by Local Diva
Epcot’s world showcase has always been my favorite stop on our Walt Disney World vacations. Once we added kids to the mix? Not so much. I find it incredibly entertaining and very interesting, however my little ones find it “super hot” and “kinda boring”. With a few tips, though, the experience can be entertaining for everyone.
1. Be prepared for the heat!
Disney World is already PLENTY hot, but take away all shade and I present: The World Showcase. On top of the scorching sun, also add the fact that it doesn’t open until 11 am, which takes away your chance to hit it early in the morning and avoid the heat. If you want to get in line for a specific character, or see a daytime performer, heed my warning: BE READY for the heat! We bring lots of water, lots of sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, and one of those cool spray bottle fans they sell everywhere!!!
2. Bring Snacks
America is pretty much the farthest stop from either entrance of the World Showcase, which means that if your kids cant hold out for a funnel cake or any other “familiar” food that doesn’t fall into the chicken nugget/french fry category, you need to pack snacks! Our favorite is to pre-freeze applesauce pouches or yogurt tubes and allow them to thaw as we travel the world. The exception to this would be during the Food and Wine festival or the Flower and Garden show, where small, affordable, colorful dishes are offered in every country. My children enjoy trying the different foods during these events.
3. Find the KidCot Fun Stops
KidCot Fun stops are great for preschoolers and young elementary school aged children. They color a Duffy Bear passport when they begin, and then receive a “passport stamp” in every country. Some are very hard to find. For example, Japan’s is located within the gift shop, Canada’s is by Le Cellier Steakhouse, and here is Italy’s:
My kids thoroughly enjoy collecting the stamps, and their anticipation of the next one keeps them content while we explore each country a little bit.
4. Locate Character Stops and Activities
Along the way, you will find characters and activities in each country. Epcot characters are not “all day” characters like you would find at Town Hall at Magic Kingdom. Snow white appears in Germany about every hour, Mary Poppins is almost consistently out all day in the UK, and if you’re lucky, you will catch Pooh and Tigger in Christopher Robin’s room in the UK gift shop! Beauty and the Beast appear in France, Jasmin and Aladdin in Morocco, and the list goes on! Scope out the character times, and make sure to get in line, as they have a cut off number of guests allowed. At her 1 o clock appearance, we were nearly last in line for Snow White. We stepped out for a brief moment, the cast member had eyes on us the whole time, and would still not allow us back (even in the end) of the line. Needless to say, we made sure we waited around to be first for her next appearance.
Throughout the world showcase you will also find activities that spark children’s interest, even if for a short time. Here are my little ones enjoying the drums at the Outpost stop:
While there are a couple of rides in the World Showcase, the Three Caballeros ride in Mexico is about the only “child friendly” attraction.
5. Set a time limit
I could, and HAVE, spent the entire day at the World Showcase, much to my kids’ dismay. While they enjoyed themselves, the passing sight of the other attractions had them a little upset. My best suggestion to avoid the meltdown would be to set a time limit, and as always, make a plan. We usually only allow ten minutes in each country, plus the time it takes to gather their stamps. If you want more time than that, choose which countries are priority, and which are a nice passing sight. From personal experience, The UK and China take the most time for us.
6. Go in the evening
The evening would be the optimal time to avoid the heat, although the evening brings a different type of meltdown from my kiddos. If your kids are happy night owls, try to catch “Illuminations” from a spot around the World Showcase. It is my personal favorite night time show.
7. OR make lunch reservations
If you can’t quite make it into the evening, make lunch reservations to take a nice, air conditioned, break around the world. Akershus is of course a kid friendly favorite, as is Biergarten, and my kids enjoy Teppan Edo as well.
8. Make a scavenger hunt
My final tip – make a photo scavenger hunt. My kids enjoy taking a picture in each country. Sometimes it’s a hat photo hunt, sometimes its a cool souvenir photo hunt, and sometimes it’s truly just “a picture in each country”. However you work it out, kids love being involved in hunting down the best photo op.