Hands down, EPCOT is my three-year old’s favorite Walt Disney World Resort theme park, and it is mine too! When we go to EPCOT as a family, everyone can enjoy themselves and my little one can experience so much more than a ride in the stroller. Here are seven reasons it’s her favorite park and the insights my friends at planDisney shared that helped make it so:
1. Character Greetings
My little girl loves a good character greeting, with Donald Duck being her favorite friend to find. Panelist Ana Paula R. shared a quick list of who we should be on the lookout for when we go, “Kiddos can meet so many Disney Princesses and some other Disney pals around the World Showcase! Donald Duck meets in Mexico, Anna and Elsa meet in Norway, Mulan meets in China, Snow White meets in Germany, Jasmine meets in Morocco, and Aurora and Belle meet in France.”
As Disney Visa Cardholders, we love to take advantage of the Disney Visa Cardmember Photo Opportunity near Journey to the Imagination with Figment. Here you can meet and greet some favorite Disney friends and receive complimentary PhotoPass downloads from the experience. The line tends to be short, but make sure you have your card handy to present when you enter.
Speaking of hidden character gems at EPCOT, did you know you can meet Mickey Mouse himself right outside of the waiting area for Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival? Once we snap our Mickey photo, my little one enjoys the film festival. It’s a 4D adventure into three popular Disney Pixar shots, plus it’s the PERFECT 18-minute break when we need to cool off in the AC or just need a little down time.
If we make only one stop at EPCOT with my little one, this is it! And in my little one’s mind there is only one way to enter: through The Seas with Nemo & Friends. Once we jump off this slow-moving under the sea adventure attraction, we spend time exploring the aquariums and exhibits at SeaBase. There is an indoor play area, cast members who can answer our questions, and daily feeding and educational shows.
“At SeaBase in World Nature, pick up a complimentary Finding Dory’s Friends scavenger hunt booklet to guide your search for underwater creatures. Colorful stickers and air conditioning make this activity a cool hit for the entire family!” shares panelist Jennifer B! And no visit to SeaBase is complete without stopping by the turtle tank at Turtle Talk with Crush to ask my little one’s burning questions about life under the sea.
3. Kidcot & Other World Showcase Adventures
A not to miss for young travelers of all ages visiting EPCOT is Kidcot Fun Stops presented by Ziploc. My little one loves collecting the cards at each country, and it’s the perfect way to introduce her to different cultures while dad and I sneak in our favorite sips and bites in each country. My planDisney Panelist friends save the country cards for an easy travel activity on the way home as each card has a coloring sheet on the back featuring Disney pals.
We are also really looking forward to the opening of Ducktales World Showcase Adventure tomorrow, December 16, 2022. It will be a quacky quest where guests can join Scrooge McDuck and his nephews on an adventure around World Showcase using the Play Disney Parks App.
Ana Paula R. and her family created their own around the world adventure, “One activity I LOVED to do as a child was to try a piece of candy from every single World Showcase pavilion. To this day, my favorite one still is the Daim chocolate bar from the Norway pavilion!”
4. Journey Into Imagination with Figment
Journey Into Imagination with Figment is my daughter’s FAVORITE ride at Walt Disney World. There is just something special about that little purple dragon, right?! There are a few moments of darkness and a surprise ending, but it’s nothing a little bravery and a squeeze from mommy’s hand can’t overcome. Don’t rush out at the exit though as the attraction lets off at ImageWorks – The “What If” Labs. This is a cool area where kids can explore light and sounds in interactive exhibits and also see Joy from “Inside Out” and Vanellope from “Wreck It Ralph.”But this is not the only no height attraction that the whole family can enjoy together at EPCOT. Also on my daughter’s must do list are Frozen Ever After, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros, and Spaceship Earth. We let her be in charge of making the selections that determine “our future” at the end of the attraction. Beauty and the Beast Sing Along in the France pavilion is also a big favorite.
5. Trains in Germany
Panelist Lisa E and her family consider EPCOT a strolling park, and my little one and I could not agree more! There are so many unplanned adventures to have, says Jennifer B. “The miniature train village in the Germany pavilion is full of untold stories. The hedge maze in the England pavilion is a great spot for an epic game of Follow the Leader or create your own park day soundtrack on the drums in the Outpost area.” Or even a stop at the Stave Church in Norway!
“And don’t miss musical acts like the Jammitors – little ones can be moving and shaking and not sitting in the stroller!” says Anna S.
Panelist Ashley M. suggests, “The Jumping Water Fountains near the Imagination! pavilion provide hours of entertainment and allow the kids to run free and have some unstructured play time. Because of their love for these fountains we’re all looking forward to Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana when it opens in late 2023.”
Of all these strolling adventures, the trains in Germany are a can’t miss for my daughter. Plus, did you know the little town changes their flags depending on what festival is happening at EPCOT?
6. Garden Grill
Coral Reef and Space 220 Restaurant offer some distracting views for little ones during mealtimes, but there is nothing like dining with her favorite pals for my daughter! Garden Grill Restaurant at The Land pavilion offers a chance to meet Chip ‘n’ Dale and their pals while the restaurant slowly turns offering unique views of the Living with the Land attraction below throughout dinner. Top off the night with a trip into a working greenhouse on Living with the Land. My little one likes to point out the vegetables she doesn’t eat as we go through the attraction.
Another character dining opportunity that recently returned is Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in the Norway pavilion, where you’ll be visited at your table by the Disney Princesses themselves.
Panelist Nick S. loves visiting the festivals at EPCOT to encourage his girls to try new things and be adventurous eaters. My picky eater loves the festivals for all the activities and things to see. “With the many festivals, there’s almost always something even little ones can participate in – whether it’s play time at an outdoor play area, enjoying the flutter of butterflies, finding their favorite character topiaries, listening to the holiday storytellers, or painting a part of a giant mural. And the festivals offer families an opportunity to enjoy some excellent on the go meals, so there’s no wrangling a toddler in a restaurant if you choose not to,” shares panelist Anna S.
There are also seasonal scavenger hunts, like Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition Scavenger Hunt, where families can purchase a map at Creations Shop, Port of Entry or World Traveler and go on a themed quest to find hidden characters throughout World Showplace. Once you have found them all and marked them off with the provided stickers, return with your map for a special keepsake. The planDisney panelists love this because it is both an activity for the whole family and a fun souvenir.
There are so many reasons my little one and I love EPCOT, but as a mom, I also love that there is an opportunity for her to experience and learn something new along the way.
Panelists receive compensation for their participation on planDisney.