Whether you’re a first-timer at EPCOT or you’ve been dozens of times, there are still some things there that a lot of people seem to miss out on!
Sure, you’ll want to ride Frozen Ever After and Soarin’ and see all the World Showcase pavilions! But there’s SO MUCH MORE to do at EPCOT, including a lot of unique and fun things you might not even know about. Are you sleeping on some of the best gems in EPCOT?!
Did you know you can ride an attraction that lets you see your food before you eat it? Or that you can pick up FREE collectible cards all around World Showcase? Well, we’re here to tell you about all these new and DIFFERENT things you’ll want to do before you leave EPCOT so you don’t miss out!
Living With The Land
Hi. We’re DFB and we love Living With The Land. Sorry, not sorry. This opening day attraction is one of the most underrated rides at EPCOT. It’s a relaxing boat ride (that is also an educational experience) that takes you through some of Disney World’s real, working greenhouses, where you can learn about new technology and techniques that can make agriculture more efficient, environmentally friendly, and sustainable.
They showcase unique growing techniques that have produced Guinness Record yielding plants, a variety of Mickey-shaped plants (including cool molds to grow Mickey pumpkins!), and more. The bonus, though? Much of the produce grown in the greenhouses here is actually used by Disney World restaurants. So you have a chance to see exactly where your food comes from! The catchy “Listen to the Land” theme song may have left years ago, but this is still a surprisingly fun ride with (bonus!) rarely much of a wait (if any!).
The Seas with Nemo and Friends
Did you know that EPCOT is home to the second-largest aquarium in the United States? For a long time it was the largest in the WORLD. At The Seas with Nemo and Friends pavilion, you can see ALL manner of sea life, including manatees, dolphins, sharks, and more! The Sea Base includes a 5.7 million gallon Caribbean Coral Reef aquarium. That’s SO BIG you could easily fit Spaceship Earth’s big sphere in there! That’s massive!
The pavilion also features a relaxing family-friendly ride based on Finding Nemo, as well as an interactive attraction called Turtle Talk with Crush (which is currently still closed). And if you want to dine on seafood while watching the aquarium’s 6,000+ inhabitants, you might want to check out Coral Reef Restaurant, which offers a view of this impressive aquarium while you eat.
Did you know you can get FREE collectible cards ALL over World Showcase? If you’ll look at your EPCOT map (either the one you pick up there or on the My Disney Experience app), you’ll see a Kidcot Fun Stop at each pavilion. There, you can pick up a collectible card — FOR FREE — with facts about the cultures and traditions of each country.
Collect them all, and you can get a free little plastic bag to keep your cards in so you don’t lose them! This is a great activity for kids, although adults might want to “collect them all,” too!
Mitsukoshi Department Store
The Japan Pavilion is home to one of the largest stores at EPCOT, and it’s full of fun Japanese merchandise! This is Mitsukoshi Department Store, and the Disney World location is just one of several Mitsukoshi department stores that exist all over the world — but it’s also the only one in North America!
If you’re looking for unique merchandise, like unicorn mermaids, Animal Crossing gear, Hello Kitty merchandise, incense, tea sets, Japanese candy and snacks, and more — you’ll want to make a stop here! It’s also a great place to shop for unique Japanese souvenirs, and anime fans — don’t miss out on all the great anime-inspired merchandise! Seriously, this place is massive has some real gems hiding inside.
Folk Art Gallery at Mexico
Did you know there’s an entire Mexican folk art gallery at the Mexico Pavilion? And right now, it’s dedicated exclusively to Dia De Los Muertos, the Mexican Day of the Dead holiday. The gallery includes intricately carved “papel picado” (paper art), as well as calaveras, aka sugar skulls.
The highlight of the current exhibit is the Bridal Couple, united in life, as well as in death. You’ll find this small gallery located right as you enter the pyramid.
Stave Church Gallery
If Norse mythology and Viking history are your things, you should probably check out the Stave Church Gallery at the Norway Pavilion. The Stave Church is the big building at the front of the pavilion and is based on a real location in Norway. The exhibit there not only explains the Norse creation myth but also looks at the various deities the Norse worshipped.
This is especially appealing for Marvel fans — the Stave Church Gallery lets you get to know the non-Marvel, mythological versions of Odin, Thor, and Loki and learn something new at the same time! (Sorry guys, Chris Hemsworth isn’t hiding in there. But you can still learn about Thorsday!)
American Heritage Gallery
The American Heritage Gallery at the American Adventure Pavilion is all about exploring Native American culture and history. The current exhibit is called “Creating Tradition: Innovation and Change in American Indian Art” and showcases authentic Native artifacts, as well as more contemporary Native American pieces of art.
There are interactive displays that cover native communities from seven geographic regions across the United States. This exhibit will allow you to learn about Native American art in a way you probably haven’t experienced before.
Take a deep dive into Japanese art at the Japan Pavilion in the Bijutsu-Kan Gallery. The current exhibit covers Japan’s “cute” (or kawaii, in Japanese) culture, and focuses on everything adorable, like Hello Kitty (and yes, you will see Hello Kitty in the exhibit)!
The gallery even has a mock Tokyo apartment of a kawaii superfan with all things cute that your heart might just want to explode out of your chest. Because CUTE.
Race Against The Sun
Over in Morocco, you can get a unique opportunity to learn more about two modern-day Sahara Desert competitions in Race Against The Sun: the Marathon des Sables and Rallye Aicha des Gazelles du Maroc. But you’ll also learn a lot about an ancient race of people from the Sahara Desert known as the Berbers.
The exhibit features interactive experiences, as well as a lot of information about how the people of the Sahara survive — and succeed – in such a harsh environment.
No matter what time of year you go to EPCOT, it’s likely there’s a festival going on, and festivals are a great chance to eat around the world in an entirely new way. Each festival has its own theme: The EPCOT Food and Wine Festival is ALL about food and wine and typically takes place mid-summer through fall, the EPCOT Festival of the Holidays celebrates the holiday season in the winter, the EPCOT Festival of the Arts celebrates all the arts in winter to early spring, and the EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival celebrates plant life in all its forms from spring til summer!
Each festival has specific entertainment and activities, too — not only can you eat a variety of themed foods at various internationally-inspired food booths around EPCOT, but you can also participate in fun activities like scavenger hunts and more. So once you know which festival you’re attending, be sure to check back here, because we’ll have a guide ready to help you find the best food, entertainment, activities, and more!
Scavenger hunts are fun for the whole family, and there is often a scavenger hunt of some sort to be found at EPCOT throughout the year. Not only does each festival have its own specially-themed scavenger hunt, but you can also participate in other scavenger hunts around EPCOT at other times. For example, every spring, EPCOT hosts an Easter-themed hunt where you have to find Easter Eggs hidden throughout EPCOT with characters on them.
The scavenger hunts usually cost under $10 for a map and stickers, and when you complete the hunt, you get a nice prize (making them totally worth it). In recent years, we’ve seen some fun prizes like plate sets, tumblers, and more! It’s fun — AND there’s a prize! What’s not to love?
Eat Unique Snacks From Around The World
So here’s our absolute favorite thing that (in our humble opinion) EVERYONE must do at EPCOT — eat around the world! But don’t just eat the usual fare — there are some super unique snacks that you can only get at EPCOT unless you travel to the REAL countries to get them! For example, don’t miss out on the maple popcorn in Canada or the red bean and ginger ice creams at Lotus Blossom Cafe in China.
There’s also Kaki-Gori, which is like a creamy shaved ice — you can find that in Japan. Or treat yo’self to an ice cream martini from L’Artisan des Glaces in France. Want to try some unique potato chip flavors? Pop on over to House of Good Fortune in China and try out a variety of chip flavors, including Honey Butter, Salted Yolk Rice Dumplings, Fried Crab, and more!
So if you have a day (or two, or three, or more) to spend in EPCOT, you now have a NEW list of unique things you need to do before you leave! Have fun!!!
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What’s your favorite unique thing to do at EPCOT? Let us know in the comments!