Thursday, April 14, 2011

Spotlight Disney World: Epcot with a Toddler/Young Children {Review}

I can hardly believe that it's been a month since our recent trip to Disney World, but that can only mean that it is so much closer to our next trip (which isn't planned yet... I'm just sayin' - we're definitely going back).

One of the places we visited most often during our trip to Disney World was Epcot, for one main reason in particular: the food!!! Epcot is home to the World Showcase, and features some of the best dining options at Disney World. For this reason alone I highly suggest getting the Disney Dining Plan and making sure that you have a Park Hopper ticket!

A lot of parents will tell you that there really isn't much for the little ones at Epcot, but I can tell you that isn't the case at all. Our 16 month old daughter had plenty of thrills at Epcot, even if it's not jam-packed with kiddie rides.

Epcot with a Toddler/Young Children:

Epcot is the perfect place to take your toddler on a trip around the world. (It's true... a vacation and a learning experience all at once!) Here's our "Hot Tips" for taking your toddler!

  • Epcot is not a boring place, but it might seem that way to your older toddler if you've spent the last 3 days at the Magic Kingdom. Go to Epcot early on if the trip if you have a whiner in your family.
  • Visit the Epcot Character Spot as soon as they open in the morning (see daily Times Guide at Epcot). Starting around mid-morning, the line to meet Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto can easily get upwards to an hour wait.
  • You can generally find both shade and lessened noise near the Odyssey Center if your little one is snoozing. There is also a Baby Care Center inside the Odyssey Center, but sorry mom, no strollers permitted.
  • If you need a break from the heat, visit Club Cool, which is sponsored by Coca-Cola. Not only do they have frozen cokes (which I really had a hankering for) but you can also taste their different pops (I am from Michigan and refuse to say soda) from around the world for FREE. My favorite? The Smart Watermelon from China! Yummy! If you want to get a laugh, have your little one try the Beverly from Italy. It's a very bitter soda that few appreciate, but the staff sure seems to get a kick out of the faces people make while trying it! Don't say you weren't warned!
Dining with Your Toddler at Epcot:

Pretty much all of the restaurants at Disney World are child friendly. Here are our favorites places to dine at Epcot! (But it should be noted that we didn't get to try ALL of the amazing places we wanted to!)

Fountain View Ice Cream: Not only does Fountain View Ice Cream have plenty of cool treats, but they also have a selection of yummy smoothies to keep you boosted throughout the day.

Coral Reef Restaurant: Yum! I'm not going to lie, I've wanted to go to this restaurant since I saw it featured on the sitcom Full House (circa 1992-3?). We were seated in the last of the three tiers that the restaurant is made up of, but still had an awesome view of the aquarium. The food was delicious, however, I did not partake in the seafood menu. I just couldn't find it in myself to eat fish while watching fish swim around... too weird. I enjoyed an amazing steak instead. ;) I was a little nervous about the children's menu because I have a very picky toddler, but they had a broad selection and she was very happy with the cheese pizza and apple slices that she received. Reservations are HIGHLY recommended: 407-WDW-DINE.

Akershus Royal Banquet Hall: Located in the Norway Pavilion, Akershus is home to Princess Storybook Dining. We went here for lunch one day and AJ was just so delighted to meet all the princesses. We saw Belle, Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel and Snow White. Upon check-in, a photographer will take a family photo with you and a princess as a take-home souvenir. I cannot promise that this is the way it's always done, but we were presented with the photos (an 8X10 and several 4X6) during our meal. They were free. When we went to the character breakfast at the Grand Floridian they took our family photo without any characters and offered us the same package for $35, which we declined. Lunch at Askershus begins with a buffet of Norwegian delights - from bread to salads to cheeses and meets. Entrees are ordered by the menu (all very delicious) and dessert is served family-style (meaning a little bit of everything for your family to share). Reservations are HIGHLY recommended 407-WDW-DINE.

Biergarten Restaurant: Located in the Germany Pavilion, at the Biergarten it's Oktoberfest all year round! Our 16 month old, though she was having an "I'm not eating anything" kind of night, loved this place! The entertainment includes traditional German dancing, singing and instrument playing - such a special treat! This restaurant is also set-up "arena style" so that everyone in the building has a great view of the stage. Dinner includes a buffet of all the German food you can handle, including nearly a dozen different desserts. For an additional, but very reasonable price, you can purchase German beer and wine. Reservations are HIGHLY recommended 407-WDW-DINE.

Restaurant Marrakesh: For the older toddler that likes to get in on the action, mom and dad will have a great time watching their little one get a belly dancing lesson at Restaurant Marrakesh. Though the food was good, my husband and I found it it be a little bland, and did think that the children's menu needed some more options. Overall though, we had a good time and loved the decor of this Moroccan restaurant. Reservations are HIGHLY recommended 407-WDW-DINE.


Attractions for Toddlers:
  • Re-Imagined! Spaceship Earth
  • Ellen's Energy Adventure: This show follows star Ellen DeGeneres as she ges back to the dinosaur era. We skipped this one because it's a 45 minute show that we didn't think our daughter would be able to sit through.,
  • Epcot Character Spot: Meet Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto! Photographers are on hand to take pictures.
  • The Seas with Nemo & Friends: A magical ride in a "clamobile" that takes you through the story of Findindg Nemo. At the end of this ride you'll be right in the center of Disney's aquarium, where you can visit with fish, dolphins, manitees, stingrays and more! Check the schedule for feeding times - it's quite a show! (And mark my word - if it's raining out, you can easily spend a half of day here. We did! You can also enter the aquarium attraction from the left side of the building.
  • Turtle Talk With Crush: An interactive show featuring the famous sea turtle from Finding Nemo. We also skipped this one because the line was really long, but I think that an older toddler would get a kick out of talking to the turtle.
  • Living With the Land
  • The Circle of Life
  • ImageWorks
  • Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros: This attraction in the Mexico Pavilion is a musical boat tour.
  • Maelstrom: This attraction in the Norway Pavilion is a Viking Boat Voyage.
  • Kidcot Fun Stops: Our daughter was a little too young to enjoy the Kidcot adventure, but I thought that this was so cool for older toddlers through age 6! Stop by one of the Kidcot Spots (noted on your map) to color and decorate a Duffy Bear (Disney's newest character). Then, carry Duffy with you around the World Showcase can get him his passport stamps at the other Kidcot locations as you go!


More Disney Reviews:



Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Disney or Walt Disney World Resorts, other than a satisfied customer who likes to share her opinions!

No comments:

Post a Comment