Random Questions from First Time

First trip, so I’ve been researching and reading everything but I’ve got some things I’d love getting clued in on.

We’re staying at the Swan and Dolphin and walking or taking a boat to Epcot. When I started planning I posted a trip plan question here about issues with my Epcot plan and people said it was because the main section of Epcot opens hours before the International section does. Does that include the International Gateway entrance? If we want to go to Epcot before the International section opens do we have to make our way to the front gate? Or is this pre-Covid info and it’s all the same now?

I had just started agonizing over trying to flesh out our plans when they announced Genie and that stuff. At that point I just stopped with the detailed plans assuming everything is going to change when that comes into effect. Is there an estimate of how long that will need to be in operation before the site and experienced visitors can start to estimate how it’s going to affect plans and making a detailed touring plan? We’re not going till end of Jan so I assume it will be implemented well before that (I know that’s speculating though).

Does anyone know if there is anything special for 50th anniversary trips? We’re bringing my mom, and this will be her first trip to Disney in 50 years, I didn’t know if there was something they were doing to recognize people who visited the first year and, if so, what we would need to find for that. I think she has pictures somewhere, but it’s been decades since I’ve seen them.

My husband really wants to do as many fireworks as often as possible. Any suggestions or tips for good places to watch or if the dining parties are worth it would be appreciated as well.

Thanks everyone!

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I think we had suggested you try the Epcot covid plan? All of Epcot is now opening at the same time.


Yes, you did, which was very much appreciated advice. I plan on doing that, but when I went to restart my plans with the Covid ones they announced Genie and I decided to wait rather than redo everything with a Covid plan and then find out Genie changed so much I needed to do a third Genie Covid plan. I’m enjoying making plans, but not that much :slight_smile: Am I overestimating how much things will change when they implement Genie and Genie+?

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I think Epcot opening all at the same time might be the “new” thing that will stay.

Just to clarify this bit, even when World Showcase opened after Future World, you were still allowed to enter through the International Gateway as soon as the park opened. (They just had the rest of World Showcase blocked off.)

They are currently opening at the same time, but even if that changes, the IG will almost certainly be usable. (There is no easy way to get from IG to the front gate without cutting through the park, and with skyliner, IG is really doubly necessary.)


I really hope not!

It will be three worlds not two?

Four, according to this article I was reading yesterday:


I don’t really see what difference that makes though. They could still open everything except WS at 9am. I actually wouldn’t care if it all opened at once as long as it was at 9am. I don’t want it opening at 11.

Slight quibble. In the beforetimes, WS opened later and most of it was blocked off, but some of the bakeries were open for breakfast. We stayed at Beach Club with park hoppers and would sometimes pop over to Epcot for breakfast before going somewhere else for the day.


Yes France was open, and Norway. Mexico opened too I think at one point.

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I’m pretty sure the later opening has to do with staffing issues. I don’t know where everyone went (maybe got new jobs elsewhere) but Disney is woefully understaffed at the moment. The 2 additional hours would require more hours (payroll) and more cast members for sure. The current hours probably let Disney get away with basically one shift of workers.
I totally agree, 11 o’clock is so late to start the day but that’s how they’re playing it for the moment.

@jackieb2, the later start time actually makes Epcot an easier park to plan for. I’ve very much enjoyed having no fastpasses. No idea on the Genie thing…but one strategy is to do future world in one visit and then world showcase over a couple of visits. January is a great time to go. Cooler, dryer weather. That makes it very enjoyable.

I haven’t heard of any special things for those who were there 50 years ago, but that’s a wonderful idea. You may want to make your mom a special shirt or at least get a button at guest services that notes the milestone

Yeah I understand they’ve got major staffing issues now - that’s not going to last forever though is it. I don’t want to see the 11am opening continue by choice rather than by necessity.

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No, agreed.
We’ve been 4 times since reopening and we’re going again in November. I have to say that the first time back (August 2020) the cast members were all stellar. They brought back the best of the best. They only needed so many since hours were shorter, many hotels were closed, etc…
Since then, they are casting a wide net to get people to come back to fill in where they need them. The most recent trip (August 2021) was noticeably lack luster on several fronts.
Maybe one more year and they’ll have it sorted. :crossed_fingers:

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We were waiting for Avengers Campus to open before doing our first trip to DLR. So that was delayed. Now looking at going in Fall 2022. We went to WDW in February 2020 and were planning to go next after the major construction is finished. So that’s a bit of a wait yet anyways. I’m hoping things such as staffing issues and live entertainment are resolved by then.

Much of World Showcase was staffed by foreign nationals (or perhaps better said, natives of that country) and with Covid many of them cannot get into the US to work right now. I think that’s the primary staffing issue at Epcot especially. This year was the first time ever we had a non-Canadian waiter at Le Cellier over a lot of visits, for example…

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I seem to remember someone telling me Disney anticipated 80% of CMs would return when recalled. That turned out to be pretty accurate.

But they also expected to be able to recruit the remaining staff they needed fairly easily, which turned out to be not the case.

The lack of the International CMs is definitely hitting Epcot hard, plus some resort staff including all the wonderful Cultural Representatives at AKL. Hopefully that should start to ease by the start of 2022 if the US starts issuing the type of visas Disney used (exchange programme ones).

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The college program just getting ramped back up probably hasn’t helped either. I think this is the first semester it is back and running and my presumption is it is not running at the prior capacity yet.