Epcot is our family's favorite of the Disney parks. We usually try to spend two days there. This is written as if you had two days to spend there, and how to make the best of your adventure. If you are staying at a Disney resort, try to do Epcot on a day when you have Extra Magic hours. This will give you more time to explore!
Epcot is broken up into two sections. This first part of the park is called Future World. This includes the following areas:
Test Track Presented by Chevrolet
Mission: SPACE® Pavilion
The Land Pavilion
The Seas with Nemo & Friends Pavilion
Universe of Energy
First thing! Remember to get your Fast Passes for Soarin'! If you are interested in driving a race car, Fast Passes for Test Track are also a must! If you are traveling with older children that don't get motion sickness, get a Fast Pass for Mission: Space too!
Then head to The Sea Pavilion for "The Sea with Nemo and Friends" It is a very sweet ride, and kids of all ages seem to enjoy it. There is another attraction worth mentioning, called Turtle Talk With Crush. Crush interacts the audience in this one. The Sea Base and Caribbean Coral Reef Aquarium is great!
The Land Pavilion is where you will find Soarin' and also a ride that takes your behind the scenes of Epcot. If you have two days, take time to ride Living with the Land. It is really interesting. There is also a wonderfully educational behind the scenes tour available in the Land Pavilion, called Behind the Seeds at Epcot. This tour offers a one-hour indoor walking tour of the greenhouses seen during the Living with the Land attraction at Epcot. We did it when Bitty was 5, and she loved it!
Make sure to take in the Imagination! Pavilion. There you can ride the Journey Into Imagination With Figment attraction or see the Captain EO 3-D film starring the late Michael Jackson. i haven't seen it, but have heard that it is worth the time.
If you have two days in Epcot, then you can take a lot of time exploring the Innoventions East and West. There is a ton of hands on stuff for the entire family. Before you leave the Future World of Epcot, make sure to stop by the Coca Cola shop. It is at the end of Innoventions West, before you cross over into Showcase Plaza. You can sample different sodas from around the world. This is really neat, and my girls think this is a must do!
Beyond Future World is the World Showcase area, an adventure through a collection of international pavilions around the World Showcase Lagoon. Within each pavilion, you'll find shops, attractions and restaurants that represent the culture and cuisine of these 11 countries: Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Norway, United Kingdom, and the good ol' USA!
Important thing to remember is that there are ferries that can take you back and forth across the lagoon. They run from Showcase Plaza to Morocco, or Showcase Plaza to Germany. IF you do this, it will save your feet. The World Showcase is big!
A fun thing for the smaller children is the Kidcot Fun Stops located in each pavilion. My girls have enjoyed this over the years. We also have them stamp our girls' autograph books. Usually, the cast member will also write something in their native language to go with the stamp! These are amazing souvenirs!
First thing to do: Get dinner reservations! We usually get ours at The Rose and Crown in The United Kingdom. They have wonderful fish and chips, and the service is great! We usually try to get it later in the evening, if there are going to be Fireworks. That way, we can linger over dessert, (the treacle tart is superb!), and watch the display from the patio. Make sure to request an outside seat, if you want to do this. ;)
Since you will probably head to the UK first for those dinner reservations, you will pass through Canada, the home of Anne of Green Gables! The scenery here is majestic! There is a great 360 degree movie called O Canada that is really good. It is hosted by Martin Short.
In the United Kingdom, enjoy the quaint shops, and scenery. Sometimes there are street shows to enjoy. Look out for Mary Poppins, and Tigger and Pooh while you are there.
Cross the International Gateway, and it is onto France. If you like pastries, this is the place to get them! There are shops here and you can be on the lookout for Marie, from the Aristocats,and Princess Aurora, from Sleeping Beauty. There is also a film called Impressions de France that is quite lovely, and relaxing.
Morocco is the next land you will enter. It is fun, rather like walking through a small market in Marrakesh. The air is spicy and the music is terrific! You can see arts and crafts from the middle east, and enjoy a snack of falafel or hummus and pita chips. You may run into Aladdin and Jasmine here... or perhaps the Genie!
Then it is on to Japan. We love the shop there called Mitsukoshi. It is supposedly the oldest store in Japan. There are lots of cute Sanrio things to shop for as well as adorable Japanese anime products. My girls love shopping at the candy store in the back. You can watch pearls being taken from oysters, and may see a demonstration of Japanese Kimono dressing. Make sure to see "Visions of Beauty: World Heritage Sites of Japan",The Taiko drummers may be performing in the garden.
Now we are in the United States! The main attraction here is The American Adventure. This is a must do! :)
Ben Franklin and Mark Twain present an inspirational story of our precious history. The girls love this! i must admit that i get a little misty eyed, when i hear the music! The USA is home of Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, and Brer Bear. :) You can also get a yummy, warm funnel cake here! If you are lucky, while you are eating your funnel cake, you will get to hear the melodious voices of Voices of Liberty.
In Italy, we usually just enjoy looking around. The food there is great, but, since we usually eat in the UK or China, we tend to pass this by. The chocolates are yummy here! :) The plaza is full of sights and sounds to make your Italian adventure perfect!
Germany, home of my ancestors, and Snow White and the Seven Drawfs too! Make sure you take a few minutes to stroll through the shops here. There is a lot to see. This is a great place to shop for toys, and teddy bears! For those who enjoy beer, this is a good place to sample one, and a bratwurst to go with it.
Between Germany and China, there is an area called the Outpost. This is an area for enjoying African tribal music and stories.
Ah, China!! The land of my heart. You must see the Reflections of China! It is a Circle Vision 360 degree movie. It will show you the wonders of China. There is also another display of the Terra Cotta warriors next to the theater. When you walk into the theater building, which is a copy of the Temple of Heaven, make sure to look up! It is an amazing, beautiful sight to see.
There may be Chinese acrobats performing in the garden. Do take time to stroll through the shops. There is much to delight the eyes! :) Be on the lookout for Mulan outside the theater, she is our personal favorite!
Leaving China, you will enter Norway. The Stave Church is a exhibit styled after the Gol Church in Hallingdal, Norway. It is remarkable, made without nails! The attraction in Norway is the Maelstrom ride. i have not been on it, but, my family likes it. At the Spirit of Norway, you can enjoy products from this country. In Norway, you can dine inside a castle at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, including Princess Storybook Dining, and delight in fresh baked goods and coffee at the Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe. We usually buy the baked goods to save for the next morning's breakfast.
Mexico is the last "land" in the World Showcase, if you start in Canada. The food here is heavenly at La Hacienda De San Angel! Enjoy riding on Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros. It is a nice and calm ride. And a good way to relax your feet! This "land" is filled with the sights and sounds of old Mexico.
On your way out Epcot, make sure you stop by Spaceship Earth, it is the big round globe at the entrance of Epcot. If the lines are short, this is a entertaining option. This is narrated from an evolutionary standpoint, but, if you go in knowing that, it will open up great conversations with your children on the way back to the hotel! Don't do this when you first get into the park, as the lines are usually longer.
Another thing my girls enjoyed at Epcot is the Kim Possible missions. These have been changed to Phineas and Ferb's Agent P's World Showcase Adventure. You can find out more information about this at the Odyssey Bridge, Norway Pavilion, Italy Pavilion or near the International Gateway. This is great fun for the whole family! It basically sends you out as a secret agent to thwart the bad guys while exploring The World Showcase!
i hope this helps get you in the mood to explore Epcot! As i said before, this is our family's favorite of all the Disney theme parks. Any questions? Just leave me a comment, and i will answer!
i will post about the Magic Kingdom later this week.