Updated: December 2017

Epcot for Kids:

I just returned from a weeklong vacation (February 2009) in Orlando, Florida with my wife and 2 children. We were a little hesistant to visit Disney Epcot but we decided to do it anyway. Our daughter is 7 years old and our son is almost 4. All the books and reviews written on Epcot talk about how boring it is for kids and that children won't like the World Showcase area that really has no rides. I decided to write this article to clarify a few points and let all parents know that taking their toddlers and preschoolers to Epcot isn't the worst experience. Sure, there probably isn't enough to keep them busy all day long, but we found more than enough to do throughout the day. Firstly, many of the rides in the Future World section are probably not for youngsters. Skip Mission Space, Test Track, Soarin, and Spaceship Earth. We were able to get through Epcot from noon to 8 PM which allowed us to get up late that day and make sure we were able to see the Illuminations show at 9 PM. Illuminations was great, but getting out of the park afterwards was a real traffic jam so if your kids are tired, leave the park early and avoid the headache come 9:20PM when everyone is trying to get to the exits.

The best way to start your day at Epcot is with a simple ride like The Seas with Nemo and Friends. You sit in a clamshell vehicle and go through underwater scenes where Nemo, Marlin and other characters from Finding Nemo appear. My 3 year old loved it and wanted to ride a 2nd time. When the ride is done you get out into an area with aquariums full of colorful fish. Kids like this type of attraction where they can walk around freely and not be confined. The big shark exhibit was a hit with our kids - you can get into the mouth of Bruce the Shark from the Nemo movie. There is also a Turtle Talk with Crush interactive show that is adjacent to the aquarium and play area. Next we went to the Innoventions pavilion where the kids got to see a huge firetruck and watch robots at work. After that we did the Imagination Pavilion and watched the Honey I Shrunk the Audience 3D film. We had good time and our kids enjoyed it, but other families left the movie since their little ones were a little scared. Use your best judgement on this one. Lastly, we went to the Epcot Character Spot across from the Innoventions West building and waited in line to see Goofy, Mickey, and Minnie Mouse. If you end up waiting in a long line make sure you reward the kids with an ice cream or treat and tell them you appreciate their patience. I always try to remind my kids that we will take breaks throughout the day and enjoy a treat. As you make your way up to the World Showcase there are lot of visually exciting things to look at so let your kids just enjoy the scenery as you stroll along.

Kidcot Fun Stop Locations:

One of the more hidden events within Epcot are the Kidcot Fun Stops that are located throughout the park in various spots. The Kidcot Fun Spots are exactly what the type of thing that made our trip special and our kids are still talking about it weeks later. The guide map that you get when entering the park will have specified locations within Future World and World Showcase where you can stop and get a mask that is attached to a wooden stick (like the kind you stir paint with). The kids are allowed to color and do crafts at each station using Sharpies and stamps. We made it a fun activity by making sure we stopped by each country in World Showcase to get our stamp and the unique piece from each country that is attached to the mask. If you collect them all it will take sometime to do it, but it kept our kids occupied and interested as we walked around the World Showcase. Not all the Kidcot Fun Stops are easy to find, but Cast Members will direct you to the exact location if you ask. We just followed the map and found all of them without much problem. If you do all the countries and the few stops in Future World you'll fill up your day and keep the kids moving along. At each station you get to talk with someone from another country (Mexico, Norway, Italy, Germany, China, Japan, etc.). Our kids learned how to say "hello" and "good bye" in several languages and had a blast doing all the activities. You can read up more on the Kidcot Fun Stops online HERE.

Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers:

Overall Epcot can be a fun and entertaining place for kids of all ages. With limited rides to begin with, parents need to be creative in how to spend your day at Epcot so that the kids in your family don't get bored and start complaining. We were able to mix in playtime at a few spots and by doing the Kidcot activity our kids didn't realize how much ground we were covering along the way. Be sure to take a stroller as the walking can really tire out even the older kids. I would say any child under the age of 3 may have a hard time enjoying enough things at Epcot, so if that is the case, perhaps do a 1/2 day at Magic Kingdom and less than a 1/2 day at Epcot. In the World Showcase with all the countries you will find things like Belly Dancing (Morocco) and drum playing (Japan) to keep your kids interest up.