Taking Kids to Epcot: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Have your kids ever asked you what EPCOT stands for? Quick history lesson: EPCOT is an acronym for Experimental Prototype City of Tomorrow, a utopian community of the future planned by Walt Disney. Epcot is divided into two sections: Future World has eight pavilions and World Showcase is themed with 11 world nations.The park opened in 1982, and Epcot is ranked the third-most-visited theme park in North America and the sixth-most-visited theme park in the world. Not only is it a busy place, but it’s massive in terms of the space it occupies.

Set on 300 acres, this park is more than twice the size of Magic Kingdom. Epcot is dedicated to the celebration of human achievement, primarily technological innovation and international culture. Those of us old enough to remember World’s Fairs sometimes think of this Disney park like a permanent World’s Fair. You’ll see a variety of attractions and entertainment spanning the web and the globe.

Ready to take the kids for a visit? We’ve got some tips to make your trip easier on everyone.

Disney World Tips for Kids: Free or Inexpensive Activities at Disney Springs

1. Height Requirements in Alphabetical Order

  • Mission: SPACE Green and Orange – 44″
  • Soarin’ – 40″
  • Sum of All Thrills in Innoventions East – 48″
  • Test Track – 40″

There are no height requirements for any other attractions.

2. Two Entrances

You will do a lot of walking in EPCOT, which people often joke stands for Every Person Comes Out Tired. It can help to know that this is the only Disney park to have two entrances. The front entrance at Future World (East and West) connects to the parking lot, has a bus and tram drop off, and offers a monorail that will take you to and from the Ticket & Transportation Center by Magic Kingdom. The secondary entrance, connecting to the back edge of World Showcase, offers boat transportation and a walkway to Disney’s Boardwalk (shopping, dining and entertainment) and multiple resorts. If the kids want to see the countries, you may do less walking that day by using the back entrance. 

Walt Disney World Tips: Resort Goodies for Kids

3. Two Opening Times

Just as there are two different entrances, Epcot’s two themed areas are entirely different. Future World examines where mankind has come from and where we’re headed, while World Showcase features landmarks, cuisine, and culture of almost a dozen nations. World Showcase also has a different time schedule, typically opening two hours later than Future World (usually around eleven a.m.) Hiking the kids all the way over to the countries first thing, only to wait for everything to open, is not a good use of your park time. 

4. Strollers are Your Friend

If the average adult is walking above 10 miles a day in the Disney parks, even active children will struggle with that mileage. Rent one, bring one or whatever, but park those little bottoms in something with wheels, because tiny feet get tired here pretty fast.

2017 Rental Prices for Strollers straight from Disney:

  • $15.00 for single – $13.00 per day for length of stay rental
  • $31.00 for double – $27.00 per day for length of stay rental

The BEST Disney World Snacks to Share!

5. There are Characters

Most people do not associate Epcot with Disney characters, but with so many visitors expecting to see characters in every park, they have started appearing in Epcot more frequently through the years. Consult the times guide or ask Cast Members where you can find them.

Remember these can change with no notice, but current 2017 character greeting opportunities may include:

  • Aladdin and Jasmine in Morocco
  • Baymax in expanded Character Spot location (across the breezeway from Mickey’s Character Spot)
  • Belle and Aurora in France
  • Chip and Dale outside of the Character Spot
  • Daisy in Showcase Plaza
  • Donald in Mexico
  • Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy in the Epcot Character Spot
  • Mulan in China
  • Pluto near the Main Entrance
  • Snow White in Germany
  • Winnie the Pooh and Friends, Alice in Wonderland, and Mary Poppins in the United Kingdom

You might even find Santa in the American Adventure Pavilion during the late fall holiday season.

6. Character Photo

An adult in your party needs a Disney Chase Visa Card to enjoy this perk, but cardholders can take the kids to a character Meet ‘N’ Greet at Chase’s Private Cardmember location. This line is typically shorter than character meet and greets in other parks. Present your Disney Visa Card to enter. The Meet ‘N’ Greet is open from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Disney Visa Photo Spot, now located in Future World next to Journey Into Imagination With Figment. Meet and pose with some of your favorite Disney Characters, and you’ll receive FREE downloads of your photos.  We love free!

Disney Springs Must Do: Goofy’s Candy Co.

7. Character Meals

There are two locations for character meals in Epcot, both of which receive solid reviews on a consistent basis.

Akershus Royal Banquet Hall features Ariel, Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), Belle, Cinderella, Jasmine, Mary Poppins, Mulan, and Snow White in their “Princess Storybook Dining.” These characters rotate, so you won’t see them all during every visit. For those traveling with picky eaters, breakfast may be your safest bet for meals.

The Garden Grill has Chip ‘n Dale’s Harvest Feast, where the kids can meet Chip, Dale and many other favorite Disney Characters, which can include Mickey and Pluto. Food choices are pretty standard buffet meals, so everyone should find something they like throughout the day.

8. INNOVENTIONS

Make sure the kids stop by INNOVENTIONS East and West, two separate pavilions where children discover engaging exhibits, stimulating simulations and educational games, probably learning something in the process. They can get blown away by gale force winds, design their own thrill ride, and learn healthy habits to save the world, plus a lot more interactive and hands-on fun.

In Colortopia Presented by Glidden, experience the wonderful world of color while you explore three interactive zones—the Color Lab, Color Our World Studio and Power of Color Theater. Kids learn to create custom hues with a digital paint palette as well as understanding how different shades can impact moods. Kids like playing on smart phones? You can download the FREE Colortopia app to take your masterpiece home, colorize photos and play with various color palettes. This could give children something educational to do while waiting inline lines and sitting in strollers. 

A Whole Bunch of Tips For a Better Disney Trip!

9. Fountains = Wet

There are several areas in Epcot where kids can splash and play in fountains, which can be a great for cooling off in the sweltering summer heat. It’s a good idea to have a change of clothes though if you plan to let the kids splash, just in case they don’t like walking around soaking wet. 

10. Get a Drink

Club Cool in Epcot’s Future World, sponsored by Coca-Cola, offers kids and adults eight drinks from around the world, all of which are types of Coca-Cola brands. You can taste as much of the beverage samples as you want for as long as you want, but make sure the kids don’t leave with a tummy ache.

Use this link for more information: 

Free Drinks at Epcot’s Club Cool: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

For some fun with the kids, make sure they drink this: 

For some Walt Disney World Fun, You Have to Try THIS Free Drink! 

11. Kids Crafts

For the kids who enjoy crafts, see a Cast Member at any Kidcot Fun Stop to get a complimentary cardboard Duffy the Disney Bear for your child to decorate and personalize with the free supplies at each station. Cast Members will share insights about their native lands, such as how to say “hello,” and they will give your child a stamp of Duffy in each country.

Where to Find Kidcot Fun Stops (2017)

  • Mexico Pavilion (near Animales Fantasticos)
  • Norway Pavilion (at The Puffin’s Roost)
  • China Pavilion (near the exit of Reflections of China)
  • Germany Pavilion (at Volkunst)
  • Italy Pavilion (outside, near La Bottega Italiana)
  • American Adventure Pavilion (outside, near Heritage Manor Gifts)
  • Japan Pavilion (in the Bijutsu-kan Gallery)
  • Morocco Pavilion (at the Marketplace in the Medina)
  • France Pavilion (at Souvenirs de France)
  • United Kingdom Pavilion (at The Toy Soldier)
  • Canada Pavilion (at the exit of O Canada!)

Disney Ticket Prices Just Went Up, So What Can You Do?

12. Go on a Secret Mission

For kids who would enjoy a specific activity to do while touring Epcot, they can go on a scavenger hunt with Operation Doof-Busters, solving clues with Agent P. to thwart some of Dr. Doofenshmirtz’s most daringly evil plots. Visit the recruitment center at Odyssey Bridge, sign up for duty, and get started. Kids can opt to use an official FONE—code for Field Operative Notification Equipment—or their own smartphone to connect with the powers that be at OWCA, aka, “The Agency.” If you are traveling with more than one child, up to four guests can join forces and share an interactive device.

Clues will lead you through one of the following destinations:

  • Mexico Pavilion
  • Norway Pavilion
  • China Pavilion
  • Germany Pavilion
  • Japan Pavilion
  • France Pavilion
  • United Kingdom Pavilion.

Each mission lasts anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes, and because each pavilion hosts a different mission, you can go back again and again. The kids will experience a very special “thank you” for helping save the world and giving Doof the boot!

These missions can be fun for kids who have visited Epcot more than once and needs something different to try.

20 Cheapskate Tips to Save Money on Food at Disney World

13. Model Trains

Originally created for the 1995 Epcot Food & Wine Festival, a very large model train display is now a permanent fixture of the Germany Pavilion. If you are facing Germany, just go to the right. Three electric traveling trains, mostly locomotives that pull a car or two, are the highlight of the 50 x 130 model garden layout.

14. Do Some Shopping

There are gift shops everywhere in Epcot, and while the shopping in Epcot’s countries is not really geared toward children, you can find items there they might be interested in.

  • Canada -maple sugar treats
  • China – inexpensive miscellaneous items
  • Germany – Gummy candies
  • Italy – Perugina chocolate
  • Japan – Hello Kitty, Anime merchandise, and candy
  • Mexico – toys and jewelry
  • Norway – Christmas ornaments
  • United Kingdom – candy

Where can you shop with kids who are looking for Disney character merchandise? Mouse Gears is a massive souvenir shop in Epcot’s Future World by INNOVENTIONS, where kids will find every imaginable bit of character merchandising available.

15. E-mail a Video to Friends

After riding Spaceship Earth, you are deposited at Project Tomorrow: Inventing the Wonders of the Future. Here, both you and the kids can send an e-mail to friends and family. Grandma would probably love to see what their grandchildren have been up to, so have them memorize her e-mail address or you provide it for them. E-mail yourself and the kids can watch it when you get back home. 

20 Tips for Taking Kids to Walt Disney World

16. Hats & Glasses

Of all the parks that get direct sun without benefit of very much shade, Epcot guests suffer the most. While this could be said of all the theme parks, I don’t set foot at Epcot without a hat. Kids could definitely use hats and sun glasses.

Throw on some sunscreen too.

17. See a Fireworks Show

IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth is a 12 minute fireworks show that starts just before Epcot closes. This show celebrates the spirit of humanity at World Showcase Lagoon, a show designed to hi-light the past, present, and future of Earth. Remember, sometimes small children can be definitely be frightened with the loud sounds of fireworks. Also, the show is probably best viewed right around the lagoon, but this can be difficult on crowded days.

To Save Money, Visit Disney World During Value Season

If you have any fabulous Epcot tips we didn’t cover, leave us a comment and we’ll add it to our list.

To see more of our Cheapskating Guides, use this link.

Amanda Major Cheapskate Princess

.

Disney’s Cheapskate Princess

.

Now let our vacation planners help you plan your trip, totally for FREE!

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from Elizabeth and Erin, our Disney Vacation Planners with Destinations in Florida travel.

You can also e-mail them at cp@destinationsinflorida.com.

Great Perks for your Walt Disney World Vacation at Destinations in Florida

Amanda Major CheapskatePrincess.comAmanda Major is the creator of cheapskateprincess.com. She remembers her first visit to Magic Kingdom like it was yesterday, because she had a ham sandwich tucked in her shorts pocket. The whole family snuck in their lunch; you can’t make that kinda stuff up. 40 years worth of trips to Orlando later, she is still trying to save money on vacations.

Amanda is a Disney Vacation Club Member and an Annual Pass holder. Her amazing husband, band director Carl Major, plus three teen children and two dogs keep her busy. Amanda teaches Leadership to high school seniors in the almost-coastal town of Foley, Alabama. Read about her cheapskating local vacations with this link. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, walking somewhere, or paddling a kayak. Life is indeed a blast. 

We hope we can help save you some money too. Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from our Princess Travel Experts with Destinations in Florida travel, Elizabeth and Erin. You can also e-mail them at cp@destinationsinflorida.com.