Epcot is my kids’ favorite park. Epcot often gets a reputation for not being a kid-friendly park and I’m here to tell you, that’s so not true. I think this misconception stems from many years ago when my generation was dragged along to the circle vision videos in the World Showcase. Epcot is really so much more though. In fact, we’ve never done these shows (but they are on our list!). My three children are 9, 8, and 5 and absolutely love Epcot and usually says it’s their favorite park. First, I’ve always loved Epcot, even back when it was EPCOT (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow). I still mourn the loss of Horizons, the Dreamfinder, and the original Journey into Imagination, but the nostalgia I feel for Epcot is evident and I think my children pick up on that. I love the background loops at Epcot and get so excited to see the water at the Fountain of Nations dance, that they can’t help but get excited too.
Future World, while in desperate need of some updating to give it a futuristic feel, is home to several of the girls’ favorite attractions. Test Track and Soarin’ are two of our family favorites, and we could experience them both over and over. My youngest, took a special fondness to Figment when she was just a year old and would love nothing more than to ride “Figment” (aka Journey into Imagination) all day long. Spaceship Earth is to us, a quintessential Walt Disney World attraction – the scents, the scenes, and knowing you’re in that giant geosphere – all make it a must-do. A new Future World favorite is a show that opened in November 2017, the SpectacuLab. It’s a STEM based learning experience and the kids just love it.
Of course, some of our favorite shopping is done in MouseGear and what child doesn’t love Cool Club? It’s the only time our children drink soda so it’s a treat to try all the flavors of Coca-Cola products from all over the world! Living with the Land and Finding Nemo are also attractions that simply can’t be overlooked. Both offer some time off your feet and while the Land provides some edutainment, Nemo appeals to all children and never seems to have more than a five-minute wait.
But even more so than Future World, the girls love the World Showcase! There are 11 pavilions that make up the World Showcase and early on when visiting with our children, we spent lots of time in those pavilions. Even if kids weren’t genuinely interested in the cultures represented, there’s still a lot for them to do. First, there is a Kidcot in each pavilion. Kidcot is an area where Cast Members supply “Duffys” and washable markers to color those Duffys. Duffy is a teddy bear that Mickey took along with him on his world travels and comes on a “stick” for children to color. Children can color their entire Duffy at one Kidcot, or to keep the moving along, you can have them use one color per country, or design different themed Duffys around the World Showcase. The Cast Members often have some of their own Duffy artwork on display. These Cast Members that work at all of the Kidcots (and most other areas of the pavilions), are all native to the country you’re visiting so your children can interact with them – asking about their homes, what they like to eat, how to say certain words in their native language, or even have them write their name in say, Japanese! The girls love to see what names are popular among the Cast Members and ask them questions about some of their traditions.
There are also Penny Presses throughout the World Showcase that children can first seek out, then press pennies! These are located throughout all of the Walt Disney World Resort but can definitely keep them entertained in the World Showcase. They pennies are unique and fun (and affordable!) to collect. There are also Hidden Mickeys everywhere at Walt Disney World and you can try spotting them on your own, use the Hidden Mickey Guide found in most shops, or use lists you’ve found online! My oldest had the pleasure of meeting an Imagineer who had “placed” a hidden Mickey in the Italy pavilion right after we purchased our first Hidden Mickey Guidebook!
You can also decide on something to do in each country as a fun challenge! Sometimes, we’ve decided we’ll find some kind of chocolate or cookie from each country to bring home with us, or we’ve taken a picture in each country with a hat or piece of clothing from that culture. Or we may decide to take pictures with statues in each pavilion. The possibilities are endless and lots of fun!
There are a few attractions in the World Showcase. The Mexico pavilion is home to one of our favorites, the Grand Fiesta Tour starring the Three Caballeros! Frozen Ever After is the newest attraction in the World Showcase and located in the Norway pavilion. It replaced the former Norwegian themed Maelstrom. The girls also enjoy Impressions de France, but we still need to get to O’Canada, Reflections of China, and the American Adventure. There really is never enough time to do everything!
Then of course, there’s the food. While my kids are pretty average eaters – one is sort of picky, one has an adventurous palette, and the other – it depends on the day, they all love to eat at Epcot. Our absolutely favorite location in all of Walt Disney World to get something to eat any time of day is Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie, which is the French Bakery in the France pavilion. It’s absolutely amazing. They have sandwiches, salads, quiche, soup, and of course French pastries! You can enjoy any meal of the day there and we may be prone to indulge in “breakfast dessert.” The girls love the bacon, egg, and cheese croissant sandwiches for breakfast and the Croque Monsieur (a ham and cheese) for later in the day and their favorite desserts are the chocolate moussee and Napolean.
The girls also love to eat at Biergarten! This is the table service location in Germany which has a very “Americanized” buffet. Rotisserie chicken and macaroni & cheese are favorites here! But what’s awesome is the show! You get to experience an authentic Germany band playing their horns and bells! The show is great and the girls love to dance with their friends on the dance floor. A favorite character meal is located at Garden Grille in the Land pavilion, as well as many other stops to eat. There are many options to snack on or enjoy a full mean all around Epcot and while you can find lots of different items, there are also very mild flavors that appeal to the masses (aka the kids).
In and around many of the pavilions you can also catch amazing shows such as the Voices of Liberty in America, a mariachi band in Mexico, a daring balancing act in France, acrobats in Japan, drummers in China, belly dancers in Morocco, and many more! The girls love these performances and soak it all up! The holidays and different festivals bring out additional performances that they love!
Lastly, Epcot’s nighttime show is the long running, Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. My children ask for this show more than any other nighttime show when we’re at Walt Disney World and that’s saying a lot because they absolutely love Happily Ever After, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular, and the holiday show – Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! I think this is because they kind of grew up around our love of Illuminations and they love the music and fireworks and get so excited to see the “globe” during the day as it positions itself in the World Showcase Lagoon!
Epcot really isn’t a park to rule out just because you have children with you. It’s really a park that you will get out of it what you seek from it. There’s thrill rides, nostalgic attractions, great characters, amazing background loops, wonderful food, powerful concerts and shows, diverse culture, and fun to be had on any number of hunts you partake in! I’d love to help you and your family plan your next vacation! Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow me on Facebook!