Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Epcot for Preschoolers: Best and Worst (1 of 2)

Epcot is hard to judge for preschoolers. While the rides are not very friendly, we found this to be the best place for our kids to meet the Disney characters. In fact, they met everyone they cared to meet here: Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofey, Mulan, Jasmine, Snow White, and more. So I would agree with the majority who say this park is not toddler friendly, but I think Disney has as countered that by creating an environment where children can meet all the characters without waiting in long line (aside from Epcot Character Spot).

Please keep in mind that this is based upon the Preschooler’s (birth-5) experience and not older kids. There were no rides worthwhile for our children. Our 4 year old did enjoy Test Track, but our 2 year old was not tall enough to ride it, thus it was an overall fail. Neither child road Soarin. The other rides were blah at best.

Even with the fact that Epcot is not really kid friendly, I would recommend for you to bring your preschooler here for a morning. You can meet the beloved Disney characters, head back to your hotel for rest and relaxation, then spend you evening at a fun park (I would suggest going to Magic Kingdom in the evening for some attractions, the parade and fireworks display). Here is my best and worst preschooler’s guide for Epcot:

Best Rides
1. Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros (Mexico)
2. The Seas with Nemo & Friends
3. Test Track (40’ minimum height)

Best Shows/Attractions
1. Epcot Character Spot
2. Character Meet & Greets (each country has a different character – i.e. meet Snow White in Germany. A list of character meeting times is available upon arrival to the park, along with a map)
3. Turtle Talk with Crush

Worst Rides
1. Maelstrom – as boring as Norway
2. Soarin – Great for children, not preschoolers
3. All the other shows and rides toddlers find boring or are too little for

Worst Shows
• Take you pick of those not listed on the best shows!

Helpful tips:
• Arrive at the park by 8:15AM or 45 minutes before it opens.
• Arrive at the park by 8:15AM or 45 minutes before it opens.
• Arrive at the park by 8:15AM or 45 minutes before it opens.
• Purchase your tickets before your get to the park.
• Take advantage of the Disney photographers. Even if you do not purchase their photos, they will also take pictures for you, so do not be afraid to ask them to do so!
• Bring your own snacks – Disney allows you to brings food and dinks (at least plastic bottles) into the parks
Stop for a Kaki Gore (snow cone) at a kiosk as you enter Japan, probably the most reasonably priced item in all of Disney World.
• Purchase most of your souvenirs from Magic Kingdom, but know Target has cheaper items just down the road.
• If you are there for more than one day, leave the park for a few hours in the afternoon to rest, eat, swim, relax, and head back… you will still have plenty of time to do everything in 2 days at Magic Kingdom with your preschoolers.

Related Articles:
Magic Kingdom for Preschoolers: Best and Worst
Disney World for Preschoolers


izza said...

Your tips really means a lot to me! m actually going to be there in 2 months to celebrate my son's birthday for the first time and I'm so thankful to stumble upon this post. It really helps me in patching things up! Do you know Disney Resorts where I could possibly held my 3 year old son's birthday?

Cole Hedgecock said...

A buddy of mine just went to Disney's Caribbean beach, a moderate resort, and highly recommended it. It falls in the middle of the different options, has a great pool, and was friendly for his 3 year old. Hopefully, that helps. Have a great day.