The Simple Guide to Disney Planning


Guide Shortcuts

“So that’s what E.P.C.O.T is… an experimental prototype community that will always be in a state of becoming. It will never cease to be a living blueprint of the future, where people actually live a life they can’t find anywhere else in the world.”    –Walt Disney

Completed in 1982, this theme park was designed to reflect Walt’s vision of the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (EPCOT), which aspired to showcase American innovation in urban living.

Its symbol, the immense geodesic sphere called Spaceship Earth, whose facade is constructed almost entirely of isosceles triangles, is a structural marvel that only gets more dramatic the closer you get to it.

Epcot is divided into 2 “worlds” — Future World, which you enter from the main entrance and opens first (usually 9 am); and World Showcase, which usually opens 2 hours later, (typically at 11 am) and features food, architecture, entertainment and shopping in international pavilions representing 11 different countries. World Showcase is where you’ll also find fun adult beverages like flights of tequila and frozen Grand Marnier slushies.

Epcot is the second largest park, with the most square feet to traverse (much of Animal Kingdom’s square footage is devoted to its wildlife). A second entrance near France is for those transiting by the new Skyliner Gondola system and Friendship boats between Epcot and Hollywood Studios, and by foot from Epcot resorts (Beach Club, Yacht Club, Boardwalk, and the Marriott-run Swan and Dolphin hotels).

CONSTRUCTION ALERT: Epcot is undergoing a huge re-imagining and multi-year park transformation. New additions will include Guardians of the Galaxy roller coaster attraction, a Ratatouille-inspired attraction in World Showcase, and new restaurants. While it’s sure to be spectacular in the months and years ahead, it’s substantially less spectacular in its current phase of construction. You’ll want to keep tabs on this as you plan your trip.

Don’t Miss:

Epcot Forever Evening Show–a rousing display of fireworks and technology every night at park close – including, pyrotechnics, water fountains, fire effects, and laser – on the World Showcase Lagoon, between Future World and World Showcase.

This is a limited-event that replaces IllumiNations and will be replaced by HarmonioUS, which debuts in the Spring and will soon the largest nighttime spectacular ever created for a Disney park!

Hop aboard the Skyliner and soar over World Showcase’s “skyline” to enjoy a breezy, birds-eye view of the park.

Download Park Map

Future World

Future World highlights innovation across technology, science, and the global ecosystem we inhabit, with imaginative hands-on displays, exhibits, and attractions that are (usually) as thrilling as they are enlightening.
Don't miss the monorail ride

Who You’ll See

  • Mickey & Pals
  • Nemo & Friends
  • Joy and Sadness from Disney Pixar’s Inside Out
  • Baymax from Big Hero 6

What You’ll Do

  • Take a ride in a time machine and watch an animated video of your future based on questions you answer during the ride in Spaceship Earth.
  • Design a car of the future at a digital design kiosk and take it for a high-speed spin on Test Track, to see how your design rates against others in capability, efficiency, responsiveness and power (not to mention coolness).
  • Board a 4D hang glider on Soarin’ Around the World and fly over 6 continents with heavenly views of natural wonders such as the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal, the African Savannah and the Egyptian pyramids.
  • Blast off on Mission Space, and experience G-force on a Mission to Mars.
  • Ride Living with the Land and get a backstage peek at the “living laboratories” and greenhouses where Disney horticulturists are continually innovating to increase crop yields and expand the global food supply. See the experimental tomato tree that holds the 2016 Guinness World Record for most tomatoes harvested from one tree in a year — it produced 32,000 tomatoes or 1,000 pounds worth of produce in one year! Fun fact: fresh produce grown here supplies some of Disney’s restaurants with organic goodness.
  • Tour the Seas with Nemo and Friends and ride in a giant “clamobile” through a giant coral reef (with over 6 million gallons of water) and be amazed at the opportunity to chat with a sea turtle during the live show, Turtle Talk with Crush.

Treats You’ll Eat

  • Sample sodas from around the world and experience fun, new flavor combinations popular in Brazil, Japan, Zimbabwe and more at Club Cool.
  • Enjoy Asian noodle dishes, spicy fish tacos, salmon with cheesy grits, vegan entrees, and more — with produce sourced from the greenhouses at the Land Pavilion at Sunshine Seasons.

World Showcase

Part of the charm of touring the international themed pavilions is meeting cast members from each respective country. Often they participate in a one-year work program to come to the U.S. and represent their homeland.

Each country pavilion includes authentic details including striking architecture, traditional foods, world-class entertainment, and unique shopping experiences that offer a nice contrast to the thrills and entertainment at other parks.

Enjoy do-it-yourself culinary tours as you stroll through each pavilion, sampling food from each country at the many dining options, including restaurants, quick service, and even seasonal kiosks.

Countries you can tour:
  • Norway
  • United Kingdom
  • Mexico
  • Japan
  • China
  • Canada
  • Morocco
  • France
  • Italy
  • Germany
  • American Adventure (to brush up on colonial history)

Who You’ll See

  • Anna and Elsa (Norway)
  • Alice in Wonderland, Mary Poppins and Pooh Bear (U.K.)
  • Princess Jasmine (Morocco)
  • Snow White (Germany)
  • Belle (France)
  • Mulan (China)
  • Donald Duck (Mexico)

What You’ll Do

  • Graze on culinary treats at food kiosks during the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival in the Fall and the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival in Spring.
  • Thrill at The Jeweled Dragon Chinese acrobats as they complete death defying stunts in the gardens of the China Pavilion.
  • See street theater in Italy’s piazza with master juggler and mime, Sergio.
  • Rock out to music by the British Revolution and listen to tributes to legendary British musicians, while enjoying fish and chips from the Yorkshire County Fish Shop
  • Feel the thunder of Taiko, a time-honored form of drumming in Japan.
  • Visit Mexico to learn about traditions of Día de Muertos through art created by Mexican and Mexican-American artists.

Treats You’ll Eat

Savor new and inventive flavor combinations in each country on a culinary tour through World Showcase during one of the seasonal festivals, complemented by wines, beers, and speciality cocktails. There’s WAY too many to mention, but a few of our favorites include:

  • Butternut Squash Ravioli with Brown Butter Vinaigrette, Parmesan Cheese, and Pumpkin Seeds.
  • Lump Crab Cake with Napa Cabbage Slaw and Avocado Lemongrass Cream
  • Liquid Nitro Chocolate-Almond Truffle with Warm Whiskey-Caramel
  • Beijing Roasted Duck Bao Bun with Hoisin Sauce
  • Beef Brisket Burnt Ends Hash with White Cheddar Fondue and Pickled Jalapeños
  • Potato Pancake with Caramelized Ham Onions and Herb Sour Cream
  • Warm Cheese Strudel with Mixed Berries

Plus sign up for one-of-a-kind experiences, like culinary demonstrations and tastings from renowned chefs during the International Food & Wine Festival.

Hollywood Studios