At first glance, Epcot® doesn't look like a great way to spend a whole day with the kids, especially when you compare the number of rides in Future World to those in any of the other four parks. Time after time, I see people asking on social media if their kids will enjoy Epcot®. I want to yell at them through my computer screen "YES! Yes, they will." Epcot® is, in my opinion, home to some of the best food, rides, and experiences in all of Walt Disney World® for adults and for kids.
(Photo Credit: Magical Pix by Candi)
Our last visit to Epcot® was in April 2017 when my boys were 8-and-3-years-old. We stayed at Disney's BoardWalk Inn®, which is a short walk to Epcot® World Showcase. We chose this location because of the proximity to our favorite park. We also purchased Park Hopper tickets so that we could visit Epcot® every day if we so chose (and we did). That's how much we love it, and I promise you, it's not a struggle to get my boys to go. They get as excited about it as my husband and me, year after year. Here are my tried and true tips on how to make Epcot® an enjoyable and memorable park for the entire family.
(My family visiting the Germany pavilion.)
Rent or bring a stroller. Epcot® is a massive park at twice the size of Magic Kingdom Park. By the time we are done for the day, we log somewhere between 23,000 - 25,000 steps! That's a lot even for our adult legs, so having a stroller is important to us, yet we don't want to have to bring one with us from home. If you are like us, you can rent a stroller from a company such as Kingdom Strollers, or you can rent one immediately inside the entrance to each park. The parks allow you to rent by the day, or you can pay for a multi-day pass up front and save a bit of money on the per day cost.
Take advantage of the Baby Care Center. I didn't know about Baby Care Centers until a few years ago when we were preparing to take our then 18-month-old to Walt Disney World® for the first time. There is a Baby Care Center in each of the four main parks, and Epcot®'s can be found in Odyssey Center at the edge of Future World East. Baby Care Centers are free for guests to use, and they provide a clean, private space for nursing, high chairs for feeding, a kitchen with microwave, oven, and sink, a sitting area with television, and an on-site store to purchase supplies you may have forgotten in your resort room. Finding out about Baby Care Centers was a game-changer for our vacation.
Go on rides and trick your kids into learning while on vacation. Some of our favorite Walt Disney World® rides are in Epcot®. My younger son and I love going on the family-friendly ride inside The Seas with Nemo and Friends in Future World. Then we head over to Turtle Talk with Crush. Kids of all ages will love the chance to talk with their favorite sea turtle, Crush, and ask him questions about what it's like to live in the ocean. They may just walk away having learned a thing or two about ocean life!
If you have a kid who is really into cars, check out Test Track. Aspiring world travelers will love Soarin', and future astronauts should visit the relaunched Mission: Space with a re-imagined family-friendly adventure option. Kids of all ages will enjoy the interactive science and technology exhibits in Innoventions, which is also a great place for Mom and Dad to cool off for a bit. I can't forget Frozen Ever After. We took advantage of Early Magic Hours on the last day of our trip and sprinted to Norway to get in line for Frozen Ever After. It did not disappoint!
(Photo Credit: Magical Pix by Candi)
Explore the world! This is by far our favorite part of Epcot®. Every trip, we buy the boys Epcot® passports. For $9.95, the passport kit includes a pin along with a passport booklet and stickers that represent each of the 11 countries in World Showcase. You can find these kits in many of the gift shops inside Epcot® and at many resorts. The passport includes a page for your child to fill out information about him or herself, and then a two-page spread for each country with boxes to indicate where to put the stickers.
When we work on our passports, we stop in each country, add the appropriate stickers to the page, and find the KidCot stop to have the passport signed. The Cast Members who stamp the passports are all natives of the country, and they frequently write personalized messages to our boys. They will also often take time to teach the boys how to say words or their names in the native language. Not only is it a fun way to explore World Showcase, the passports make excellent souvenirs.
You don't need to buy a passport to participate in the KidCot stops. Visit any KidCot stop and they'll have a coloring sheet or cardstock cut out that can be decorated and stamped like a passport. If you attend during one of the many festivals at Epcot®, you can often double your fun by bringing along a festival map to also be stamped at KidCot stops.
We also love to browse the shops in World Showcase. While MouseGears in Future World is amazing for character clothing and toys, World Showcase shops include treasures from each country. We buy something special from one pavilion each trip, so now we have quite a collection of swords, shields, and hats from United Kingdom and Norway.
(My boys in their viking hats from Norway.)
Meet characters. Epcot® is home to characters that you can't find elsewhere in Walt Disney World®. Baymax, Joy, and Sadness can only be found in Future World. You can also meet many princesses, including Belle, Mulan, Anna, Elsa, and Snow White, so if you want to skip the character meal, a visit to Epcot® is a great way to meet princesses, Mickey, Minnie, and friends with lines that are often much shorter than you'll find in other parks. If you are a Disney® Visa® card member, you can also get access to a special meet and greet area with surprise characters.
(My family at the Disney® Visa® Cardmember Character Experience.)
There is so much more I can talk about when it comes to Epcot®. We're just scratching the surface. I hope you'll come back next Thursday for a closer look at Future World and what's coming for this side of Epcot®. Ready to explore all that Epcot® has to offer? Contact a MousePros agent today for a free quote on your next Disney Parks vacation. If you love Epcot® as much as I do, hit the comments and tell me what you love most!