Epcot at Disney World – the Skinny.

Planning a Disney World Vacation and wondering if Epcot is a MUST or not?

Dear Nina, since we have some extra free time, we are researching our trip, many people are telling us to skip Epcot at Disney World. What do you think? Should we just double up on a different park? What rides are at Epcot? Thanks as always – Jen

Hey, that’s a GREAT way to spend your extra time 🙂 Well I might be the wrong person to ask, as we love Epcot…but I will admit it wasn’t love at first sight. I think many people don’t see Epcot at Disney World for what it is. Its not your typical Theme Park, its not a thrill seekers park. Its more chill and has more non-ride attractions than the other parks have. Epcot is often thought about as a half day park or not for kids…all that means is some people are comparing it to parks like Magic Kingdom and not taking the time to explore its hidden treasures.

Epcot

So basically Epcot is made of two sections, the World Showcase (various countries) and Future Showcase (rides, interactive attractions). And for those who are just looking for rides, they might not see all the other interactive and educational parts of Epcot and don’t forget the food. Keep reading for more detailed info. As always, keep following my page for more tips & tricks and make sure to watch the video at the end of these posts, I just might feature the ride or attraction in question. Why not Watch AND Read about these special experiences.

HIT Rides:

Epcot has some very well known and popular rides. Soarin’ Around the World is a FAN favorite, Test Track is the more speed racer attraction and then there is Frozen Ever After (perfect for those little princesses). All 3 rides are in the TOP tier for fastpasses, so you can ONLY pick 1 to fastpass, which leaves you waiting in line for the other 2 but ALL are a MUST. Spaceship Earth is a cult fan favorite and if you like simulation rides, Mission Space is also a popular one.

Perfect for the WHOLE Family:

Much of Epcot is great for the WHOLE family. So many rides and interactive attractions to enjoy, not to mention exploring the World Showcase and learning about different cultures (Kidcot Fun Spot). There is The Seas with Nemo & Friends, Turtle Talk with Crush, Living with the Land, Journey into Imagination with Figment and my personal fave – Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros (Donald Duck). Much of Epcot has interactive zones for guests to experience, usually pre or post rides, so don’t miss out on those. AND…Epcot is a great place to interact with and meet Characters, especially Princesses and more obscure characters like Baymax or Wreck it Ralph.

Food/Countries:

Like I mentioned above you can explore and learn about different countries, various cultures in Epcot. As I often describe it like an outdoor museum, its more than that. Its the sights, sounds, food, and even shopping from a distant land. Get close to authentic food per these countries, shop popular culture items and chat with a Cast Member from that region of the earth. And the food, SO MUCH FOOD!! Epcot is known for it cuisine and beverages. Many people flock to Epcot several times of year just for its eats and food festivals. When you are getting sick of Theme Park food, hit up Epcot.

Holidays/Festivals:

Holidays are BIG at Epcot. We love it at Christmas time, all the countries are decorated per their culture or historical Christmas story. Most countries even share holiday music or have “storytelling hour” where they share stories of Christmases past per their country. Easter is fun too with the Eggstravaganza hunt. Festivals, so many festivals at Epcot that its hard to go without something special happening. All revolving around food booths and drinks with either Art, Flowers, Wine or Holidays as its theme.

So as you can see, Epcot is a bit different and it might be an acquired taste, but once you explore it properly…you will fall in love too. Epcot is like the non Theme Park of Disney but as long as you like to walk, eat, explore and learn…give Epcot a chance. NOTE: Disney is working on adding MORE rides and attractions, so soon Epcot just might be everyone’s FAVORITE park.

Like what you read? Found these tips helpful? Consider booking with a Trained, Experienced Travel Agent who vacations at Disney more times than they can count and knows the systems and policies inside and out. Booking with an expert CAN make your trip that much better.

Nina is a Highly Experienced Travel Agent who Specializes in Disney. She loves to share her knowledge and help her clients have the trip of a lifetime. She specializes in Making Memories, Family Destinations, Food Allergies and Special Needs. But she books Disney & Beyond, so contact her TODAY for a quote!!

Garden Grill – a Rotating Experience…

First I want to say that this dining experience was HANDS-DOWN my favorite this past trip…based solely on the fact that I was stuffed FULL…even the thought of unbuttoning my pants came to mind.

My family might not entirely agree…but that’s opinions for you…but me – I still dream of that meal.

I must point out that due to my family’s eating restrictions and food allergies…we aren’t the easiest group to please, feed and sometimes see completely full.  We are a happy, thankful bunch…but we do require some thought and preparation.  Between my kids and I…there are at least 8 food allergies and several avoidances…and to make matters more fun…I am vegan.  The husband is an eat everything kind of guy and pretty much left every meal full and happy…but even he has his favorites (stay-tuned).

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So…the Garden Grill is a table service restaurant at Epcot…located in the Land Pavilion…and it rotates.  Yep…it’s a rotating diner…and for those with motion sickness (join the club)…it’s very, very slow…but we managed to rotate completely around at least 1 time during our meal.  And to make it even cooler…it’s a character experience…bring on Harvest Chip & Dale and pals.  We ate with Chip & Dale (of course), Pluto and Mickey.  It is a dinner only location and is family style…meaning the wait staff brings the table an assortment of eats and you just dig in.  My husband who ate the traditional meal everyone enjoys found it to be OK…not his particular favorite, but he ate it all.  What was wrong with his meal you ask…nothing…he just likes to order from a menu.

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So before I get to my eats…I want to point out that as you eat, dine and chat…the Characters walk around and stop at every table for a few minutes…just enough time to get an autograph and snap a few pictures.  Since we had special food accommodations…we sat a little longer than others and saw all the characters twice – major bonus.

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Since we have 3 different people, all with different allergies…I often contact the restaurant before dining…I send an email and anxiously await a phone call.  I was lucky as Chef Javier called me, while I was at home about 10 days before my trip started, and we discussed meals.  We talked about the traditional menu that is offered and tried to find solutions for my family.  Most of the usual options available were perfect for us (sweet potato fries, mashed potatoes, veggies, gluten-free rolls and so on…but I couldn’t help but to ask for a few changes…first due to the abundance of chicken at Disney I asked about a hamburger patty for my daughter and also a special dessert.  As the restaurant doesn’t make burgers the chef was kind enough to order beef and make my kid a few special patties just for her.  And for me…I wasn’t fond of the traditional veggie dish on the menu…”stuff peppers” and sides.  I requested vegan meat (not typical for that location)…and he delivered.

So…fast forward to that night…we arrived 10 minutes before our scheduled dining reservation…we waited for the restaurant to open and we were seated promptly.  I was prepared to have to wait several minutes for the Chef…nope not Chef Javier…he had been cooking for my family already…waiting for us actually.  He already had ALL our food in the oven (no grilling or frying due to cross-contamination) and was waiting for us to finish our salads.  He warned me that his goal…”was to have us ROLL out of here”, lol.  I did for sure.  To my surprise he was able to deliver ALL my requests and they were delicious.  The vegan dish he “made-up” with the vegan beef was amazing and with all the sides…I was stuffed.  My son (dairy, eggs, and peanuts) was able to share my dish and was shoving it in.  My daughter (dairy, GF, peanuts, legumes, corn, and red dye) was able to cut her giant burger patties in half and eat with her GF buns…to make a quick burger.

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Dessert wasn’t as grand…but still had enough sweetness to finish the meal.  He was able to simplify the traditional dessert by using “Enjoy Life” cookies and fresh fruit filling, no whip and created a crumb-like fruit dish.

Major shout-out for Chef Javier that night and many thanks.  I enjoyed my meal SO much…I asked to speak to a manager and shared my happiness…apparently the Chef was gonna get some company shout-outs after dinner thanks to his awesomeness.

I also want to point out that getting a call from the chef before your trip is not typical…they are busy, busy bees and usually can accommodate your special food requests “the night of”…but due to our various allergies…I usually get a call and thus can request special items.  This is also something I can help you with as your Travel Agent…all services I provide for free when booking your Disney trip with me.  When it comes to food allergies, eating “out” is often a stressful event…but being prepared helps and when your family leaves the table safe and full…well that’s a huge success in my book.  Disney does an excellent job at accommodating food allergies and does it on a daily basis…so let me help you relieve the stress and help you enjoy food time for a change…you deserve it.