Epcot park Infant Guide
Epcot Center was built as a place to marry education and entertainment and as a result, many rides are slow-moving and designed to be ridden by the whole family, but many newer rides are designed for those seeking thrills. It’s easy to see which are which by checking the height requirement at each ride.
Many families with infants like to book our vacation homes near Disney World because we offer 3, 4 and 5 bedroom houses. Many families with small children like having the separate bedrooms since it allows them to put their children down early and sleep through the night without interruption, while mom and dad can stay up and enjoy their evenings.
Every restroom in the Epcot is equipped with a changing table in the form of dedicated counter space with some raised edges to prevent roll off. There are sometimes paper towels provided as well, but not diapers or baby wipes. Diaper disposal is done directly into the regular trash cans, which are changed often.
Without fail, the changing tables in women’s restrooms are more in demand than in the men’s, so if it’s possible, you may want to arrange to change diapers in the men’s room.
The child care center is a godsend for parents with infants. At Epcot, it’s located on one side of the Odyssey building, where Future World meets World Showcase. Here is a room only for nursing mothers, where they’ll find rocking chairs, changing tables, a play area for older siblings (complete with a TV playing Disney movies), bathrooms, training potties, and a shop selling baby products like diapers, wipes, creams, and clothing. Just about everything you could possibly need is sold here.
Strollers can be rented near the Main Entrance, including double strollers that hold two children. These are hard plastic, highly durable pieces of equipment, so comfort is not the first concern. Stroller theft is almost unheard of, but sometimes rented strollers are taken by accident, so don’t leave valuables behind. If that happens, replacing the rental is easy to do, as long as you keep your receipt.
A good many parents bring or rent strollers for children who can walk, planning to let the child use the stroller only later in the day when he or she becomes tired, and a stroller becomes a useful cart for holding personal items like purchases, jackets, or bags.
In addition to the baby center, mothers may nurse anywhere in the park. Park employees will never ask nursing mothers to stop or move. Because outdoor Florida is too hot in summer and sometimes too cold in winter, many mothers choose to find a spot in climate-controlled indoors. Good spots in Epcot are plentiful. Besides the restaurants (especially Electric Umbrella and Sunshine Seasons Fair) and longer dark rides such as Universe of Energy, you may find the sparsely used concourse area south of Innoventions-West to be ideal.
Since infants don’t particularly care about their surroundings (it’s all new to them), this list will focus on rides that you can ride with your infant in your arms (or in a snugli), presented in subjective order of importance, starting with rides infants seem to like the best.
The Seas with Nemo and Friends
An Omnimover dark ride that re-tells the Nemo story with a combination of sets and films, often using innovative effects.
Journey Into Imagination With Figment
A stop-and-go dark ride with middling special effects and a largely uninteresting storyline for adults, this attraction might rank lower on the list if not for the fact that it’s moving, which is always a plus for infants.
A classic Omnimover attraction with music and robotic performers. It lasts longer than most rides at other amusement parks (including the Magic Kingdom).
Gran Fiesta Tour featuring the Three Caballeros
A boat ride through Mexican sights with Donald Duck, Jose Carioca and Panchito. This is a slow-moving ride with some great cartoon gags.
Two separate pavilions with interactive counters and displays designed especially for children, including older infants. Part science museum, part corporate display, Innoventions offers a pleasant diversion in a temperature-controlled environment using the newest technology.
Turtle Talk with Crush
A live interaction, along the lines of a stage show, with an animated character on the screen. Humor is highlighted in this fun but short interaction with Crush. While older kids get a lot out of this, there’s little here for infants.
Frozen Ever After
A dark ride on a boat, including a portion traveling backwards for a minor thrill. This is a fun ride that would rank higher on the list except that it often has waits times longer than two hours.
Living with the Land
an automated boat ride through simulated ecosystems and futuristic greenhouses. The line moves quickly, and there’s lots to look at, but the material isn’t gripping for most adults. Infants, of course, don’t care.
Reflections of China
A film projected in 360-degrees on screens all around you. The innovative presentation will be engaging, and the constantly-shifting imagery may keep kids involved for the whole 20-minute movie. Audiences have to stand, however, which can grow tiresome. No lines to speak of.
Another 360-degree film, paced slower. No lines are common.
Circle of Life
A movie at the Land pavilion that discusses environmentally-sustained habits using the characters from the Lion King. The film is quite outdated, but while adults may not like it, infants will enjoy the swirl of colors and noise.
Rides Not as Desirable
At the other end of the spectrum are the rides you shouldn’t bother with. This list is also subjective, and refers to attractions that you may wish to skip because infants chafe at the lack of action or the darkened environment, and may become noisy:
- American Adventure:
a stage show of robotic performers tracing American history over 30 minutes. This attraction is notorious for encouraging naps in the comfortable chairs, since the pace of the show is sometimes quite slow. Many infants fall asleep, so be wary of noise if your child fusses when tired.
- Ellen’s Energy Adventure:
A traveling theater moves past full-sized robotic dinosaurs, eschewing physical thrills for multiple films. Infants might easily become bored by the extended movies (and dark spaces), and the sometimes loud sound effects are almost certain to startle. The 35-minute ride time, though, is the biggest hurdle for most infants.
- Impression de France: This tour of France uses three giant side-by-side screens for 180-degrees. Audiences can at least sit this time, and the chairs are so comfortable, napping becomes a danger. The soundtrack of classical music is wonderful for adults, but at times too loud for tykes.
Then, there are rides that you will either have to skip, or ride without your infant.
- Test Track
- Mission Space
It comes as no surprise that the rides to get busy the fastest in the morning are the thrill rides (with the exception of Mission Space, which has the capacity to handle crowds without lines forming). Visit those either first or last, or use FastPass+ for them. Spaceship Earth is closest to the entrance, so it gets a line in the morning. Skip that for now, and come back later in the afternoon when the line is likely to be shorter.
Lines are minimal or basically absent on almost all rides at Epcot. For film-based attractions, you may have to wait one cycle before the next film begins. Rides that do have a line are mostly the thrill rides. Be sure that you prioritize your choices. Many families ride only 7-10 attractions per day, so plan to spend a second day or to knowingly skip many.
There are several smaller entertainment experiences at Epcot localized to smaller venues, especially in the country pavilions of World Showcase. Few are of “must-see” quality, and are advisable only if you need a break or wish to take in a particular kind of cultural offering. One consistent crowd-pleaser is the troupe of gymnasts at the China pavilion, though this too is fairly low-key.
The major entertainment of the day occurs late at night: The Illuminations fireworks, which explode over the central lagoon of World Showcase. Simply put, do not miss this show. The decentralized location means you can view from anywhere around the lagoon, but choose a spot where you can see the globe in the center of the lake, or else your view of the fireworks may be slightly obscured. You may wish to start finding a spot 30 minutes (or even 60 minutes during peak seasons of the year) before show time if having a prime seat is important for you. But infants of course do not care about fireworks, and many are asleep by the time Illuminations begins. In my experience, a good majority of kids will stay asleep despite the loud booms, and as a consequence you can feel free to make your decisions about fireworks without considering the infant’s needs.
Epcot is the park at Disney World with the most dining options. If you just want something quick, there’s fast food at Electric Umbrella and healthier options in the Land pavilion. In World Showcase, just about every country pavilion has a counter-service option, so you can really explore different tastes during your visit, and you’ll regret it if you don’t sample as many as possible. Being adventurous is half the fun of exploring Epcot.
The park is rife with table service options—almost every country pavilion has one. All are decent, though they have different pricing levels. At the top end, Le Cellier steakhouse in Canada enjoys the best reputations, and you’ll find the atmosphere of Mexico’s Cantina de San Angel hard to beat. All of the options, though, are decent. Character dining can be found in Norway and the Garden Grill at the Land pavilion.
At every location, there are highchairs available simply for the asking. None of the restaurants sell baby food; you’ll have to bring your own purchase that at the baby center.
Reservations for all table service restaurants are a must, and are available on a rolling 180-day schedule (simply call 407-WDW-DINE). Many of these restaurants fill up their available seats weeks before the date.
In addition to the Character Dining mentioned above, you can find costumed characters throughout the park. Just check with a Cast Member to locate the schedule for any particular character. Additionally, there are some structured character meeting spots including Character Spot, where you can meet Mickey, Goofy, and Minnie.
At all the character interactions, as well as key photogenic locations, you may run across park workers offering to take your picture and “put it on a card.” This is a free service and ideal for vacationers. On your first such encounter, you’ll get a card. On all future encounters, hand over the card and they’ll swipe it, making sure that whatever photos are taken get added to your account. When you return home after your vacation, you can view the pictures online, and order prints of any that you desire, with no pressure whatsoever.
Here are a few experiences that don’t draw nearly as many crowds, but may be of paramount importance to your particular child (pick and choose as your preferences dictate):
- Living Seas aquarium:
When visiting the Seas with Nemo, don’t forget to head upstairs and spend time ogling the enormous fish tank, at one time the largest in the world.
- Interactive play zones at the Imagination pavilion:
Make music by waving your arms and simply jump on carpeted tiles that make special effects noises. Even crawling infants will find this irresistible.
- Germany outdoor train set: Children adore watching this garden-scale miniature train set navigate the scale model German villages and mountainous countryside. Many won’t want to leave!
- Interactive Fountains: Splash-zone fountains near Mission Space and at the meeting of Future World and World Showcase give kids a chance to cool off in the hot summer months.