little too much. There were some things that I was really excited about with the Epcot renovations. I don’t think we’ll make the cut, but that’s for a different show.
Shayne: Most of the Future World was not the future
Ryan: Yeah. Right, right, right. I think I posted one time when we were at. that I took a picture of the bank of the telephones and it was I made a joke about future communication and Future World. And it was like the bell services phones there.
Shayne: Right. Yeah. funny.
Ryan: So if we’re using Genie Plus, and we’re not going to go through what genie plus is, but if we’re using it for that day, Shayne. We have several considerations to think about for that day. First and foremost, you’re going to have your tickets before the day you go and you’re going to want to have Jeannie plus before the day you go, don’t wait and purchase it at the gate, or you’re going to miss all of the advantage of genie plus.
Because you need to make some decisions about your individual attraction selections. And right now at Epcot that’s Remy’s Ratatouille adventure and a frozen ever after. I am sure that when Guardians of the Galaxy, comes out that will be an individual attraction selection, but we don’t know that we don’t know when specifically yet the lightening lanes, then it’s basically anything else.
Other than the show the world showcase movies and oddly enough, the Three Caballero rides are not on the lightning lane as options. So
Shayne: the ride’s underrated.
Ryan: It is completely underrated. Yeah. Completely underrated. So basically what you’re going to do is you’re going to need to have to decide that morning.
Am I buying one or both, or none of the individual attraction, selections, and then make your first lightning lane attraction selection based on when you’re going to arrive at the park.
Now one thing to keep in mind though, with the individual attraction selections, if you are, I say that we’re not going to talk about Genie Plus, and now we’re giving all these Jeannie plus tips. That’s okay.
Ryan: the fun If you’re staying off property, remember that you will not be able to make that first individual attraction selection until the park opens.
So that is again, you need to be on this. You need to be ready to go because how you handle those first selections with Genie Plus will matter.
So for me, if I’m looking at one day at Epcot, I really have two approaches that I’m going to take. The first is I’m going to focus on the ride. And I’m going to try to do all the rides, all the attractions that I want to do, maybe this is for somebody who hasn’t experienced Epcot or hasn’t experienced Epcot for several years.
So there are things that are new or my other approach to be quite honest, is to avoid a lot of the rides and focus on World Showcase. And maybe do a couple attractions, but focus on the food, focus on the sites, focus on the shopping, having to do with World Showcase. I think if you’re looking at one day, you really need to choose one of those approaches.
It doesn’t mean you’re not going to see everything, but you’re not going to do a deep dive into everything you’ll have to choose one or the other. If somebody wants to do the attraction based day, how would you suggest they approach that Shayne.
Shayne: that’s the way that I would suggest it for a Disney day. Not staying on property, you’re probably not gonna use a skylight or entrance. You’ll use the main entrance. And so that’s the part you’re going to see first. So take care of. While you’re there and then head on over the World, Showcase.
Ryan: Yes, absolutely. So for me, one of the things I’m going to do is I’m going to try to get a Lightning Lane for my second priority ride. And I say that because for me and my family, usually our top priority ride is either now with this new system, something that we purchase ahead of time.
So for instance, when we go this spring, none of us ever have ridden Remy’s. So we’re just going to flat out pay for that. We’re not even going to worry about waiting in line. We’re just going to spend the money to do it, but I’m going to rope drop the ride that I want to do first. So may get a lightening lane for test track, and then rope drop Soarin’.
Or I may get a lightening lane for Soarin’ and rope drop Frozen Ever After, so that I know that I’ve hit. I’ve got those two rides taken care of as close to first thing in The morning as I can.
Shayne: And that’s a good approach when you have your priorities of what you want to do. Do those first, and or reserve the spots
Shayne: lane spots first.
Ryan: Yep. And I think what you’re going to find is in Epcot, there’s not a lot of attractions necessarily compared to the other parks. So I think if you approach it as this is your data focused on the attractions, you’re going to be able to between general standby times and genie, you’re going to be able to get most everything done that you want to get done.
The one thing to consider is Test Track is often. So be careful with using that as your Lightning Lane, because you don’t want to get stuck and having to wait and for time to make another lightning lane, if you only have that for that one day.
Shayne: So a option is to rope drop Test Track, and then that way you’re done.
Ryan: Yeah. If that’s a, if that’s a must do for you a
Shayne: do it again.
Ryan: Yeah exactly. You know, something on though. And that side of the park for me, things that people often miss or not miss, but rush through going to the Seas with Nemo and friends or Turtle Talk with crush. If you don’t have small child.
You may think you want to skip that building. However, keep in mind, that’s one of the largest aquariums in north America. So if that’s of interest to you, even if you’re not doing the attractions, you’re going to want to go over to that building Soren, if a ride like Soren isn’t of interest to you, make sure to not forget about Living With the Land.
If you want something a little slower paced, and you’re interested in gardening and plants and food, that is a great ride. The quick service restaurant that’s in that building is one of the best places to grab a snack or a quick meal. So again, just rush through these buildings thinking there’s only that one ride the chapter.
See each one has several things that are good to
Shayne: Yeah, Living with the Land is fascinating. If you have even the smallest interest in gardening or where your food comes from, it could come from, you definitely want to make sure Living with the Land is on your list.
Ryan: Absolutely one key piece of advice, regardless of which of these two approaches you take map out your dining ahead of time. best thing about Epcot is there are tons of quick service and table service options for dining. The worst part about Epcot is there are tons of quick service and table service, dining options.
So you really have to know ahead of time. Especially if you want a reservation or, you’re going to be hitting a festival on the around the park. You’re going to want to know that ahead of time. It’s going to save you time and stress when it comes to, to eat eating time.
Shayne: that’s because it’s a good place to get decision fatigue, because there are some. Options. And then one option to help with that is to share cause you’re going to have a lot of that. You’re going to see a lot of different things that you want to try. So even for your sit down lunch or dinner, share something so that you have some room left for the other things that you’re going to say,
Ryan: And I would even say, you know what, if I’m at Epcot for one day and time is money for me, I wouldn’t even, I wouldn’t even make a reservation. There’s enough quick service and festival options throughout most of the year. Don’t unless you really want to hit a certain restaurant specifically. I don’t think you need to do it because most everything you want to have has some quick.
Option around the parks. You know, if you want to have a rose and crown experience than going to the efficient, you’re going to Yorkshire, fish and chips right next door. And having a quick services almost, if not better, because you can sit outside and enjoy.
Shayne: That is another thing I like about Epcot is the availability to make sure that you’re fed and energized to get through the day without having to worry about reservations somewhere, because there are many options.
Ryan: Absolutely. So. Now we’ve decided that’s how we’re going to handle our attractions day. We’re going to use our genie plus tip board. We’re going to be able to map out our day, knowing that we’re going to have to go a little bit into world showcase for three Caballeros and Mexico for frozen ever after in.
In Norway, but Shayne, what some approaches if we have, I don’t know, let’s say more of an adult trip. Maybe we have a couple coworkers who are there for a conference and want to enjoy the day at Epcot, know, eating around the world or taking in one of the festivals. How would we approach that differently?
Shayne: There are a lot of, Well, I don’t know why it is that when we think adult time where we just assume that we’re going to be drinking, probably because we are, but.
Ryan: Well, and I just, that tends to be more of what I think with Epcot. That’s the place where you can, you know, you and I have both talked about strolling around Epcot with a beer taking in the pavilions and things like that. That’s that’s what I was envisioning there.
So it’s it, of course you can have adults that want to do the attractions,
Shayne: no shame on them. That’s it. It’s fine. You can do that. I think a great option is the. Mexico area because you get to go inside the pyramid so you can get out of the heat or whatever the climate is. If you can get inside to a climate controlled area and it’s, the lighting is nice. You can see well, but it’s a little dark.
And then you have a restaurant there. You have the three Caballeros ride there at the tequila bar there, which is the kind of the point of the adult trip aspect of this. And like I said earlier, it just seems like that Mexico areas a little underrated for some reason. I don’t know,
if it’s because it’s there at the beginning and people just want to make
Ryan: Yeah. Yup.
Shayne: And which is probably the challenge I think of Epcot is don’t rush through World Showcase to make sure you see everything.
Shayne: many details in each country that you want to take your time and enjoy.
Ryan: Yes. going back, that was my frame of reference for an adult trip. Cause I know when we first went with little kids that wasn’t an option, wandering around Morocco to take in the details and the different shots. Wasn’t something that a four and a six year old kid were necessarily interested in doing, at least in my family.
So that’s more why I think about, now when I go back with my wife or I’m there at our agent training with friends, we tend to stick to that side of Epcot. That’s what I meant by that.
Shayne: Yeah. Cause Maura, Morocco is a fascinating
Ryan: Oh, it’s utterly
Shayne: So the kids aren’t going to be as interested in it.
Ryan: And one of the things that I’ve really appreciated about Epcot recently is, when I’ve gone back these last several times, there’s more live entertainment. It lends itself to strolling along and stopping in England and, hearing the band play outside the pub and walking over to Canada and listening to Albert Alberta bound and.
In Japan, you’ve got the Tyco drummers, you’ve got more of that going on. So, so that’s why I said at the very beginning, I think it’s okay to take this as an approach of this is going to be the majority of your day.
Shayne: Which also means that you can have a more relaxing time at Epcot, strolling through and taking your time at each area versus trying to rush through
Shayne: like it would be a better break from a conference that. Going to the theme park in rushing through to, to hit everything that is on your checklist.
Ryan: Sure. And again, I think so that’s why I’m saying look at it from those two approaches. What type of day do you want? And then plan for that, whether it’s an attractions focused, whether it’s a World Showcase focused, or maybe a little bit of both, knowing that you’re then not going to be able to do everything.
Now, obviously if you’re doing a focus on more World Showcase or one of the festivals. Genie Plus then does not become as important. You may decide to buy one of those individual attractions for the more popular rides. And you can do that without buying Genie Plus for the day it’s really up to you.
But I think Shayne’s right from there one day Genie Plus makes a lot of sense.
Shayne: We expect that we’re going to go to Disney World, again, this person who’s just doing a Disney day to try it out is going to be under what we realize is going to be the mistaken impression that it’s going to be their only day at Disney.
And so there, they might be saying, well, you know, you want to go to Disney again. You can take your time. We want to see everything on this day. So we can’t take our time. And Jeannie plus is going to help with that.
Ryan: And that’s a real good point. And when you’re essentially for the cost of a cocktail, over the course of the day, if you’re able to do even four or five different things using Genie Plus that’s worth the money right there.
Shayne: Absolutely. Yeah. $15 per person definitely makes it worth the time.
Ryan: So Shayne, when you think of Epcot, just to wrap up our conversation here, how does your family approach Epcot? If you will get your Epcot day as you play in your trip, how does this day tend to play out?
Shayne: At the end of that day, going to scroll through the photos on our phone, labeling all of the pictures of food and drink. Meaning us. We want to go try some food and wander through the different countries in world showcase.
Ryan: Gotcha. And for our family it’s the constant decision that I brought up at the very beginning of the. My wife and son want to ride rides my daughter, and I want to stroll through World Showcase and try different food at the festivals. And it’s the constant give and take of that.
And so that’s why I say that’s a really important decision to make at the beginning of your planning, it really can’t dictate how you’ve managed the day.
Shayne: And that is probably going to change for us when the Guardians of the Galaxy right. Opens,
because we’ll probably want to ride that many times during that day.
Ryan: Absolutely. Absolutely. So would love to help you play on your Epcot day. We can help you with tickets. We can help you with Genie Plus, we can help you with planning, even if it’s part of a conference or an event that takes you to Orlando, that doesn’t have you staying at Disney property. Shayne And I are both travel advisors with Creating Magic Vacations and you can reach us at Ryan that’s me R Y A N at CreatingMagicVacations.com or S H A Y N E at CreatingMagicVacations.com
Shayne: planning a trip to Disney can be confusing and overwhelming, and we work with you to plan the trip