When scouring the web, you may see articles comparing the size of new proposed or existing theme parks around the world. These articles will say, “this theme park is about the same size as the Epcot or it is roughly twice as big as the Magic Kingdom.”
What does it mean when people are asking about the size of Epcot in acres or even square miles?
Let’s clarify a basic question many are asking, how big is Epcot at Walt Disney World?
Table of Contents
- How Big Is One Acre?
- How Big Is One Square Mile?
- Epcot’s Size vs. Walt Disney World
- Current Size of Epcot
- How Big Is Epcot’s Parking Lot?
- How Big Is Epcot Compared to Disney’s Animal Kingdom?
The Size of the Epcot
In this article, I will provide information and clarify many of the questions about the size of the Epcot, such as how big Walt Disney World is in acres and square miles, how big an acre is, and much more.
How Big is One Acre?
In the U.S., we measure the size of a piece of property in acres and alternatively if the tract of land is large in square miles. To put this into understandable numbers 1 acre = 43,560 square feet of space. One acre is equivalent to a square piece of land that is 208.7′ x 208.7′.
The average American home, in 2021, was 2,273 square feet in area. Therefore, one acre is about the same square footage as 19 average American homes.
How Big is One Square Mile?
Using our previous calculations, one square mile equals 640 acres. Currently, Walt Disney World is approximately 25,000 acres in size making it roughly 39 square miles in total area. By comparison, the island of Manhattan, in New York City, is approximately 22.8 square miles in area making Walt Disney World almost two-times the size of Manhattan.
Epcot’s Size vs. Walt Disney World
As with many theme parks, Epcot has been expanded in size since opening on October 1, 1982. Located in Central Florida – in the town of Bay Lake, Florida – near Orlando, Epcot was the second of the current four theme parks built at Walt Disney World.
At the time of its construction, starting in the late 1970’s Epcot was one of the largest design and construction projects Walt Disney Imagineering had undertaken since the original build of Walt Disney World.
The Epcot, when constructed was approximately 270 acres in size and is located roughly 2-miles south of the Magic Kingdom resort area. From Interstate 4, the main vehicular artery through Central Florida, Epcot is approximately a 3.5-mile drive from I-4 when using State Road 536 to access the Guest parking lot.
At the time of construction that equates to the Magic Kingdom being only 0.012% of the total land area comprising Walt Disney World.
Current Size of Epcot
Epcot has added new attractions and pavilions since its opening year, however, most of the new development has occurred within its original confines (or berm as we say in the theme park design industry). One of the first expansions, since day one, was in 1983 with the addition of two new attractions, Journey Into Imagination and Horizons – both located in Future World.
The park would add another milestone attraction in 1986 with the addition of the The Living Seas attraction in Future World adjacent to Spaceship Earth. Roughly ten years later in 1996 a day-one attraction, World of Motion, was permanently closed to be re-imagined as Test Track.
In 1989, Epcot added one of the more iconic pieces of architecture in Future World, the Wonders of Life attraction. This attraction, like many of the previously noted additions to the park, was contained within the original berm of the park. Though Guest carrying capacity was added to the park, area outside of the berm was not added.
Through the history of Epcot there have been several planned, but never realized, new country pavilions proposed to be added to Epcot’s World Showcase. Countries such as, Switzerland, Iran, Africa, Brazil, Costa Rica, and many more. However, some new countries were brought to fruition after opening day, such as Norway. During the Millennium celebration, Epcot added the temporary (now seemingly permanent) Millennium Village between the Canada and United Kingdom pavilions. The ‘Village’ had additional countries cuisine and retail offerings during that celebration, today it’s used as a special event venue.
The most current expansion to Epcot is the Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. Partially located outside the original berm of Epcot and physically connected to the former Universe of Energy facility, the roller coaster’s new ‘gravity’ building added an additional 17+/- acres of area to Epcot’s total footprint.
Today, the Epcot is currently about 301 acres in size or 0.47 square miles in area. Epcot’s current total area – which includes onstage and backstage locations within its berm – makes it 0.012% of the total land area comprising Walt Disney World.
How Big is Epcot’s Parking Lot
The parking lot at Epcot, including the bus transportation parking lot area in this discussion, has changed in size very little since opening day. At the time, it was one of the largest paved parking lots in the country with the ability to accommodate a little over 11,000 vehicles.
Currently, the Epcot parking lot is 117 acres or 0.18 square miles in area. This equates to Epcot’s parking lot being 0.0046% of the total land area of Walt Disney World.
How Big is Epcot Compared to Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Currently, the Epcot is roughly one-half the size of Walt Disney World’s fourth theme park, Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Epcot opened in October 1982 and at the time was Disney’s largest theme park in the world. In 1982, Epcot cost an estimated $1.1 billion to design and construct – that’s over $3 billion in 2023 dollars when accounting and adjusting for inflation.
✅ Click Here to read more about Epcot’s use of ‘Discovery’ as a theme.
Epcot – named EPCOT Center when it first opened – ushered in a new type of Disney theme park. Epcot harkens back to a World’s Fair approach to storytelling in a theme park setting. Epcot’s overarching theme is ‘Discovery’ making it a ‘permanent world’s fair’ showcasing new technology, discovery of different cultures with its various country pavilions in World Showcase, and discovery of both the past and future in Future World.