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Guide to a Perfect 21st Birthday at Epcot

Guide to a Perfect 21st Birthday at Epcot

Congrats on turning 21! If you’ve been thinking about celebrating your 21st birthday at Epcot in Walt Disney World in Orlando, you’re a baddie. I’m a Disney Parks fanatic so it was always my plan to “drink around the world” in Epcot for my 21st and it was the most fun I’d have at Disney!

Stay in a Disney resort

It’s your 21st birthday so your goal is to enjoy that you’re now of legal drinking age, right? If you’ll be planning to enjoy a drink at each country in Epcot, you’re definitely not driving back to your hotel. Disney hotels come with one priceless amenity: transportation to and from the parks. 

Epcot is one of the most connected parks to the Disney transportation system, with options to arrive via car, bus, skyliner, ferry, monorail, or even through walking at certain resorts. Other hotels and resorts in Orlando might offer a bus ride to and from, but the one time I chose this option it was awful. This trip was when I was a lot younger and in my teen years, but I didn’t even make it back to that bus by it’s final departure time because it was so far away from the park exit, and they would only pick up once after the park closed. We had to call an uber home after that. I knew that was not something I wanted to risk happening again after I’d been drinking at Epcot.


Instead, I stayed at the Disney All-Star Music resort. I checked in easily. I parked easily. My room had Disney music playing from the TV when I entered and there were towels on the bed in the shape of Mickey Mouse. I had a vanilla ice cream cone for free (it was on Mickey) and enjoyed walking past the massive decorations meant to entertain me on the way back to my room. The next morning, I missed the first Epcot bus I wanted to get on. No matter, another one comes every 15 or so minutes. The same happened when the park closed. My drunken mind didn’t have to worry about being stranded at Disney, and your drunken mind shouldn’t have to either. It’s your birthday. No worries. Just fun.

The monorail in Epcot at Walt Disney World

Arrive at opening, stay till closing

Disney tickets are expensive! You deserve to enjoy the entire day, and I mean the entire day. I don’t know what’s going on with Disney and whatever Fast Pass system is currently going on, but I do know that you can avoid a 4 hours wait to the most popular rides if you go to them first when the park still opens, and people are still getting into the park.

Don’t make your first ride be Spaceship Earth. It’s one of my favorites, but it’s also a favorite of everyone else. Instead, while other park attendees are foolishly crowding into this line because it’s the first ride in the park, beeline all the way to Soarin’ and enjoy a 5 minute wait instead of 4-5 hours. You could switch this out for Test-Track instead, but I think Soarin’ is worth a lot more as a ride than Test Track is.


Don’t forget your birthday button! Pairing my birthday button with the “Finally 21” sash helped single me out to Cast Members who would perk my mood every time they’d say “Happy Birthday!”

Start in Mexico, eat dinner in Canada

There are two types of people in this world: people who start drinking in Mexico, and people who start drinking in Canada. If you don’t know what I mean by this, here’s a map of the Epcot World Showcase:

Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, The American Adventure, Japan, Morocco, France, International Gateway, United Kingdom, Canada


You see how turning left or right takes you on a very different path through the world showcase. Each area will immersive you in a Disney version of it’s prospective country. Access to the world showcase is 11 AM, which is around the beginning of lunchtime. If you start in Mexico, you can start with Tequila and can finish by eating at Le Cellier Steakhouse. I’m telling you, that Canadian steak and French Onion soup in there was once of the most revitalizing meals I’d ever have.

See Also
Countries To Visit While You Study Abroad

No matter what, there are 12 countries in the world showcase. I saved money, and sanity, by splitting 1 drink with another person at each country. 6 drinks is a lot for any person, let alone 12. Please drink responsibly so you can enjoy your day and not risk getting banned from Disney for getting wasted in front of the children. Pick and choose carefully!


Make Reservations

If you don’t make a reservation for dinner, there is a 99% chance you will not be able to eat at any of the sit-down restaurants. I love grab-and-go food just as much as the next one, but being at Disney means walking. Being there for your 21st birthday means walking while drinking, which means you’re going to want to sit down eventually. 

They can be tricky to acquire sometimes, but if you call Disney once or twice a day until a reservation pops up you’re more likely to get once. If all else fails, head to the restaurant in the park early in the morning right after opening and ask for a dinner slot then. Usually, they do have a slot. The slot might be around 3 or 4 PM, but think about it this way: if you eat dinner earlier than everyone else, then you’ll be out in the park during decreased ride wait times because other park attendees are too busy eating to be on a ride.

Stay for the fireworks

It’s necessary. It makes the night perfect. It’s the last finishing touch to your day. Disney Imagineers are incredible at capturing audience attention, and the parks are famous for their firework shows for a reason. Pack a tiny blanket in your backpack, and find a spot 30-45 minutes before the show starts at 9 PM. Don’t worry about filming it, just sit and enjoy the wonder.

Epcot's firework show
The picture doesn’t do it justice.