The best time to visit Epcot depends on a few factors. Your children's school schedule, your budget, your ability (or desire) to handle extreme weather, or penchant for special events can all play a major role in your planning. The expected crowds can change from month-to-month, but Epcot is a bit different than the other Disney parks because aside from a few family-friendly rides, the visitors tend to skew older.
This means that summertime may not be as crowded in this park as the Magic Kingdom, but could worsen around the holidays.
Epcot, which stands for "Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow," is what became of Walt Disney's vision of building a thriving community. It is made up of two distinct areas, Future World and World Showcase. Future World has a good amount of thrill attractions such as Soarin', Test Track, and Mission Space, as well as more educational rides like Living with the Land and Spaceship Earth.
The World Showcase offers a trip around the globe without needing a passport. Comprised of 11 pavilions representing countries like Japan, France, Morocco, and China, you'll be able to get a taste of each region's culture through foods, shopping, educational films, and more. The World Showcase is probably most well known as a drinking hub for guests looking to relax with a cocktail out of the Florida heat.
In the past, the World Showcase was not popular with families, due to the lack of activities for young children. However, the completion of the Frozen Ever After ride (that replaced Norway's Maelstrom) in 2016 has coerced Anna and Elsa fans to come to this area, at least for one ride.
A single day ticket to Epcot won't cost as much as one to the Magic Kingdom, so if you don't mind sticking to one park, you should purchase a daily single park ticket, no matter what time of year you visit. Surge pricing, which was introduced in 2016 does apply to Epcot, and it's modeled after Disney's hotel pricing structure.
Each day of the year is classified as either a “value,” “regular,” or “peak” day. Since pricing is calculated on a day to day basis, you may find that visiting on Christmas Eve is more expensive than going on a weekend day during the summer, depending on past attendance records.
Florida is very hot and humid in the summer, and milder in the fall, winter and spring months (from about October through May). Since Epcot has a plethora of indoor areas, it's a great choice for visiting midday if you don't want to return to your resort or go for a swim.
Hurricane season is June through October, but it is unlikely that a hurricane will hit Florida during your stay.
The summer months bring the most crowds, but since Epcot is the least kid-friendly park, if you must visit during June, July and August your best bet is to stay in the World Showcase and avoid Future World completely.
That being said, these major holidays are notorious for Disney's largest crowds:
- New Year's Day (January 1st),
- Martin Luther King Jr. Day (the third Monday of January)
- Presidents' Day (the third Monday of February)
- Valentine's Day (February 14th)
- Easter Sunday (varies between March and April)
- Independence Day (July 4th)
- Thanksgiving Day (the third Thursday of November)
- Christmas Eve (December 24th)
- Christmas Day (December 25th)
- New Year's Eve (December 31st).
September is typically a slower time at Disney World, but since the International Food and Wine Festival kicks off this month, Epcot is quite crowded this time of year. If you truly want to avoid a packed park, January and February are the best times to visit.
Key Annual Events
The two major annual events at Epcot are the International Food and Wine Festival in the fall and the Flower and Garden Festival which takes place during the spring months.
The Best Days to Visit for Disney Resort Guests
If you are staying at one of Disney World's on-site resorts, you should take advantage of the Extra Magic Hours program. While dates are subject to change, as of January 2018, Extra Magic Hours are offered at Epcot on Tuesday evenings and Thursday mornings. You should plan on visiting Epcot on both or either of these days and you'll get some private time in the park, and little to wait for popular attractions.
If you're not staying at Disney resort, it's best to avoid visiting Epcot on days that offer Extra Magic Hours, as this perk will undoubtedly draw more visitors to the park.
The Best Time of Day to Visit
If you want to explore Future World, head to Epcot as soon as it opens and you'll be one of the first in line for popular attractions like Test Track and Mission Space. This will severely cut down on your wait time for whichever ride you choose and give you the freedom to use Fast.
If you prefer World Showcase, arrive by 11:00 a.m. and you will be one of the first visitors to enter this area. Consider stopping by Soarin' on your way, since you will pass it anyway, and this is your one chance to ride sans FastPass+.
Additionally, the immensely popular Frozen Ever After ride at the Norway Pavilion has extremely long lines by mid-morning, so either head there immediately upon entering the park, or, make your Fastpass+ reservation as close to the 60-day advanced booking window as possible.