A lot has changed in Epcot, and things are starting to look up for Disney’s most enigmatic park.Our last “What to Expect” update for Epcot was all the way back in late September. A few things have remained the same since that visit: you may still feel lost visiting Epcot due to construction, World Showcase is still a bit strange due to no cultural representatives, and on a positive note, the park still has plenty of quiet, charming spaces for guests to enjoy without much in the way of crowds.
With Spring Break arriving and full capacity days becoming more common (remember, Disney is maxing park capacity at 35% right now), we are starting to see a lot more activity in Epcot, as well as some forward progress on the park’s massive reimagining.
Our most recent visit took place on Thursday, March 18th—a full capacity day, but one with more families than the usual weekend crowds. Here’s what we found for you to expect should you visit during this season.
1. The Flower & Garden festival really is a breath of fresh air
Video: YouTube, Jett Farrell-Vega @My Kingdom For a Mouse - Glimpses of Disney
Annual festivals have become a major part of the Epcot experience. Since reopening, we’ve seen scaled back iterations of three Epcot festivals. While we definitely felt the cutbacks at some previous festivals, we are happy to say that Epcot is really starting to get its groove back with “A Taste of the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival” (that… is a mouthful).
There’s so much to talk about regarding the festival that we gave it its own update (complete with a video you can view above), but a few highlights this year include the return of the butterfly pavilion…
Some excellent choices among the food options, including a few new dishes we loved…
And, of course, many stunning garden displays.
Overall, we were surprised what a positive impact this particular festival has had on the atmosphere at Epcot. It’s really doing a lot to make the park feel like itself, and it seems like Disney is doing more to make these festivals special as guests return to the park.
2. Crowds have increased, making wait times hit or miss
Back in September, we observed that Epcot felt like Disney’s quietest park. That tide has finally begun to change.
For the remainder of March, Epcot appears to be at maximum capacity for most guest groups—meaning any day you visit the next few weeks, expect a full house. We previously had issues with bottlenecks in thoroughfares at Epcot, but some of those problems have begun to decrease with the opening of more walkways (such as the new Spaceship Earth courtyard with those lovely new flags and pylons).
Wait times are hit or miss on full capacity days—while there did appear to be some pockets of low waits just after opening gate, by 1:00 PM, waits for Soarin’ and even Mission: SPACE (whaaat?) had ballooned up to 75 minutes, with Test Track close behind at 65 minutes. Weirdly enough, one unusually long line we saw was for Reflections of China--it wound through almost the entire pavilion.
By the time park hopping opened up at 2:00 PM, things shifted only slightly, with Test Track and Soarin’ capping at 75 minutes, Frozen Ever After hitting 60 minutes, and Mission: SPACE dropping back down to 35. Little had changed by 6:00 PM, and wait times stayed high until late in the day (starting to taper off a little after 8:00 PM but really not plummeting until after 10).
On a side note, the line for Frozen grew hilariously long by late afternoon—winding backstage behind the Norway pavilion, curving back out onto the thoroughfare around World Showcase, and ending a bit past the China pavilion. Yikes.
In short, your best bet at Epcot right now is to hit the park as early as possible—waits are an unavoidable part of visiting right now, but your chances will be better than if you arrive later.