Epcot has a reputation for being a park that the kids won’t like. It is a reputation that is not deserved. There is plenty at Epcot that the whole family will love, it is fun and educational at the same time. Before you head out remember that Epcot is huge, and long stretches of World Showcase don’t have much shade. Make sure the whole family has comfortable shoes and pack the sunscreen. Here are ten of the many things that your family will love about Epcot.
Small children may be bored by shopping under normal circumstances, but things are different at Epcot. Toys from around the world are sold. Your kids might want to head home with a Chinese yo-yo, a French parasol, or Duffy with plenty of accessories. World Showcase is also where you’ll find the Kidcot Fun Stops. One parent can stay with the kids as they color, and the other parent can browse in the nearby shops.
If your kids need a break and you don’t want to head back to the hotel, there are several quiet places within World Showcase that will help. Several of the countries have beautiful gardens where you can sit down and relax for a few minutes (Canada and Japan are two of the best). The kids can nap in the stroller, and you can enjoy a peaceful moment that you never thought would be possible within a theme park.
8) The Seas
If your kids love sea life, they’ll be able to get their fill. The Seas Pavilion in Future World West features a 5.7 million gallon saltwater aquarium. It contains over 85 species. On a hot day you’ll welcome the air conditioned break, and there’s a chance that you’ll lose track of the time. Another special treat is a meal at Coral Reef Restaurant, you’ll be able to dine as you watch over 4,000 sea creatures. The Seas is also home to Turtle Talk With Crush, which is different each time. You can also ride through Nemo’s world, and if everyone is old enough you might want to sign up to snorkel.
7) Fresh Food
Your kids might not care too much about the quality of the food that they eat, but as parents you do care. Some of the food that is served at Sunshine Seasons is grown right at Epcot. You and your children can see the future meals and learn about modern growing techniques on Living with the Land, which is located near Sunshine Seasons. The slow boat ride will take you through the Epcot greenhouses. You can also look closer by signing up for the Behind the Seeds tour. Call 407-WDW-TOUR (407-939-8687) for more information or to register.
6) The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival
There are two special festivals each year that are held at Epcot. The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, held in the fall, is geared more towards adults, but that doesn’t mean to keep the kids away. The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival was created with the whole family in mind. Kids love the topiaries of their favorite Disney characters, and there are many great picture opportunities. The Festival also usually includes a special play area for the kids, butterflies, and more. There is also plenty for the adults to love. Spring is a great time of year to visit Central Florida, and the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival will make your trip even better.
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5) International Cuisine
There is something for even the pickiest eater at Epcot. At World Showcase you’ll find foods from 11 different nations. From hamburgers to sushi, everyone will leave full and satisfied. Unlike many theme parks you won’t have to dine only on pizza at Epcot, but if that’s what you want, make a reservation at Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria. It just might be the best pizza you’ll ever have. There are also bakeries if anyone has a sweet tooth, and you can try different types of international ice cream. There are so many food choices at World Showcase that you might have a hard time agreeing on where to eat.
4) Rides and Live Entertainment
Some of the most popular rides at Walt Disney World can be found at Epcot. On Soarin’ you’ll be able to hang glide as a family. Test Track is great for anyone who loves to go fast but doesn’t want to drop. Mission: SPACE will take you to Mars. There are two intensity levels. These rides have height restrictions, but there are others that even a baby can ride. Head inside the park’s icon and back in time on Spaceship Earth. There are other family rides as well. There is also live entertainment throughout the day. Your whole family will love the Jeweled Dragon Acrobats, Sergio, and the JAMMitors. Pick up a Times Guide when you enter the park so that you can find out when those and other shows will take place. They are all worth seeing.
3) IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth
IllumiNations takes place each night when the park is about to close. That’s usually at 9:00pm, but later during the holidays. If your kids can stay up that late it is definitely worth staying for. There are fireworks, lasers, and a spinning globe. The show will remind you that the world isn’t so large after all, and that even with our differences we are also all part of the human race. IllumiNations is the perfect way to end your family’s day.
2) Princesses and Other Characters
If your family loves characters grab your autograph book and head to Epcot! There are some great opportunities here. You can meet Mickey and other classic characters at the Epcot Character Spot. World Showcase is a great place to meet princesses. Since face characters talk they’ll make your kids feel like they are a part of a storybook. If you want to meet even more princesses make a reservation for Akershus Royal Banquet Hall. Another character dining experience can be found at The Garden Grill, where dinner is hosted by Chip ‘n’ Dale. Epcot is also the only place where you can meet Duffy. In case you’re unfamiliar with Duffy, he’s the teddy bear that Minnie gave to the Top Mouse before a trip around the world. Yes, Duffy is a marketing ploy, but he’s also adorable.
The holidays are special at Epcot. The decorations are incredible, but there’s a lot more to it than that. You can learn about the holidays in other countries in Holidays Around the World. You can dance and sing along to classic Christmas favorites at “Joyful! A Gospel Celebration of the Season”. There are special holiday treats for sale throughout the park. The highlight of the Christmas season is the Candlelight Processional. A mass choir and orchestra will perform, and a celebrity narrator will tell the biblical Christmas story. It has become a beloved holiday tradition for thousands of families. If you haven’t experienced the holidays at Epcot, consider booking a trip for this December.