Greetings Internet Stranger and welcome to this Epcot itinerary. Like any world traveler, I enjoy visiting new places. I live for the new, the unexpected, the strange. So perhaps the most unexpected thing I could do is visit the same place every year. And what if that place I visit every year were as obvious and popular as Disney World? Ha! Defying your expectations and loving it!
But the challenge of visiting the same place every single year is making it seem new every time. So I needed to come up with a new hook for my Epcot itinerary.
I’d already tried Snacking Around the World for an EPCOT itinerary on a previous trip, so this time I needed a different hook. In my opinion, the only thing that’s almost as fun to do in EPCOT as eating is EPCOT shopping
Some of you out there might be thinking, what is an EPCOT? Is it a type of Space Princess? Mickey Mouse’s evil twin brother? Well, Epcot stands for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. It’s a combination of theme park and monument to human achievement.
It is also divided into two parts. Future World celebrates humanity’s technological achievements, and the World Showcase celebrates the cultural accomplishments of 11 different nations. You see, enjoying an Epcot itinerary can be an educational experience. Or you can use it as an excuse to stuff your face and shop til you drop. I won’t judge either way!
24 Hours: Epcot Itinerary
Where Should I Stay?
As a solo-traveling non-driver, I recommend staying at one of the Disney resorts because the transportation to and from the parks to the hotel is so convenient. Plus they offer complimentary transpo to and from the Orlando Airport. Finally, if you stay at a resort, they send you a Magic Band bracelet that makes using the Fast Pass system really convenient. I like to stay at one of the Port Orleans hotels because I am ride or die for The Princess and the Frog.
In order to get the most out of your time on your Epcot itinerary, I suggest you get coffee at your hotel, hop on the free shuttle, and arrive at Disney in time to enter the park at 9AM when it opens.
However, if you’d like to find great deals on over 4000 hotels in Orlando, click here.
24 Hours: Epcot Itinerary
What to Pack?
You’ll need comfy shoes for all the walking we’re going to do today. If it’s summertime, I love my special pink Birkenstocks. These aren’t your grandpappy’s Birkenstocks anymore. They come in every shade, and I always get compliments on my electric magenta shoes.
Orlando can get very hot, so don’t forget the sunscreen. My favorite is the Neutrogena spray bottle because it’s so easy to apply. And as a solo traveler, I can actually use it myself on my own back. I just put it in my purse and re-apply throughout the day.
Finally, since we’re going to be out all day, you’ll want a battery for your cell phone. I always use the Anker charger. It’s light enough to fit in even a small purse, and you don’t want to lug a big bag through Disney World. Plus the Anker lasts for several full charges of a phone, so I’ll never run out of juice!
24 Hours: Epcot Itinerary
Morning: Future World
On my first Epcot itinerary as a child, I was disappointed to learn that Future World would not actually take me into the future. Nor is there Back to the Future ride because that is not a Disney property. So to me, Future World is the lesser of the two main areas in Epcot. However, for those interested in technology, some of Future World’s rides are truly fascinating. Also we will get to meet an Oscar nominated actor. Don’t believe me? Here’s proof!
Approximately top 5: future world
1) Breakfast at Port Orleans
As I mentioned at the top of this post, I’m a big believer in staying at a Disney Resort when you’re visiting Disney World. They take care of all the transportation to and from the airports and parks. Also, they even check your bags for you! That will come in handy because our suitcases will be stuffed after our Epcot itinerary.
My favorite Disney Resorts are the Port Orleans. You can stay at either the Riverside or the French Quarter themed resort. On my last stay, I chose the French Quarter because it was slightly less expensive. Also my mother is from New Orleans, and I wanted to see if Disney could possibly replicate the feel of that majestic city.
I was pleased to see they have gators wandering around playing the saxophone for verisimilitude.
The breakfast of choice at Port Orleans is clearly going to be the beignets, just like you would order at Cafe du Monde in New Orleans. And just like at Cafe du Monde, they come three to an order and dusted with powdered sugar. They’re not as good as the ones at Cafe du Monde because they’re not made to order, but they’ll still satisfy as only fried dough and sugar can.
2) Nemo and Friends
Now it’s time to head to Epcot itself and experience our Epcot itinerary! You can pick up a free bus from Port Orleans and be at Epcot in just a few minutes. I like to start the day off easy with a smooth ride like Nemo and Friends.
This attraction puts you inside the Cliffnotes version of the movie Finding Nemo. Basically you ride around in a little clam shell and watch Albert Brooks-fish and Ellen DeGeneres-fish look for their little orange buddy. Is it educational? No. Do you get menaced by a cartoon shark? Yes. Also there’s never any line and we have a lot of things to do today.
3) Test Track
Test Track is one big, loud, fun ad for Chevrolet. The concept is that you are going to design a prototype for a car. You get to select whether it will have stronger or weaker capabilities in certain areas like power, maneuverability, and sustainability. Then you test that car out on a serious of fast and furious obstacles.
I chose a highly sustainable model after being influenced by Living With the Land and my car came in dead last. I think Chevy is trying to send the message that I should only care about fast cars and not the environment.
4) Mission: Space
Mission: Space purports to send you on a mission to Mars in a capsule with three other astronauts. The simulation is alarmingly realistic. There’s an easier Green Level and an Orange Level that usually makes me feel a bit queasy.
My favorite thing about this ride is that it is narrated by Oscar-nominated actor Gary Sinise. See! I promised you an Oscar nominee and I delivered! Do not worry that you need special skills to successfully complete the mission. All you need to do is press the button when Gary Sinise tells you to, and you get to go to Mars. Would that all things were so simple!
24 Hour Tip
Test Track and Mission: Space both have really long lines from time to time. To save time, go as a single rider on Test Track and take the Green (milder) ride on Mission: Space. This way you can knock both rides off in about 45 minutes total.
24 Hours: Epcot Itinerary
Afternoon: World Showcase Part One
I am so excited to be able to take you on this Epcot itinerary! The choices can be overwhelming, so I want to point you my favorite deals and treasures. Please don’t be concerned when you see everything that I’ve purchased because I’ve bought these items over the course of several trips to Disney World.
The only exception is the earrings. I am an official Mad Earring Collector and the last time I was there I set myself the challenge of buying a pair of earrings in each pavilion during one Epcot itinerary. Was I successful? Am I insane? You have to read to find out! And yes, obviously!
I often make fun of the Germany pavilion because it doesn’t have any attractions. Also the first time I went, I thought the shopping was the Wurst. But I have to say, the shopping seems to improve every time I go. The two shops I’ve visited the most often are die Weihnachts Ecke (The Christmas Corner) and Das Kaufhaus.
My journey to spend my time shopping in Epcot by purchasing Every Earring in Epcot began with these Very Authentic German pretzels. Even though they’re not from Germany, they’re made by Ernst Licht, which is a company that specializes in making German clothes. So I guess it’s a little more German than pretzel earrings shaped like Mickey ears.
As for that bejeweled pickle, according to The Christmas Corner, there is an old German tradition that associates pickles with Christmas. I’ve scoured the internet for information, and as far as I can tell, this is absolutely not true. Germans do not have Christmas traditions associated with pickles. But now I put this pickle up every Christmas, and I am of 1/8th German ancestry. So it’s sort of true in my household.
One of the best things to buy when you’re shopping in Epcot is food-adjacent items. Surely it cannot be a surprise to a sophisticated Internet Stranger like yourself that the Italy pavilion has an impressive kitchenware shop. Many of the goods for sale here were actually made in Italy.
No matter what your cheffing level is, you can use a pepper grinder. And if you’re going to have a fresh pepper grinder, why not a marble one from Italy? I feel like I use a lot more pepper since I bought this device, probably because it’s the only opportunity I have to touch marble in my life.
If you’re a perfume lover, the upscale Il Bel Cristallo sometimes has good deals and exclusive fragrances. One time I purchased a new Acqua di Parma fragrance, and I got to have my name carved into the bottle before my eyes, which was pretty neat to watch.
That says Bella Stella, in case it’s too hard to read the class. It’s very sweet, but what would the glass carver have said if my name didn’t so conveniently rhyme with Bella? What if my name were Mildred? Maybe I should have said my name was Mildred just to force him to get creative.
You were worried I wasn’t going to get my earrings in the Italy pavilion, weren’t you? Well, let me put your mind at ease. These pink and green lovelies are modeled on Venetian glass styles. I do not know if they are real Venetian glass. I suspect not because they were quite inexpensive. But I don’t care either! I had found earrings in two pavilions, and I only had eight more to go! I was 1/5th of the way to victory!
24 hour treasure: tutto gusto wine cellar
Now that it’s been such a long time since our breakfast, we will want to stop for a light lunch. And what better place to grab a snack than Italy? Who doesn’t love Italian food? Sad, lonely people is who. My favorite place for lunch in the Italy Pavilion is the Tutto Gusto wine cellar. Their sandwiches are tasty, and it’s never crowded. I suppose that’s because most people who come to Epcot have “children”, and you’re not supposed to give kids “wine” or something.
My wine flight was quite refreshing on a sunny Florida day. I wasn’t familiar with Italian whites, and I liked the slightly fruity notes, even though none of these wines were actually sweet. Also the card was helpful because now I can order some of these wines back home. (There was no way I was going to remember the names just from the waitress telling me.)
For lunch, I had the salametto and fontina cheese panini with the Caesar salad wedge. The salty salami and Parmesan cheese were a good compliment to the light and fruity white wines. I still can’t believe you can find a cute little wine cellar like this at Disney World.
The Japan pavilion probably has the best shopping in Epcot. That’s because it’s home to a replica of the Mitsukoshi Department Store. If you’ve ever been to Japan, you know their department stores are legendary, and the one in Epcot is no exception. You can get anything from anime merchandise to beauty products to jewelry to food to kimonos. Even my decent-sized haul is only about half of what I’d like to get in Japan.
Disney has internationally released many films by legendary anime director Hayao Miyazaki, so when you’re shopping in Epcot you can find merchandise from his movies in the Mitsukoshi store. I can never bring myself to waste money by buying toys because even though in many ways I am a child at heart, I don’t still play with stuffed animals. However, hand towels are always useful, and I feel My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki’s Delivery Service towels add that little touch of whimsy that makes handwashing that much more enjoyable.
Do you know what else is whimsical? Socks that look like sushi. (Do not put them in your mouth. They are not really made of fish.) For my special Japanese pavilion earrings, I chose these highly appropriate cherry blossom lanterns. Of course, since I was visiting Disney World in January, the cherry blossoms refused to bloom for me. But it’s the thought that counts.
Shopping in Epcot at the Morocco pavilion is very different from shopping in Real Morocco. For one, there’s no haggling about the price in Epcot. For two, there were way fewer rugs, teapots, and fine leather goods. But on the plus side, the earrings were crazy cheap! I couldn’t decide between these owls and the blue feathers, but since each pair was like five bucks, I didn’t make myself pick.
The saleslady (who hailed from Tangier, Morocco) told me that the little camel was their most popular item. I can sort of see why! It’s cute little smushed leather camel face always puts me in a good mood. The only purchase I sort of regret is this bedazzled and bedizened pillowcase. The pillowcase is smashing in and of itself but I am too lazy to find a pillow that will match it. I’m sure when I finally get off my duff and find a proper pillow, the case will completely beautify my cheap metal couch from Amazon.
Just like the Italian pavilion, the France pavilion is choice for finding perfume deals. I got this bottle of dreamy Dahlia Divin and a free smaller bottle thrown in so I could travel with it. If you’re a perfume lover, I’d definitely save your budget for the exclusive fragrances or deals on perfume. Otherwise, most of the perfumes they sell at Epcot are available for the same price elsewhere.
The Eiffel Tower earrings were the only jewelry I could find in France, and the little black ribbon reminds me of Coco Chanel. Also the Frenchman who sold me the earrings asked me if I wanted a bag. I said no, and he said, “Thank you for making my job easy!” Spoken like a true Frenchman! (I work with a lot of French people.)
24 Hours: Epcot Itinerary
Evening: World Showcase Part Two
Look at all the shopping in Epcot we’ve done already, and we still have five pavilions to go! I can’t tell if you are impressed or horrified, Internet Stranger! Probably a little bit of both. That’s the sensation I always aim for on this blog.
Approximately top 5: world showcase part two
1) united kingdom
My absolute favorite store in the United Kingdom is The Tea Caddy. I drink a cuppa every night before bed. Plus Alice in Wonderland is one of my top five favorite Disney movies, so anyway I can combine my passions of Alice and tea is all right by me. (The other four are Sleeping Beauty, The Great Mouse Detective, The Little Mermaid, The Princess and the Frog, and Tangled.)
I love how the Unbirthday teacup looks like a bunch of messy cups stacked together. Also I appreciate that the tea towel uses the illustrations from the book Alice in Wonderland and not the movie.
If you squint, you can see the Union Jack earrings I also purchased. Keep Calm and Buy Earrings, that’s my motto.
The Canadian store, Northwest Mercantile, is one of the more underrated stores in Epcot. You can get anything from warm and fuzzy woolens to Anne of Green Gables merchandise. I’m obsessed with these Canadian Wilderness soaps that have loonie names like Moose Spit and Beaver Butt. (I’m pretty sure there’s no actually moose spit in these soaps, you hoser.)
Also I got my new favorite pair of cold weather pajamas here, the ones with silly beavers and bears in them. And if you can’t find good cold weather pajamas in fake Canada, where can you find them, I ask?
The earrings here were dreamcatchers in honor of the First Nations people of Canada. Are they authentic? Prob not. Do I care? Not so long as I only have three more earrings to go! Victory is within my grasp.
24 Hour treasure: le cellier
Since we’re spending so much time shopping today instead of going on rides, we have time for a proper sit-down dinner! So I choose my favorite sit-down restaurant at Epcot, Le Cellier. “Blurf!” You might be thinking. “Who goes to Canada for the food? Are you getting dinner at Tim Horton’s?” No, and again I must resort to calling you a hoser.
We will be dining on the finest steak Fake Canada has to offer. But first, a warming bowl of cheese soup. Only Canadians would think that cheese + beer + bacon = soup. And you know what? Canadians are absolutely right. In fact, I think most soups need either more cheese, beer, or bacon.
Le Cellier is a steakhouse, so I’m not sure why you’d order any main course other than the filet mignon here. Before coming to Le Cellier, I had no idea that steak was a big deal in Canada. Did you know that Canada exports 2.3 billion dollars worth of beef a year? That is a lot, especially if you have to count it all out in Canadian loonies.
The filet mignon at Le Cellier is quite pricey, but it tastes exactly like meat butter melting in your mouth. I wouldn’t say it’s the best steak I’ve had in my life. (That’s probably from Guard and Grace in Denver, Colorado.) But it’s definitely up there.
My dessert was the most Canadian combination I could think of. It’s a maple creme brulee with a glass of Canadian ice wine. Ice wine is a dessert wine made from grapes that have actually been frozen on the vine. Of course it’s authentically Canadian because it has the word “frozen” in it.
The Mexico pavilion has the most beautiful shopping in Epcot area, the open air Plaza de los Amigos. I’ve been to open air markets in Mexico, and you can tell Epcot worked hard to give Fake Mexico a similar funky vibe. My favorite part is the area where you can watch Oaxacan artists paint traditional miniature animal figurines. I bought a blue cat because I really want to become a crazy cat lady, but I travel too much to have a pet. So I think if I just buy a lot of artificial cats, that will create the same effect.
Like Morocco, the earrings here are so inexpensive you can get two pairs without guilt. I mean, I’m obviously too far gone to feel guilt or shame because I bought ten pairs of earrings in one day, and I am not finished. But I don’t want you to feel the burden of guilt either, even if you can be kind of a hoser.
Norway is one of the worst pavilions for the Shopping in Epcot game, as you can see from my meager selection above. Probably this is because most of the merchandise is Frozen related and I am not a 7 year old girl. Basically anything that is not Frozen is made of wool, and I am deathly allergic to wool. So I was stuck buying these inauthentic Viking helmets. (Real Viking helmets didn’t have horns. Also you wouldn’t have worn them on your ears.)
24 hour treasure: Frozen Ever After
The one good thing about the lame shopping in Epcot at Norway is that we’ll have time on our Epcot itinerary to go on the Frozen Ever After ride. Be sure to reserve a Fastpass for it as soon as you can (like as you as you make your Disney resort reservation) otherwise you’ll be Frozen Ever After, waiting on line. The ride is basically a highlights version of the movie, which is exactly what I want in a ride based on a Disney movie. I guess part of me is a 7 year old girl after all.
Ah, from the ridiculous to the sublime. The China pavilion is just like shopping in Chinatown in New York, except that there are fewer tourists when you are shopping in Epcot than there are in Chinatown. (Or maybe it just feels that way because the streets of Chinatown are so skinny and tourists don’t know how to walk properly.)
This store has everything: cozy bedroom slippers, socks with pandas on the toes, a travel mirror with an adorable owl on its case, and fake lacquer earrings. You can even get medicinal tea here. If I had to rank the Shopping in Epcot countries based on shopping alone, it would probably be Japan first, China second, and Morocco third. But I encourage you to try Shopping in Epcot Around the World and see for yourself!
24 Hours: Epcot Itinerary
What would you do with a 24 hour Epcot itinerary? Are you ready to start booking your hotel in Orlando right now? Is there really moose spit in that soap? And will I ever find a pillow to fit inside that schmancy Moroccan pillowcase? Please leave your thoughts below.
Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY spend 24 hours on an Epcot itinerary. If you want to add itineraries for the Magic Kingdom I’ve got one here, one here, and another Epcot itinerary over here. Finally I have one for the Epcot Festival of the Arts here.