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Epcot After-Hours Option

Beginning this week, guests at Epcot will have the option to hang around a little longer and extend their day at the Orlando theme park. Thursdays through Sundays, now until September 15, you may purchase an After-Hours Wind Down pass for $35 per person. This pass will let you enjoy smaller crowds, exclusive access to one of four lounges and have an appetizer and drink.

Usually a day at Epcot is finished after the IllumiNations fireworks show around 9:00 p.m. With the After-Hours pass, you’ll get to experience the park with fewer guests and perhaps try something a little different at one of these World Showcase lounges:

  • Spice Road Table – Morocco
  • Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar – Italy
  • La Cava del Tequila – Mexico
  • Rose & Crown Pub – United Kingdom

You’ll need to make reservations, but they can be made from within the park while you are already enjoying the day. Stop by Epcot Guest Relations and see if space is available. If you know for sure that you want to take part in this extended day at the theme park, call 407-939-3463 or go to disneyworld.com/spring and get your passes ahead of time.

The cost is a little pricey, but for many guests, it is a fun way to experience the park and places within the park, that are often crowded during the day. The pass comes with a beverage sampling appropriate for the lounge you are at, and a selection of Hors d’oeuvres, or small bites. Additional beverages are available at cost. If you’ve signed up for the Disney Dining Plan, this event is not included, nor are there any discounts available at this time.

Cava del Tequila at Epcot in Orlando

ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: Because of the popularity of the Rose & Crown, as well as the La Cava del Tequila, this After-Hours pass is a great way to experience this part of Epcot. On Thursdays, it may not be difficult to get into these lounges, but on the weekends, you should purchase your pass early and get a reservation. Also…Since most of the guests at the park will be gone by 11:00 p.m., having an After-Hours pass offers a great time to take photographs without crowds in the background. Epcot is spectacular at night!

If the After-Hours pass is received well, it may be continued past the September 15 date. However, with the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival starting on the 19th of September, it might be even harder to sell the $35 ticket. Perhaps after that festival, it will be brought back, but why take the chance? Stay a little later and enjoy Epcot and the exclusivity now.

Spotlight: La Hacienda de San Angel, Restaurant at Epcot

If you’re a fan of Mexican fare, be sure to check out La Hacienda de San Angel when you are at Disney World’s Epcot.  This is the newest Orlando restaurant at the Mexico pavilion, and is modeled after a classic ‘Hacienda, which for us gringos means ‘estate, farm, or plantation’.  This restaurant is right on the water, and the view is fantastic.  The whole building was actually geared to World Showcase Lagoon and the fireworks, and during the day it’s great for enjoying the waterfront.

Dine on traditional Mexican dishes, including appetizers such as Taquizas, a taco trio that includes rib-eye, roasted chicken and marinated pork.   Dinner selections offer a variety of grilled combinations including Parillada Del Mar (shrimp and scallops), Arrachera (strip steak), and succulent Pescado a la Talla (grilled red snapper).  Sweet desserts include chocolate churros, fruit empanadas, sorbet, and sweet tamales.

To make La Hacienda stand out, Disney has brought in taco specialists from one of the best taquerias in Mexico to teach them this authentic cuisine. Corn tortillas are a major component of a great Mexican meal, so Disney makes them fresh right there every day.  The salsas are made fresh as well and not just tomato salsa. They have salsas made with unique flavors from different regions of Mexico like chipotle and Serrano peppers, tomatillos, mangos.

La Hacienda de San Angel even boasts an on-site Tequila ambassador and an expert mixologist.  (Now, I wonder how one gets to be a Tequila ambassador?  I want that job, lol.)  This expertise helps them create some very unique and inventive Margaritas.  Guests over age 21 can try some of the best-sellers, which include passion fruit and lime-raspberry, orange mango fire margarita with a dash of Tabasco, chili powder and ginger liqueur, or even their coffee margarita.

$$-$$$, casual dress, Mexican cuisine, reservations suggested, full bar, lunch and dinner
Location:
Mexico Pavilion at Epcot
Cuisine:
Mexican
Phone: (407) WDW-DINE or (407) 939-3463
Experience:
Casual Dining
Service:
A la Carte
Price Level:
$$ ($15 to $35.99)

Spotlight: Walt Disney World’s Epcot

Epcot is easily recognized by its signature “giant golf ball” icon, Spaceship Earth.  Epcot is divided into two sections: Future World and World Showcase.

World Showcase is a collection of pavilions with shops, attractions and restaurants that represent the culture and cuisine of 11 countries: United States, Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Morocco, France, United Kingdom, and Canada.  Some of the attractions inside the pavilions include the Gran Fiesta Tour starring the Three Caballeros, a charming boat ride through a shady lagoon at the foot of a smoking volcano that takes guests on a journey to find everyone’s favorite duck, Daffy! (Mexico).  The newest addition to Epcot’s World Showcase will leave Frozen fans of all ages excited: Frozen Ever After transports guests to Arendelle via an ancient Norwegian vessel, where they will embark on a musical journey featuring fan favorites like Anna, Elsa, Sven, and Olaf! Also located in the Norway pavilion for Frozen fanatics is the Royal Sommerhus, a cozy cabin where visitors have the opportunity to do a meet a greet with Anna and Elsa. Other World Showcase attractions include Reflections of China and The American Adventure. There is something interesting to see in each country.  In true Disney spirit, everything is so realistic-looking; you will feel like you took a trip around the world.

Future World’s attractions focus on technological advancements, innovation, and wonder, as well as inspiring entertainment and shows. Find one of the largest man-made ocean environments in the world at The Seas with Nemo & Friends pavilion.  Check out the Land Pavilion and learn how scientific techniques are helping farmers to meet the worlds’ food needs. Enjoy the Soarin’ attraction, which has been updated to take you on a hang-gliding adventure that highlights famous attractions from all around the world!  If you have a strong stomach, Mission: SPACE will bring you on a realistic space flight to Mars. Make sure you check out the fastest attraction at Epcot, Test Track, which is a 60 mph thrill ride where you become a test subject in an automobile.  There are many more things to see and do, even inside the ‘giant golf ball,’ Spaceship Earth.

Epcot also hosts two very popular festivals annually: The International Flower and Garden Festival and The International Food and Wine Festival!

Orlando Tourist Tips:

  • To avoid long waits, don’t make the Spaceship Earth attraction your first stop in the morning, because that is it’s most popular time. The wait will be shorter at any other part of the day.
  • Disney’s FASTPASS reservation system reduces time spent in line at popular attractions at Disney Theme Parks. You can start making selections as early as 30 days before you arrive after you purchase your ticket or annual pass. If you like to plan as you go, slip your Park Pass into the FASTPASS machine to receive a ticket with an assigned return time and enjoy the rest of the park while Disney’s FASTPASS service saves your place in line.
  • If you have a weak stomach and a strong desire to ride Mission: SPACE, consider going on the green mission instead of the orange to avoid the intense spinning and g-force that can be too intense for certain passengers, including small children.

If you like rides, use your FASTPASS for Soarin’ or Test Track ASAP – they always have a long line.

 

For more information about Epcot, visit their web site, or type in ‘Epcot’ in our search (top right) to read more articles about this theme park. Feel free to leave a response below about your visit to Epcot and share your tips and experience!