A question we regularly hear is “do you recommend taking small children to Epcot?” and the resounding answer is “yes”! Small children are full of wonder and so is Epcot. Begin your day in Future World and allow them to experience a world that doesn’t yet exist...except perhaps in their imaginations. Many parents know to visit The Seas with Nemo & Friends and Turtle Talk With Crush, but if you’re not familiar with these attractions, they should be on your must-do list! In addition to riding with Nemo and chatting with Crush, guests encounter the second-largest saltwater aquarium in the world! Children will come face to face with sharks, sea turtles, manatees, dolphins and more amazing sea life in the 5.7 million gallon aquarium that families are free to explore at their own pace.
In the ever-popular Journey Into Imagination With Figment you’ll also find two not-to-miss attractions: ImageWorks, the interactive playspace of the future. This area has music and lights for the kids to play with as well as the chance to create their own Figment. And while you are over there don't forget the Disney & Pixar Short Film festival! Along these lines, riders of Spaceship Earth find themselves in Project Tomorrow, where everyone can play games and tinker with computers as they discover what everyday life in the future holds for us all. Of course, these are just the beginning and parents might not realize that there are other exciting opportunities for our youngest guests. Living With The Land matches our history of agriculture to current and future means of growing food. Kids will enjoy the boat ride through working greenhouses and will spot familiar foods grown in unfamiliar and inventive ways. This attraction also provides an opportunity for younger guests to do something engaging while taller guests head next door to ride Soarin’. Similarly, MISSION: Space offers the Advanced Training Lab for small explorers. Space Base is a fun, space-themed climbing structure that is not only a great way for energetic kids to safely burn off energy, it’s also air-conditioned, it offers parents a chance to take a breather and there’s only one way in and out, so there’s no need to worry about wandering kiddos.
Want an easy way to capture photos of your whole family with Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald and Pluto? Visit the Epcot Character Spot in Future Word. Convenient and comfortable for its cool, indoor location, you can use FastPass+ to lock-in your photo-op!
Ready to explore the globe? It’s time for the World Showcase; first stop: head to any souvenir cart or either of the Plaza Tower shops (Port of Entry and Disney Traders) on the World Showcase Lagoon to buy an Epcot Passport kit. Each contains a blank passport, stickers and a souvenir pin. Young globetrotters will enjoy receiving passport stamps at each of the eleven nations represented in World Showcase; and sometimes passport stamps are more than just a stamp. International Cast Members have been known to pen messages in their native language, sharing new alphabets and greetings, doodle pictures and pose for photos so children can remember their time spent around the “world”. The exciting part is watching your child interact with a citizen of that nation and learning something about their homeland. A fun idea is to ask the same question of each global ambassador your child encounters: what is their favorite holiday, their favorite food, what does their name mean in their language, do they have a pet, what does their house look like...all are great ways to broaden your child’s experience. Passport stamps are given at the Kidcot Fun Stop in each of the lands.
Additionally, kids can take advantage of the Duffy the Disney Bear art activity. Children can stop by any Kidcot station for their very own cardboard Duffy, which they can decorate as they please, as they roam the World Showcase. Best part of all: it’s free! Another fun option in the World Showcase is Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure. The Phineas & Ferb platypus sends guests on a scavenger hunt throughout the global side of the park with the use of a personal Smartphone or a park-issued device. Check in on the Odyssey Bridge between Future World and World Showcase and prepare for your adventure!
Speaking of roaming the World Showcase, Epcot’s little explorers will find surprises and fun throughout their journey. Beginning in Mexico, kids will love going inside the Mayan temple, where it’s always nightfall, there’s always fun at the mercado, and they can enjoy the boat ride, “El Rio del Tiempo”. With the recent changes to include a Frozen attraction, Norway has become the hot spot in Epcot. Elsa, Anna, Olaf - enough said. Young children love to talk, right? Let them hear the sound of their own voice in China! Lead them to the center of the Temple of Heaven and they can listen to their echoes in this perfectly round building. Between China and Germany is the African Outpost. While this land is little more than small souvenir and refreshment stands, kids will be surprised to find that some fun awaits them if they try to open the crates. Visitors to Germany will find the village cuckoo clock (be sure to be there at the top of the hour!), an elaborate miniature railroad, the adorable Das Teddybar toy store and pretzels! Italy has a surprise few guests are aware of and small children will love: look for the red buttons near the fountains behind the shops. Push them and see what happens!
Young guests will have plenty to see in Japan. From Matsuriza drummers to beautiful gardens (look for the koi ponds!) to samurai warriors, kids will love this pavilion. For souvenirs, you can find Hello Kitty and Pokemon items in the (very affordable and equally large) Mitsukoshi Department Store. If you reach Japan on an empty stomach, you might want to try Katsura Grill. Situated at the top of the gardens, this quick service restaurant offers an assortment of Japanese items, with a few that children are sure to enjoy. Consider eating outside on the upper terrace and you’ll have a nice, quiet setting overlooking the garden. Further along the World Showcase Promenade is the United Kingdom and a great spot for children to burn off some energy (maybe from the sweets in Morocco or the delicious ice cream in France - yes, France!). Behind the shops is a small hedge maze and it’s the perfect size and height for young children, so let them run through it to their hearts’ content. On the other hand, say you’re in the need for a quiet spot...head next door to Canada. Victoria Gardens is beautiful and peaceful, and there are quiet, secluded areas at the top of the steps leading to the Hotel du Canada.
If they still have some fuel in their tanks, kids will love the nightly presentation of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. They’ll be dazzled by the fireworks, lights, fire, music and fountains. It’s an exciting way to end a fun, inspiring day. Whether you visit Epcot with toddlers, little kids or a mix of ages, an adventure awaits you all. Explore the future and travel the world!