Epcot is one of the Disney parks that many parents with younger children might skip in favour of spending more time on return visits to the likes of Magic Kingdom.
Many parents think that the World Showcase will be too boring for children and whilst there are less rides here compared to Magic Kingdom there are still so many things for families to enjoy.
What’s great about Epcot is that some of the attractions are activities which have been created with younger children in mind.
Here are 15 reasons why families with younger children (including my children Chloe 9 and Holly 6) will enjoy when visiting Epcot:
1. Free Cola @ Club Cool
Here you can sample Coke products from around the world for free. It was a great way to cool off from the heat, even if the floor was a little sticky! Our favourites were pineapple Fanta from Greece and melon Fanta from Thailand. A flavour to try if you are feeling brave is the Italian Beverly flavour.
2. Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure
Most children will have heard of Phineas and Ferb on the Disney channel and they will love being part of Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure. There are several Agent P locations around the World Showcase where you can sign up for this free interactive activity.
Using either your own smartphone or an interactive handheld device from Disney, children are given clues to find special items in the various countries in the World Showcase. It was a great way to make walking around the World Showcase more interesting and engaging for children.
3. Kidcot Fun Stops
Children will love the Kidcot Fun Stops located across 11 countries across the World Showcase. The girls had so much fun finding the stations, stamps and creating personalized souvenirs such as learning origami in Japan. You also get a cardboard Duffy the Disney Bear which you can decorate at each of the Kidcot stations.
You can also purchase an optional passport ($10) from the gift shops which you can get stamped and put stickers in as you visit which make lovely keepsakes and we all had great fun learning about each country including how to say hello in the host countries language.
4. Many Character Spots
We found that Epcot was the best park to meet characters, many of which you can only find in Epcot such as Joy and Sadness from Inside Out and more importantly the lines are typically shorter than at the other Disney parks. This was located opposite the Character Spot and you can also meet Baymax from Big Hero 6.
One of the girls favourite things to do at Disney was meeting the characters and having their autograph books signed. At Epcot you can meet many of the princesses in their native countries, you could meet Mary Poppins in the UK, Mulan in China, Belle in France, Jasmine in Morocco and Snow White in Germany.
The favourite character for both Chloe and Holly was meeting Anna and Elsa in Norway, they were both so excited as they posed for their photo and had a chat with the princesses.
Also make sure that you are near the American Adventures Pavilion at 3pm, this is where character training takes place and is a great way to meet even more characters with hardly any wait time.
5. Shopping and Eating
Shopping in the World Showcase is unlike any other of the Disney Parks as each pavilion has their own shop selling products unique to their country. We gave the girls some dollars that they could use to spend as they explored some of the shops and left with lovely necklaces from the China pavilion.
It was lots of fun seeing what unique items we could find in each country from trolls in Norway, perfumes in France to Hello Kitty toys on display in Japan
As well as a great range of products to buy from around the world the same is true for food with a huge range of cuisines on offer from around the world. Epcot is a big park and it requires a lot of walking, so when we got to Italy we stopped off and ate some authentic Italian pizza at via Napoli which was delicious. The pizza was made with flour imported from Naples, San Marzano tomatoes, handmade mozzarella even the water used was brought over from wells in Naples Italy.
6. Grand Fiesta tour in Mexico
Hidden away in the Mexico pavilion is a lovely family friendly boat ride with a similar feel to one of our favourite Disney rides ‘it’s a small world’ but with a Mexican theme. It’s a colourful and a relaxing ride and children will enjoy the helping the three caballeros find Donald Duck.
7. Special Events
Epcot hosts several special events at certain times of the year that make visiting the park even more interesting for families. During our visit the EPCOT Flower and Garden festival was on, and we had great fun spotting the Disney characters created from beautiful topiaries and flower displays.
There was also lots of interaction from cast members including a flower covered car squirting people with water, which was just what we needed in the Florida heat.
During the Flower Festival a great little play area opens for children – The Music Garden Melodies play area. The park has always been a favourite with my children which includes drums, chimes, and xylophones built into children’s outdoor climbing system.
There is also a butterfly tent filled with lots of different species of butterfly and near the Test Track area children can play at a desert themed mini garden with a jungle gym inspired by the Disney Pixar film Cars.
8. Street Performers
As you walk through each of the countries of the world it’s worth stopping and watching some of the cultural street performances on display. My children really enjoyed watching the Mariachi Cobre band. It really did feel like we were in Mexico! Another favourite for the girls was playing the drums at the Outpost which represents African cultures.
9. Hidden Secrets
This is another area of Epcot that can get missed yet it’s an area where children will love. At the back of the United Kingdom pavilion there is a fun hedge maze to explore.
In Japan it was lovely to enjoy the beautiful landscaping and shade near the Koi pond whilst at the Germany pavilion is an attraction that families with young children will enjoy. There was a delightful miniature railway that weaves its way around a German village which we all enjoyed watching whilst having a break around the World Showcase.
10. Frozen Ever After
One of the girls favourite rides across all of the Disney parks was Epcot’s newest attraction Frozen Ever After and is a must do for children of all ages. Located in Norway in the World Showcase you explore Arendelle in this family friendly boat ride.
Watching Holly’s face in particular light up as she saw all of her favourite characters including Anna, Queen Elsa, Olaf and friends whilst the girls sang along to the Frozen songs being played was such a magical Disney moment.
11. Fun with colour at Colortopia
Another hidden gem for families to enjoy was the Colortopia exhibit located at the Innovations Pavilion in FutureWorld and is a great escape away from the heat. Featuring three immersive zones it was so much fun for the girls.
The first stop is at “The Power of Color” where we learnt about colour and how it influences our surroundings and feelings. Next in the interactive stations at the colour lab we could mix red, green and blue to create new colours and at spinning spectrums – after we pressed the buttons and the discs span faster we had fun trying to guess the actual colour of the discs.
Our favourite area was “Color our World” where we had a magic paintbrush which you dip into a colour to create your own interactive scenes on the digital screens. Best of all depending on the colour you select will change the scene and storyline. At the end of your experience you can email your creation home.
This was a family favourite in Epcot as we explored the sights of famous world landmarks in our 4 seater hand-glider. Having the feeling that we were flying along with the sights and smells of the landscapes we were exploring was a great experience.
There is a minimum height of 40” for this ride but it’s great for children and not too intense. Holly was just over 40” and was a little worried before going on Soarin but being all sat together helped reassure her and when the ride had finished she said it was amazing.
13. Test Track
You get to build your perfect car and get to road test it on the racetrack. As the cars zoom around the circuit at up to 60mph it can be too intense for younger children and you have to be 44” tall to ride.
14. The Seas with Nemo & Friends
Located within the Future World area of Epcot is a great family ride called The Seas with Nemo & Friends. You board a clamobile and set off on an underwater adventure meeting Nemo, Dory and friends including the girls favourite Bruce the shark.
What makes this ride special is that you actually see real fish from the 5.7 million-gallon saltwater aquarium as you explore the seas with Nemo.
As you exit the ride there is also a large impressive aquarium to explore with lots of marine life to look at.
Also in this area which is great for children is Turtle Talk with Crush. This interactive film features Crush from the movie Finding Nemo who interacts with the audience answering questions and telling jokes.
As well as the rides mentioned above there is also the Living with the Land ride which although family friendly might not hold children’s attention very well and Spaceship Earth a family friendly slow moving ride located in the iconic golf ball like structure.
One of the Walt Disney world fireworks displays takes place around the World Showcase lagoon at the end of each day at Epcot, providing a spectacular end to your day at Epcot.
Epcot is a great park for families and don’t skip a visit to the World Showcase. There is much more for younger children to do across Epcot than most visitors realise.