Why It’s Time to Stop Skipping EPCOT When You Visit Disney World

EPCOT may not have a castle, but Disney's "Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow" is a lot more fun than it used to be.
The first full-size Starblaster ever built stands outside the Guardians of the Galaxy ride (Photo: Disney)
The first full-size Starblaster ever built stands outside the Guardians of the Galaxy ride (Photo: Disney)

Each of Disney World’s four theme parks in Orlando has something unique to offer, but when it comes to finding fun things for the youngest travelers to do, some parents may associate certain parks as being less kid-friendly than others. Yeah, I’m looking at you, EPCOT.

For decades, EPCOT has been colloquially referred to as the “educational park,” with rides, attractions, and even an entire World Showcase based in reality, facts, global travel, and science—quite a different vibe than what you’ll find in Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland. While Disney can certainly make education fun, it’s not unusual for families to skip EPCOT when planning a Disney World vacation, sometimes even opting for a second day at Magic Kingdom instead.

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Why It’s Time to Stop Skipping EPCOT

But there’s a convincing case to be made that EPCOT is no longer a park you should skip. In fact, if you’re vacationing with toddlers (or even teenagers), you should make it a point to visit the park whose full name (“Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow”) represents just a small part of its modern identity.

In the last year alone, EPCOT has seen some impressive additions to its attraction lineup. They’re all kid-friendly and, perhaps just as importantly, they all lean into Disney’s popular films and characters in a way that’s entirely new and fresh at EPCOT.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind

Guardians of the Galaxy ride (Photo: Kent Phillips)
Guardians of the Galaxy ride (Photo: Kent Phillips)

The juggernaut that is Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind provides that Goldilocks “just right” level of thrill for families, and it’s based on the popular series of movies from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

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Cosmic Rewind is a little like Space Mountain. The roller coaster ride is entirely indoors in a dark environment and contain loud noises, a smooth reverse launch, and some drops. If your kid is tall enough—the height requirement on Cosmic Rewind is 42 inches—they should be able to handle the ride just fine.

And if they’re a fan of Rocket, Star Lord, and Marvel’s other Guardians of the Galaxy, they’re in for an extra special treat.

Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure

Remy's Ratatouille Adventure at Epcot (Photo: Disney)
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure at Epcot (Photo: Disney)

Another recent addition to EPCOT is Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. Direct from Disneyland Paris, this trackless 4-D dark ride offers a fun, gentle experience for the whole family. The ride is inspired by the Pixar film Ratatouille, and guests are “shrunk” to the size of a rat as they explore the kitchen at Chef Gusteau’s restaurant.

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With no height requirement, guests of all ages can hop on—a much needed addition to the EPCOT attraction lineup if you’re traveling with small kids.

Journey of Water Inspired by Moana

Journey of Water will be the first attraction inspired by Moana (Credit: Disney)
Journey of Water will be the first attraction inspired by Moana (Credit: Disney)

The upcoming interactive walk-through attraction Journey of Water is inspired by the film Moana. This fun addition to EPCOT will lean more into the “edu-tainment” aspect of EPCOT, exploring the earth’s water cycle while embracing the themes from the popular animated movie.

Other Kid-Friendly Rides and Attractions at EPCOT

Frozen Ever After at EPCOT debuted in 2016 (Credit: Disney)
Frozen Ever After at EPCOT debuted in 2016 (Photo: Disney)

In addition to EPCOT’s newest attractions, the park is already filled with family-friendly experiences. For Frozen fans, the hit boat ride Frozen Ever After can be found in the Norway Pavilion of World Showcase. And if your little ones are fans of Finding Nemo, head over to the Seas Pavilion and hop aboard The Seas With Nemo and Friends.

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Other kid-friendly rides at EPCOT include Journey Into Imagination, Spaceship Earth, Living with the Land, and Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros. Big kids may also enjoy more intense rides like Test Track, Mission: SPACE, and Soarin’ Around the World.

Characters Galore!

EPCOT is also a great park to do some character spotting. Classic Disney pals like Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and Pluto can be found near the front entrance, and unique characters from Pixar films (such as Joy and Sadness from Inside Out and Vanellope from Wreck-It-Ralph) can be found in the Imagination Pavilion.

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If your kids are dead-set on seeing Disney Princesses, EPCOT’s World Showcase area is a good place to do so. Many princesses are located in their “home” country areas, such as Belle in the France Pavilion, Snow White in the Germany Pavilion, and Mulan in the China Pavilion.

Dining at EPCOT

Space 220 invites guests to feel as if they've travel 220 miles above Earth (Photo: Todd Anderson)
Space 220 invites guests to feel as if they’ve travel 220 miles above Earth (Photo: Todd Anderson)

Everyone has to eat, but don’t let the international cuisine at EPCOT scare off any potential picky eaters. EPCOT’s newest restaurant, Space 220, offers an out-of-this world dining experience that the family can enjoy with a unique immersive twist that makes it seem like you’re dining 220 miles above Disney World.

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And it’s almost a guarantee that if you visit EPCOT, you’ll be doing so during one of its four annual food festivals. Nowadays, there are only a few weeks in the year where EPCOT isn’t in festival mode. Much like the park itself, EPCOT’s food festivals may be quickly passed over by families for some extra pool time at the hotel. But stick around and you might be surprised to discover just how much these festivals offer for kids. From scavenger hunts with special prizes to kid-focused menu items, little ones may discover a new vacation highlight at the festivals.

EPCOT may not have a castle, but it does have more for families than meets the eye. The park strikes a healthy balance of rides, characters, dining, and atmosphere, giving kids plenty to look forward to and parents the opportunity to schedule breaks throughout the day.

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Carly Neil
Carly Neil is a New England-based writer who specializes in theme parks, local attractions, food and drink, and travel. Her expertise for all things Disney has been featured in numerous industry-leading sites, and over the years she has become a trusted voice in helping first-timers and experts alike plan their Disney vacations. When Carly isn’t planning her own Disney getaway, she can be found catching the latest Broadway play. Visit her website at carlyterzigni.com for more information, and follow her on Instagram and Twitter @itscarlyneil for theme park news, other daily musings, and pictures of her pets.