While there is certainly lots to do at the Disney World theme parks for kids of all ages, it may be less obviously where the fun is at EPCOT for younger guests. Frozen and Figment aside, the key activities that entertain adults like shopping and dining in the World Showcase, might fall flat with some children.
The good news is that EPCOT is perhaps the best of the WDW parks for kids who need unstructured time or a place to play in an open-ended kid-like way.
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Located near the Creations Shop entrance opposite Test Track is a play area called “Play Zone” on the printed Epcot map. The signage and purported theming of this area change periodically depending on the which festival is happening across EPCOT.
This is the only true playground inside a WDW theme park. There are areas for preschoolers and older kids with climbing, riding, and balance structures and even a few benches for adults (though perhaps not enough of these) as well as a moderate amount of shade. There’s only one way in/out, which makes it easy to keep an eye on the kiddos.
A few feet away, on the sidewalk between Test Track and Guardians of the Galaxy, is a cooling mist feature which can also provide respite from the heat.
Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana
The new Journey of Water attraction, a walk-through experience, is primarily composed of interactive water features. Several of these are situated at child level. Small kids will most definitely get wet, or more likely soaked, if you let them explore freely, but depending on the temperature at the time of your visit, that may be exactly what they need. Be prepared with a change of clothes.
Journey of Water can be crowded at times. If you want time there with less competition for space from other guests, ask the cast members at the entrance what the crowd levels inside are like, you can’t really assess this until you’re well inside the attraction.
Mission Space Play Zone
Between the Mission Space ride exit and the Mission Space gift shop is an area featuring an indoor play ground (Space Base) for kids 2-5 as well as some nearby interactive video games. You can access this zone by entering through the gift shop. There’s no need to wait in an attraction line to get there. It’s rarely busy. And it’s air-conditioned! Win, win, win.
This is the perfect place for younger or motion-averse guests to wait while other members of their party are riding Mission Space, but there’s no requirement that your group participate in the ride in any way. Everyone is welcome inside to enjoy the play space.
Journey into Imagination Exit Area
Journey into Imagination is a gentle ride that appeals to most kids. As an added bonus, the exit area is a mostly open, carpeted, space that includes some interactive exhibits that allow for large movement. Kids can use their bodies to activate sounds and lights. This space is not as immersive as the three above, but again, air-conditioning.
There are adjacent character greetings in this space – currently Figment and Joy. If the lines are long, have one parent wait in the queue while the other watches the kiddos run around a bit. And again, you can enter through the gift shop if the ride is not your cup of tea.
The area between the Test Track attraction and the gift shop has a few interactive games and an open area where new cars are displayed. There’s not as much for little littles to do here, but there is some open space to stretch a little.
There’s an entire aquarium inside the Living Seas pavilion. Kiddos can explore the marine life and roam around a bit. It’s rarely packed and can be a nice place to get some air-conditioned walking in.
There is no much opportunity for movement here (it’s a looking space rather than a doing space) but young kids often entranced by the model train display in the walkway near the Germany pavilion. If your kid is in a transportation phase, it’s well worth spending a few minutes letting them explore here.
What’s your children’s favorite place to play at EPCOT?