When You Should Use EPCOT’s ‘Back Door’

Is EPCOT the best park at Disney World?

Spaceship Earth

A lot of people would probably say so! It does have a lot to offer, from traveling around the world to launching into space. EPCOT is a great park to spend the whole day in or to just hang out in for a couple of hours. Either way, you have to GET to the park first. EPCOT has two entrances into the park (the main entrance and the International Gateway), so we’re going to talk about which entrance you should use while you’re at Disney World!

EPCOT Main Entrance

EPCOT’s main entrance is located at the front of the park (duh) and is where you’ll walk up on a view of Spaceship Earth and the renovated fountain area right when you come in.

EPCOT Entrance

This area has many entry points and security checkpoints, so it’s good for handling large crowds. You will also find more ticket booths or guest relations Cast Members available to help you with buying tickets or whatever questions you might have.

EPCOT entrance ticket and guest relations booths

This is the entrance you will be brought to if you are driving and parking at EPCOT (or using rideshare), if you take the Monorail from the Transportation and Ticket Center, or if you take a bus to the park.

ECPOT Monorail Station

So, this entrance is for you if you’re taking any of those modes of transportation to get to EPCOT! If you’re not staying at an EPCOT resort, you will most likely be using one of these options to get to EPCOT. So, this is where it’s best for you to enter the park.

Monorail at EPCOT

Keep in mind that this entrance is usually busier than the International Gateway entrance since it is the main entry point, but it also has a better capability of handling more people.

It can be really busy!

If you want to talk to a Cast Member at the ticket or guest relations booths, this is also probably a better option for you, since there are more available here.

EPCOT parking entrance

The benefits of this entrance are that you get that nice EPCOT view as soon as you walk in! Spaceship Earth is front and center.

EPCOT Entrance!

But, the downside is you will encounter more of EPCOT’s construction right away than if you were to enter from the International Gateway. EPCOT’s undergoing its big transformation, and will be for a while, so keep this in mind if you don’t want to deal with navigating through construction right away.

EPCOT construction

This entrance is also closer to all of the attractions in EPCOT’s World Celebration, Discovery, and Nature. So, if you’re trying to get to Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind in time for your boarding group, we would use the main entrance at EPCOT!

Cosmic Rewind

But, this entrance is further away from the World Showcase, so if you’re trying to rope drop Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, we would say to go in through the International Gateway instead.

International Gateway

The International Gateway is located down a pathway between the France and U.K. pavilions in EPCOT’s World Showcase. It is only accessible on foot, by boat, or by using the Skyliner.

International Gateway in 2021

This entrance is a lot smaller than the main entrance, but it also usually is not as busy. Just know that if it IS really busy for whatever reason, you could be waiting there for a minute. The same goes for speaking to the Cast Members that help with tickets and other guest relations issues at this entrance — availability is way more limited.

Entering EPCOT from the International Gateway in 2020

You should use the International Gateway if you’re staying at an EPCOT resort, like Disney’s BoardWalk Resort, Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts, the Walt Disney World Swan, the Walt Disney World Dolphin, or the Swan Reserve. You can walk to the International Gateway from all of these resorts. Keep in mind that you can also walk from Hollywood Studios to the International Gateway (but it’s a bit of a hike!).

Walk to the International Gateway from the EPCOT resorts

If you don’t want to walk, you can take a Friendship Boat! These boats travel between EPCOT and Hollywood Studios, stopping at each resort mentioned above to pick up guests. Do know that this boat ride can take a while if you have a lot of stops in between where you’re trying to go. But, you can hop off at the next stop and walk the rest of the way if you want!

Friendship Boat at International Gateway

So, if you’re coming from an EPCOT resort or Hollywood Studios on a Friendship Boat, this is the entrance for you, because you will be taken right to it!

Take the boat between EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and the hotels!

The other option is the Disney Skyliner. There is a Skyliner station at the International Gateway that connects Hollywood Studios and several Disney hotels to EPCOT. Hotels with Skyliner access include Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Riviera Resort, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, and Disney’s Pop Century Resort.

Skyliner station

So, if you’re staying at one of these resorts, you can hop on the Skyliner and fly right over to the International Gateway!

The Disney Skyliner takes you to EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

You should also consider these modes of transportation to the International Gateway if you’re eating breakfast or visiting one of these hotels. So, if you’re eating breakfast at Topolino’s Terrace at the Riviera, we would then get on the Skyliner if you’re trying to go to EPCOT.

Skyliner to EPCOT

The benefits of this entrance are that it puts you right into World Showcase without you having to weave through any kind of construction. You can get to visiting countries around the world right away!

On the right is the International Gateway

This entrance is also typically less crowded than the main entrance, which can save you a lot of time. But remember, it’s also smaller.

International Gateway in 2021

If you’re trying to rope drop Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure or Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie, we would enter from the International Gateway if we were you, because it puts you right next to the France pavilion.

Remy’s can have a really long wait!

We’d also suggest using this entrance if you’re trying to get into the park to watch Harmonious, the evening fireworks. They take place over the World Showcase Lagoon, so you’ll be closer to the view by using this entrance.

Harmonious

Also note that both entrances have ECV and stroller rentals available at them, so you don’t have to worry about that being a deciding factor!

Disney strollers at the International Gateway

Picking an EPCOT entrance totally depends on how you’re getting to EPCOT. For buses, cars, and the Monorail — use the main entrance.  And, for boats, walking, and the Skyliner — use the International Gateway!

EPCOT entrance

It’s important to know that getting to either of these entrances can take longer  than you think, so factor that into your park hopping when you’re planning your day at Disney World.

If you want to know more about what’s going on at EPCOT right now, you can check out our info on the big EPCOT transformation, our spoiler-free review of the new Guardians of the Galaxy ride, or our info about the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival!

EPCOT

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Which entrance do you like better at EPCOT? Tell us in the comments!

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One Reply to “When You Should Use EPCOT’s ‘Back Door’”

  1. The International Gateway entrance has a couple more options for using it: The first is if you want to make a dinner reservation at a Boardwalk area hotel or a Boardwalk restaurant on the day you go to Epcot, you can leave Epcot for dinner and return afterwards. The second us is you are planning to go to Disney Springs (or Saratoga Springs resort if you don’t mind walking or taking the boat from Disney Springs to Saratoga Springs) you can leave Epcot and walk to the Beach Club and use the bus transportation from the Beach Club to get there if you are in the World Showcase and want to cut down the steps and the crowds necessary if going to Epcot’s main entrance.