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Hotel near Epcot..and general Disney Epcot Advice???

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Two adults would like to take a 1-2 day trip to Epcot (driving from south Florida). Since I have not been to Disney in decades, I need some advice.

Should I plan for two nights, or will an overnight give us the general idea and allow us to see a substantial area of the park? (We would arrive before noon, and could depart anytime the following day).

How inconvenient would it be to stay at a hotel outside the park, for example, the Ritz Carlton Resort Orlando? Would the price savings be negated by the inconvenience of getting to the park? What are the pros and cons of staying inside vs outside the premises?

What are the best nearby hotels?

If best to stay at Epcot, what are the nicest properties? While not on a strict budget, I do not want to pay $600 per night if I can avoid this.

Any day of the week better than others? (We are thinking of visiting sometime next month (in March); our dates are flexible)

For dinner: There seem to be several not-terrible restaurants within Epcot (Moroccan, German and Italian seem to be the most popular). Would staying outside the Park, for example at Ritz or other nearby hotel, allow access to any really good food experiences, or should we just book a table within Epcot?

Many thanks! I am far out of my element on this one!

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