Epcot’s International Gateway is commonly referred to as the back door entrance to the park. This separate entrance is the gateway between Epcot and the surrounding resort area.
Additionally, you can use the International Gateway to travel to and from Disney’s Hollywood Studios. There are several options for making the journey between the two parks.
This article will cover everything you need to know about Epcot’s International Gateway. We’ll look at what countries and attractions at Epcot are closest to the entrance. And we’ll discuss the nearby resorts and transportation options between the two parks.
By the time we’re finished, you’ll know the best options for using the International Gateway to your advantage. Let’s get started.
Epcot International Gateway Location and Hours
Hours of operation for this entrance coincide with the park’s operating hours. If you’re eligible for early theme park hours and stay at one of the surrounding resorts, the entrance is available.
Additionally, the entrance will remain open for those eligible for extended theme park benefits. The International Gateway is available until all guests have exited the park.
The setup is similar to other park entrances at the International Gateway. You’ll have to walk through security before making your way through the ticket turnstiles.
Outside the entrance, you’ll find Guest Relations and Ticket Window. If you have a ticket issue or want to upgrade, you might consider visiting this location. It’s rarely crowded, and usually, the wait is minimal.
Guests can also rent strollers at the International Gateway entrance. You can find details for stroller rentals here on Disney’s site.
You can also rent wheelchairs at Epcot’s International Gateway. More details are available here.
And there’s the option for a locker rental at the International Gateway. Lockers at the theme parks come in small, large, or jumbo sizes. They range in price from $10 to $15 per day. You can learn specifics for locker rentals here on Disney’s site.
Resorts at the International Gateway
Several resorts are within walking distance of the International Gateway. If you elect to stay at these hotels, you’re at a considerable advantage for coming and going to Epcot.
Here are the hotels:
- Disney’s Beach Club Resort
- Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
- Disney’s Boardwalk Inn
- Disney’s Swan and Dolphin Hotel
The walk to Epcot from the resorts takes between 5 minutes to 15 minutes. But, of course, that depends on your pace and whether or not you make any stops along the way.
It’s very easy to pause and take in the stunning view of scenic Crescent Lake and the surrounding area.
Additionally, the following resorts are only a Skyliner ride away from the International Gateway:
- Disney’s Riviera Resort
- Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
- Disney’s Pop Century Resort
- Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
We’ll discuss this transportation method further as we look at the different transportations options available to and from the International Gateway.
Transportation at the International Gateway
There are several modes of transportation for getting to and from the International Gateway. Naturally, the first is walking, as we’ve discussed.
However, there is another option. If you are a guest of any hotels within walking distance and prefer not to walk, you can take a boat.
The Friendship Boats run daily from Epcot to Hollywood Studios. They stop at each of the Epcot Resorts on the way.
The boats run in this order from Epcot:
- Beach and Yacht Club
- Swan and Dolphin
- Hollywood Studios
Then they return in the opposite order. There are usually three to four of these boats operating this route throughout the day.
The Friendship Boat dock is located immediately at Epcot’s International Gateway.
Related: Disney’s Friendship Boats Guide
It’s a pleasant way to travel and take in the sights of the surrounding areas. However, it will take a little while to travel between the theme parks with all the resort stops.
Additionally, guests can take the Disney Skyliner between Epcot’s International Gateway and Hollywood Studios.
The Skyliner will travel this way, leaving Epcot:
- Epcot International Gateway
- Riviera Resort
- Caribbean Beach (Must exit and reboard)
- Hollywood Studios
Additionally, you can exit and reboard for Pop Century and Art of Animation at Caribbean Beach.
Similar to the Friendship Boats, this route requires a resort stop along the way. As a result, both forms of transportation between the parks take close to the same amount of time.
Tips for Using the International Gateway
One of the best things about staying at an Epcot Resort is that you can waltz right in and out of Epcot as much as you like. However, you will need admission.
If you plan to spend a decent amount of time at the park, consider getting a park hopper ticket. Then, you can easily visit the park of your choice during the day and hop to Epcot during the evening.
Often we stay at Disney’s Beach Club and love the leisure of being able to walk into Epcot to dine, shop, or see the evening fireworks. I can’t stress enough how simple the International Gateway makes it for getting to and from your resort to the park.
Another thing you’ll want to know is where you’re going after you enter through the International Gateway. First, after entering Epcot, you’ll walk past a shop, World Traveler.
Then you head up a sloped walkway. At the top, you can go left into the United Kingdom Pavilion. Or you can choose to go across the bridge to the right into the France Pavilion.
Okay, so if you want to experience Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure at the park opening, you’ll want to head to France. You’ll be at an advantage for this attraction because it’s so close to the International Gateway.
You’ll be at a disadvantage given the entrance for any attraction toward the front of the park. However, there won’t be nearly as many guests waiting to enter the International Gateway as there will be in front of the park.
With that being said, the International Gateway entrance is narrow and will feel more crowded given the tight space. There are more turnstiles at the front of the park and more room to accommodate a larger number of guests.
The most important thing is to know where you’re going when you enter Epcot. The World Showcase is one large circle.
So if you’re headed to a specific location, there will be a more efficient way of getting there than the alternative.
If you’re not staying at a nearby resort, it is essential to know that there is no parking lot for the International Gateway.
However, you could have a car service drop you off at one of the nearby resorts and walk to the International Gateway. As long as you’re not leaving a car, there’s usually no issue for guests dropped off at a resort.
My favorite tip is to plan breakfast at Disney’s Yacht Club or Boardwalk on your Epcot day. Ale and Compass has an excellent breakfast.
Related: Best Breakfasts at Disney World
You can visit the resort for breakfast and then walk over to the International Gateway when you’re finished. Or you might visit Hollywood Studios for a couple of hours and then park hop to Epcot later on in the day.
Lastly, I wanted to add one other tip that came to mind after drafting this article. Say you’re in the World Showcase in the Japan Pavilion, and you want to park hop to Magic Kingdom.
You can walk back to the front of the park and take the monorail to the Transportation and Ticket Center. Then you’ll transfer to the monorail for Magic Kingdom.
Related: Disney World Monorail Guide
But if you’re exhausted and don’t want to walk to the front of the park, use the International Gateway exit. Then, you can walk to Disney’s Beach Club and hop on the next bus to Magic Kingdom.
There are so many options.
Final Thoughts on the International Gateway
Whether you’re staying at a nearby resort or have plans to park hop, the International Gateway is a huge advantage. I hope this article provided you with a good overview of how and when to use this backdoor entrance to Epcot.
We have several hotel dining guides if you would like to learn more about dining options at these nearby resorts.
- Restaurants at Disney’s Boardwalk
- Disney’s Beach and Yacht Club Restaurants
- Swan and Dolphin Restaurants Guide
- Disney Hotel Restaurants List
Or you might enjoy these individual reviews:
- Yachtsman Steakhouse Review
- Breakfast Review at Ale and Compass
- Cabana Bar and Beach Club at the Dolphin
- Hurricane Hanna’s at Beach Club
In the comments: Have you ever used the International Gateway at Epcot? Do you have any questions that were not answered in this article?