This week we are continuing with our Disney World series. Today I am sharing the best rides & attractions for toddlers/preschoolers at Epcot. In case you missed it, last week I shared our favorite attractions over at Hollywood Studios.
We absolutely love visiting Epcot in the spring. Springtime at Epcot means the International Flower & Garden Festival, and this trip just so happened to bring us to Epcot on the opening day of the festival! The festival runs from March 1 – May 29th, and it is truly the perfect time of year to visit Disney World. If you are considering a trip to Disney, I encourage you to consider planning your trip in the spring during the Flower & Garden festival. It is definitely a must-do event!
Our day at Epcot started with the extremely popular, Frozen Ever After ride in the Norway Pavilion. If you have your heart set on riding this ride, you are definitely going to want to snag a FastPass+ for this one, as wait times for this ride are usually at a minimum of 60 minutes and can easily go up to 120 minutes as the day goes on. If you don’t have a FastPass+ then I recommend heading straight for this ride as soon as the park opens if you want to avoid lengthy wait times.
One important thing to note – while Epcot does open it’s doors at 9:00 AM (or 8:00 AM on a day with Extra Magic Hours), the World Showcase does not open until 11:00 AM. There are a few exceptions to this. The first being the Norway Pavilion, where the Frozen attractions are located. This area opens at the same time as the rest of the park. You will find a few other countries that are also open; however, once you get to France, there will be a rope prohibiting entrance into the World Showcase beyond that point. If you arrive at the World Showcase before 11:00, I highly recommend stopping for breakfast at the bakery in France (Les Halles Boulangerie & Patisserie). You won’t be disappointed with their amazing pastry selection. The chocolate croissant is my fave!
The topiary displays are absolutely beautiful during the Flower & Garden Festival! I always enjoy walking around Epcot this time of year. France is my favorite country in the World Showcase and since Beauty and the Beast is my all-time favorite Disney movie, this was clearly my favorite topiary this year!
After our breakfast in France, we headed to the Character Spot. The Character Spot at Epcot is an awesome place to meet Mickey & his pals since you only have to wait in one line to meet 3 different characters! We got to meet Mickey, Minnie & Goofy. This was London’s very 1st time meeting Mickey, and it was just the sweetest thing ever!
Epcot is an incredibly large park, and chances are you are going to want a break from walking at some point during the day. When that point in the day comes, check out one of the interactive play areas that are set up during the Flower & Garden Festival. We stopped at one of the playgrounds for a quick break and the kids did not want to leave. The playground was absolutely immaculate and such a great opportunity for the kids to get out of the stroller and burn off some energy.
A great ride for preschoolers who are 40″ or taller is Test Track. It is quite fast, but it’s an awesome ride if you have any car loving kiddos who meet the height requirement! Noah first rode this one when he was 3 1/2, and it was an instant hit!
The rest of our time at Epcot was spent walking around the World Showcase, riding The Seas with Nemo & Friends (we rode this twice actually!) and meeting more characters. The Seas with Nemo & Friends usually has very short lines and is a nice relaxing ride to beat the heat with little ones. After you get off the ride, make sure to take some time to explore the aquarium and Bruce’s Shark World.
We ended our day at Epcot with a character meal at The Garden Grill Restaurant. Here you can dine with Chip ‘n Dale, as well as Farmer Mickey & Pluto. While we did enjoy our lunch here, I will be honest and say that this was definitely our least favorite character meal experience. If you are looking for a great character dining experience at Epcot, I would recommend the Princess Storybook Dining at the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall.
Right now you might be asking yourself – how long should I plan to visit Epcot? If you are traveling with young children, I’d recommend spending a 1/2 day at Epcot. I don’t recommend a full day here with toddlers. There are only a handful of rides for this age group and we have found that our little ones tire very easily at this park. We typically do a 1/2 day at Epcot, a break for naps (or pool time) back at the resort, and then we typically head out to another park in the evening (usually Magic Kingdom).
As an alternate plan, we will sometimes spend the afternoon/evening at Epcot to watch IllumiNations, as this is our absolute favorite firework/nighttime show at Walt Disney World!
In summary, my favorite rides & attractions for toddlers/preschoolers at Epcot:
The Seas with Nemo & Friends (ride)
Turtle Talk with Crush (interactive experience)
Test Track (ride) *Must be at least 40″ to ride
Frozen Ever After (ride)
Meet Anna & Elsa at Royal Sommerhus (character experience)
Meet Donald Duck in Mexico (character experience)
Meet Disney Pals at the Character Spot – Mickey, Minnie, & Goofy (character experience)
There are a number of different character experiences that I did not include in this post. For more info on character experiences at Epcot, click here.
Next week I’ll be sharing my fave rides & attractions at my personal favorite park, Magic Kingdom. In the meantime, if you’re looking for more Disney planning tips you can check out my previous Disney blog series, How to Do Disney World with a 3 Year Old!