Epcot with Toddlers
Epcot with toddlers. It doesn’t have to be as scary as it sounds.😳 What I love most about Disney parks is that babies/toddlers can play for free from ages 0-2! There are plenty of rides at Epcot for toddlers that don’t have height restrictions (i.e. 40 in/102 cm), so there is much fun to be had! Capture these moments! Here are our 12 tips for exploring Epcot with toddlers! And remember, if it all becomes too overwhelming for your toddler, go back to the basics and head to the playground (across from Test Track).
1. FastPass (now Genie+)
You could FastPass up to 3 rides per day, so I would always reserve our selections in advance on the My Disney Experience app. Unless it was around the holidays, I could always book the rides we wanted a week in advance, without any issues. I would book our rides at 4:30 pm; 5:30 pm; and 6:30 pm so we had plenty of time to explore the rest of the park before it got too late in the evening. FastPass made a visit to Epcot with toddlers as smooth as can be.
However, FastPass no longer exists and Disney replaced it with Genie+. There are some downsides: there is an additional fee, you can’t pre-book ride reservations (it can only be done same-day), and you can’t make multiple reservations at the same time.
After we exited our last ride, we would always circle back to Nemo & Friends so we could ride it again (there wasn’t a line in the evening) and then experience the aquarium. The aquarium is truly magical and is a must-do when visiting Epcot with toddlers. When my toddler was old enough to climb, she would climb into a window cove and press her face to the glass and watch the fish and dolphins pass by. It was an exciting experience and the lighting was dim enough that it wasn’t over-stimulating. We also would go to the exhibit with smaller tanks, but that didn’t hold her attention for very long.
3. Character Sightings
After experiencing the aquarium, we would transition to the indoor character sightings. Because we would get there around dinner time, there were rarely any lines to see Mickey/Minnie/Goofy, so we would greet the characters, take some photos, and then get back in line to do it again! My toddler did not know what to make of the character sightings–I think the size of them was overwhelming to her.
4. Special Event Passholder Magnets
My daughter loved collecting these magnets which were offered if you visited the park during a festival. The downside was waiting in line for the magnets (that was always our last stop before exiting the park), but apparently it was the same strategy everyone had! At home, she would put the magnets on the refrigerator and rearrange them while I cooked.
No visit to Epcot with toddlers is complete without fireworks. However, my toddler likes the look of fireworks but doesn’t like the sound. Instead of staying in the park, we would head to the parking lot right before they started, and we would watch the fireworks from the car (windows up). Another option would be to stay and use toddler headphones, but the ones we have don’t have noise-cancellation, so the sound wouldn’t be dampened much.
If you are going to Epcot with toddlers, you may wonder if they are old enough to go on rides. Below are my experiences on rides with a 1 and 2 year old. Every toddler is different (and even the same toddler can be different moment to moment), so if they don’t like a ride now, give it a try on another visit.
7. Frozen Ever After
Frozen Ever After is a must-ride when visiting Epcot with toddlers. This was my daughter’s favorite ride long before she ever saw the movie. Elsa/Anna singing, Sven’s outstretched tongue, twinkling lights, and the fact that we were in a boat, were all pluses for her. Marshmallow’s presence and voice did scare her, but the drop/moving backwards didn’t.🤷🏾♀️ It’s a big thumbs up to do when you visit Epcot with toddlers.
8. Gran Fiesta Tour
When you visit Epcot with toddlers, you must experience the boat rides. The entrance to the ride (Mexico) is full of bright, vibrant colors. My toddler loved being in a boat, seeing the mariachi band figurines, the fireworks on the ceiling, and the people dining along the waterfront, yet there weren’t enough elements to hold her attention for the duration of the ride. She was not interested in the movie that played throughout. The lighting is dark for most of the ride, so keep that in mind, too. That could play in your favor if your toddler is slightly sleepy, and you want to ease them into a nap, quickly.
9. Journey into Imagination with Figment
This ride was dark and boring for her. She only seemed interested when we transitioned into a different room. The imagination room (at the end of the ride) was very colorful and entertaining but didn’t make up for the previous 5 minutes🤦🏾♀️. Stash a glow stick in your pocket to give to your toddler if they get fidgety on this ride. My toddler did like jumping on the musical squares which are near the exit.
10. Living with the Land
Another boat ride but this time, a long boat ride (15 minutes). The first part of the ride is indoors/dark; the second half is outdoors/full of light. Always be prepared with something to distract your toddler if they decide this ride is not for them. If your toddler likes it, consider the sights/sounds to be 15 minutes of relaxation time for you! It’s also a great way to introduce them to different ecosystems!
11. The Seas with Nemo & Friends
No trip to Epcot with toddlers would be complete without a visit to The Seas with Nemo & Friends. My toddler loved this ride but the audio narration was so loud! Therefore, she wore her headphones on this ride every time. Bright colors, seeing animated fish, seeing real fish, and the singing throughout held her attention from start to finish!
12. Things We Didn’t Experience
At age 3, my toddler would have tolerated Spaceship Earth but since she was only free while she was 2 and younger, I made the decision to not put her on this ride.
I tried a few times to convince my toddler to go into Turtle Talk with Crush, but she was never interested. When you visit Epcot with toddlers, it’s best to go with the flow.
Have a baby?
Here are 7 Tips to Enjoy Epcot with Babies!