What to Expect When Visiting Epcot During the Pandemic

Epcot reopening

 Courtesy of Walt Disney World News

Epcot is most often referred to as Disney’s more adult-oriented park. When the park reopened July 15, it also launched its longest food festival ever while continuing to have a maze of construction walls at the front of the park. If you’re planning on visiting Epcot during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, there are some things you need to know to stay safe and have fun.

Entering the Park

There are two entrances to Epcot, one at the front of the park accessed from the main parking lot, and one at the back of World Showcase that services the Disney Skyliner and a few resorts within walking distance. Either way you decide to enter the park, you’ll need to have your temperature checked and walk through a contactless security system.

The fastest way to get through security at Epcot is to have all of your things organized before you get up to the checkpoint. Have any umbrellas or metal water bottles out of your backpack and in your hands to walk through the checkpoint.

Attractions and Rides

Epcot’s main attractions and rides have slight changes. Just like the other parks, there are social distancing markers and walls of plexiglass dividing the switchbacks in the queues. Test Track and Mission: Space is only allowing one group per ride vehicle. On boat rides, like Living With The Land and Frozen Ever After, empty rows are left between parties.

Wait times for attractions at Epcot can be long because the park does not have an abundance of attractions like Magic Kingdom does. Longer wait times can also be attributed to the fact that most rides are clustered at the front of the park, and people choose to do those before heading back into World Showcase for the day.

Events and Performances

This year the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival looks a little different since it’s a hybrid with the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival. The new festival is called the Taste of Epcot International Food and Wine Festival and combines some of the food and drink, merchandise, and activities from both festivals into the longest-running festival Epcot has ever had, with no official end date announced.

The Taste of Epcot International Food and Wine Festival has gone paperless. You’ll find everything you need to know through QR codes around the park or on the My Disney Experience app. Just like the regular festivals you’ll be able to eat and drink around World Showcase. With the new health and safety rules, you’ll need to do so while seated or standing in one place.

The best way to conquer the new festival is by collecting items from multiple marketplaces at one time and then finding a table. This will allow you to relax without your mask for a longer period of time. As part of the festival, visitors to Epcot can enjoy daily performances of Mariachi Cobre and the JAMMitors at the America Gardens Theater.

If seeing Disney characters is a high priority, then you’re going to want to listen to the park music, which will alert you that a character cavalcade is coming. There are three cavalcades at Epcot: Mickey and Friends World Tour, Frozen Promenade, and a Princess Promenade. Each cavalcade makes a full circle around World Showcase.

Restaurants and Dining

Around Epcot you’ll find that a lot of restaurants are closed because of the park’s limited capacity and the demand for traditional dining being low due to the festival. If you do want to dine at a table-service restaurant at Epcot, you’re going to need a reservation, which can be secured on the My Disney Experience app. Some of Epcot’s most desired restaurants like Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, Takumi-Tei, and Yorkshire County Fish Shop are closed. Before making a reservation, check if the restaurant is open and what's on the menu; most Disney menus have been pared down quite a bit.

Other Things To Know

  • If you’re staying at a resort that the Disney Skyliner services, take that mode of transportation to the park. The Skyliner will drop you off right at the back entrance of the park, which typically has a shorter wait to get through security than the front of the park.
  • Do not attempt Frozen Ever After first thing in the morning—this ride has very high wait times when the park opens. Instead, go after dinner when many people have already left the park for the day.
  • If you’re planning on trying some things from the Taste of Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, consider putting money on a Disney gift card that you can buy from Epcot. This will help you stay on some sort of budget as you shop around.
  • Because there are a lot of construction projects going on at Epcot right now, pay attention to signs, especially at the front of the park. There is no way to cross through the middle of Future World right now; you will need to pick one side of the park to start your day, then make your way to World Showcase, then the to the other side of Future World on the way out to the main entrance.
  • If your schedule allows, don't go to Epcot on the weekends. This is when the park is busiest with locals and people wanting to “drink around the world.”
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