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Guide to Walt Disney World: EPCOT and Hollywood Studios {Vlog}

December 28, 2017

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While the three remaining parks at Disney World aren’t as Disney-themed as Magic Kingdom is, there is definitely a magical quality in the air and with plenty of fun things to do! Here are my top attractions, dining experiences and shows at EPCOT and Hollywood Studios.

Be sure to check out the vlog at the end of the post if you enjoy videos!

DISNEY’S HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS

Hollywood Studio’s didn’t have as many attractions as I was expecting. But just because Star Wars Land is still under construction doesn’t mean there isn’t fun to be had! In fact, Hollywood Studios was one of my favorite theme parks. The theme of 1940s Hollywood, past starlets, and this nostalgic dream of the film industry that never was nor will be as magical as we all envision it are just a few of the reasons why this park succeeds. There are, however, quite a few attractions that caught my eye.

Our Favorite Attractions

My top favorite was Hollywood Tower of Terror. I was expecting an exact replica of the past attraction at Disney’s California Park but found this unique attraction to go beyond what I was expecting. From the creatively detailed queue to the longer ride itself, we had such a fun experience, we decided to get back in line and ride it again! Rock’n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith is conveniently located right next door, so we hopped on this speedy, dark indoor coaster quickly thanks to our fastpasses. This was a special attraction for Alex and me, as we asked the Disney cast members if we could sit in the very front. The song Sweet Emotion blasting through the speakers will always be a great memory for us.

Dining at Hollywood Studios

You have two great options for dining: 50s Prime Time Cafe and Sci-Fi Diner. If you’re looking for classic American comfort food like meat loaf and fried chicken, 1950s kitsch, and a unique themed experience, Prime Time is a favorite among many. Alex and I decided to go with the Sci-Fi Diner as they had more vegetarian options and the idea of sitting in a car at a black and white drive-in movie theatre seemed too interesting to pass up! We had heard mixed reviews of the Sci-Fi Diner, but we happened to love it! The vegetarian burgers were delicious, and the apple pie milkshake I had was delightful! Plus, we love odd black and white cartoons. We had just gotten engaged, and our waitress was so sweet she gave us a free appetizer after seeing our Disney engagement pins!

Don’t Skip Fantasmic!

Our evening was complete after seeing the spectacular laser and light shot, Fantasmic! After having seen this show countless times at Disneyland in California, I was expecting to skip this one entirely. I am so glad I decided to see it at Hollywood Studios. The show was more impressive than the California show, and this show included more scenes and had a longer finale with the villains! I always tend to cry while watching Fantasmic! but this had me straight up bawling. It was so magical, I think I’m going to go rewatch it on YouTube now…

EPCOT

To be entirely honest, I was planning on not visiting EPCOT. I had read various sources that EPCOT was the least favorite of all the parks from the vast majority of Disney park guests. I also was slightly interested in the World Showcase but assumed it would be kitchy and Disney-esque and wouldn’t stay true to the actual countries that I had visited. I couldn’t be more wrong. EPCOT ended up being my favorite park of the 4 for one reason: World Showcase.

World Showcase

Walking up to the lake that first evening, we saw sparkling iconic monuments surrounding us in a circular direction. The dazzling Eiffel Tower in France to the right and the glowing red Fushimi Inari-taisha in Japan to the right. EPCOT showcases 11 countries from around the world and in each country has authentic dishes, drinks and experiences that each country would have. My favorite aspect of World Showcase was how Disney employs cast members that are originally from each of those countries! I first noticed this when in a bakery in Norway, the cast members who were selling us our Norwegian pastries and baked goods were speaking Norwegian to each other! After asking them if they were from Norway, they told me that everyone who works in World Showcase is from the country they work in. I was floored. What an amazing addition to making World Showcase even more magical than it already was.

Standouts from World Showcase include the Impressions de France film in the France Pavilion, the quiet and tucked away park in the U.K., the colorful lanterns in Japan, and the train display in Germany.

Where to Eat at EPCOT World Showcase

Snacking and drinking around the World Showcase is a must-do as walk-up kiosks and beer and wine gardens are plentiful and specific to each country. If you have a Disney magic band and connected your debit/credit card to it, just tap and go! It’s as easy as that! Alex and I would snack and drink in each country, depending on what interested us, and we had such a magical experience soaking in each country that evening, we decided to come back the next afternoon and grab lunch at Via Napoli in Italy! Make sure to make a reservation first thing in the morning and prepare to be blown away. The spaghetti came in second place on my list of best Italian food I’ve ever had – and I spent an entire month in Italy eating spaghetti! It was so worth canceling our fast passes in Magic Kingdom to eat here.

Other Favorite Epcot Attractions

As far as attractions go, Soarin’ over the world is a magical experience and not to be missed, but make sure to grab a fast pass for this one! Test Track is also really thrilling, but it is not worth the wait unless you’re going as a single rider, which I highly recommend doing! Alex and I joined the 10 minute line, compared to the 130 minute wait for standby, as single riders, and we ended up sitting together!

EPCOT AND HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS TIPS

  1. Don’t be shy about asking the friendly Disney cast members if you can wait to sit in a specific section of the ride. Rock’n’ Roller Coaster is best experienced in the very front of the coaster, and Soarin’ is best experienced at the highest level (front row of the theatre).
  2. Please do yourself a favor and don’t make the mistake we did: do not ride Living with the Land in the Land Pavilion.
  3. EPCOT is best experienced late at night….when tired, screaming kids are not present at the park! (Just kidding.) All the restaurants, shows, and food kiosks are open in the evening, but skip EPCOT in the morning and afternoon, as there isn’t much to see or do and you won’t be able to grab food. Everything opens at dusk. On the other side, EPCOT is empty in the mornings, so if you’re hoping for some quiet away from the crowds, EPCOT’s World Showcase can be a peaceful oasis.
  4. Don’t skip the films at the different pavilions at World Showcase. The Impressions de France film in the France pavilion was my favorite experience at EPCOT.
  5. For the best seat in the house, get to Fantasmic! early and opt for the middle section! Don’t stress about not getting a seat though – the stadium is huge.

A few images from my photo diaries…

If you have any questions on Hollywood Studios or EPCOT, please don’t be shy about writing a comment below or messaging me! I love chatting about all things Disney! 🙂 What were you favorite attractions and experiences? Any that I must check out next time that we visit the parks?

EPCOT World Showcase Vlog

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRMhyMLo8_k&t=

Disney’s Hollywood Studios Vlog

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJqMsIhuC-E&t=

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I'm Helena, your new kindred spirit.

Sunny free-spirit, writer and creator in love with documenting the simple joys of life. I am passionate about noticing light and truth around me and reflecting it back to others.

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