When it comes to Epcot and small children, it is probably better to have a plan or at least a to-do list. Since Epcot is so vast and sprawling, you could end up wandering in areas small children find boring or see the little ones tire easily from a lot of walking. It also helps to visit during a more kid-friendly time like the Flower and Garden Festival.
Here is a guide to finding the kid-friendly things to do at Epcot Center in Disney World Orlando, as well as tips for making Epcot fun and pleasant for small children.
Why Visit During Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival?
Not only will you experience stunning gardens with floral sculptures, live music each weekend, seasonal dishes full of flavor, but they have set up play areas for the whole family throughout the world. Being able to take breaks and play makes a world of difference.
Flower and Garden Festival 2014
The pictures in this post are from the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival 2014. This is my 3rd time to visit Epcot during the festival and it is still hands down my favorite time to visit. Not only because of the plant and flower creations they make, but because of the 4 or 5 playgrounds they put up. For my kids these playgrounds make Epcot much more fun. Our favorite Playground is always near Canada. The bonus is that it is also near the Coca-Cola station with cokes from around the world. Trying out all the Cokes is Noah’s favorite thing about Epcot.
Everyone always enjoys the butterfly garden they put up and we always walk to France to eat at Boulangerie Patisserie, because it’s cheap and good!
Kidcot Fun Stops
Easily one of the best things to do is to introduce your children to the Kidcot Fun Stations. The child will get a freebie (such as the theater mask on a long wooden stick received during a recent Family Travel visit). Then, at each country section in Epcot, the child can visit the Kidcot station for more bling for their prize, and to color and decorate it.
During Epcot festivals there are concerts and lots of educational classes. During the flower and garden festival they have all kinds of gardening classes. I have never taken any of the classes, but they are included in your admission. Same thing for the concerts, I have never been to one, but they are included in your admission and spread out throughout the festival. It’s a unique time to visit Epcot since they put out tons of plants they have grown into Disney characters.
Disney Characters at Epcot
At the Magic Kingdom, it’s just flat out unpleasant doing the Disney character thing. You wait in a very long and painful line with an unhappy child to meet characters like the Disney Princesses. You can deal with nasty Princess Goons for rare times when a princess is out in the park, or bouncers who let children stand in line only to abruptly announce the princess will soon be leaving. You can pay a lot for a princess character breakfast at Cinderella’s castle.
At Epcot Center, it actually isn’t unpleasant at all to meet Disney characters. There is even less expensive Princess character dining available at the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in the Norway pavilion at Epcot that features more princess time and is available for breakfast, lunch or dinner (versus the Magic Kingdom version of only breakfast).
There are also other ways for the little ones to meet characters. Upon entering Epcot, get a map and look for the icons for character spots. A quick line was all that had to be endured to meet, get pictures and get autographs with several classic Disney characters like Mickey, Minnie, Chip ‘n Dale and Goofy.
Another little tip: watch for random princess sightings in the country most likely to be their origin (such as Snow White in Germany, Belle in France, and so on).
Tips for Epcot Center with Small Children
* Seek out or make a list of the kid-friendly rides at Epcot. You also might want have a solo parent test out a ride first if the line is short. Nemo & Friends, for instance, is one of the best for small children. Still, the ride continuously moves. That can make it a bit awkward hopping on with a squirmy toddler in arms (and in arms they will be, since strollers must stay outside).
* Consider renting a stroller, even for an older child. Epcot Center covers a lot of acreage. If you’ll be there for a day, even an older preschooler or child could end up with tired legs by end of day. It also could make things speedier for moving from section to section. There is also a ferry that crosses World Showcase Lagoon and can cut down on some walking.