First, a disclaimer, which will be at the top of each park review. There are plenty of websites that will give you the top rides or restaurants in each park. So, I will cover three topics for each park: over-rated attractions, under-rated attractions, and nap strategies.
The 2017 Disney with Kids series:
Disney while Pregnant
The Magic Kingdom
Disney with Strollers
Overview of Epcot
Epcot is one the original parks and on the monorail, but often associated with adults. Disney has been adding more kid-oriented rides in an effort to appeal more to families, but I don’t know what effect it is having. All that being said, it is one of the boys’ favorite parks. They love the rides and they love the food. Food is a big part of Epcot and definitely something not to be missed. Assuming you spend an entire day, you will have plenty of time for both a sit down lunch and a sit down dinner. It is a good opportunity to use those meal plan credits.
I’m not sure Journey into Imagination with Figment is over-rated as much as it is terrible. And, one can waste a Fast Pass on it! The ride takes you through a number of rooms demonstrating elements of the five senses. The trouble is, it is dark and you are startled; it’s just not fun for kids or adults. ImageWorks, where the ride ends up, is fun. But, if you want to see it just go in directly and skip the ride itself.
Turtle Talk with Crush is a cute show, especially for the preschool set, but don’t use your Fast Pass here. You will get in and all the kids are invited to the front to watch anyway.
I’m not sure everyone realizes there are rides on the World Showcase side of Epcot (though Frozen Ever After has probably educated most of those who were unaware). Gran Fiesta Tour Staring the Three Caballeros in the Mexico pavilion is an underappreciated gem. It rarely has a line, is a good length, and is fun for the whole family who can appreciate Donald Duck and Co.’s antics from different perspectives.
Living with the Land is a must ride attraction for our entire family. There’s no need to use a Fast Pass as you can often walk right on, especially in the morning. It can get more crowded around lunch as it is adjacent to a food court. The kids appreciate all the different plants, the different styles of growing, and spotting the hidden Mickeys.
My third recommendation is Spaceship Earth. Who doesn’t want to go in the giant golf ball! Like the Carousel of Progress, the ride is a bit out dated. But, the story is good and can be understood by even the smallest children. And, it moves quickly enough to keep their attention. Plus, the slow ups, downs, and spins are just fun. The line can vary throughout the day so use a Fast Pass if you have an extra, or just check with the App or the signs throughout the park to see the current status. You shouldn’t have to wait long if you’re flexible on when.
Epcot has many large, air conditioned buildings that you can stroll through if your child falls asleep in their stroller. While large, Epcot is less tiring for children. There is less sensory overload than the Magic Kingdom, almost all the attractions are indoors and therefore air conditioned, and even most of the lines are inside. It’s a lot of walking for the non-stroller folks and therefore one of the most tiring parks for those who have recently outgrown the stroller. There are fewer go-to nap attractions here.
My first choice is The American Adventure as it appeals the least to small children, but is reasonably dark with auditorium seating. The downside is that it is on the far side of the lake and you don’t want to be criss-crossing Epcot if you can avoid it. However, if you’ve just had lunch in the World Showcase, it is a good choice.
Back in Future World, Ellen’s Energy Adventure offers 45 minutes of seated, air conditioned calm. The seats do move (in large blocks), and there are animatronic dinosaurs to draw the attention of the young ones, but there’s not a whole lot of over stimulation.
Epcot can be a relaxing day with young children. Things are generally calmer and more spread out. So, even if it is the park most likely to be open late, another option would be to forgo the nap and book an early dinner. None of the restaurants are surprised to find a child asleep at the table.
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