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Last updated: July 10, 2023
ENTRANCES EPCOT has two entrances. The larger one is in World Celebration at the front of the park, and it's the one you'll use if you arrive by car, bus, or monorail. The other, the International Gateway (IG), is in the rear of the park, between the France and United Kingdom in World Showcase.
However, the IG entrance will put you closer to Remy's Ratatouille Adventure, which is important if you're touring with small children.
DRIVING Arriving by car is easy and direct. EPCOT has its own parking lot, and unlike the Magic Kingdom, doesn't require you to take a monorail or ferry to reach the park entrance. Take a tram or walk from the parking lot to the front gate.
Monorail service connects EPCOT with the Magic Kingdom (transfer required), the Magic Kingdom resorts (transfer required), and the Transportation and Ticket Center.
If you want to drive and use the IG entrance, you'll need to pay for parking at the resorts closest to EPCOT: the Swan, Dolphin, or Swan Reserve. It may be cheaper and/or easier to use a ride-hailing app.
Navigating EPCOT is unlike getting around in the Magic Kingdom, where nearly every 'land' is discrete and visually distinct from its neighbors - for example, Liberty Square and Main Street, U.S.A.
EPCOT, by contrast, is visually open. And while it might seem odd to see a Japanese pagoda and the Eiffel Tower on the same horizon, getting around is fairly simple.
The park's architectural anchor is Spaceship Earth, a shiny 180-foot geosphere that's visible from almost everywhere in the park. Like Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom, Spaceship Earth can help you keep track of where you are in EPCOT. But it's in a high-traffic area and isn't centrally located, so it's not a good meeting place.
Any World Showcase pavilion makes a good meeting place, but specifics matter. Each pavilion is a town in miniature, with buildings, gardens, and plazas. So instead of just saying Let's meet in Japan, pick a specific place — for instance, the sidewalk side of the pagoda.
If you'd like to get from the front of World Showcase (where it meets World Celebration) to the back of World Showcase (near Morocco), take a Friendship Boat near the Port of Entry store. The boats run continuously until just before the fireworks.
'Rope Drop' refers to cast members using a length of rope to hold back crowds until the park opens. After the rope is dropped, guests can head to their first ride.
ALL OF EPCOT'S LANDS typically open and close at the same time. On-site guests who want to take advantage of Early Theme Park Entry should arrive 60 minutes before official opening (that is, 30 minutes before Early Entry) on all days.
Off-site guests (who aren't eligible for Early Theme Park Entry) should arrive 30 minutes before official opening on all days.
Once the park opens, you'll be admitted on to your first ride. The ride you want to see first may the EPCOT entrances you choose to use.
WHICH EPCOT ENTRANCE TO USE? The IG is about 10 minutes closer to the family-friendly Remy's Ratatouille Adventure, located in World Showcase's France Pavilion, than the park's front entrance is. That's a huge head start.
But if seeing Ratatouille isn't a priority, then enter at World Celebration instead for easier access to Soarin' Around the World, Test Track, and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.
We think Genie+ is worth the cost at EPCOT if you meet any of these criteria:
Regardless of the time of year you visit, arriving at park opening should allow you to see at least one of EPCOT's headliner attractions without significant waits.
Because so few EPCOT attractions participate in Genie+, and they're far apart, it's unlikely you'd use than five to seven ride reservations per day.
On days of heavy attendance, though, you'll be competing with lots of other people for reservations, which pushes out return times and limits how many reservations you can obtain.
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