Heading to Disney World’s Epcot soon? Read the Ultimate Family Guide to Epcot so you feel like you know everything before you go so you can get the most out of your day(s) at Epcot! Epcot is our favorite Disney park, and we have lots of info to share with you (and even some insider info too!)
The Ultimate Family Guide to Epcot
If you’re thinking about taking your family to Walt Disney World Epcot, you’ve come to the right place for information! We’ve written the Ultimate Family Guide to Epcot for families with kids of all ages, so you’ll know what to expect. Here you’ll find some great info on rides, some insider tips on how to get around the quickest, and even some insider tips on the inner goings on of Epcot and how it was made! You’ll also read about the best foods and where to get them in Epcot!
First in our Ultimate Family Guide to Epcot, we want to tell you about how the park is split in to two sections. The two sections are called Future World and World Showcase. When you first walk into the park, that’s Future World. Typically, Future World will be open a couple of hours before World Showcase opens. There’s a big difference between the two sections, and it’s important to know the difference before you hit the park.
Rides in Future World
Future World is where all the rides are located, and where you can find some shopping. The rides you can go on with kids of all ages and sizes are Spaceship Earth, Living With The Land and The Seas with Nemo and Friends. Spaceship Earth is what’s inside the giant ball you see when you first enter the park (and the one in the image for this post). It’s a slow ride that takes you through an interactive story about the future of the earth and how we got to where we are today. It’s slow, and easy, with nothing scary at all. Living With The Land is an awesome slow ride that will take you through the advances of farming and horticulture in the World. It will end with an amazing garden set-up that Disney has right on the property, with tons of breakthrough technology and ideas. It also serves to provide food for the restaurant next to the ride as well.
Lastly The Seas with Nemo and Friends is AWESOME. Every bit of this attraction is great for all ages. You can ride through the cool Nemo themed slow-ride. It’s calm, and has lots of adventures with Nemo and kids love it. Then when you’re finished you can go through the walk-through indoor aquarium that’s beautiful. We stayed here for a long time, and my kids loved it. There’s tons of windows and a big array of animals. Once you’re done there, you can head to Turtle Talk with Crush which is an interactive digital display about sea life. There’s a big TV screen, and the kids can actually talk and ask questions through the presentation, and Crush will answer them. Thanks to that ride, my six year old has been saying, “Dude!” before every sentence. It’s great.
Rides for Older Kids/Adults
We can’t have an Ultimate Family Guide to Epcot without talking about the older kids! Rides that are great for older kids and adults are Soarin’ (in the same building as Living With The Land), Mission Space, and Test Track. Soarin’ is an awesome hang-gliding simulation that’s a 4D experience. You will be strapped into a safety harness, hoisted several stories up, and put through an incredible simulation of flying around the world. My six year old loved this ride so much, it was all she talked about. Mission Space can be super intense. You are given the option to choose the green side, or the orange side when you go into the ride. The green side is a more mild experience. The orange side is much more intense, and the spins can get up to 3 g’s of force! It’s not uncommon for people to pass out on the orange side, so be sure you don’t take little ones on this option. Test Track is the fastest ride at Epcot, and can reach speeds of up to 69 mph. It’s the closest thing to a roller coaster you’ll find at Epcot, and can be pretty scary. My six year old loved it, but it was a bit much for her. She probably wouldn’t have chosen to go if she had known how fast it was before she got on the ride. It’s an awesome experience that allows you to design and build your own car, and then you get to drive it.
The two things that I have to mention in this Ultimate Family Guide to Epcot that aren’t rides in Future World are Club Cool, and Epcot Character Spot. Club Cool is an awesome soda tasting station. It’s a place where you can try out a ton of sodas from around the world FOR FREE. You can have as many glasses as you like. Not only is a great way to cool off and refresh yourself for free, it’s also neat to try out soda flavors from around the world.
Epcot Character Spot is a free way to be able to meet, and take pictures with popular Disney Characters. There is usually a long line, so be prepared to wait about fifteen minutes, before you and your family can meet your favorite Disney characters up close and personal. It’s worth the wait, though!
Besides the Epcot Character Spot in Future World, the best place to meet characters is in the World Showcase in the character’s country or origin. World Showcase is split up into different sections by country. For instance, you would find Jasmine in Morocco, Belle in France etc. There are usually lines, and characters aren’t outdoors, so be prepared to have to stand in line outside for a bit to meet and take photos with your favorite characters. Characters are an important part of Epcot, so they must be included in the Ultimate Family Guide to Epcot!
When you’re in the Future World, look for this bullseye in the pavement near the Spaceship Earth. The center of this spot of the absolute center of Disney property. You can stand in the middle of it knowing that you are completely surrounded on all sides by Disney, and it’a awesome!
We can’t have the Ultimate Family Guide to Epcot without talking about the World Showcase. The easiest, and quickest way to get to the World Showcase from Future World is by taking the ferry. It leaves every fifteen minutes, and will save you over a mile of walking. Definitely choose that option. Strollers are welcome as well, so if you have little ones, you can just bring the stroller on the ferry with the kids already in it and it’s fine.
Some other fun things to do and experience in Epcot’s World Showcase are the Japanese Drum Show (which happens at random intervals, but if you ask a staff member, they should be able to tell you when the next showing is), and the acapella singing group Voices of Liberty that will perform inside the American Adventure building every fifteen minutes.
We can’t have an Ultimate Family Guide to Epcot without talking about food. We had a special budget set aside just to eating at Epcot, and it was not a disappointment. If you want to try something fun, but not too adventurous in Japan, you can get Fruitshi. It’s an awesome bunch of fruits that are rolled up into a coconut rice to look like sushi, and it’s awesome! France has an amazing bakery where you can get beautiful French baked goods. We didn’t eat a single thing that wasn’t amazing. The Chocolate Tart, The Creme Brulee, and the Macarons were all to die for. I could have eaten there all day. Be warned that there’s very little seating in the Bakery, and lines can be long. The American section has the best seating and best selection of foods that kids would probably enjoy. You can always purchase foods from different parts of the World Showcase, and then just sit and eat in the American section. That’s what we did.
Fun fact for the Ultimate Family Guide to Epcot! Each section of the World Showcase is actually hosted by the country it represents. From what I understand, the countries represented in the World Showcase actually pay money to Disney World to have a say in the accuracy of the representation of their country at Epcot. Several years ago, Norway decided they no longer could justify the expense. Disney bought back the rights from them, and turned Norway into the land of Frozen, Arendelle, taking away much of the historical accuracy of Norway itself, and making it more like the movie. Morocco was actually helped to be assisted in its design by the King of Morocco himself! They sent actual materials and workers over from Morocco to build the streets and buildings (which are stunning, you have to walk through there). Something interesting about Morocco is that they believe that only Allah (the god they worship) can create perfection, so to create something yourself that’s perfect is disrespectful to Allah. As a result, everything they make or build, has an intentional imperfection in it so show respect. I thought that was a neat bit of historical information to include in the Ultimate Family Guide to Epcot!
We have to show some love to our fellow geeks in the Ultimate Family Guide to Epcot. If you’re geeks like us, you’re going to want to shop in the Japanese store called Mitsukoshi. They have everything from Pokemon and Hello Kitty, to crazy Japanese foods and candies. It’s an awesome store with pretty good prices. Best of all (and this works at any store in Epcot) as long as it’s more than two hours before the close of the park, you can have anything you buy packaged and sent up front to wait for you at the front gate at the end of the night. This keeps you from having to carry around merchandise all day, or from letting foods melt in the sun etc. There is no additional cost for this service, so we took advantage of it!
If you’re a Disney fanatic, and we missed something, feel free to share in the comments! If you have any questions, feel free to ask those as well, and we’ll do our best to answer them. Share this with a friend who is going to Epcot soon!