One of the biggest myths of Disney Lore is that EPCOT is just for adults. That couldn’t be further from the truth! When I was a kid, EPCOT was my favorite. Of course, almost all of my favorite rides from my childhood are long gone or drastically different (miss you, Dreamfinder), but EPCOT is STILL for kids, too!
Let’s start with dining. EPCOT has some of the best food on property. There are two character dining experiences: Garden Grill and Akershus. As of this writing, Akershus is still closed, but, located in Norway, it usually serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and features PRINCESSES. It is usually a more affordable option to Cinderella’s Royal Table. Hopefully it comes back soon!! Garden Grill is located in the Land Pavilion, and features Chip N Dale’s Harvest Feast. You will find Chip, Dale, Mickey, and Pluto here for lunch and dinner (fingers crossed breakfast returns soon because it is SO GOOOOOOOD!). The food here is served family style and it is traditional American cuisine, featuring produce grown in the Land Pavilion in the greenhouses. The restaurant revolves and is actually directly above Living with the Land.
Via Napoli, located in the Italy Pavilion, is another great option for dining with kids. They have HUGE ovens, and serve pasta and pizza. DELICIOUS! The American Pavilion features some great quick service dining that kids love, including hot dogs, popcorn, turkey legs, Mickey pretzels, ice cream, and BBQ!! Do your kids love tacos? HEAD TO MEXICO! Seriously, there are so many great food stops in EPCOT for everyone to enjoy!
Future World has changed the most since EPCOT’s opening day, but it truly was designed to spark a child’s imagination. Speaking of Imagination, let’s start at the Imagination Pavilion.
The Imagination Pavilion is home to Journey Into Imagination with Figment and the ImageWorks What It…? Lab. Figment is a magical purple dragon that has become the unofficial mascot of EPCOT, and has an incredible following (I LOVE FIGMENT!!!) and his ride will take you into what imagination is. You also get this great earworm that will never ever leave your brain:
In the ImageWorks What It…? Lab, kids can play in the sensory lab. Is it the coolest thing in the world? No, but it’s air conditioned and keeps kids busy!
Next you can pop into the Land Pavilion. The Land Pavilion has 3 attractions and 2 restaurants and is a great pavilion to be “stuck” in when there is a Florida storm. There will be plenty to do to pass the time. First up, Living with the Land. This ride is a bit on the educational side, as it talks about food and the environment, but it’s entertaining enough to keep kids occupied. DO NOT GET OFF THE BOAT TO GRAB A CUCUMBER.
Next up, one of the BEST rides at Walt Disney World, Soarin’ Around the World. There is a height requirement, but there is nothing “thrill” about this ride for those that are tall enough. A word of caution, though, this is not good for people that experience motion sickness. You sit in a seat with a seatbelt on a “glider” that will fly you around the world. The seats raise up and you “fly” around the world (a BEAUTIFUL film on a massive IMAX screen). We LOVE this ride and with the addition of the third theater, the wait times are rarely as long as what is listed. Still, if you have antsy guests, you’ll want to get there early in the morning, before the lines get too long.
If you want to sit down and maybe grab a little nap (I’m not judging, I love Disney naps), head up to see the film Awesome Planet. It’s a 10-minute film about, well, the planet. The second restaurant (not named Garden Grill) is Sunshine Seasons, and has something literally for everyone. They are known for slightly healthier choices and a great food allergy selection.
The Seas with Nemo and Friends is the next Pavilion on this side of Future World. Here, you can ride the clamshell ride “down” to the bottom of the sea with Nemo and Dory and friends. At the end of the ride, visit the MASSIVE aquarium. We once spent over two hours in here during a storm and we never got bored! There is also a self-guided scavenger hunt available near the exit where you can “Find Dory” and her friends in the aquarium.
Next stop: Spaceship Earth. Spaceship Earth is the very first ride you see as you enter EPCOT (unless you enter via International Gateway), so you would THINK maybe just ride it first. But because of it’s location, the lines are usually longest in the morning. So wait until the afternoon, and you can usually walk right on the ride. You will journey through the history of man and into the future. It’s one of the original EPCOT rides and should not be missed. It is set to go through a two-year long refurbishment very soon so ride it while you can!
Continuing through Future World, Mission: Space is next. There is a height requirement and a less intense side of the ride, but this one is not for everyone. Still, if you have a daredevil that meets the height requirements, the Green side is worth it! (The Orange Side is INTENSE and I would suggest researching it for yourself to see if it’s right for your family! It is as close to a real NASA simulator as a civilian can get!)
The final stop in Future World is Test Track. There is a height requirement, so be prepared. If your child is not tall enough, they can still play in the post-ride area and “drive” the cars! Should you have a kid too small for Test Track AND a kid (or other adult) that wants to ride Test Track, there is a Splash Pad just outside the entrance to the ride, perfect to pass the time!
Now to head in to World Showcase!!! Fair warning, this area will likely lose your kids. There are things for kids but honestly, World Showcase is more for the grown up kids. There are only two (soon-to-be three when Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure opens October 1) rides, so kids can easily get tired of World Showcase after those are done. And there is a LOT of walking.
You should head to Mexico first, and head into the pyramid. Inside, you will find the Art of Coco and some great “street shops.” In the back corner of the Pavilion on the left hand side, you will find Gran Fiesta Tour featuring the Three Caballeros. It is a small world-type boat ride featuring everyone’s favorite birds of a feather, Jose Carioca, Panchito, and, of course, Donald Duck. You will ride through Mexico searching for Donald on your way to the concert the Three Caballeros are having. It’s great. It is completely my favorite!!! But I’m biased, because Donald is my FAVORITE character!
Somehow, the next stop on the world tour is Norway, home of Frozen Ever After. It’s Frozen. Just let it go. At this point, the kids will start to revolt. There are no more rides in World Showcase, and kids don’t care about a Circlevision film about Canada or the hand-painted tile in Morocco or the English Pub in the United Kingdom. But not all is lost.
Every country has a Kidcot Fun Stop.
Where to Find Kidcot Fun Stops
- Mexico Pavilion (near Mexico Folk Art Gallery)
- Norway Pavilion (at The Puffin’s Roost)
- China Pavilion (near the exit of Reflections of China)
- Germany Pavilion (at Volkunst)
- Italy Pavilion (outside, near La Bottega Italiana)
- American Adventure Pavilion (outside, near Art of Disney)
- Japan Pavilion (in the Bijutsu-kan Gallery)
- Morocco Pavilion (at the Marketplace in the Medina)
- France Pavilion (at Souvenirs de France)
- United Kingdom Pavilion (at The Toy Soldier)
- Canada Pavilion (at the exit of Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360)
Each Kidcot Fun Stop has a FREE (YES FREE) activity or craft for your kid to make and take with them. They can also get their passport stamped! So perhaps a compromise can be reached where for every grown up kid activity you get to do (or drink) they get to do a fun activity!
Do you skip EPCOT with kids or do your kids love it? Contact me today to book your vacation!!