Every year since my son was itty bitty, we’ve gone to Epcot to see Santa. And every year, we are not disappointed. In true Disney fashion, Santa is always jolly down to every detail and always delights my son and all other children who have come to visit him.
I mean, look at these photos. Aren’t they adorable? Aren’t they, dare I say, perfect?! Disney will absolutely deliver beautiful photos for you to cherish forever…
..however, it is Disney, so we need to talk logistics to make sure your child’s magical time isn’t thwarted by other things Disney is known for, namely long lines.
Visiting Santa at Epcot: What You Need to Know
First, let’s talk details.
Where is Santa? In the Odyssey Pavilion, between Test Track and the Mexico Pavilion.
When is Santa there? Daily through Christmas Eve, at 11:00 AM, 12:30PM, 2PM, 3:30PM, 5PM, and 6:30PM.
My Inside Scoop for Local Moms
When my son was maybe three or four, I left work as early as I could, hoping to get to Epcot in time to see Santa. I hurried home. I hurried back into the car. And I hurried through Epcot to America, all with my husband and toddler in tow. I knew I was running late. And, well, I was late.
Unfortunately, as I was quite literally walking up to the line Santa, out of breath and needed a seat, a cast member closed the line. It was already a few minutes past the time Santa was set to arrive and the line was…long. So, as much as I completely understood where the poor cast member was coming from, I was sad. My kid was sad. And I had to try again another day.
However(!), I learned timing over my years of visiting Epcot Santa. So, let me share with you my wisdom so you can have the best time visiting the jolliest of people.
Tip #1: Go on a weekday. I know, I know. I just shared a sad story about being turned away on a weekday, so I know it sounds like I’m contradicting myself, but if it was difficult to get to the line in time on a weekday, the problem would’ve been compounded by trying this on a weekend day. Granted, you might have more time to leave earlier, but you probably want to avoid waiting around for an hour and a half too. The weekdays are the best days to go, period. Regardless of when you go, always remember, Disney is an endeavor, so be sure to carve out time.
Tip #2: Check the time schedule before you go on the My Disney Experience app, then plan to be IN the line 30 minutes ahead of Santa’s scheduled appearance. For example, when we went last week, Santa was set to be there at 5:45 PM (his last appearance of the evening), so we got to the line around 5:20ish. Two families were in front of us, and that was it! Waiting for 30 minutes wasn’t bad at all either. Bathrooms are right there, food is nearby, and we listened to the Candlelight Processional as we waited.
Pro Mom Tip: Get your child a box of popcorn before you get into line. We entered from the Canada side of the World Showcase, so we snagged some popcorn from the beer cart right there and let him have some when we got in line, which made waiting much more enjoyable for everyone involved.
Tip #3: Be sure to take advantage of Disney’s professional photographer available to you with your Disney Photo Pass. (Now, there’s a whole ‘nother thread that needs to exist where we talk about those benefits changing soon, but…until then, let’s stay on topic.) Allow the photographer to scan your Magic Band or Annual Passholder Card and beautifully lit, hi-resolution photos will be sent right to your phone via the My Disney Experience app! You can also take pictures with your phone too, so that’s where I got a few candid shots of my son chatting with Santa.
Why We Love Epcot’s Santa
It’s simple. Epcot’s Santa is always dressed to the nines, jolly, and on point. He even chats with your child for a few moments before the photographer takes some pictures. It’s cute. It’s lovely. And my son absolutely loves it every year.
This year, Santa asked my son if he had any questions. This clearly look my son off-guard, but he decided on asking how reindeer fly. Santa didn’t miss a beat: reindeer fly by the power of belief, and there’s large light bulb in the North Pole that fills up as people believe in Santa and the reindeer. It turns into magical dust, which when sprinkled over the reindeer, allows them to fly.
I mean, the detail in his story! It was great.
So, moms, if you’re still looking for a place for your child to meet Santa, Epcot is an absolutely fantastic option! Just be sure to check out the appearance times before you go and get there with 20-30 minutes to spare.
I’ll leave you with a collage of previous Epcot Santa pictures of my son. I’ll let you figure out which one makes me laugh the most. (I swear it wasn’t as traumatic as it looks!)
Happy holidays, friends!
Originally published 12/18/2021, updated 12/3/2022