Planning Your Disney Itinerary: Tips for Epcot

I’m continuing my itinerary tips series with Epcot! Itineraries at Epcot are a little different because you have two distinct areas to visit: Future World and World Showcase. Future World is more ride-heavy whereas World Showcase is more suited for wandering. World Showcase also doesn’t open until 11am, so I like to use the morning to hit the Future World rides and then spend the rest of the day at World Showcase.

The first two rides to visit are undoubtedly Soarin’, where you “hang glide” over beautiful California, and Test Track, a simulated car performance test. These attractions have the longest lines in the park, with waits usually exceeding an hour. After this head over to Mission: Space, a realistic simulated mission to Mars, as it will also have long waits later in the day (unless you’re riding the less intense Mission: Space Green).

The other attractions in Future World are not notorious for their long lines, although there are a few that you should visit earlier if you can. Spaceship Earth, an animatronic journey into the history of communication inside the “golf ball”, and Sum of All Thrills, a design-your-own roller coaster simulator in Innoventions East, sometimes have long waits. Other attractions in Future World do not usually have long lines, and so can wait for later in the day.

World Showcase is a great place for a looser itinerary – you’ll want plenty of time to browse and explore. Make sure to budget enough time, because while there may not be a to-do list of rides here, World Showcase is huge and full of gorgeous detail. There are only two boat rides, Maelstrom in the Norway Pavilion and Gran Fiesta Tour in the Mexico Pavilion. The former is normally the only one that sometimes has a line. The shows in World Showcase (Impressions de France, Reflections of China, O Canada, and the American Adventure) are all in big theaters, so are good for afternoon touring. Also, be sure to grab a Times Guide to check out the variety of amazing street performers.

Illuminations is Epcot’s not-to-be-missed nighttime spectacular of laser lights, pyrotechnics, and fireworks. You can see the show from most places around the World Showcase Lagoon, but getting your choice space with no one standing in front of you means staking out a spot well before the show starts. When we visited last we were able to find a good view between France and the UK about a half-hour before the show started, but many popular viewing spots require forty-five minutes or more.

How do you plan your day at Epcot?

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Elizabeth lives in Kansas City with her wonderful parents and sister. She enjoys long walks, happy thoughts, and Disney magic! Elizabeth first visited Disney as a child, and when she prepared to visit Walt Disney World as an adult, she foolishly thought she may have ‘outgrown’ Disney. Happily, Elizabeth was proven wrong. After planning a second trip to Walt Disney World, Elizabeth is now her family’s go-to resource for Disney. She even has her own blog,, with advice on how to plan your next Disney trip. Someday, she even hopes to be an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. Elizabeth’s Disney wish list is a mile long, so she’s always ready to plan her next Disney adventure.

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