OK, I’ve gotten a little bored about writing about saving money and maximization, so I’m gonna take a break from that stuff and get to the fun stuff – parks! Including the afternoon we arrived, we spent six and a half days in the parks. We broke up our time into three days at Magic Kingdom and two at both Epcot and Animal Kingdom. Here’s what it was like touring Epcot attractions with a toddler.
For this post, I’ll be discussing the attractions at Epcot and how my particular toddler (who was about to turn three) felt about them. She is by no means representative of all toddlers, but hopefully our experiences can give you an idea of what to expect if you’re going with young kids.
For each attraction I’ll include a brief description, M’s take, and my take.
Before I start, a couple random thoughts about Epcot.
- EVERYTHING is sponsored. BTW this post brought to you by Siemens!
- World Showcase is a lot more interesting than I remembered (haven’t been to Disney since the late 90s)
- Wear comfortable shoes – it’s the most walking you’ll do at Disney
- Soarin’ being closed straight up sucked. It reopens in June 2016.
- Epcot is a great place to take a date (subject of a future post)
Ride a slow moving vehicle to learn about how technology has evolved through the ages
Adult take: Spaceship Earth is a ride created by nerds and for nerds. Thus, I loved it. The animatronics are great, there are generally very low lines, and there are a lot of cool things to look at. They’ve added an interactive portion at the end which is nice, but they end at the personal computer – the house sized ones. Could use an update.
Toddler take: This was M’s very first ride at Walt Disney World. In what was to become a recurring theme, the dark portions of the ride were a little too scary for M to want to ride again. She thought some parts of the ride were cool, especially the end, but had no interest in going back. Great for infants in carriers though!
Living with the Land
A boat ride talking about farming and various agriculture innovations and experimentation
Adult take: Again, the nerd in me was a big fan, especially the science nerd in me. Not sure if Disney is BSing about the amount of research that goes on there (maybe a little?), but the experiments and different growing techniques are pretty cool, as are the large variety of crops.
Toddler take: A nice, peaceful ride, though with a dark thunder and lightning section that can be scary. M had fun identifying different fruits and vegetables though obviously all the science stuff was over her head. Another great ride for an infant.
Journey into Imagination with Figment
Take a ride with a purple dragon and the power of your imagination
Adult take: One of my favorite rides as a kid, I was a little underwhelmed this time. I think they only play the chorus of the song in one section so as not to annoy people (a la It’s a Small World), but I liked it and kind of missed it.
Toddler take: Some scary moments, especially when they blow a big gust of air, but this ride made an impression on her and she still references the purple dragon. Pretty tame overall, though they could turn the volume down a little.
The Seas with Nemo and Friends
Ride a clamshell through a synopsis of Finding Nemo
Adult take: The tech was pretty cool, they were projecting Nemo onto real tanks and stuff. It was a nice ride but you don’t need to take the ride to go see the main tanks, which are the real draw. The tanks were great, as impressive as any aquarium and as we talked about on the last Observation Deck you can even go snuba diving in them if you’d like.
Toddler take: With no knowledge of the movie just another ride that was too dark for M. She was into the turtles though. M absolutely loved the main tanks though, we spent a good forty five minutes to an hour just looking at fish. One of her favorite places to visit in Epcot. Never got to go to Turtle Talk timing wise, but I think it would have been great.
Meet Disney Pals at the Epcot Character Spot
Greet three of the fab five (Minnie, Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Pluto) one at a time, grabbing pictures and autographs from each of them individually
Adult take: The Epcot character spot is probably my second favorite character meet and greet in Walt Disney World. The lines are low (and Fast Pass is easy), and it’s great meeting three characters all at once. It also moves very efficiently, you move from character to character in three different sections that are all in the same room.
Toddler take: The Epcot character spot kicked off M’s obsession with getting character autographs that lasted our entire trip. She didn’t have an autograph book the first day but they found notecards and a Sharpie to give her autographs. She slept with all three by her bedside that night and the only reason she didn’t go to bed holding them is because I told her she might wrinkle them. We were at the park with an autograph book the next day.
Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros (Mexico Pavilion)
Slow boat ride with a bunch of singing ducks
Adult take: Kind of a weird ride, but relaxing and with some nice scenery and a killer view of the Mexico pavilion.
Toddler take: Enjoyable boat ride for kids, good to kill time, singing ducks are funny.
Kidcot Fun Stops at World Showcase
In each pavilion, you can get a special stamp on a Duffy the Disney bear that they give you (basically a piece of card stock attached to a stick). Each pavilion has its own unique take on it.
Adult take: We didn’t realize what the fun stops were until late on our last day at Epcot, which was too bad. This isn’t for adults but requires adults to keep track of things and know what they’re looking for.
Toddler take: M was a huge fan of this and wanted to get every stamp (once we figured out there were multiple stamps to get). She got shy with a lot of the people giving out the stamps but I think it really made World Showcase “worth it” for her. I think this would appeal to some kids all the way up to even middle school.
You’d think Epcot wouldn’t appeal to toddlers, but I actually think it’s pretty good for them. You could spend a whole day at the world showcase exposing them to different cultures (or reminding them of places they visited when they were too young to remember!). The character spot was great, the lines are shorter, and there are lots of great places to eat. Also, it doesn’t hurt to try to turn your kid into a nerd sooner rather than later. Just kidding. Not really.
Other Posts in this Series
Making Disney Dining Reservations
Saving Money on Disney Tickets
Using Touring Plans (the non-touring plan parts)
Optimizing a visit using Touring Plans’ touring plans
Saving money by staying off site
When a Disney annual pass makes sense
Touring Epcot attractions with a toddler
Touring Animal Kingdom with a toddler
One perfect day at the Magic Kingdom
Tips for parents of toddlers and infants
Things I wished I knew before I went to Disney
Two adult nerds in our family… plus two nerds in training. I LOVED Spaceship Earth. Seriously, I would’ve gone two or three times if it hadn’t seemed like a kind of weird thing to do (and also, it would’ve meant having to skip other rides).
Our kids liked Epcot a lot. They got grumpy and would object to going to another non-roller coaster type ride sometimes. Then once they were a little into it, they (almost) always liked it once it started. This happened in other parks, too, though.
In reference to this post and a comment in one of your other posts about whether to do park hoppers…. I’ve gotta say that I would’ve been much more inclined to come to Epcot for dinner after another park if the world showcase wasn’t so incredibly far from the parking lot. Not a big deal if you’re spending your day in Epcot and wandering around, but after a tiring day in another park we were feeling the distance walking to dinner.
Jamie- it is a hike to the WS, but if you spent the morning in DHS or are staying at a Boardwalk area resort, there is the International Gateway entrance that puts you right at the UK pavilion.
Good point. I wasn’t really familiar with that entrance. Worth planning around even. A morning or day in Hokkywood studios followed by Epcot is a great idea.
My kids (11 and 8) have always loved Epcot. In fact, they both have considered it their favorite park most of their lives.
The interactive play areas were always a big hit with my kids when they were little (and still are). We have to schedule in time for the play area in the Imagination pavilion, Mission Space, Test Track, and Spaceship Earth. They also love to spend time looking at the model train in Germany, trying to catch the dancing waters outside the Imagination Pavilion, and looking at the illuminated sidewalks in Future World.
That model train is amazing, didn’t discover it until dusk so didn’t get to enjoy it as much. That International Gateway is indeed clutch! Nerds rule 🙂