Disney World Itinerary : Making Epcot a 2-day park

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Epcot.
Epcot.

I recently posted a guide for planning which parks to visit on your 4-1/2 day Disney World vacation, providing a “one-size-fits-most” itinerary for each age group. Epcot doesn’t make it in the preschool itinerary and is only a half day on the school age children itinerary, but it finally gets a full day on both the tween and teen itineraries (two days of Epcot are included on the adult itinerary). My family (with tweens) would tweek the tween itinerary a bit and plan two days at Epcot, because we feel like we’ve barely scratched the surface in a one day visit.

With the two distinct areas of Future World and World Showcase, Epcot is certainly large enough to warrant a two day visit. If you are a family who enjoys a more education focused theme park, two days at Epcot may be a winner. Here are ten benefits to spending two days at Epcot instead of one.

  1. Scheduling two “Group A” FastPass+ reservations.  Disney currently allows only one FastPass+ reservation per day for the Group A attractions at Epcot, which are Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, Soarin’, Test Track, and Living with the Land. My family wouldn’t miss Soarin’ or Test Track, so by adding a second park day at Epcot we can secure a FastPass+ reservation for Test Track one day and Soarin’ the other. Short lines are great!
  2. Epcot cuisine for one meal is good. Epcot cuisine for two meals is great. (Pictured: Teppan Edo in Japan)
    Epcot cuisine for one meal is good. Epcot cuisine for two meals is great. (Pictured: Teppan Edo in Japan)

    Experiencing another day of Epcot dining. Epcot has great food options, largely due to the restaurants that are located in the different countries of World Showcase. My family enjoys dining all over Disney World, but we have found that the food quality at Epcot is top notch. Two international dining experiences instead of one ranks high on our list of benefits.

  3. Really taking time to tour the countries. I don’t mean just glancing over as you pass by on your way to Maelstrom (this reference is already obsolete, sniff sniff). I mean actually going into the buildings, checking out the architecture, walking into the gift shop to get a feel for the culture of each country. Eleven unique countries is a lot to experience in one day, especially since World Showcase opens later than Future World. With two park days, you can split the countries in half(ish) and focus on only 5 or 6 per day. It feels much less rushed.
  4. Taking a moment to watch the performances. The Taiko drummers in Japan, the new lumberjack show in Canada, acrobats in China… there is always a lot to see around World Showcase. It’s nice to have time to stop for a few moments to watch.
  5. Agent P's World Showcase Adventure is an enjoyable way for tweens to explore the countries.
    Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure is an enjoyable way for tweens to explore the countries.

    Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure. Undoubtedly, this benefit is most focused toward tweens. Using a hand-held device (a FONE), you can help Agent P stop Dr. Doofenschmirtz’s diabolical plots as you solve puzzles and interact with different elements in the countries. Each round takes about 20 to 30 minutes, time which can easily be found in a two-day schedule. It is a fun way for tweens to explore the countries.

  6. Club Cool. Amazingly, in all the times we had been to Epcot my family hadn’t taken time out of the schedule to experience Club Cool prior to this past summer. With two days at Epcot, we took time to experience Coca-Cola’s beverage tasting room (located outside Innoventions West). We had a great time sampling the eight flavors from around the world, which included gagging down the infamous “Beverly” from Italy.
  7. Ellen’s Energy Adventure. This is an attraction whose daunting 45 minute time commitment is a tough one to make when you’re only at Epcot for one day. With more time at Epcot, you can laugh it up with Ellen DeGeneres and Bill Nye the Science Guy.
  8. Innoventions. These two pavilions near Spaceship Earth are filled with hands-on exhibits. On a one-day itinerary, it is tough to squeeze in time at Innoventions. With the luxury of two park days, you can really take the time to experience the many exhibits inside. My kids especially love Sum of All Thrills, an attraction that lets you design your own rollercoaster and then hop into a simulator to try it out.
  9. The Behind the Seeds tour is a fun and educational look at horticulture.
    The Behind the Seeds tour is a fun and educational look at agriculture.

    Taking tours. There are a lot of great tours available at Epcot, such as Epcot DiveQuest, Epcot Seas Aqua Tour, or Disney’s Dolphin’s in Depth for a look at the sealife housed at Epcot. On our recent trip to Epcot, we sent my Imagineer-envious husband on the unDISCOVERed Future World tour (happy Father’s Day to him), and our whole family took the Behind The Seeds tour in The Land Pavilion. These are two experiences I would highly recommend, but only if you have the extra time allotted by a second day at Epcot. The unDISCOVERed Future World tour itself took four hours.

  10. The mid-day break. I have always been a proponent of taking a mid-day break when experiencing a long day the Disney parks. During the hottest time of the day, when everyone is their crankiest, I find a trip back to our hotel for a swim or a nap to be the perfect rejuvenator. When you only have one day at Epcot, it is easy to convince yourself to skip this break in favor of seeing more of Epcot. With a two day plan, you have plenty of time to take a break both days if you like.

Those are ten benefits to adding a second day at Epcot into your itinerary. Do you have others to add? Will you be trying a two-day Epcot plan?

Trista VanderVoord

Trista is an analytical planner with a love for Disney World. With two preteens and a husband who also adore Disney, Trista approaches each vacation with spreadsheets, crowd predictions and touring plans that would make your head spin. Despite her logical approach to vacation planning, Trista still feels the magic as soon as she steps onto Main Street, U.S.A. and spies Cinderella’s Castle.

9 thoughts on “Disney World Itinerary : Making Epcot a 2-day park

  • October 29, 2014 at 7:06 am
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    We’ve always done the 2-day Epcot itinerary: 1 day for Future World and 1 day for World Showcase, with the morning spent riding our favorite FW rides before WS opens.
    However, I’ve never understood how anyone could do only half of WS or leave there in the middle of the day. It is such a huge park to walk through, how do you just leave and bypass everything along that very long and arduous walk?

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    • October 29, 2014 at 11:48 am
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      You take the boat back across or you stay in the Epcot resorts and head out the back of the park anyways.

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  • October 29, 2014 at 8:31 am
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    With all the construction (and proposed construction) going on at Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, I’d be willing to make a whole trip out of Epcot and Animal Kingdom!

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  • October 29, 2014 at 9:29 am
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    As the kids have gotten older, we have made EPCOT a 3 day park. There is so much to do and the park is very big. The EPCOT Resort area is also the nicest place to stay on property. (Beach Club, Yacht Club, Boardwalk, Dolphin and Swan) If you take a vacation during Food and Wine OR Flower and Garden, you need at least 3 days.

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  • October 29, 2014 at 12:21 pm
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    Let the kids do ( 4 and above )love using the cell phone to be secret agents with another adult while you shop. I have found great Christmas gifts in the different countries. Once a mission is completed then the elementary age kids explore that country a little and taste some of the snacks . It’s usually 1 full day and then hop over 2 other evenings so we get 3 country meals

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  • October 29, 2014 at 1:31 pm
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    Have never felt the need to do more than 1 day in Epcot. My children are young, and we always manage to do everything we want in one day, without taking a break. Including most of the age appropriate rides and eating a Princess meal in Norway. One tip, a few years ago we got caught in one of the those 2 hour rain storms in Epcot. Made our way from Norway to Ellen’s Energy Adventure. While the ride wasn’t anything great, it was a very good way to dry off and stay out of the rain.

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  • October 29, 2014 at 8:22 pm
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    A plan that’s worked well for my family is to tour part of future world, then head around half of WS and take the Friendship back (or take the boat out and walk back through half the countries). On the second day, we’ll repeat and see the other Future World attractions and the other half of WS.
    If you plan it around your dining reservations, it works well to beat the fatigue of walking around the lagoon.

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  • October 30, 2014 at 9:11 am
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    We’ve been every other year for a two week trip since about 8 years ago, usually limiting ourselves to 4-5 hours of park each day (we go in late August). Except for the first trip when my kids were just a wee bit too small to really enjoy the World Showcase, Epcot is ALWAYS the park where we don’t quite manage to squeeze in everything we want to do, leaving at the end with something that we meant to get back to and didn’t. Part of that is that you just can’t ride Soarin’ too many times, but part of it is that there *is* just so much to do there, and a lot of it is really different. We never get to everything at the MK either, but at the MK somehow it feels more like you’ve had some kind of representative selection, whereas the Epcot experiences are more unique and don’t “sub” for each other.

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