Before visiting EPCOT in Walt Disney World, you need to know the park hours. The opening times, closing times, entertainment, and fireworks times can change quite often, so you’ll need to be prepared.
In this article, we’ll cover all the EPCOT park hours in 2023 & 2024 including the upcoming park hours over the next few months, normal operating hours, early morning openings, as well as when it closes late at night so you can stay even longer.
Out of the 4 Walt Disney World theme parks, EPCOT may have the most stable operating hours, but special events, holidays, and seasonal events can bring some variation to them. You definitely want to know when it opens early and the few nights it stays open later than usual so you can get good value for your tickets.
You also need to keep in mind the attraction schedule since not all attractions are always running either early in the morning or late at night. There is nothing worse than wanting to go on a ride only to find it’s closed.
No night at EPCOT would be complete without watching the fireworks around World Showcase Lagoon, even if lately they have been changing shows more frequently than usual. No matter which show is happening during your visit, you’ll need to know the hours.
Lastly, we’ll cover what time you should arrive at EPCOT in the morning to make the most of your day, the rides you should do first, as well as all your transportation options to get to the park on time.
Before we get started here is a list of articles explaining the park hours at the other Walt Disney World theme parks:
Also, don’t forget to sign up for our FREE Weekly E-Mail Newsletter. There we will update you with the latest EPCOT Park Hours, and share the latest vacation planning tips. You can sign up here: Join our E-Mail Newsletter!
Table of Contents
EPCOT Park Hours 2023
What time does EPCOT open and close in the coming months? Here are the new operating hours for EPCOT for October, November and December 2023:
- October 17-22: 9:00 am – 9:00 pm
- October 23: 9:00 am – 9:00 pm (Extended Evening Hours: 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm)
- October 24-29: 9:00 am – 9:00 pm
- October 30: 9:00 am – 9:00 pm (Extended Evening Hours: 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm)
- October 31: 9:00 am – 9:00 pm
- November 1: 9:00 am – 9:00 pm
- November 2: 9:00 am – 9:00 pm (Extended Evening Hours: 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm)
- November 3-5: 9:00 am – 9:00 pm
- November 6: 9:00 am – 9:00 pm (Extended Evening Hours: 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm)
- November 7-12: 9:00 am – 9:00 pm
- November 13: 9:00 am – 9:00 pm (Extended Evening Hours: 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm)
- November 14: 9:00 am – 9:00 pm
- November 15: 9:00 am – 9:00 pm (Extended Evening Hours: 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm)
- November 16-19: 9:00 am – 9:00 pm
- November 20: 9:00 am – 9:00 pm (Extended Evening Hours: 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm)
- November 21-23: 9:00 am – 9:00 pm
- November 24-26: 9:00 am – 9:30 pm
- November 27: 9:00 am – 9:30 pm (Extended Evening Hours: 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm)
- November 28-29: 9:00 am – 9:30 pm
- November 30: 9:00 am – 9:30 pm (Extended Evening Hours: 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm)
- December 1-6: 9:00 am – 9:30 pm
- December 7: 9:00 am – 9:30 pm (Extended Evening Hours: 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm)
- December 8-10: 9:00 am – 9:30 pm
- December 11: 9:00 am – 9:30 pm (Extended Evening Hours: 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm)
- December 12-13: 9:00 am – 9:30 pm
- December 14: 9:00 am – 9:30 pm (Extended Evening Hours: 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm)
- December 15-17: 9:00 am – 9:30 pm
- December 18: 9:00 am – 9:30 pm (Extended Evening Hours: 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm)
- December 19-20: 9:00 am – 9:30 pm
- December 21: 9:00 am – 9:30 pm (Extended Evening Hours: 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm)
- December 22-24: 9:00 am – 9:30 pm
- December 25: 9:00 am – 9:30 pm (Extended Evening Hours: 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm)
- December 26-27: 9:00 am – 9:30 pm
EPCOT’s hours are pretty consistent over the summer calendars and have almost identical weekly schedules throughout these couple of months, and that means a 9:00 am open and a 9:00 pm close.
Each Monday night they offer Extended Evening Hours which is a great opportunity to ride a bunch of attractions you didn’t have time for during the day (we will get into that later on in this article).
There were Disney After Hours events in EPCOT on select nights from June to August but they have disappeared from the current calendar. They were running from 10:00 am to 1:00 am for a total of 3 extra hours in the park.
Disney releases the park hours between 60-75 days prior in advance and it’s always good to check on Disney’s official site just to make sure. They will sometimes adjust times as the dates get closer.
What are the Normal Hours for EPCOT?
The home of year-round festivals, EPCOT is a developing and highly evolving park that makes its living based around the four main festivals it has each year.
Guests coming to EPCOT will almost exclusively find that main park hours are typically from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm daily.
The exception is for Extending Evening Hours which are found on Monday nights at this point in time, in which the park stays open until 11:00 pm for some guests (I’ll touch on this in a minute).
EPCOT will sometimes, during the busier times of the year, push back the standard closing time for EPCOT to 9:30 or 10:00 pm, and we see some nights like that in the coming weeks. They also will push the standard opening time up to 8:00 am or 8:30 am on certain weeks.
EPCOT used to open the front section of the park (the old Future World) earlier than World Showcase, but they have adjusted that and now open up the entire park at the same time each morning.
They do this more or less to accommodate two of the most popular rides in the park which are found in World Showcase, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Frozen Ever After. It wasn’t a big deal, but with more rides in World Showcase now, it makes sense.
What Time Does EPCOT Open?
EPCOT almost exclusively opens up each morning at 9:00 am and it rarely changes away from this opening time period.
On some of the busiest weeks last year, EPCOT opened its doors to guests at 8:00 am or 8:30 am. So far we haven’t seen them do anything similar during so far in 2023, and it doesn’t look like it will at this point.
And guests staying at a Disney World Resort or other participating hotel can take advantage of something called ‘Early Theme Park Entry’ which enables them to enter the parks an extra 30 minutes earlier.
Always remember to check My Disney Experience to get an exact time for the opening, and remember that oftentimes the parks will allow people in prior to the official park opening time. It’s always best to get there earlier than the officially listed opening time, whether it’s the Early Entry time or the regular opening time.
What Time Does EPCOT Close?
EPCOT most commonly closes at 9:00 pm each night, but will sometimes stay open later on particularly busy days, weekends, or holidays.
We saw hours extended quite a bit last year in EPCOT, allowing guests to stay in the park anywhere from 9:30 pm, 10:00 pm, or even 11:00 pm. The only change from 9:00 pm we’ve seen this year is some nights at 9:30 pm. We expect that will happen more as we near the busier times of the year.
While EPCOT does have Extending Evening Hours each Monday night, this is a benefit that only benefits Disney World Resort and other participating hotel guests at this point in time. We hope to see that the standard closing times get extended to benefit guests not staying at an approved hotel or resort.
Busy Days & Holiday Hours
EPCOT during certain times of the year will extend its schedule to accommodate when crowds are at the highest levels. They have done this a lot in 2023 and we expect the same in 2024 as well.
You can expect longer hours during the busier travel week such as:
- Spring Break
- New Years
- 3-Day Holiday Weekends (Presidents’ Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day)
We expect EPCOT will stay open until 9:30, 10:00, or even 11:00 pm during these times of the year as they have in the past.
EPCOT, unlike some of the other parks, almost ALWAYS extends its schedule in the evening and not in the morning. Being the largest “drinking and eating park” it’s likely far more advantageous for them to extend their hours into the evening.
We’ve been pleasantly surprised with some of the additional availability at EPCOT and hope to continue to be impressed with their time slots, especially with the recent addition of the popular attraction Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.
On special occasions, such as New Year’s Eve it’s not uncommon for EPCOT to stay open until 1:00 am, which they did at the start of 2023.
While we enjoy these additional hours, expect the parks to be insanely crowded on these days, so even though you have more time, expect longer waits, which in our opinion kind of defeats the purpose.
EPCOT Closing Info
For guests that are coming to EPCOT during most times of the year, expect them to close almost immediately after the fireworks show at 9:00 pm.
Whether it’s Disney Harmonious, EPCOT Forever, or the New Nighttime Show at the time of your visit in 2023, EPCOT typically schedules the park closure directly in line with the start of the fireworks show.
While they sometimes push back the closing time to 9:30 pm or 10:00 pm, it has been 9:00 pm more often than not in 2023 except for the nights of Extended Evening Hours and NovemberDecember.
Be prepared though for closing because EPCOT more than any other park has a mass exodus of guests looking to leave immediately after the fireworks show since there’ll be nothing else open!
While some guests will slowly trickle out of the restaurants throughout World Showcase, the overwhelming bulk will immediately get in line for the Disney Buses and the Disney Skyliner promptly between 9:20 pm and 9:30 pm.
Expect lines for Disney Transportation to be incredibly long! We almost always recommend guests stay for a while and not immediately rush out. It’s not the most pleasant way to leave the park, and instead, we’d personally rather enjoy some serenity and quiet.
The nice thing is that EPCOT Cast Members don’t typically rush guests out immediately like in some of the other parks. Restaurants in EPCOT will often allow guests to be seated up until the closing time, which causes some guests to not leave the parks for a solid 1-2 hours prior to the official park closing time.
EPCOT after closing is possibly our favorite time in any park anyway, so take your time, stroll around World Showcase Lagoon, and leave at your own pace.
Does EPCOT Ever Close Early?
EPCOT rarely, if ever, closes early. Unlike the Magic Kingdom, there usually is more consistency with the closing times at EPCOT. You won’t find holiday parties, cast member events, etc…
Besides the nights of Extended Evening Hours, which are found on Mondays at this point in time, EPCOT closes at 9:00 pm every other night. However, looking at historical averages and dates in years past, it’s perfectly feasible to expect EPCOT to extend their hours until 9:30 or 10:00 pm on particularly busy days.
We expect this to happen during the busier travel weeks, enabling guests to get their fill of the park until the late hours of the night. Locals more than any other park love visiting EPCOT after work or on the weekends in the later hours to be able to enjoy a stroll around World Showcase and benefit from the different festivals.
We’d love it if EPCOT would more routinely extend their hours until 9:30 pm or even 10:00 pm more consistently to allow for better crowd control and for locals to have more time to enjoy the different festivals.
Having the nighttime spectacular conclude with the closing of the park makes the end of the night quite chaotic and we’d love to see if there was a little more spacing between the show and the closure. This would make for a smoother transition for guests leaving the park, especially for those locals driving!
Some Rides Close Early
It’s important to keep in mind with EPCOT and with all the parks that from time to time, they won’t keep every single ride open into the evening hours. While they tend to keep the most popular attractions open until closing time, there are occasionally times when a ride goes down in the later afternoon/early evening and they don’t reopen it.
In EPCOT, at times this happens with less popular attractions like Journey Into Imagination or some of the films.
It’s always best to check the My Disney Experience app first before walking the length of EPCOT to find that the ride is closed for the night. It’s also possible that the closing times for the ride or attraction don’t line up with the closing time for EPCOT.
This is quite common with the less popular attractions throughout the park. You can also check the closing times in the My Disney Experience app, and plan your last hour in the park accordingly.
Staying Late in the Park
While EPCOT’s hours are somewhat more limited than Magic Kingdom’s in the evenings, they still are an upgrade to both Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. We love enjoying time throughout EPCOT after dark, especially when easing our way around one of the festivals and having a snack and possibly a cocktail!
EPCOT has the highest amount of restaurant offerings out of any of the Disney Parks, and selecting a good restaurant is always a great way to cap off a great evening, if opting not to snack around the World Showcase. We love that EPCOT, unlike Animal Kingdom, allows for ADRs directly before park closing, enabling guests to enjoy a nice meal until well after the official park closing time.
While the Cast Members don’t rush guests out after the park closing, we find that both World Showcase and Future World close almost immediately after the fireworks. It seems to us that EPCOT is quicker to close down its offerings than the other parks.
That means that the stores and quick service restaurants will almost assuredly be closed by the time guests walk their way out of the park. Forget the late-night snacks, unfortunately!
If opting NOT to see the fireworks show, guests can normally have a minimal wait time for almost all of the attractions throughout EPCOT. What better way to end the night than to get a last-minute ride on Soarin’, Frozen Ever After, or Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure?
The Harmonious Nighttime Spectacular was already replaced with the temporary show EPCOT Forever on April 3rd and the replacement also has about 20-minute runtimes. If you want to see EPCOT Forever prior to its departure make sure you see it no later than the summer!
On your way out of the park, make sure to stop by and see the Beacons of Magic show! One of our favorite additions to the 50th Anniversary Celebration is the beautiful lights shown on the reflective panels of Spaceship Earth
Closing Down EPCOT: This is when you are the last person, or among the last group of people to leave the park. We’ve done this dozens of times, and it’s incredibly popular with Disney photographers.
If you are on Instagram and wonder how some people get photos of an empty World Showcase or in front of Spaceship Earth with no one around, that’s how. If you really want to, you can wait to be the absolute last person to leave with will get you awesome pics.
It’s also pretty easy to get some good photos of the middle of the park and World Showcase from Canada to the U.K. This area stays open to allow guests to walk to the Disney Skyliner from the front of the park, or to the EPCOT resorts around Crescent Lake.
What Time are the EPCOT Fireworks?
From now until the foreseeable future EPCOT’s Fireworks schedule for EPCOT Forever will be at 9:00 pm nightly. This will likely stay true for the new show debuting later this year.
In previous years during busier times of the year and the park is opened later, they will sometimes adjust the fireworks schedule to be more in line with the park closure. For example, last year, the start time for the fireworks varied from 9:00 to 10:00 pm.
On almost every occasion though it’s directly in line with the most common park closure time of 9:00 pm each night.
While we like the consistency of the fireworks schedule, we’d prefer them to keep the time always at 9:00 even when the park is opened later. This would give guests time to ride additional rides after the show while also giving guests more scattered departure times, making it less chaotic to get out of the park.
We’d avoid watching the fireworks on Friday-Sunday night if possible because the World Showcase can get really crowded and sometimes rowdy from all the extra locals there for the various food festivals. Monday through Thursday will provide a much more laid-back atmosphere and it’s much easier to get a good viewing spot for the show!
Early Theme Park Entry
Guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort or other partner hotels can arrive at all 4 of the Disney Parks 30 minutes prior to the opening time each day with Early Theme Park Entry. This perk is an added benefit that Disney has recently given to guests to let them arrive early, filling the void of no longer having Extra Magic Hours.
The main difference is Early Theme Park Entry is only for mornings and it happens every single day, BUT it’s only for the first 30 minutes each day. Guests utilizing Early Entry at EPCOT can take advantage of getting on rides early before the arrival of guests not staying at an approved hotel or resort.
With EPCOT having minimal attractions, utilizing this is a wise investment of your time, allowing you to get on a ride quickly and in some cases 2 rides!
We also like to get some of the rides out of the way early in the day, so we can enjoy the atmosphere around World Showcase, as well as the food and drinks!
Not every single attraction is available for Early Theme Park Entry at the beginning of each day at EPCOT. Some of them don’t open early, so you’ll need to do them after the official park opening.
According to Disney’s site, these are the rides you can expect to open with Early Entry:
- Beauty and The Beast Sing-Along
- Frozen Ever After
- Mission: SPACE
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
- Soarin’ Around the World
- Spaceship Earth
- Test Track
- The Seas with Nemo & Friends
While it’s possible they could NOT open with the opening of the park and they aren’t guaranteed, for the most part, they tend to be open. Always check My Disney Experience just to be sure before walking to the attraction and wasting valuable minutes.
Extended Evening Hours
Extended Evening Hours is another partial replacement of Extra Magic Hours (EMH) that Disney has used to fill the void along with Early Theme Park Entry.
Extended Evening Hours allow guests to enjoy 2 additional hours after the park closes, which means lots more time to do rides, with minimal wait times!
This bonus is only for registered guests that are staying at one of the Disney Deluxe Resorts or a Villa property, unlike Early Entry. There are a few other select hotels that also qualify.
Cast Members merely scan the MagicBands (or room key) to see if guests qualify. If they do, they can enjoy uninterrupted time in the park with minimal waits and significantly fewer guests.
We love that EPCOT has Extended Evening Hours every Monday night! Nights in EPCOT are fun and it feels like an exclusive benefit for guests staying in the more expensive resorts in Disney.
You’ll have fewer wait times both for food kiosks throughout the Festivals and for the rides which are always welcome! For example, there are times we can do Test Track 3 or 4 times in a row, without waiting more than 5 minutes in line!
Again, not ALL Walt Disney World guests can take advantage of Extended Evening Hours. Only guests staying at Deluxe Hotels, Deluxe Villas, and other select hotels can use ‘Extended Evening Hours.’
Here is the current list of hotels that can offer Extended Evening Hours:
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Disney’s Beach Club Resort
- Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
- Disney’s Contemporary Resort
- Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
- Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
- Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
- Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
- Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
- Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
- Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village
- Disney’s Beach Club Villas
- Disney’s BoardWalk Villas
- Disney’s Old Key West Resort
- Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
- Disney’s Riviera Resort
- Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
- The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Other Select Hotels
- Walt Disney World Swan Hotel
- Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel
- Walt Disney World Swan Reserve
- Shades of Green® on Walt Disney World®
The attractions open for Extended Evenings are a little bit different than the attractions open for Early Theme Park Entry, and not all of them are available.
Here is the list:
- Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along
- Frozen Ever After
- Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros
- Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
- Mission: SPACE
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
- Soarin’ Around the World
- Spaceship Earth
- Test Track
- The Seas with Nemo & Friends
To learn more about Extended Evening Hours and other perks on-site guests get, we recommend reading our article on the Benefits of Staying at a Disney World Resort Hotel.
After Hours Events
Disney After Hours Events are paid ticketed events that allow guests to enjoy a 3-hour event practically to themselves! Disney sells VERY few tickets to these events and you’ll get to enjoy all the rides with minimal waits, complimentary snacks, and fun entertainment offerings!
EPCOT recently announced they are adding After Hours Events on select nights from June 1 to August 24, 2023. This is exciting news as it was only formerly at Disney’s Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.
Tickets are still on sale and can be purchased here.
While we normally hate to pay extra when it comes to things at Disney World, we find the After Hours Events to be terrific! They don’t require separate park admission and you can do all your favorite rides while waiting less than 10 minutes in line for a lot of the attractions. Disney After Hours are capped at VERY low attendance numbers allowing you to essentially have the park to yourself!
In addition to the park being almost empty, you’ll also receive complimentary drinks, popcorn, and dessert, so make sure you leave room to snack your way through the park.
Guests coming to these EPCOT After Hours Events can come to the park at 7:00 pm each night before the park’s closure and they’ll be given a wristband to allow them to stay in the park 3 hours after the closing time.
Ticket prices for Disney After Hours events in EPCOT cost between $129 and $139 per guest. That price does NOT include tax, so you’ll need to tack on an extra 6% or so.
Discounts are offered for both Disney Vacation Club (DVC) Members and Annual Passholders. Prices for DVC Members Annual Passholders are $99 per guest.
We recommend reading our article on Discounted Disney World Tickets where we cover the best ways to save money on all park ticket types.
Again, not all attractions are open during Disney After Hours at EPCOT, but the majority of the most popular ones are.
Right now there are 10 attractions are open at EPCOT during the After Hours events including:
- Frozen Ever After
- Gran Fiesta Tour
- Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
- Living with the Land
- Mission: SPACE
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
- The Seas with Nemo & Friends
- Spaceship Earth
- Test Track
We are pretty happy with this slate of attractions, as it covers pretty much everything on our list of the best rides at EPCOT, including all the E-Ticket attractions, even Cosmic Rewind.
While there are no Holiday Parties per se at EPCOT, they do offer a few special holiday events.
For example, one of the 4 main festivals, the Festival of the Holidays begins around Thanksgiving time each year. It continues until the end of December. There you’ll find the different kiosks and countries lined with fun and tasty holiday-time favorites for guests.
The other popular holiday event at EPCOT is the Candlelight Processional which runs from November 24th until December 30th of 2023. This ever-popular show tells the story of Christmas with a celebrity narrator and music sung by a mass choir while being performed by a 50-piece orchestra.
Crowd levels for the Candlelight Processional can be EXTREMELY high during the evenings of more popular narrators. Weekday shows with less popular narrators can be far more manageable.
During the Festival of the Holidays, like all EPCOT festivals, the crowd levels are at their highest on Friday evenings, and all-day Saturdays and Sundays. They are far more painless during the days midweek.
Old Extra Magic Hours
Guests that haven’t come to the Disney World Resort in the last few years likely remember a perk called Extra Magic Hours or EMH, as it’s usually called. Unfortunately, this has not come back yet, instead, it’s been replaced with things such as Early Theme Park Entry and Extended Evening Hours.
While we loved the old Extra Magic Hours, it often made parks significantly more crowded. Our family would typically avoid going to the parks on these days because crowd levels were significantly higher.
However, it was nice to get further availability and access to the parks either early in the mornings or late in the evenings if we so choose.
In the end, we slightly prefer Early Theme Park Entry because you can use it at each of the 4 Walt Disney World theme parks every day of the week, making it easier to plan and we feel it spreads the crowds out between the parks instead of everyone going to that one park when the extra hours are running.
How Often are EPCOT Hours Updated?
All Walt Disney World park hours including EPCOT are added now to the DisneyWorld.com 5-day calendar on a rolling basis, generally about 60 days in advance.
While Disney will post park hours up to 6 months in advance on its 180-day calendar, the times tend to be inaccurate and repeatedly altered prior to. The hours for all of the parks are continually updated based on hotel occupancy and projections. Sometimes they add hours and sometimes they remove hours, it just depends on how many people are expected.
To get the most accurate gauge on hours, utilize their 5-Day calendar. It will have all of the updated times and if they add or remove hours, it’ll show. They typically don’t alter the hours in the weeks before. If they’re going to adjust, they usually do it between a month and two months prior.
What is the Best Time of Day to Go to EPCOT?
Due to EPCOT being the most popular park for locals, it can get quite busy in the later afternoons and evenings, even during the week. Locals love strolling the World Showcase promenade after work and associating with friends. As you can imagine, drinking around the World Showcase becomes a very popular event.
If you want to avoid crowds and have quieter days, we’d recommend visiting Tuesday – Thursday during the day. Come first thing in the morning and stay until your heart’s desire. If you want to completely avoid the crowds and you’re OK with missing the fireworks, getting in early and getting out early is your best bet!
During these days, the festivals can be incredibly quiet from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm or so! There’s something quite enjoyable about getting in line when no one else is, especially for a festival! Wait times for attractions will also be minimal on these days.
Mondays can get incredibly crowded due to the Extended Evening Hours events happening on every Monday right now. Friday morning normally isn’t bad either, but it gets chaotic quickly in the afternoon. And as you can imagine, on Saturday and Sunday we almost always avoid EPCOT.
What Months Have the Longest Park Hours?
When considering which months to visit based on park hour availability, think in terms of school vacations. These time periods normally have longer hours and better access for guests.
Disney plans park hours based on forecasted projections and hotel occupancy numbers. They know exactly when the parks are going to be crowded and they adjust the park schedules accordingly.
Historically, the months that will have the longest park hours in EPCOT are:
There are individual days NOT amongst these months that could have longer park hours, such as Halloween, New Year’s Day, 3-day holiday weekends, etc. But these 7 months documented for the most part will attract the highest amount of guests, therefore, giving them the longest park hours.
January, February, August, September, and October all tend to have shorter park hours.
If you check our Disney World Crowd Calendar, usually the busiest days of the year will have the longest park hours.
How Many Hours Does EPCOT Take?
EPCOT is a massive park and requires a LOT of walking if you want to do it right. Although there aren’t a ton of attractions to visit at EPCOT, there are a lot of hidden gems to explore. For instance, all 11 of the countries in World Showcase are worthy of exploration, with several of them having enjoyable movies.
It’s also nice to just stroll around each one and look at the architecture and hidden details or visit some of the shops and look for authentic souvenirs to bring home. This can easily take hours!
Not to mention many EPCOT visitors are shocked to know that over in World Nature in one of the Pavilions (The Seas) you can find one of the largest man-made ocean environments in the world, with a 5.7 million gallon saltwater aquarium to explore!
Similar to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the hourly requirement to ride the “must-do” attractions might only take a few hours, but to truly “see EPCOT”, it could take days! If you want to see as much as possible while getting on the most important rides, we’d recommend getting there early and staying until after the fireworks, if you have the energy!
Can You Do EPCOT in 4 Hours?
If you want to see all of EPCOT in 4 hours, the answer is undoubtedly “NO!” But if you’re simply wanting to ride on most of the main attractions while quickly walking around the bulk of the park, then 4 hours is probably enough.
In order to make this happen though, you are going to need to come during a slow time of year and during a weekday. Also, if you want to do it as fast as possible, your best bet is to purchase Genie+ for the day. That is going to help you get as many attractions done in a short timeframe.
If this is something you want to do, our Genie+ Guide to EPCOT will help you get it done in the most efficient way possible.
Is EPCOT Free After 6:00 pm?
Unfortunately, EPCOT is NOT free after 6:00 pm. There was a time at EPCOT when they would sell cheaper admission tickets after 4:00 pm, but this is no longer the case.
No matter what time of day you’re visiting, the cost of admission will not change and you have to pay full price. Thankfully, looking for Discount Disney World tickets will help you save some money on your theme park admission, even hundreds of dollars depending on how many days you are going.
What is Rope Drop?
If you’re in Disney a lot or you’re talking to guests that visit the parks a lot, you’ll frequently hear them mention the term “rope drop.” The term rope drop is referring to the idea of getting to the parks in time for the opening.
The reason why you want to be one of the first people to arrive is it will give you a big advantage in riding the attractions with minimal wait times. Most guests arrive 1 hour or more after the park opens, so if you are there before them, you can knock out 2-3 of the most popular rides before the crowds get too big.
There is not typically a physical rope that holds guests back from entering the turnstiles or the rides, instead just some cast members that commonly block off the areas of the parks until opening time.
Disney Parks typically let guests into the main areas of the park prior to the opening times listed, which helps you save time by being one of the first people in line for the popular attractions.
In EPCOT, prior to the park opening’s opening time, they’ll allow guests into the main areas around Spaceship Earth before blocking off until the official opening time or possibly a few minutes earlier.
Though not as important at EPCOT as compared to the Magic Kingdom, we still recommend doing a rope drop here. You’ll save a ton of time by not waiting in attraction queues, and you can instead use that time later in the day to enjoy food and drinks in World Showcase.
We are currently working on a Guide to Rope Drop at EPCOT, so stay tuned for that soon!
What is the Earliest You Can Enter EPCOT?
While there was a time that Disney World would allow ALL guests into the parks prior to the official park opening time, Early Theme Park Entry has essentially squashed that. If you have Early Entry admission, they’ll likely allow you into the park a few minutes before the allotted time.
So if the Early Entry Time is 8:30, they’ll likely allow you in a few minutes prior to 8:30 as long as you are staying at one of the Walt Disney World Resort hotels, or another participating hotel.
If you are not staying in one of those hotels, the earliest you can get into EPCOT is at opening, which is usually 9:00 am. Technically, you can still enter through the front gate before that, but they will hold you off in the EPCOT entrance area in front of Spaceship Earth until 9:00 am.
What Time Should YOU Arrive at EPCOT?
Getting to the parks unnecessarily early or frustratingly late can be a nuisance for guests that want to maximize their mornings as much as possible. If wanting to make the most amount of your morning time to get to the highest amount of attractions is your aim, here is the strategy I’d adopt:
If you want to get on as many rides as possible as soon as possible at EPCOT, we recommend doing a rope drop and arriving at EPCOT at least 30 minutes prior to anyone being allowed in the park. So if you have Early Entry, that’s 30 minutes prior to Early Entry Time.
And if you DON’T have Early Theme Park Entry access, that means you should arrive at the park about 30 minutes prior to the official opening time. It’s also possible they’ll let you in sooner, so you want to be there and ready to go!
If you follow either of those strategies, or anything close to that, you’ll be in good hands! While you’re not guaranteed to be at the very front of the lines, you’ll be more than close enough and you will get a ton of rides done in the morning!
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Rides to Prioritize Early in the Morning
Many guests coming to EPCOT aren’t aware that EPCOT has two main entrances. Depending on which entrance you arrive at will determine which rides you should prioritize. The two main entrances are:
- The World Showcase Entrance – Found on the backside of EPCOT near the Disney Skyliner stop and Disney Resorts The Yacht and Beach Club, the Boardwalk Inn, the Swan, Swan Reserve, and the Dolphin.
- Main Entrance – This is the front of the park where guests will park their vehicles if they’re driving and also where Disney Buses drop off guests.
While we aren’t saying one is necessarily better than the other, it is important to know which spot you’ll be at in order to prioritize which rides you want to visit!
For instance, if you’re coming into the Main Entrance, getting over to the entirely opposite side of the park to get on Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure wouldn’t be the best strategy for beating crowds.
If coming in at the World Showcase Entrance here is how we’d prioritize rides in the morning:
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
- Frozen Ever After
If coming in at the Main Entrance here is how we’d prioritize rides in the morning:
- Test Track
- Soarin’ Around the World
Keep in mind this is with the understanding that Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is only available via paid Lightning Lane Reservations or by getting in the virtual queue. If that is still the case, you will have a set return time here and it’s not important to run right over there when the park opens.
In the future, when this changes and it goes to a standby queue, we will adjust this strategy.
Attractions That Never Open at Park Opening
While EPCOT normally opens the majority of its headline attractions at the park opening, there are a few attractions that typically don’t open with the rest of the park.
While there are no ways to guarantee for sure, the best thing to do is to check the My Disney Experience app and check each attraction’s scheduled hours for the day. Ones that rarely open at the park opening are:
- Impressions de France (France Video in World Showcase)
- Meet and Greet with Characters
That’s really it for EPCOT! Unlike some of the other parks, almost all of the main attractions open daily with Early Entry.
Should You Use Genie+?
If you’re planning to visit EPCOT from the start of the day until the park closes, I’d say absolutely not. You don’t need Genie+ and you’ll have plenty of time to do what you want.
There just isn’t the sheer amount of attractions that require you to reserve rides on Genie+ that make it worth it, especially without the possibility to reserve Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind with Genie+.
The only times we’d recommend getting Genie+ at EPCOT ARE:
- You’ll be park hopping and using it at EPCOT PLUS an additional park OR
- You’re coming to EPCOT later in the day and you want to maximize the final few hours with Lightning Lane Reservations without having to wait in many lines.
In these two situations, we are OK with opting to get Genie+, and in that case, our Genie+ Guide to EPCOT will help you best plan your day and get the most out of your money.
But otherwise, if you’re coming for rope drop in the morning and you’re staying for most of the day, it just simply isn’t needed. I’d save your money and use Genie+ in Magic Kingdom or Hollywood Studios instead.
Transportation options when coming to and from EPCOT are plentiful and varied for guests visiting. EPCOT has the highest number of ways to get into the parks, giving outstanding accessibility from a large number of different resorts.
In this section, we will talk about the main ways, and discuss using them both in the morning and at park closing times.
Here are the main transportation options at EPCOT:
Disney Buses – Guests staying at non-EPCOT-Resort Area hotels will most likely have to take Disney Buses to the front entrance of EPCOT if they aren’t ridesharing or bringing their own vehicle.
Disney Monorail – Guests traveling to EPCOT from Magic Kingdom or the Monorail Resorts will have the option to use the Disney Monorail. With a simple transfer at the TTC (Transportation and Ticket Center), you can get easy access to the front entrance of EPCOT on the monorail.
Disney Boats – Disney Resort guests staying on the Disney Boardwalk can take the Friendship Boats into the back entrance of EPCOT in World Showcase. Guests traveling from Hollywood Studios can also take the boat to EPCOT.
Disney Skyliner – With the addition of the Disney Skyliner, guests staying at Pop Century, Art of Animation, Caribbean Beach, or Riviera can reach the back entrance of EPCOT in the World Showcase.
Walking – Guests staying on the Disney Boardwalk have an easy walk into the World Showcase entrance of EPCOT. Those that have easy walking access would be guests staying at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts, the Boardwalk Inn Resort, and the Swan, Swan Reserve, and Dolphin Resorts.
Driving – For visitors coming to EPCOT that have car access, parking in EPCOT is simple and self-explanatory. The newly rethemed parking areas are named after various different Disney, Pixar, and Marvel Characters and are easy to navigate. Our Disney World Parking Guide will tell you everything you need to know.
Ridesharing – A popular way if you’re in a time crunch to get to/from EPCOT is by paying additional money to use a ridesharing service such as Uber or Lyft. They will bring you to the front of the park and conveniently get you or drop you off right near the EPCOT turnstiles.
In the Morning
What can you expect with each of the above transportation options if getting to EPCOT for rope drop in the morning?
Disney Buses – Disney officially states that transportation will start picking up guests at their resorts around 2 hours prior to park opening time (1.5 hours prior to Early Entry). We typically recommend being at your bus stop at your Disney Resort between 45 minutes to 1 hour prior to Early Theme Park Entry.
If you want to get there any sooner or to ensure that you’re on the very first bus to your hotel, consider waiting between 1 and 1.5 hours prior to the Early Entry Time opening. We don’t find this is necessary but feel free to do so!
Disney Monorail – The “Highway in the Sky” is often popular for guests striving to reach EPCOT in the morning. The EPCOT Monorail line usually opens up around 8:00 am each morning, so I’d prefer to be at the TTC prior to 8:00 so you can catch one of the first monorails over to the park. The lines can get long here!
Disney Boats – The Friendship Boats as they are often called are a more relaxed way of getting to the back entrance of EPCOT. While they don’t normally start until 30 minutes or prior to park opening, there usually are limited waits.
While this is a relaxing way to get to the park, we find it typically unnecessary due to the fact that all the stops on the way to EPCOT are less than a 10-minute walk away. We prefer using the Boats for a visit to Hollywood Studios.
Disney Skyliner – For guests coming from one of the Skyliner Resorts, expect to wait in long lines! Unless you’re coming from Disney’s Caribbean Beach OR Disney’s Riviera Resort you’re going to have to transfer, which makes for an even longer journey.
If desiring to make it for rope drop and use the Skyliner, I’d advise attempting to get on as soon as they open, which is normally between 7:30 am and 8:00 am each morning.
Walking – The best and most guaranteed way to ensure you are there for park opening is by walking! Walking from any of the Boardwalk Resorts is simple and quick! You’ll have less than a 10-minute walk coming from any of the Resorts. This is the absolute best option if you have it!
Driving – The parking lots at EPCOT typically open about an hour before Early Theme Park Entry. That is normally at 8:30 am, which means you can likely park at around 7:30 am. I’d advise getting there as soon to that time as possible so you don’t face long lines upon arrival to the park.
Ridesharing – Unlike having to park, with ridesharing you can get dropped off at the front of the park. You also don’t have to wait in those long parking ticket queues, saving you considerable time. I’d advise getting to the park about 30 minutes or so prior to Early Theme Park Entry when ridesharing.
At Park Close
What can you expect with each of the above transportation options when leaving each night after park closure? Here is what we’ve experienced:
Disney Buses – Due to the way in which EPCOT closes after the fireworks shows, Disney Buses get slammed! Guests migrate like ants out of the parks and lines can get incredibly long! If you’re not completely exhausted and are willing to wait a little bit of time, the lines will get considerably smaller if you just linger your way out of the park.
Disney Monorail – The Disney Monorail stops running promptly 2 hours after the park closes. The lines will be long immediately after closure, but they tend to move fairly quickly.
Disney Boats – There typically aren’t long lines to get on the Friendship Boats after the park closes. While you might not get on the very 1st one, you’ll likely get on the 2nd or 3rd one. We don’t tend to feel it’s worth it at all, but if you can’t do the walk back to the resort, it’s a short and relaxing journey.
Disney Skyliner – SImilar to the Monorail, the Skyliner hours are static and don’t fluctuate. The EPCOT Skyliner stop usually stops between 60-90 minutes after the park closes.
The lines get VERY long immediately after the show, and the line can wrap and wrap and wrap. We’ve had to wait close to an hour in this line at times. Either wait a little bit of time for it to lessen or book it immediately after the show ends.
Walking – The surest way to get back to your hotel room as soon as possible is walking! You’ll have a nice and easy walk whatever time you decide to meander out of the park.
Driving – Getting out of EPCOT can be chaotic if leaving with the mass exodus of guests at park closing. Lanes can bottleneck and it can be stressful due to the sheer volume of guests leaving at the same time.
Ridesharing – Guests choosing to pay for an Uber or Lyft ride will have to pay significant upcharges in costs. Many other guests at all the different parks are doing the same thing at the same time. This causes there to be considerable price hikes.
EPCOT Festival Hours
EPCOT is the home of the festivals! There are four festivals that run seasonally. They are:
- Festival of the Arts (Early January to Mid-February)
- Flower and Garden Festival (March to July)
- Food and Wine Festival (July to November)
- Festival of the Holidays (Late November to Late December)
Each of the festivals has food booths that are centered around cultures of the world. While they rarely offer any kind of breakfast offerings, the various themed festival food booths all typically open around 11:00 am each morning and close with the official park closing time.
They are open 7 days a week and can get quite crowded during the evening hours and on the weekends.
To thoroughly enjoy all of the different food offerings of the festivals, we advise utilizing the few hours in the morning between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm to enjoy minimal lines with far less chaos trying to find a place to sit down and enjoy the vibe.
Our Predictions for Future EPCOT Park Hours
We are thoroughly excited about the first EPCOT After Hours events that will be taking place this summer! This gives us hope and promise for the park and the things to come.
With the removal of Harmonious and the eventual replacement coming, we expect EPCOT can use this momentum and excitement to maximize the evening hours as they’ve begun to do in the later parts of last year.
While we haven’t seen too many 10:00 pm park closures yet in 2023, we are confident we will see them again soon as we delve into the busier times of the year in the spring months or holiday season.
We love having the Extended Evening Hours and having later nights available at EPCOT with minimal waits. We hope they continue to use this for guests, allowing for greater nighttime access to the park. We’d be overjoyed if they added a 2nd night to the Extended Evening Hours, giving even more time to enjoy the parks at night.
While we doubt this will happen, we feel confident that EPCOT will give us more 8:00 am openings and 10:00 pm closures as they update and alter the park schedule for the coming months. And with the recently added After Hours events, it appears EPCOT will not be forgotten!
Ready to Start Planning Your Disney Vacation?
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That wraps up our look at EPCOT park hours in 2023. We hope that helps you understand when the park opens, closes, and how to plan your day!
If you are thinking about going to Walt Disney World in the coming future, here are some other popular articles where you will find all the info and tips you need to plan your trip.
- Disney World Vacation Planning Guide
- Disney World Crowd Calendar
- When are the Best Times to Visit Disney World?
I want to know what you think about the park hours for EPCOT…
- What time do you like to arrive at EPCOT?
- What changes would you like to see to the park hours?
Let us know in the comments section below!
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My name is Ziggy and I love Disney, everything Disney! I grew up on Disney and it has and continues to be a huge part of my life. I started young when my parents took me to Disney World when I was 18 months old. Little did they know that would be the first of an uncountable number of trips we would take. I have so many amazing memories going to Disney with my family and friends and it has been interwoven into my DNA.