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20 Tips for Visiting Epcot {with Children}

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affiliate link graphicVacations to Walt Disney World can be overwhelming. There are so many decisions that have to be made. So many choices. So many factors.

Want to get people worked up? Post a simple question such as “Is it better to stick to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot or should we visit Animal Kingdom and MGM too?” on social media. {Did you catch that, all you hardcore Disney fans? Yep, it drives me crazy too!}

I find it sad that families skip over Epcot because they don’t think their children will enjoy it. First off, so what. It’s the parent’s vacation too. Secondly, my kids enjoy Epcot. It’s not Magic Kingdom, but they still have fun and look forward to going. Don’t knock it until you try it.

Did you know that Epcot is actually an acronym? It is!

Epcot stands for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. How’s that for Disney trivia?

I will admit that Epcot is one of my favorite parks. Although there is a big difference in going now with children than when my husband and I went on our honeymoon, or even on adult vacations. Yes, Disney vacations can be for adults too. It’s not always all about the kids. I promise! But Epcot is doable with children when you have a plan. Let me show you how.

20 Tips for Visiting Epcot {with Children}

1. Reserve your FP+ (aka fast passes). If you are staying on resort, don’t miss the perk of being able to make your reservations 180 days before your trip. If you have an Annual Pass or are staying off resort, you can make reservations 30 days before.

You will want to get FP+ for Soarin’, Test Track, Mission Space, Spaceship Earth, and Turtle Talk with Crush. The other rides are up to you. If you really want autographs and pictures, you can also FP+ the Character Spot to see Mickey, Minnie, and the gang.

If you are traveling with small children, ask about the FastPass+ Rider Switch Pass. It’s so awesome. We love it. My husband took the oldest two on Soarin’ while I waited with the younger two kids. He got this pass, which meant when he came back, I got to ride Soarin’ and the two oldest rode it with me again. They love the Rider Switch Pass.

FastPass Rider Switch Pass-2

2. Bring water and sunscreen. Disney is wonderful and will let you bring your own plastic water bottles and sippy cups. This is huge. Whether you are going in July or March, bring sunscreen. You are in Florida. I came home with a Magic Band tan line.

3. Visit the Kidcot Stations in each country. We LOVE visiting the World Showcase. Where else can you visit 11 countries in one day without a passport? Some of the Kidcot stations are outside, others are inside gift shops. They are all really fun. Each child gets to choose to color either Perry or Duffy the Bear. Mine always choose Duffy. He’s pretty cute.

At each station, Cast Members from those countries {I LOVE that part!} either color the flag of their country or write the child’s name in their language. Some of the countries even have a word list so the children can learn words and/or phrases while they wait in line, or color their picture.

Kidcot graphic-2

4. If you are visiting around Easter, don’t miss the Disney Egg-stravaganza. We also did this two years ago and my kids enjoyed it then too. You buy your map at the Port of Entry and make your way through each country searching for the egg. When you find the egg, you place the corresponding sticker on the map. It is so much fun.

Eggstravaganza Epcot Disney-2

5. Talk with the Cast Members about their country while walking around the world. It’s not just about eating or drinking your way around the world. They love talking about their country and about their life there. My children get a lesson in world cultures without their passport. It’s awesome.

6. Taste the World. Where else can you sample cuisine from 11 countries in one day? Sometimes we eat all of our meals at Epcot. There is such a variety! This time we ate at a few of the restaurants but got dessert in France. The crème brûlée was amazing {and gluten free!}. Nine Dragons in China is great, and we ate at the Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room twice. The gluten free fish and chips is amazing.

7. Baby Care Centers. I would venture to guess that most people overlook the Baby Care Centers. Did you know that every Park has at least one? It’s a great place to change diapers, nurse, grab baby care items you forgot to pack, take a potty break. There is usually a television for the bigger littles to watch while you take care of the baby.

8. Illuminations. The fireworks and laser light show at Epcot are excellent. Disney doesn’t do anything half-way. You can even reserve FastPass+ for the show. We walked past a couple of the areas. They are super crowded, but they are great places to watch the show.

9. Bring ear protection for your littles. Mainly for fireworks shows, but sometimes the parades can be loud too. Some of our children do great. Others seem to be a little more sensitive to loud noises. We bring a pair for each child, but usually only end up with two at the Parks. If you get the baby ear protection, they don’t squeeze the head quite as much and are great for nap time in the stroller.

10. Rent a stroller. This was HUGE for us. We needed a double stroller but did not have the room to bring one with us. Yes, you can rent strollers at the Parks, but you have to leave them at the Parks. No taking them to the car. No using them as you hop from park to park. When you have sleeping children after a long day, the last thing you want to do is drop off a stroller and carry them to the car, or on the bus, or the monorail on your way to the resort.

rent a stroller Orlando Stroller Rentals-2

Orlando Stroller Rentals was easy to work with. Actually, we never saw them! They dropped off the stroller at our first hotel and we left the stroller at our second hotel when we checked out. I suggest adding the rain cover just in case. Some years we don’t need it but more times than not, we are glad to have the rain cover.

11. Wear your walking shoes. You might want to bring bandaids and blister pads just in case. We had scrapped knees a couple of times. Frozen bandaids make everything better.

12. Meet characters that you don’t usually see other places. Alice from Alice in Wonderland, Mulan, Belle, sometimes the Beast, Snow White, Aurora, Marie from The Aristocats, Mary Poppins, and Donald from The Three Caballeros can all be found at Epcot. As well as the Fab Five that can be found in the Character Spot.

13. Don’t miss Living with the Land. It’s one of my favorites.

Living with the Land

14. If you don’t have to, don’t try to do it all in one day if you are going with small children. If you will only be at Epcot for one day, no problem. Before you go, make a list of the must see and do items. Go from there. You don’t have to see everything in one day.

15. Wear your babies. You don’t have to wear two at one time, but wearing the youngest makes maneuvering through crowds much easier.

Tula Love Wear your babies-2

16. Pack snacks. Unless you are on the Disney Dining Plan, bring snacks such as dried fruit, apples, bananas, or applesauce packs for a quick refuel before meltdowns ensue.

17. Grab a Starbucks. You can now get your Starbucks fix in the parks. We stopped in to buy a mug. But we collect Starbucks mugs from places we have visited.

18. Don’t miss the aquariums. What used to be called The Living Seas is now The Seas with Nemo and Friends. If you wait to until closer to dinner time, there won’t be a wait. After you visit with Nemo and his friends, don’t miss the aquariums. You can see dolphins, manatees, sea horses, and all kinds of sea creatures. You can also do Turtle Talk with Crush here. It’s pretty fun.

19. Make dining reservations before you go. This depends on the time of year that you go. If you don’t make dining reservations and have a large party, expect to wait an hour or more. We always try to err on the side of caution, especially with littles.

20. Have fun! Planning your Walt Disney World vacation doesn’t have to be stressful. It can be fun!

What are your tips and tricks to visiting Epcot with children? What other questions do you have?

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Colleen

Wednesday 2nd of November 2016

what is the potential issue with the message during illuminations?

Whitney at Beauty in the Mess

Thursday 3rd of November 2016

Hi, Colleen! At one time, I remember listening to the narration and it sounding kind of big bang-ish. I was just there last week though, and I think maybe either they revised the script from the version I was remembering when I originally wrote the post, or I didn't listen close enough. I didn't hear anything that would cause for alarm last week. Because of that, I edited the original post.

Mithra Ballesteros

Friday 10th of April 2015

Wonderful tips! Our trip is in June w/ my two little nephews. Forwarding your post to their mom pronto. Gluten-free fish and chips?!?! Yay!

Whitney at Beauty in the Mess

Monday 13th of April 2015

YES!! They are SO good. You can't get gluten free at the quick-service, but in at the sit down Rose & Crown Pub, you can. It's delicious. I'm craving that right now. LOL