I will preface this post with this comment: I adore EPCOT. It is one of my favorite parks for myself and my husband to experience. However, if you were to skip one park as a family with kids under 5, I would tell you to skip EPCOT.
For me, the draw of EPCOT is World Showcase and being able to experience the countries through food and drink. However, the lack of rides in World Showcase can make that half of the park difficult for little kids to enjoy. Littles can experience World Showcase through Kidcot, but it’s just not enough to catapult EPCOT above the other 3 parks. The two rides in World Showcase (Frozen Ever After and Remy’s Ratatoullie Adventure) are on opposite sides and typically have longer wait times due to demand.
The other downside to EPCOT with kids this age are the thrill rides to the left of Spaceship Earth from the Main Gates. Mission: SPACE, Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind and Test Track are all highlights of the park for me. But they all have height requirements of at least 40 inches and are pretty intense experiences. Chances are your littles will need to be older and taller to experience these rides. My 5 year old loves all three, but she meets the height requirements and has yet to meet a rollercoaster she doesn’t love.
With that being said, there is definitely things for your littles under 5 to do and experience in EPCOT! (And, I wouldn’t advocate for you to skip ANY Disney park on your vacation, but if you have to… you know what I’d pick.)
The following is a real example of a day with my husband, almost 3 year old and 5 year old in EPCOT.
9AM – Walk into EPCOT after going through security
9:15AM – In line for Remy’s Ratatoullie Adventure in the France pavillion
10:10AM – Meet and greet with Belle just past the France pavilion on the way to Morocco
10:25AM – Meet and greet with Aurora in the gazebo by the walkway back to Remy’s Ratatoullie Adventure
10:40AM – In line for Living with the Land in the Land Pavillion – we love to garden as a family so this ride speaks to that love. It’s also indoors and a nice way to get out of the elements.
We split up at this time so that my oldest and husband could go to Test Track. I will note that my husband is a General Motors employee and thus can always get us Lightning Lane passes (despite not buying Genie+) so we can by pass the typically long standby line. If it is feasible for your group, you can consider the single rider line to bypass the long lines of this attraction but you will not be able to sit with your group.
11:15AM – In line for The Sea with Nemo and Friends
11:45AM – In line for Journey into Imagination with Figment. After this ride, I encourage you to jump in the line to meet Mickey in World Celebration – the entrance is just past the stroller parking for Figment on the left hand side of the attraction entrance. This is usually the shortest line of ANY park to meet the mouse himself!
At this time we met back up and ate lunch that I had packed from home. However, the food in EPCOT is all amazing so everyone in your party is sure to find something to eat. If you are in EPCOT for a festival, check out some of the unique food offerings of that festival while taking a lap around World Showcase. If you are not visiting at a festival time, I recommend getting food in Morocco or Italy.
12:55PM – In line for Spaceship Earth
1:30PM – Dropped off my oldest and my husband for their virtual que time for Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind. Your day will really be determined by your boarding group number and the time you get called back if you choose to have some of your party experience this attraction during your day at EPCOT. If you have to split up the kids for this ride, grab a Rider Swap pass from the Cast Members so that the adult not riding first can come back without trouble. Fun fact: you can also grab a second pass for the kid who is riding in case they want to come back a second time with the other parent.
1:55PM – In line for Grand Fiesta Tour in the Mexico Pavillion
2:15PM – Back to Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind so that my oldest and I can ride together. My husband and youngest went back to Journey into Imagination with Figment.
2:45PM – Shopping the Creations Shop
3PM – Club Cool trying Coke products from around the world
3:15PM – In line for Spaceship Earth… again. My girls love this ride… At this point, we are repeating rides and experiences, so we left EPCOT to go to our hotel for the night. We stayed at Disney’s Animal Kingdom for the first time and we wanted to have some time to experience the resort before the girls went to bed.
If you choose to stay in EPCOT later, the park is beautiful at night time! I would use this time to wait for Frozen Ever After, walk around World Showcase, enjoy food and drinks from around the world and doubling back for any other rides you want to do again. Once the sun goes down, the lights show on Spaceship Earth is sure to impress your whole group!