Monday, October 3, 2016

Visiting the WORLD at EPCOT

Epcot is divided into two areas. You will first enter Future World then World Showcase.  

Future World always opens first and then World Showcase often opens 1-2 hours later. People sometimes complain that they think their kids will be bored at EPCOT. We have never had that problem. As long as you approach it like you would any family centered activity you should have a great time. You may need to slow down and take advantage of some teachable moments but their are tons of interactive and fun activities all around you!

Future World has the giant globe (Spaceship Earth) that is a family ride, Soarin, Mission Space and Innoventions.

World Showcase is divided into 11 countries. These include cultural experience, rides and restaurants authentic to those countries. The countries include: Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, the United States, Japan, Morocco, France, United Kingdom and Canada.

Occupying your young kids while walking around the countries of EPCOT is easy if you take advantage of the "Kidcot Stations".  Kidcot Stations at each country allow your child to decorate a free souvenir mask including the culture of that area. Children from 2-12 could find this interesting.  Each country has a stamp unique to it's country that they will stamp your mask with.  As my children got older they realized they could better personalize it by asking the cast member (that is almost always from the country you are visiting in EPCOT) to write their name on the mask in that language. They can also ask them questions about their homeland.  Most cast members in this area are college students here on a limited time visa through a college internship.

  • Another really neat family activity in World Showcase is to play the Disney Phineas and Ferb: Agent P's World Showcase Adventure. Check out Disney's info at: Phineas and Ferb Agent Ps World ShowcaseThis is an interactive adventure that takes you around the world showcase as a spy.  My kids have loved it and it is good from 5 years old-15!  Disney really thought this one through and it allows you to travel the showcase without as much whining from the kids.  There are many different adventures so if you want to do more than one adventure you can return to the station and get another one. The kids hold a handheld device like a phone that tells them where to go to solve a mystery. My daughter is hearing impaired and it is hard to hear it.  You might have to listen to it yourself to help younger children.
  • One drawback to this one is that often you have to share it to do it as a family. This means that one kid thinks they are in charge of everyone else. Once a mature child is about 12 and has a cell phone so they don't argue over who has the device or is "in charge", I would allow them to take off on their own while you explore EPCOT "adult side" if they want to.  They can choose to stay together or check out their own devices and go on separate adventures. As long as they can text you, they won't be far away. But it will send them bouncing from country to country so you are likely to want to take your time and go store by store...or brewery by brewery!  Your kids can really enjoy EPCOT and you can look at all the cultural action then meet back up for rides.
  • Test Track: This is a great ride and one that can be fastpassed. However, a big part of the fun is designing your car. You do this while in the stand by line. So if you fastpass you won't get to design the car. This process is 5-9 minutes long depending on the wait times.  Once again, arguing siblings...I separated mine and let them design their own and the adults just watched while they thought through the design process. Since I am daddy's girl I make sure I am with my dad since he's a mechanic...and he's pretty good at making the car go fast! ha!

  • My favorite snack item is the caramel store in Germany, Karamelle-Kuche. You can get caramel popcorn or chocolate covered sea salt caramel...yum! Another great snack option is in France at Les Halles Boulangerie & Patisserie.

  • Soarin’ is my favorite ride in all of EPCOT.  Another ride that is interesting and often overlooked is Living with the Land.  This ride shows you some of the interesting ways Disney is growing vegetables and farming fish (aquaculture). It is educational so the kids can whine a bit but the line is quick and they will survive!

  • Food is abundant since you are moving through the different countries.  You should already have your table service meals planned.
  • Most of the countries have a quick service meal as well. Most employees in all areas of each country are from the country they are working in.  Ask questions and look for all the cultural lessons to teach the kids.
  • Snacks are abundant, especially if you visit in September and October because that is the food and wine festival.  There are booths throughout EPCOT with items that only take a snack credit. You can eat your way through Disney. In fact, many have drank their way through as there are quite a few beers available from the different countries as well.
  • Club Cool in Future World is a place to serve yourself ‘coke products' from around the world.  There are flavors that are excellent and some you will be sorry you swallowed!  However, this is one of the only places you will find FREE soda!  The kids love it and it is nice in cool while hanging out in the air conditioning. Despite grandma's frugal attempt they won't let you fill your mug! You get small dixie cups.

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