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Walt Disney World Family Vacation: Epcot Top 10 Favorites

When I did my facebook poll about heading to Epcot at Walt Disney World, it seemed I got an even split. Some said to skip it, or just spend half a day. Others said they LOVED it! EPCOT stands for: Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. I remember from going as a teenager that they had an “Around the World” representation of countries, but that was it. Of course Epcot is known for the unique looking giant silver ball, but if you haven’t been, it’s curious what’s inside. I shall tell you.

{If you missed Day one, tune in with tips around the Disney Parks, or Day 2 about Magic Kingdom, click on the links}

Epcot top 10 must do

Our day at Epcot, we could enter at 8am, so we left our hotel around 7:30. Sadly, that day, not only was it chilly, it was raining! It wasn’t a pouring rain, and we didn’t have flexible options, so off we went.  Something REALLY fun happened at Epcot…I ran into a reader of my blog! A sweet gal stopped me to tell me that she reads my blog and loves it! She lives in San Antonio and has 7 kids (yes, 7) but I didn’t get her name OR a picture with her, so I hope she comments and says hello!!!

Below is a map of Epcot, twice the size of the Magic Kingdom, so have good walking shoes. The rides and attractions are at the front–Future World East and West. Then the big lake with a  handful of countries represented around it. I love stepping into the countries, they have food, clothing, trinkets, and even workers that are from those countries. They have shows and buildings that look as if you are there. My kids didn’t get as excited, but there are craft stations and stuff for kids at each one–we just didn’t invest the time there.

epcot map

{source}

Here are my top 10 MUST SEE at Epcot

1. Soarin’–I’d never heard of it, but nearly everyone on my facebook survey mentioned Soarin’! So we ran to get the FAST PASS for this first thing in the morning, and rode on another favorite while we waited. My 3 year old even got to ride, it’s as if you are in a hand glider “soaring” over famous landmarks such as the Grand Canyon and Golden Gate Bridge.

2. Crush’s Turtle Talk–An interactive TV/audience (similar to Monsters, Inc. I mentioned in the Magic Kingdom post) where Crush, the turtle in Finding Nemo, is chatting with the audience. He actually spoke to my son and asked him a question, then asked who his parents were and we raised our hands. Kids can sit on the floor with adults on benches behind.

Kristen and girls

3. Character Meal with Princesses at Akershus–Just a week before our trip, I booked a princess lunch for my girls and I to attend. I’d heard you have to book 6 months in advance, but we were flexible on the time (but specific on the day) and it was no problem to get a last minute slot (I did call probably 3 times over the span of 2 days). I had a 3:15 lunch, but I was fine with that. They have a hefty price tag of about $40 per person, but it was my one big splurge on the trip. I wanted to make sure we got to chat with princesses (and I didn’t know about the meet up spot at Magic Kingdom I mentioned in my post there). The restaurant is actually in the country of Norway around the lake. AkershusThere is also a princess meal at the Magic Kingdom in the castle which sounds pretty cool, but it is a touch pricier, and harder to get into. I didn’t care where we’d be. Our main  hostess was Belle, and that’s all I knew would be there, but I heard some of her “friends.” I think they are non committal as to which princesses will be there, just in case. It turns out, we got to chat and take pictures with not only Belle, but also Snow White, Ariel, Cinderella, and Aurora. So 5 in total! (We only had 3: Cinderella, Aurora, and Rapunzel at the M.K. attraction). We had a formal picture with Belle upon walking in, they did a “promenade” around the restaurant with Cinderella, then each of the princesses made the rounds from table to table to chat with us as we ate.Princess promenade

Epcot Princesses

4. Test Track–While I was with my girls at the Princess meal, the rest of my family went to Test Track, and I heard this was their FAVORITE of the day. Though I wasn’t able to judge for myself, I had to add it. It’s a high speed car track with thrilling stops.

5. The Food in the World Showcase Countries–I have to highlight this as a top 10, because in each country, the food is so authentic! My husband lived in France before we were married, and we took a trip together a few years ago. I heard the pastries/food in the France restaurants are as if you are in France because they actually have French pastry chefs working there. It’s true, and my husband agreed–very authentic! Oh, the Pain au chocolat.

{source}

 I took a horrible picture inside a dark room, so found a better picture online that would do it justice.  It was heavenly. I couldn’t wait to to outside to take a picture, I ate it too fast. Sadly, I went in the evening to get more and they were all out. We tried to adjust their sandwich prep for some picky eaters, and those pastry chefs said it could not be done–just like France! My sis in law also spent the evening “eating our way through the countries” and had dinner with my parents in Italy, with desserts in Germany and Morocco.

Goodies in Germany

Germany Goody CasePastries in Morroco

Pastries in Morocco

6. Inside the Epcot Giant Ball–You gotta go inside Spaceship Earth, just because it’s SO Epcot. It’s mostly educational, but it takes you up into the “ball” and you can tell you’re in the sphere.

7. Entertainment around the Countries–It’s hard to sum this up or pick a favorite, because each country had it’s own unique settings. We saw juggling in Italy, energetic drum playing in Japan, and belly dancing in Morocco to name a few. Getting a taste of the culture in each of the countries is truly amazing and worth looking into the times they will perform.

Japan Drums

Japan Drummers

Epcot Germany

Germany crowd

Epcot Italy

Italy Street

8. Pineapple Dole Whip–Also a top favorite food item amongst those I polled. They also have it in Magic Kingdom, but the lines I saw were much better at Epcot. This non dairy treat was light and delicious. {try the Pineapple Dole Whip copycat recipe}

eating pineapple dole whip Pineapple Dole Whip

9. Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure–My sons teacher told us about this, and it is similar to the hunt at Magic Kingdom Sorcerers adventure I mentioned in the previous post.  At the entrance to the countries World Showcase, there is a big Phineas and Ferb sign, and all you have to do is walk up and sign up, and they give you a pretend cell phone that calls out tips. You head to a country, solve some clues, and it’s lots of fun. It’s also a detour from the other attractions, and a time set aside to do just this is ideal.

Agent P's adventure

10. Mission to Mars–A virtual reality ride. With 4 people in a rocket type pod, one is a commander and the other have different roles. Flying from Earth to Mars as the pod moves around on the mission.

Honorable Mentions: Something we missed (though I was told to go) was the Character Connection (just stumbled on THIS PAGE that tells you where different characters hang out throughout the day). Inside a cafe, the characters hang out and greet people as they come in and out. We were too busy getting our fast passes, and then I forgot.

At around 6pm the men and kids were done, and wanted to go back to the hotel. My sis in law, parents, and I stayed at EPCOT a few more hours to roam around the countries more, and enjoy it a little without the kids–which was nice!

Here are a few more pictures of our day at EPCOT:

girls and kristen

Epcot at night

London candy bars

The gal in the London shop was SO excited to see they sold these two candy bars, so we had to give them a try!

London Phone Booth cousins at Epcot

Cousins!

Belle Shrubbery

You can see the Belle shrubbery in the background, different characters all over the parked carved from the bushes!

What do you love about EPCOT?

{If you missed my original post, this is a segment of a 5 part series all about Walt Disney World, see the first post by clicking on the link, you can also see Day 2 on the Magic Kingdom, and tomorrow I’ll share about Hollywood Studios}

Kristen Duke

Kristen Duke

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Kristen Duke
Kristen Duke
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Comments

  1. The french food is absolutely delicious! I liked it better than some of the food I had in Paris last year. :)

    On a side note, I wish I could magically have most of the outfits I see you wear! I love color but never seem to buy it…
    Aline recently posted..4th month recap {Pregnancy}My Profile

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Very interesting to hear about the french food….love those pastries!! BUY some color….it’s so fun to be bold! I’m happy to hear you enjoy what I wear, I know it can be quirky;)

  2. I am loving all of your tips! We are taking our kids (daughter is 6.5 and son is 3.5) to Disney for the first time in May! I have all of my dining reservations but have not planned out our rides/must see things yet. I am pinning your posts so I pour over them soon and get our plan together. Thanks and it was great to meet you at Blissdom this weekend.

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Stephanie, so exciting to take your little ones!! I’m happy that this can be helpful for you, going to soon. Blissdom was fabulous, wish we could have chatted more!!

  3. How cool that you had a reader meet you? I think I would be too nervous to go up and approach.

    I remember loving Epcot my one time I went to WDW. Maybe it was because I was older when I went (16 yrs. old). To this day I still remember the pain au chocolat. SO good!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      OH, I hope if we are ever in the same place that you will come up to me…really, it makes us bloggers feel so happy! I’m so happy she came up to me (just wish I had a pic!). Also fun that you remember the pain au chocolat–oh my, I’m missing that right now!

  4. aw you all look so happy in the pic with your girls. And the cousin pic, they’ll love that when they’re older. I loved seeing the countries when at EPCOT!
    Mindy recently posted..Sweet SurprisesMy Profile

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Yes, I didn’t take enough cousin pics, hard to wrangle them all in! EPCOT really is unique with all of the countries to explore.

  5. I have to ask where you get Dole Whip at Epcot! We are Disney geeks and that is one of our favorites. But I have never seen it at Epcot.

    • Kristen Duke says:

      It was just as we entered the world showcase, on our way to Canada (going counter clock wise around the lake).

  6. EPCOT is my favorite of all the Disney parks! Love it there, and your top 10 would be the same as mine, except for Mission to Mars, where I had a real live panic attack!!!! – But I still had a fabulous time!
    Hope @ Fairhope Supply Co. recently posted..The Trammell HouseMy Profile

  7. I’m the gal from San Antonio! I got so behind on my reader, I’m just catching up.

    I was so bummed I didn’t get a picture with you! I was in shock and didn’t think of it until a few minutes later. I’m pretty shy and I probably seemed like an idiot since I was nearly speechless! Your blog is one of my favorites and I never imagined I’d meet you in real life! ;)
    Caroline recently posted..easy 2 ingredient sweet popcornMy Profile

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Oh, I’m so happy to hear from you!! You’re only in San Antonio, we need to meet up!! Do you ever come to Austin? We go to SA every once in a while!! I am SO glad you came up to me that day, thank you!!

  8. Kristen, just wanted to let you know that the link for Epcot on your original WDW post goes to MK and not Epcot. Enjoying your Disney posts as we start to plan a September trip!

  9. My cousin advised I’ll like that weblog. Your dog was once altogether right. This particular publish actually designed my personal day. People can not imagine merely how a bunch occasion I had put together used in this data! Thanks!

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  1. […] (also called sea foam) because I first had a Crunchie bar when I visited the United Kingdom at EPCOT.  THEN, I found some honeycomb wafers at World Market, and I had to get them! If you don’t […]