Epcot for Adults
Epcot for Adults?
Epcot is often thought of as the Disney World theme park made for adults. Why? Because Epcot has the most emphasis on food and drinking. One of Epcot’s claims to fame is Drinking Around the World. This is where you have a drink in each of Epcot’s country pavilions. But Drinking Around the World isn’t all there is to do at Epcot. Epcot has entire festivals dedicate to adult-focused themes: the Arts, Flower and Garden, Food and Wine, and the Holidays. We love the details throughout Epcot and there are also several awesome tours available in Epcot. This post provides a brief overview of the various Epcot festivals, drinking and snacking around the world, tours, as well as our overall suggestions about visiting Epcot.
Should Adults Visit Epcot?
Absolutely! Epcot is a very unique theme park and it has two distinct areas. Future World houses most of the rides whereas the World Showcase has most of the food, drinks, and details that Disney adults love. We highly recommend visiting Epcot during a festival. Attending the festival does not cost any extra on top of your park ticket (though there are some extra-ticket festival events that are an additional cost.)
Drinking or snacking around Epcot is a great way to explore the World Showcase. While we go into our recommendations in more detail below, if you don’t want to overindulge we recommend grabbing a friend and alternating countries. These is also a lot more in the various country pavilions than just grab a drink.
We love the World Showcase section of Epcot. For us, Epcot ranks the lowest of the Disney World theme parks when it comes to rides and shows. But there are still a few great rides and the lack of rides is more than offset by the World Showcase. If you are just in Disney for the rides, Epcot probably isn’t your park.
The seasonal festivals that Epcot puts on are one of the best parts of Epcot. There are four festivals that happen during the year and there is a good chance that your Disney trip will catch one of them. Festival of the Arts is normally held from mid-January until the end of February. Flower and Garden is from March until the beginning of June. Food and Wine is typically the end of August through the beginning November. Lastly, the International Festival of the Holidays goes from the end of November until the end of December.
Each of the festivals is unique and the answer to which is the best largely depends on personal preference. We really love the Flower and Garden festival because of the food and drink options as well as how beautiful the parks is. (For our full review of Flower and Garden)
Each festival held at Epcot has its own free entertainment. The Flower and Garden festival and Food and Wine festival have free concert series featuring a variety of bands. Past performers include Boys to Men, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, and Journey former lead vocalist Steve Augeri. The Festival of the Arts has free performances of Disney Broadway stars singing some of your favorite Disney hits. Lastly, the Festival of the Holidays coincides with the candlelight processional which includes a full choir and celebrity narrators such as Neil Patrick Harris.
We love the free festival music. While we don’t usually camp out for a seat, we do enjoy stopping by to listen while walking around Epcot. If you are interested in a specific concert and it is a popular artists, be sure to get there early. Luckily, there are usually multiple shows a day, so if you miss the first show, you can always try for a later one. There are also typically dining packages that come with guaranteed seating. To see if any are available for you trip, the easiest option is to call Disney World directly.
The Festival of Arts also has a ton of amazing artists around the park that you can meet and watch work on their art. Similarly, the Food and Wine festival has chefs in the festival center that give demonstrations. These types of interactions are another awesome perk of the Epcot festivals.
Festival Food and Drinks
Each festival has special food and drink booths. The food varies at each booth and typically is served in tasting sizes. The nice aspect of the smaller portions is that you can try a lot of different things. The downside, it can get really expensive. To get an idea of the food and drink options at the festivals, check out our Flower and Garden post from this year.
The variety of dishes is really fun and the food and drink options are typically delicious. While most of the food and drinks are good, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the festival options. If you plan on attending a festival at Epcot, we recommend checking out the menus online ahead of time to get an idea of the dishes that interest you.
Special Events (additional cost)
Many of the festivals have special events and activities that are an additional cost beyond your park ticket. The Food and Wine festival has the largest variety of special events. We love the special events that we have attended and one of our favorites is the Parisian Afternoon at Monsieur Paul.
The downside is that these special events cost extra money. We viewed the Parisian Afternoon as a replacement for a dining reservation and it was well worth it! These special events should be booked ahead of time. For a full listing, check Disney’s website for the festival you are attending to see if any special dining packages or events are offered.
Cons of Epcot Festivals
The biggest downside of Epcot festivals is that they draw larger crowds. Not only does this mean more people, but the lines for getting food and drinks can get really long. To avoid the crowds, we recommend visiting Epcot festivals on weekdays and earlier in the day.
Drinking Around the World
Drinking around the world is a fun way to explore Epcot. The premise is there are 11 country pavilions in the World Showcase (12 if you include the African outpost). Your goal is to get a drink in each country. The loop can be completed in either direction, but it is generally viewed as more of a challenge if you start with Mexico and work your way counter-clockwise. Some people may view drinking around the world as a stupid drinking challenge that ends up with too many drunk people in Epcot. While this can be the case, we think it is a fun way for adults to explore Epcot. Why? Because it encourages you to try something new.
I am a lightweight. So anytime that Jeff and I drink around the world, we alternate countries. While some may consider this not truly drinking around the world, this is the way that makes it fun for us. Another way to help out lightweights is if a festival is taking place, the drink sizes are much smaller than the normal country beverages. If you want to complete all of the countries on your own, but you’re worried about the amount of alcohol you will be drinking, stick with festival drinks and you should be good.
We recommend taking your time when you drink around the world. Explore the pavilions, grab a drink in each country, but don’t rush through it. You’re in Disney so take in all of the fun details the countries have to offer. There are a bunch of unique stories and details included in all of the pavilions. Also, the theming in each countries is amazing – it really makes you feel like you’re taking a trip around the world.
What If You Don’t Drink Alcohol?
We have family and friends that do not drink alcohol. Does this mean they won’t enjoy Epcot? Absolutely not. Epcot has a bunch of really great non-alcoholic drink options to try. One of our favorite non-alcoholic drinks is the peach bubble tea from the Joy of Tea in China Pavilion. There is also a ton of food and amazing Disney details in Epcot.
Snacking Around the World
If your group does not want to drink around the world, but still wants a country-based challenge, one option is to snack around the world. We have had groups in the past where part of the group was drinking around the world and some of the group was snacking around the world. It ended up being a ton of fun because it slowed us down a bit with getting both the food and the drinks. Also, the snack people often would share their food which really helped the drinking around the world group to keep something more than beer in their bellies haha.
Variety of Food
Epcot provides guests with a variety of dining options, even if a festival is not taking place. The 11 countries in World Showcase have numerous sit-down restaurants emphasizing the flavors of their region. In addition to the table service restaurants, the World Showcase has numerous quick service and snack locations. Here are a few of our recommendations that are available year round.
Our Food Recommendations
Making a must-eat list at Epcot in challenging. There are a ton of great options and what is “best” is largely tied to personal preferences. My go-to place in all of Disney World for desserts is Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie in the France pavilion. This bakery is located in the back part of the pavilion. I love it because there are a ton of sweet options to choose from and they are all delicious.
I am also a big fan of corn (weird, I know haha). So one of my all-time favorite snacks is the Esquites from Choza de Margarita in the Mexico pavilion. This stand is outside on the left when you are facing the pyramid in Mexico. If you like corn, I highly recommend it.
One of our favorite sit-town restaurants is Via Napoli. This restaurant normally requires an advanced dining reservation. While the theming is not the best, the pizza is delicious. If you have a picky eater in your group, this is a great option. If you have a large group of adults, the Biergarten in Germany is really fun. It is a buffet, so everyone is bound to find something to eat. The theming in the Beirgarten is awesome and there is fun entertainment included with the meal.
Epcot also has a variety of unique tours. If you know us, you know we love Disney tours and special events. We have done several tours in Epcot. Here are a few of our favorites. Click for our review of swimming in the aquarium with sharks in Epcot. If you want to learn more about Future World then you can check out the unDISCOVERed Future World Tour. Lastly if you are interested in knowing more about the World Showcase, we definitely recommend World Showcase: DestiNations Discovered.
Limited Thrill Rides and Shows
For us, one of the downsides of Epcot is that of the Disney World Theme parks, Epcot has the worst selection rides. This is especially true when it comes to thrill rides. The top-tier Fastpass rides at Epcot are Soarin, Test Track, and Frozen Ever After. All three of these rides are really good. Our go-to ride is Soarin, but this choice largely depends on personal preferences.
While Epcot has a few other rides that are good and less thrilling, for us it ranks lowest of the Disney World theme parks. However, Epcot is currently undergoing some major changes. In addition to a reimagining of Future World, Epcot is getting two new rides: a Ratatouille ride and a Guardians of the Galaxy rollercoaster. These two rides will dramatically improve the ride selections at Epcot.
Epcot is an amazing Disney theme park, especially for adults. It has a very unique feel, particularly the World Showcase. Whether you drink or snack you way around World Showcase, exploring the details in each country pavilion is a must-do for us. We also love all of the different festivals that are offered at Epcot throughout the year. Epcot is going through updates over the next couple years which will make the park even better. If you have any questions or comments about Epcot, please leave them below!
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