There are so many wonderful things Disney has to offer for adults. No matter what others have told you, Walt Disney World is not just for kids. From the amazing restaurants, rides, shows and shopping to eating and drinking around the world, there’s a lot you can do and see as an adult at Disney. My most popular post ever to date has been Disney World For Adults, so I decided to do separate posts. Epcot for Adults is the second post in this series. Epcot is the creme de la creme for adults going to Walt Disney World!
Click here for Magic Kingdom for Adults.
What is at Epcot?
Epcot has two entrances and is separated into two sections, Future World and the World Showcase. Future World is at the parks main entrance and is comprised of most the rides and big attractions such as Test Track and Soarin. The World Showcase is set up in a semicircle around a lake and has 11 cultural pavilions featuring 11 different countries. There is a side entrance from Disney’s Boardwalk to the World Showcase. All of the parks are huge but easily walkable. Epcot, especially the world showcase, is the most “adult friendly” park in my opinion and features some of the best food and drinks on resort property. Epcot is also home to many special events throughout the year, such as Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival every fall where you can attend food & wine seminars, culinary demonstrations along with trying food and beverages from all over the globe at kiosks throughout the World Showcase.
When to get to the park?
When looking at the calendars on the Disney website you will find that Epcot is typically open from 9:00 am until 9:00 or 10:00 pm. On top of that, there are Extra Magic Hours for Disney resort guests, sometimes in the morning and sometimes in the evening. The open hours are always subject to change and you should check the Disney World park calendar before making your plans.
So, when should you arrive at Epcot? Of course, that depends on your schedule and what else you are doing that day.
Even as an adult, I like to get an early slower start to the day. This gives you the chance to get to ride some of the big rides before it gets too crowded then park hop if you are going too. If I’m park hopping I prefer a morning at Magic Kingdom and an afternoon/ evening in Epcot. It is a great pairing utilizing the monorail between the two and you can even use the monorail to go back to Magic Kingdom at night for a show if you have a lot of energy!
What to do at Epcot?
Depending on what time of day you get to Epcot, will depend on where you go first. If you start your day early you’ll want to start in Future World and get some rides in. The World Showcase each day at 11:00 am with the exception of a few rides and restaurants inside the World Showcase. You should check park hours before heading to Epcot to map out your day.
As an adult, I typically don’t spend too much time in Future World. You may want to explore some of the buildings and you will want to ride the rides. Soarin and Fast Track are the big rides and you should try and get a Fast Pass for one of the two. Spaceship Earth, Finding Nemo, Mission Space, Living with the Land, and Turtle Talk with Crush are great too, but typically aren’t highlights for adults. A few of the rides in Epcot are really cheesy and FYI Figment is horrible. Future World has some great character meet and greet and a nice big aquarium that you can arrange to scuba dive in along with other behind the scenes activities that are very fun for adults.
The World Showcase
The World Showcase is where adults typically spend the most time at in Epcot. It can be like Candyland for many adults. I like to start at Canada and walk around the lake making my way towards Mexico. There’s so much to see, I could spend days there. I love wandering the countries and looking at the exhibits inside each. My favorite is Canada with its huge waterfall. Most of the countries offer a show or movie and Mexico and Norway have rides. Take time to see shows, meet characters and relax in each country. There are tons of great photo opportunities and shopping. All of the countries have stalls that sell snack food and drinks.One of the most popular adult activities at Disney World is eating or drinking around the world. This is where you start at one end of the World Showcase and make your way towards the other end stopping in each country for a food or drink item. Make sure you keep track of time. You’ll want to be at your dinner reservation at 10-15 minutes before. You can always go back to something you missed after dinner.
Many of the countries have bars or pubs where you can escape the crowds and grab a drink. Two of my favorites include the small tequila bar in Mexico, La Cava del Tequila, that offers tequila shots, margaritas, chips, salsa, guacamole, and queso and the pub at front of the Rose & Crown restaurant in the United Kingdom that offers traditional pints and some creative mixed drinks. Inside these bars, you have to be careful because it’s easy to forget you’re in a theme park.
Late Night at Epcot
At the end of the night, there is a show, IllumiNations. The globe in the middle of the lake lights on fire and there is a not to miss huge firework show. At some of the restaurants, you can line this up with dinner and see the show from the restaurant windows.
After you have had enough of the parks, head out the side entrance to Epcot and follow the path towards the Boardwalk. Here there is a nightclub, ESPN Club, a new bar, AbracadaBar and the piano bar, Jellyrolls. Jellyrolls is 21 and over only and there is a cover charge to get in, but it’s almost always busy with some convention goers and other tourists. It opens at 7:00 pm and stays open until 2:00 am. If you brave it and stay that late, it’s pretty easy to get a cab or Uber back to your hotel. If you are staying at one of the resorts on the Boardwalk you can walk!
Breakfast in Epcot
I am not going to lie, usually, when I eat breakfast inside the park it’s a bagel from Starbucks. While many of the parks have fantastic breakfast options, I personally feel like Epcot is lacking a little especially for adults. The big draw for breakfast at Epcot is The Princess Storybook Dining. This is a meet and greet breakfast with the Princesses at Norway’s Akershus Royal Banquet Hall. This is a fantastic option if you are a Princess fan and want early access to the park since reservations often start at 8:00 am before the park opens, but you will be surrounded by small children and it is pricey. If you’re looking for something less expensive and quick try grabbing a pastry at Les Halles in the French pavilion opens as early as 9:00 am.
- Akershus Royal Banquet Hall: Have your photo taken with Belle and then dine with Princess royalty including Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel and sometimes Mary Poppins. Breakfast is a combination of a continental breakfast buffet and a cooked breakfast with potatoes, eggs, sausages, and bacon delivered directly to the table.
- The Garden Grill Restaurant: This rotating restaurant features traditional American breakfast served family style and is another character meet and greet meal. Less pricey than Akershush, but still very kid oriented as Chip, Dale, Farmer Mickey and Pluto make the rounds.
Lunch in Epcot
When you don’t have tired kids that need a break in the middle of the day, it’s great to eat around the world for lunch. The outdoor kiosks and quick service restaurants have tons of delicious options. They are cheaper, faster and no reservation is needed. Each pavillion offers food items from that country and it’s so much fun to eat along and try as many items as possible. Here’s a list of my favorite food and drink items from each country (these are all kiosks or quick service, refer to my dinner list if you want a table service place):
- Mexico – Tacos / Blood Orange Margarita
- Norway – School Bread / Viking Shot
- China – Pot Stickers / Plum Wine Slush
- Germany – Pretzel / Warsteiner Dunkel
- Italy – Cannoli / Bellini
- United States – Pimento Cheeseburger / Sam Adams Seasonal
- Japan – Beef Sticky Bun / Sake
- Morocco – Baklava / Casa
- France – Any of the Tartes / Grand Marnier Slushy
- United Kingdom – Fish and Chips / Black & Tan
- Canada – Beer Cheese Soup / La Fin du Monde
Dinner in Epcot
In general, you cannot go wrong with any of the World Showcase restaurants. There is something for every palette and style. There are so many great places it’s hard to choose one! Monsieur Paul in France is my current favorite restaurant at Disney. The pre-fix menu is pricey but well worth the cost. You select from a small menu of items that make up a four-course meal. It is beyond comparison to anything else I’ve had a Disney World. Le Cellier Steakhouse is my second choice, the steaks are delicious and you cannot go wrong with poutine or beer cheese soup! My favorite adult dining options are:
- Monsieur Paul: Dinner at this signature table service restaurant offers amazing upscale French cuisine. You won’t even realize you’re at Disney World. Check what time the firework show Illuminations is and book a table about an hour prior to the show for an amazing view.
- Le Cellier: Inside Canada’s pavilion Le Cellier is an inviting cozy atmosphere with some of the best steaks on Disney property, not to mention the fantastic appetizers and desserts.
- Chefs De France: The classic bistro fare will transport you to France. Try the classic onion soup and creme brulee for dessert. Get a window table for great Epcot people watching.
- La Hacienda de San Angel: You can’t go wrong with either Mexican restaurant at Epcot, but La Hacienda is the perfect pick for authentic Mexican and delicious margaritas. If you are lucky enough to get a window table right before Illuminations showtime you will have one of the best firework views.
Fast Passes, Tickets, and Tips
Epcot does not have as many rides that you will need fast passes for. Having fast passes will help you out with wait times A LOT and is still a must if you attend on a crowded day. You’ll want to reserve fast passes early, so you don’t miss out on the most popular rides. If you stay at a Disney resort you can reserve fast passes up to 60 days prior to your stay. If you are staying off site you can reserve fast passes 30 days prior. You can do this on the app or Disney World Website. Test Track, Frozen Ever After and Soarin can all have horrible wait times! You will not get on them during peak season without a fast pass unless you want to wait in line more than an hour.
If you only have a 3-day weekend to do Disney, you’ll want to have a park hopper pass to see the most. For a 7-day vacation, you honestly do not need to park hop, but many people prefer to for the purpose of eating meals in other parks or to split up the day. If you like the idea of going to one park in the morning and another in the afternoon depending on crowds or your mood that’s a wonderful reason to get a park hopper. It can be very exhausting to keep moving to other parks and transportation can take much longer than expected.
I strongly suggest if you have a longer vacation skipping the park hopping. Go to the pool or Disney Springs to break up the day or sleep in! Also, check park hours. On certain days parks open and close early. You may want to switch things around to make the most of your time.
Yes, there’s an app for that. Download the My Disney Experience Mobile App before you go! You can check wait times, make dinner reservations, reserve fast passes, see park maps and more! This app does drain power easily, so make sure to carry around a cell charger. There are multiple places to charge your phone including outlets near the women’s restrooms in The Living Seas.
Water is free inside all the parks. Ask any quick service location for a cup of water and they will give you one for free! Also, you can get free buttons for special occasions like a wedding, birthday or just for fun. Ask a cast member! Magic Bands will be your lifeline if you are staying on property. You can attach a credit card, it will be your room key and your admission to the park. You can even customize them in advance on the Disney website!
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