Epcot For Toddlers
Originally a park with few offerings geared directly to toddlers, Epcot has in recent years matured away from “edutainment” and toward more traditional Disney-type attractions, meaning there is more than a token effort to appeal to toddlers these days. That said many of the things for them to do are exhibits and interactive opportunities, not rides, so you probably don’t need more than a single day here to satisfy your little tyke. Of course, adults may wish to spend more time (often, two full days), and that may grow a bit old for toddlers.
We recommend if you are visiting with Toddlers spend only 7 or 8 hours a day at the park. If you go in the morning then return to your Disney World hotel in the afternoon for a quick nap and head back to EPCOT in the evening for fireworks.
Epcot Toddler-Friendly Rides
Here is a list of rides for toddlers at Epcot.
- The Seas with Nemo & Friends – an Omnimover dark ride that re-tells the Nemo story with a combination of sets and films.
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure – trackless dark ride to follow Remy through Paris on his adventure through memorable scenes in the movie.
- Frozen Ever After – a dark boat ride where you visit Anna and Elsa’s wintery world of Frozen.
- Spaceship Earth – a classic Omnimover attraction with music and animatronic performers that recounts great events of the past.
- Gran Fiesta Tour – A boat ride through Mexican with the Three Caballeros.
- Frozen Ever After – A dark boat ride going through iconic moments from the film with Olaf, Anna, and Elsa.
- Journey Into Imagination With Figment – a stop-and-go dark ride about imagination with music and brightly colored scenes.
- Turtle Talk with Crush – a live interaction, along the lines of a stage show, with an animated character on the screen. Humor is highlighted in this fun but short interaction with Crush. Beware of long lines, and don’t expect that your child may get personal participation—only a few kids per show get to participate.
- Living with the Land – an automated boat ride through simulated ecosystems and futuristic greenhouses. The line moves quickly, and there are lots to look at, but leans more toward education.
- Reflections of China – a film projected in 360 degrees on screens all around you. The innovative presentation will be engaging, and the constantly shifting imagery keeps kids involved for the whole 20-minute movie. Audiences have to stand, however, which can grow tiresome. No lines to speak of.
- Canada Far and Wind in Circle-Vision 360 – a 360-degree film, paced slower and showing its age as a much older film.
- Impression de France – this tour of France uses three giant side-by-side screens for 180 degrees. Audiences can at least sit this time, and the chairs are so comfortable, that napping becomes a danger. The soundtrack of classical music is wonderful for adults, but at times too loud for tykes.
- American Adventure – a stage show of robotic performers tracing American history over 30 minutes. This attraction is notorious for encouraging naps in comfortable chairs since the pace of the show is sometimes quite slow. Many toddlers fuss at the expectation that their attention is held for so long.
Older preschoolers may desire to take on the thrill rides: Soarin’ (40 inches), Test Track (40 inches), and Mission Space (44 inches). If so, move these rides to the top of the list. Soarin’ is a hang-glider simulation, so a fear of heights may impede enjoyment. Test Track will prove enjoyable for all involved. Mission Space is a simulation of space travel—there’s a version with actual weightlessness, achieved by rapid spinning, and one without. Some kids find the spinning nauseating, but most children quite like it (for the adults, the split is closer to 50/50).
If the most popular rides ( such as Remy or Frozen) are a priority for you and your toddler consider getting a Genie+/Lighting Lane to shorten the wait.
There are several smaller entertainment experiences at Epcot localized to smaller venues, especially in the country pavilions of World Showcase. One consistent crowd-pleaser is the troupe of gymnasts at the China pavilion, though this too is fairly low-key.
The major entertainment of the day occurs late at night: the Harmonious fireworks, which explode over the central lagoon of World Showcase. Simply put, do not miss this show. It’s worthwhile to stake out a spot for 30-45 minutes before the show begins if you’re traveling with toddlers, or else they’ll find themselves in the second or third row of spectators, and adults may have to hold them up to see everything.
Epcot is the park at Disney World with the most dining options. If you just want something quick, there’s fast food at Electric Umbrella and healthier options in the Land pavilion. In World Showcase, just about every country pavilion has a counter-service option, so you can really explore different tastes during your visit, and you’ll regret it if you don’t sample as many as possible. Being adventurous is half the fun of exploring Epcot.
All are great, though they have different pricing levels. At the top end, the Bistro in France and Le Cellier steakhouse in Canada enjoy the best reputations, and you’ll find the atmosphere of Mexico’s Cantina de San Angel hard to beat.
Character dining can be found in the Garden Grill at the Land pavilion.
Reservations for all table service restaurants are a must, and are available on a rolling 180-day schedule (simply call 407-WDW-DINE). Many of these restaurants fill up their available seat weeks before the date.
In addition to the Character Dining mentioned above, you can find costumed characters that simply walk around (check with a Cast Member to locate the schedule for any particular character).
At all the character interactions, as well as key photogenic locations, you may run across park workers offering to take your picture and “put it on a card.” This is a free service and ideal for vacationers. On your first such encounter, you’ll get a card. On all future encounters, hand over the card and they’ll swipe it, making sure that whatever photos are taken get added to your account. When you return home after your vacation, you can view the pictures online, and order prints of any that you desire, with no pressure whatsoever.
Shopping is available in all pavillions. The Creation Shop is the main store with Epcot-specific merch and a variety of other attractions.
Here are a few experiences that don’t draw nearly as many crowds, but may be of paramount importance to your particular toddler (pick and choose as your preferences dictate):
- Kidcot – tucked away into a corner in every pavilion is a table stocked with crayons and paper for children to color. Kids can get stamps, stickers, and a craft from different pavilions
- Living Seas Aquarium – When visiting the Seas with Nemo, don’t forget to head upstairs and spend time ogling the enormous fish tank, at one time the largest in the world.
- Interactive play zones at the Imagination Pavilion – make music by waving your arms and simply jump on carpeted tiles that make special effects noises.
- Germany Outdoor Train Set – children adore watching this garden-scale miniature train set navigate the scale model German villages and mountainous countryside. Many won’t want to leave!