I remember Epcot opening being a BIG DEAL. We’re spoiled these days with how Disney continually tops themselves (and so quickly!), constantly adding to their parks and with Disney Cruise Line and Adventures By Disney.
There really aren’t that many attractions or rides geared to small children at Epcot. However, it truly is a wonderful place to bring a baby or toddler. Though it’s almost twice as big as Magic Kingdom, Epcot is quieter, the pace is less busy, and strolling through the World Showcase (especially at night!) is a wonderful way to while away naptime or even bedtime with a heavy sleeper.
Visiting Epcot with a baby is simply lovely.
The Basics for Epcot with a Baby or Toddler:
Epcot is divided into two sections: Future World (East and West) and World Showcase. It is the only Disney World Theme Park to have two entrances. The main entrance is serviced by a parking lot, buses, and monorail that will take you to the Ticket & Transportation Center. The secondary entrance is off beside the entrance to the World Showcase that connects to Disney’s Boardwalk.
You can get to Epcot via monorail or bus, but the Boardwalk resorts (Boardwalk Inn, Yacht & Beach Club, Swan & Dolphin) offer boats to the International Gateway (Epcot‘s smaller entrance). We always walk it because it’s short and nice to walk.
Epcot Stroller Rentals:
Because there are two entrances, there are two spots for stroller rentals. One is to the left of the main entrance, the other towards Disney’s Boardwalk. The strollers are the same molded plastic ones as at the other parks (different colour). Rental prices are the same: $15.00 USD per day for a single-passenger stroller and $31.00 USD per day for a double. Disney offers a reduced-rate length of stay rental ticket for a one-time payment for as many days of stroller rental you will need. When you enter a Disney park, show your receipt at the stroller rental location. You will be zipped to the front of the line. The multiple day stroller rental fee is $13.00 USD per day for a single stroller, and $27.00 USD per day for a double stroller.
Visiting Epcot with a Baby or Toddler:
Epcot‘s hours are usually a little shorter than Magic Kingdom‘s. It really depends on the time of year. The same “Extra Magic Hours” apply at Epcot to Disney Resort guests. Pick up the pamphlet with the week’s opening hours as well as showtimes and character greetings pretty much everywhere. Or, download the “My Disney Experience” app to your phone. No data worries! All Walt Disney World Parks & Resorts have free WiFi and the apps are free too!
The IlluniNations: Reflections Of Earth fireworks and music show happens most nights, usually at either 9:30pm or 10:30pm (times can be confirmed from the Times Guides around the parks). It takes place on the lake in front of the World Showcase Pavillions, and it is definitely worth a late night.
Here is where a Park Hopper pass would come in handy. You can be in one park all day and then go take a break and head to Epcot for dinner and the fireworks. They are pretty loud, and we were able to see most of them from our balcony from the Boardwalk Inn.
Getting Around Epcot with a Baby or Toddler:
Epcot is a very large (geographically) space, so getting where you need to go can take a while. Fortunately it doesn’t usually get as busy as Magic Kingdom, so you’re not dodging as many crowds. There are often lots of interesting things along the way–sidewalks that light up, an awesome fountain, etc.–that can easily distract you. We’ve found we never get around Epcot as quickly as we think we will.
As with the other parks, though, you’re wise to determine the things you simply can’t miss, and do those first. Our favourite was The Seas with Nemo & Friends. We would typically head there first, go on the ride, and spend a while in the aquarium. We have a picture of us in Bruce’s jaws from every visit, and the kids can’t get enough of Turtle Talk With Crush. It’s really good!
Epcot Rides with a Baby or Toddler:
There are not that many rides at Epcot, and the best rides for babies and toddlers at Epcot are The Seas with Nemo & Friends, the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros in the Mexico pavilion that is sure to get a Coco update one day soon, and, of course, Frozen Ever After. Of the three, Frozen Ever After is probably the funnest for grown ups too, but don’t forget about the (SPOILER ALERT) big backwards drop!
Once your child is tall enough (40″), Soarin’ is awesome and not too intense. Other rides at Epcot with height requirements are Mission Space (44″), and Test Track (40″). There are lots of fun, interactive areas inside the iconic Spaceship Earth, as well as ImageWorks in the Imagination! building. Captain EO might be too scary for little ones.
Dining at Epcot with a Baby or Toddler:
The big draw for us with Epcot is the food. There is great food throughout the park. And very single pavilion in the World Showcase has dining, and usually more than one restaurant as well. As we’ve stayed at resorts in the Boardwalk area a few times, often (thanks to our Park Hoppers) we’ll nip over to Epcot for dinner.
The kids love the Quick Service Chinese restaurant (Lotus Blossom Cafe). The Princess character meals at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Norway are excellent and well worth the time and effort to get reservations. We had the Princess Lunch, and it was a great selection of food, the desserts were awesome, and my daughter was delighted as the princesses come by each table and spend a decent amount of time with each guest. Character meals are great fun but they must be booked well in advance.
A Peek at the Epcot Baby Care Center:
Epcot’s Baby Care Center is off on its own little nook en route to Mexico as you approach the World Showcase from the main park. It is surprisingly large for the size of the park, and when I popped in midday on a Saturday it was completely empty.
As with the Baby Care Center at Magic Kingdom, there is a main lounge with high chairs, tables, toys and movies, a nursing room, and a change room. No tiny toilets at Epcot’s Baby Care Center – it seems Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios are the only ones with that distinction. There is a large kitchen area with facilities for to heat bottles and food. There are a number of baby and baby care products to purchase should you run out or forget something.
The Epcot Baby Care Center was so clean, spacious, and cool, I could see just coming by with your kids for a chill-out if the heat and hustle is proving to be too much.
Fastpass+ Is Your Friend:
For a single theme park per day, you can make up to three FastPass+ selections in advance either online or using the My Disney Experience app, and you may change or cancel your selections any time. You can also get assistance from the Lobby Concierge at your Walt Disney World Resort hotel. Or, visit a FastPass+ kiosk in any of the parks.
Note that kiosks allow FastPass+ selections only for the park where the kiosk is located. However, you can view and cancel any of your FastPass+ selections, regardless of location.
Once you redeem your initial set of FastPass+ selections (or the last arrival window has passed), you can make another FastPass+ selection for the same day at an in-park kiosk or on your mobile device, up to park closing. After you redeem the additional FastPass+ pick, return to a kiosk to make more selections (one at a time), subject to availability.
If your ticket includes a Park Hopper option, after you use your initial FastPass+ selections at the first park, you’ll be able to make additional FastPass+ selections (one at a time) at a kiosk or using the mobile app at the second park you visit that day, up to park closing.
Extra Tips for Epcot with a Baby or Toddler
Epcot‘s Character Spot pretty much guarantees good character greetings. Meet Mickey and Minnie (!) without the usual super-long wait in the heat. The heavy hitters are always there. Character greeting times elsewhere in the park are listed in the daily times guide, as well as on the My Disney Experience free app.
Once your toddler enters the preschooler phase, they might enjoy getting their Epcot passports stamped. Stop in and visit the “Kidcot” stations around the World Showcase. Passports are available in the Epcot shops, or you could make one or use an autograph book.
Consider a stroller even if your child is older and is used to a lot of walking. There is A LOT of walking at Epcot.
As with all park visits, have a plan in case you become separated. Take a picture of your kids in the morning of your visit and attach a tag or sticker your child’s clothing with your name and cel phone number on it, or these wristbands from Mabel’s Labels are a great solution as well.
Take the time to smell the roses. Epcot has lovely gardens. There are often special events surrounding food, wine, and their famous gardens. Take advantage of this when your little ones are little. Chances are they won’t be very interested when they’re older.
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