Let’s face it. EPCOT is for adults. It’s delightful Food and Wine Festival and Garden Festival are the reasons my mother-in-law wants to go to Disney. People drink their way through the world showcase and skip the science stuff. Did anyone notice that there is not much shade here? But there is probably the most educational attractions in all Disney World found here. If your children are school age, do not miss the homeschool opportunities here. If you want character autographs and photos, this is the place with the shortest lines and the most characters.
That giant ball at the front, that characterizes EPCOT, is Spaceship Earth. It has an educational journey through technology where my kids like to name the inventors and time periods before the narrator. It is a good conversation starter since you get a good feel for the increases in rates of discovery as time moves on from this ride.
Innoventions has great science based exhibits. It is dry if it is raining and air conditioned if it is not. It seems to shrink every time we visit the park though.
My personal favorite is The Seas. It starts with a Finding Nemo ride where an image of the little fish is projected on an actual aquarium full of a huge variety of fish. After the ride, and Turtle Talk with Crush, which is just plain fun, you are free to wander around and take a look at the fish to your heart’s content. There is plenty of information to soak up along the way.
After your marine education, visit The Land. Name all the countries you visit on the exhilarating new version of Soarin’. The long line makes it a good fast pass choice. Take a look at the interesting plant experiments in Living with the Land.
If it is time for refreshment, head to Club Cool where you can taste Coke products from all over the world. Make your kids name the continent the country sits on, and maybe even the capital, before they down their sample. We like to eat our packed lunch nearby and watch the fountain spray in time to music.
Test Track is another attraction with some educational value that is fun and exciting. It always has a line, unless you are willing to divide up as single riders (not really an option with smaller kids. I’ve yet to convince my 10 year old to go by herself). When they added the feature where you design your own car, then the ride rates it in four categories, they really upped the ante on this ride. With even a minimal interest in cars this will be a big hit and a sneaky bit of education.
I know there are other attractions in the front, but I am not a big fan of Universe of Energy and I find Figment really goofy. But if you are in that section, check to see if the Pixar Short Festival in 3D is still there. That was very entertaining! Mission to Mars is great for a budding astronaut, but my whole family finds it nauseating. So it is time to travel to the back of the park, the World Showcase.
When my oldest was little I decided to study world geography with her for a year in first grade, to get a grasp on the world, and then begin studying chronological history in second grade. We used EPCOT as a fun, learning tool. It was ALMOST like traveling to those countries. A little, tiny bit. Maybe. But for a six year old, pretty much a foreign country with your favorite Disney characters. While we are talking about characters, when you are in England, visit Winnie the Pooh and Tigger. They reside in Christopher Robin’s bedroom, in the blessed air conditioning, and really spend some time with you.
It’s not really a great idea to do both sides of EPCOT in one day. The World Showcase deserves to have its own day. If you have little ones, there is a stop in each country where they can do a small craft and collect a stamp (of ink) from each. If your children are older, there is a scavenger hunt that they can sign up for, with clues that take them through each country.
Most countries have an exhibit like a ride or a film, or a small museum to give you some information about the country. Check the showtimes for various demonstrations throughout the candy. We are fond of the Chinese acrobats and the Japanese candy making. If you want a nice meal out, I recommend Morocco. Restaurant Marrakesh had bold, exotic flavors and we have never been disappointed. Morocco also the best architecture and shopping. It is really lovely. The mint tea is super refreshing on a hot day.
We like to get dessert in France or Norway. We do not bother eating in the United States, China or Mexico. The food is a little underwhelming, over-priced, and no different than what we eat all the time. The shows in the American Adventure are worth watching, though. The Stave Church in Norway is a lovely museum. Don’t miss the pleasant boat ride through Mexico on the Three Caballeros. Explore the back sections and nooks and crannies of each country. Some have amazing features in the back, like the gardens in England or the art museum in the back of Japan.
Finish off the night by watching IllumiNations: Relections of Earth from any country along the waterfront of the World Showcase. It is lovely to see the Showcase lit up at night.
What are your favorite educational attractions at EPCOT?
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