In case you haven’t heard, we are a bit crazy when it comes to Disney… It’s our second home and we do not play around when it comes to visiting the Disney parks. Even if we are only there for two days, we typically hit all four parks (Yes, even with Luna). There’s been a couple of times, during the Food and Wine festival, that we did EPCOT for a full day and Magic Kingdom for a full day and then flew home, but that’s rarity for us. We are hardcore, park open to park close kind-of-guests. There are just too many good attractions, food and memories at each park to miss one! (With the exception of Hollywood Studios at the current moment. Over half the park is closed right now because they are adding a Star Wars AND Toy Story land. When all of that is complete it is sure to be AMAZING once again.)
We are always a little shocked and surprised when we have friends that tell us that just did one or two parks during the entire vacation. WHAT??????!!!!!!! It actually makes us sad. Basically, we want to be Disney guides for every single person we know and take them around the park by hand…showing them how to enjoy the parks the RIGHT way. (AKA “our way”.) It’s especially surprising to us when the one park people skip most is EPCOT. EPCOT is Husband’s favorite and my second favorite, so why is it people’s first choice when it comes to skipping a part? Well, I guess it’s not that surprising… EPCOT does seem to be an “adult” park.
EPCOT is mostly known for it’s World Showcase, where you can walk around 11 countries, try their food and drinks, shop, watch shows and catch a couple big tickets rides that have a height requirement. I get it. Those are some of the very popular and super fun activities at EPCOT. not to mention, the Food and Wine Festival and Flower and Garden Show…both geared towards adults. HOWEVER, it is still Disney, and no Disney park would be complete without having plenty of fun and magic for the little loves in your life. Disney knows that the alcohol, ethnic foods and thrills will draw the parents, but they don’t want parents having to drag their bored children around the park either. So, Disney being Disney, has done a pretty fantastic job at sprinkling kid/toddler/baby friendly activities and rides throughout the entirety of EPCOT.
So, what should you be sure to too with your tots and preschoolers next time you enter the gates of EPCOT??? Keep reading to find out and start planning!
*You won’t do the park in this exact order, but I’ll list out the best activities in rides in each area and you can figure out the itinerary based on your fastpasses, dinner reservations, nap times and whatever else you’ll have to factor in!
Future World is the first place you’ll hit as you enter the parks. (Unless you’re entering through the “International Gateway” near France, but let’s just pretend you’re using the main entrance.) In Future World West you’ll want to hit ALL three major buildings: The Land, The Seas and Imagination. In “The Land“, be sure to ride the Living with the Land boat ride. It’s fun for everyone and even the littlest ones tend to love the boat rides at Disney. Plus it’s in the AC and there’s quick and healthy meals and snacks at the Sunshine Seasons cafeteria.
At “Imagination“, take a ride on Journey into Imagination with Figment. I’ll admit that Figment’s voice is a little on the annoying side, but the ride and cute and educational and ends in the Imageworks play area where the kids can do all sorts of educational and creative games and activities, also in the AC.
“The Seas” is going to be the most fun place for kids in Future World. It is virtually all Nemo themed and has giant two-story aquariums everywhere! There’s Turtle Talk with Crush, Bruce’s Shark World and my personal favorite….The Seas with Nemo and Friends ride. You get to ride in a clam shell through the ocean and look for Nemo!
Future World East doesn’t have a ton for the littlest kids, but if everyone who is over the height requirements for Test Track and Mission:Space want to ride, then just be sure to get “rider switch” passes so you can take turns riding and waiting with the kids!
Spaceship Earth is the ride inside the giant ball (EPCOT’s famous landmark) and it is perfect for all heights. We never miss this ride!
Oh and don’t forget about the Character Spot on the walk to EPCOT West, it’s right near a Starbucks too!
The World Showcase:
Can I just start by saying I so so so so so so LOVE walking around the World Showcase??? This might just be one of my all-time favorite activities ever. Oh, where to start??? Well, first of all, be sure to stop at the first country’s Kidcot Fun Stop (let’s say you start in Canada) and pick up your free cardboard Duffy Bear and passport! That’s right they are FREE and there is a Kidcot station in every country. At each station your kids can color their Duffy, stamp their passport and talk to guests working their who are from that specific country. They often have special activities that are from their country to share with the kids too.
There are also characters sprinkled all around the countries… Mary Poppins and Alice in England, Belle and Aurora in France, Jasmin in Morocco, Snow White in Germany, Mulan in China, Donald in Mexico and the most popular… Anna and Elsa in Norway! Besides characters, there are great performances happening all throughout the day around the world. For kids, I’d highly recommend the Dragon Acrobats in China, but all the performances will be good.
There are great places to run around, take photos and eat around the world, but one of Luna’s favorite sights to see were the trains in Germany. There is a very large outdoor train set that runs through tunnels, tiny villages, under bridges and over water and kids can sit and watch these trains FOREVER, or at least my kid could.
As far as rides in the World Showcase, there’s only a couple, BUT they are both great for ALL ages! There’s the Gran Fiesta Tour (starring the Three Caballeros) at the Mexican Pavilion. Then, there’s the very very VERY popular boat ride, Frozen Ever After. I’m not ashamed to admit that this new Frozen ride in Norway is very cool, way cooler than you’d expect.
It’s Disney so every restaurant is going to offer kid-friendly menu options and seating. However, there are two character meals in EPCOT one being at The Garden Grill in the Land and the other being Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Norway (it’s a very cool princess meal). And, a favorite, non-character meal of mine is Via Napoli in Italy, the have fantastic pizza!
A Few Random Tips:
It’s Florida, and EPCOT is covered in lots of concrete, so walking around can get hot! If you need a break, go inside the shops. They have AC and if you’re lucky you’ll even run into a free activity set up by a cast member! We got to enjoy a little tea party. (So sweet and cute!) There’s also lots of amazing frozen beverages and iced coffees available around the World Showcase. Or, you can catch one of the indoor shows. Several of the countries offer short films or indoor performances, also in the AC. They may not be the most thrilling movies, but they’re interesting and worth watching for a nice cool break.
There are currently three big festivals that happen during the year at EPCOT, the Food and Wine Festival, the International Festival of the Arts and the International Flower and Garden Festival. I 100% guarantee you that it is worth scheduling your trip around these festivals! The decor, floral arrangements, food, drinks, performances and attractions are SO worth it.
There is also a great fireworks show (Illuminations) when the park closes, but little ones are often scared of the loud noises, so this just depends on your kiddos.
So, tell me, did I convince you??? Will you add EPCOT to your next Disney itinerary??? Please say yes. Don’t forget to comment below and tell me how you like to spend your day at EPCOT.