Welcome to Part 4 of our early summer 2019 Walt Disney World trip report. This post covers an afternoon at Epcot, including evening Extra Magic Hours.
This will be one of the shorter recaps in this post. After a few late nights, I decided I needed to take the morning to catch up on some work, and I headed to Epcot only in the afternoon to visit the World Showcase, Flower and Garden Festival, and evening Extra Magic Hour.
About This Trip Report
This trip report covers our May 2019 visit to Walt Disney World. It’s designed to provide a final set of notes for visits in summer 2019 before August 29, 2019 when Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens. This trip report is in six parts (links open in new tabs):
Part 4 - Epcot Half Day (with evening Extra Magic Hour) (this post)
And two additional review posts:
We’re heavily into Extra Magic Hours and After Hours this trip, so the reports might not be as valuable for guests who won’t have access to Extra Magic Hours. Our next Walt Disney World trip report will probably be the opening of Galaxy’s Edge. That report will cover post-Galaxy’s Edge strategy.
I was headed to Epcot only for an afternoon and evening, but I’d still like to link to some content for those of you planning a full day (note that Part 6 of this trip report will cover a morning at Epcot—I don’t recommend only spending a half day here). If you’d like more background, you should consider the following posts (links open in new tabs):
Afternoon at Epcot
I took the bus over from Pop Century, where I’d spent the morning on my laptop in the cafeteria. Now that the upcoming bus times (at resorts) are in the My Disney Experience app, you don’t have to waste time waiting and wondering.
In the morning you’ll still want to arrive early to be sure you get on the next bus. And in the afternoon I still like to give myself a five-minute buffer because the predicted times aren’t always perfect.
I’ve said it a few times but I wanted to add again that I was very happy with bus transportation this trip, and that’s a big deal for me. Bus transportation is consistently my biggest Walt Disney World complaint, so to have a five-day trip go smoothly is nice.
The park looked reasonably busy when I arrived (it wasn’t as I’d find out).
Passholder magnets for Flower and Garden are being handed out at Mouse Gears.
Here’s a look at them:
Anyways, I arrived right in the middle of my Mission: SPACE FastPass+ window. I tapped into the FastPass+ queue at 2:55PM when the wait was 15 minutes and I was on the ride at 3:07PM.
I went with the Orange (more intense) version of the ride. I actually prefer the storyline of the Green version, and it’s usually not too hard to fit both into a day. If you’re unsure, Disney recommends (and we agree), you should try the Green version first.
I was able to modify my Spaceship Earth FastPass+ up to 3PM at 2:58PM—the first sign that crowds were probably low today.
I walked past the Guardians of the Galaxy coaster construction. You can see the exterior features of the building coming into place.
From there I headed over to Spaceship Earth, a favorite ride of mine. I tapped into my FastPass+ at 3:23PM when the posted wait was 15 minutes and I was on at 3:26PM.
Here are the waits after I got off at 3:46PM.
This is a slow day at Epcot. Indeed, Touring Plans recorded it as a 4 out of 10. 25 minutes for Living with the Land is a bit long, but the waits for that ride are impacted by Soarin’s nearby presence. Especially on days when people don’t want to be outside, it’s easy just to spend an hour inside on these two rides.
After that I took in some of the Flower and Garden Festival.
There are lots of topiaries throughout the park.
Here’s a look at some of the merchandise (use arrows to click through):
The “Gardener’s Terrace” is located in the Odyssey building and serves as sort of the festival center. You’ll find more merchandise there.
Over by Germany you’ll find a Snow White and Dopey topiary.
And Italy has a small Italian garden.
It was a hot day, and when I was at The American Adventure and saw the next show about to start at 4:30PM, I couldn’t resist.
This is one of Disney’s longer shows, clocking in at just under 30 minutes, plus another 5 to 10 to load the theater. It’s very historically oriented and overall a serious show.
I love this theater, particularly the “Spirit” statues along the outside.
In other Guardians of the Galaxy news, the My Disney Experience app indicates “Awesome Mix Live” will be returning this summer, presumably to the America Gardens theater. The return date is June 14.
Continuing my walk around the World Showcase, I came upon Belle and Aurora discussing parasols in France. Sorry for the poor coloring in the picture, I had to snap them quickly and then brighten.
Before we get to the evening, I want to highlight how nice a weekday afternoon at Epcot can be, even during a festival. Festival weekends can be awful as locals pour in (same with Food & Wine evenings), but weekday afternoons the perfect time to visit and enjoy low crowds.
Evening and Extra Magic Hours at Epcot
Emily came after finishing work, meeting me around 6PM. We’d considered grabbing dinner at Biergarten, but instead decided to spend the money trying food (mostly desserts) and beverages (beers) from the festival booths. Here’s a slideshow of what we tried:
There were evening Extra Magic Hours at Epcot tonight starting at 9PM. By 8:30PM the waits for the minor rides were gone, and we walked onto The Seas with Nemo and Friends and Journey Into Imagination with Figment at 8:35PM and 8:47PM.
At 9:01PM we got in line for Soarin’ and were off the ride at 9:21PM, one of our fastest Soarin’ experiences ever. We walked onto Living with the Land at 9:22PM and then Spaceship Earth at 9:45PM.
Emily wanted to ride Mission: SPACE, so we rode the green version of that, exiting at 10:20PM. While it would have been nice to fit both Test Track and Frozen Ever After in, we decided to go visit Gran Fiesta Tour first, walking onto that ride at 10:28PM.
We were in line for Frozen Ever After at 10:41PM and on the ride at 10:55PM, which meant we’d just miss our shot at fitting Test Track in. We headed home, actually making it back to the hotel by midnight for once!
Reviewing Evening Extra Magic Hours at Epcot
Here’s how the evening Extra Magic Hours portion of the day turned out:
8:35PM The Seas with Nemo and Friends
8:47PM Journey Into Imagination with Figment
9PM Start of Extra Magic Hours
9:22PM Living with the Land
9:45PM Spaceship Earth
10:17PM Mission: SPACE (Green)
10:28PM Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros
10:55PM Frozen Ever After
Looking back, I’m not sure I’d do anything different other than skip a ride if I wanted to ride Test Track. Even without Gran Fiesta Tour, it’s likely we would have managed to fit Test Track in.
Obviously we also skipped IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, which would have occupied the time from 9PM to 9:20PM.
As I said earlier, I don’t recommend spending just an afternoon at Epcot, so be sure to check out park 6 of this trip report (morning at Epcot) when it goes up!
All Your Other Disney World Planning Questions Answered
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Know what to ride with our guides to: Magic Kingdom rides, Hollywood Studios rides, Epcot rides, and Animal Kingdom rides! Plus learn about the water parks with our guide to Blizzard Beach and our guide to Typhoon Lagoon! And for some some fun prep, check out our Ranking of Every Ride at Walt Disney World.
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