Disney’s Contemporary Resort: Closest Hotel to the Magic Kingdom

Disney’s Contemporary Resort: Closest Hotel to the Magic Kingdom

Stay at Disney’s Contemporary Resort for Magic Kingdom Touring

Magic Kingdom fans may want to consider staying at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, including Bay Lake Tower, during their Walt Disney World (WDW) vacation. The close proximity of the Contemporary to the Magic Kingdom (MK) adds an enticing level of convenience to your WDW trip. Walking to the Magic Kingdom is a time-saver and allows for flexibility in your MK touring plans.

Closest Hotel to the Magic Kingdom is Disney's Contemporary Resort

If you’ve been to the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World, you’ve seen the nearby A-frame hotel that boasts a monorail running right through the atrium! While the unique shape and zipping monorail are what guests notice first, there are plenty more reasons to stay at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

History

As one of the two original resorts (Disney’s Polynesian Village can also boast this title) on opening day October 1, 1971, the Contemporary also has bragging rights for the closest lodging to the iconic park, Magic Kingdom. An engineering marvel, each room was built off-site, trucked in, and slid into place. The contemporary design was created to mesh with the views of Tomorrowland. We see you, Space Mountain!

Contemporary Resort View of Space Mountain in Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World

Stunning view of Space Mountain!

Painted for the resort opening, Disney Legend Mary Blair’s 90 ft. high mural can be found in the atrium.

Mary Blair Mural at Disney's Contemporary Resort

Mary Blair Mural.

Bay Lake Tower, a Disney Vacation Club hotel, was added to the Contemporary Resort property in 2009.

Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort

Bay Lake Tower

Location

For Walt Disney World guests focusing on touring the Magic Kingdom, the location of Disney’s Contemporary Resort is second to none.

Walkway to Magic Kingdom from Disney's Contemporary Resort

It’s a short walk to the Magic Kingdom.

I love being able to walk into the Magic Kingdom for Extra Magic Hour in the early morning, return quickly to the resort for a mid-day break, and then get back to the MK for more evening touring.

Contemporary Resort. WDW. Walk to Magic Kingdom

Easy walk to the Magic Kingdom

But there are more perks to this location! Depending on your room location, you may be able to hear the Ferry boat’s whistle, see the monorail making part of its circular journey, watch the fireworks from your balcony, listen to the Walt Disney World Railroad whistle, and take in many other sights and sounds that are near and dear to Walt Disney World fans. We love the views of Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon!

Ferry Boat from Transportation and Ticket Center to the Magic Kingdom

Listen to the hustle and bustle of the Magic Kingdom from your balcony room.

For more fun on the water, take the Disney boat to Fort Wilderness and/or Wilderness Lodge. We recommend dining at Trail’s End buffet at Fort Wilderness for yummy but inexpensive food. And Whispering Canyon Cafe at Wilderness Lodge is a hoot for the whole family!

If you can’t see Cinderella Castle and/or the fireworks from your room, visit the 4th Floor concourse. There’s an outdoor deck that is open to all guests. Just go out the door next to Fantasia Market.

Fourth Floor Outdoor Deck at Disney's Contemporary Resort

Great view of the Magic Kingdom.

Don’t forget to view the Electrical Water Pageant from the Contemporary’s beach. It’s a 14-barge night-time spectacle that began in 1972.

Monorail

Monorail service is offered to the Transportation and Ticket Center where guests can transfer to the Epcot monorail line. For dining and shopping at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, just hop on the monorail. If you prefer not to walk to the Magic Kingdom, the monorail also makes a stop there. However, this will take more time.

Rooms

With two queens plus a day bed, the standard rooms are spacious at the Contemporary with 394 square feet.

Disney's Contemporary Resort Room.

Contemporary Resort Rooms are spacious.

Standard rooms at the Grand Floridian and Polynesian Village are a bit larger.

Amenities

It’s extremely easy to escape the Magic Kingdom and return to the Contemporary for some down time. With two pools, a splash pad, beach hammocks, an arcade, shops, and Boat Nook marina options (sailboats, fishing, waterskiing, tubing, parasailing), taking advantage of your resort amenities should be part of your Disney vacation. Yes, you can relax at WDW!

Disney's Contemporary Resort offers the Boat Nook Marina

Boat Nook Marina

Amenities with no additional cost: Disney resort bus transportation, Disney’s Magical Express, Wi-Fi, standard parking, online check-in, resort airline check-in, fitness center, merchandise pickup, and more.

Extra cost amenities include: valet parking, laundry and dry-cleaning, spa, childcare, business center, arcade, and more.

Arcade Disney's Contemporary Resort

Unwind at the arcade.

Dining

For a special occasion or just a vacation splurge, dining atop the Contemporary at the California Grill is a memorable experience. Time your meal so that you can watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks while dining OR dine early and return to California Grill’s observation deck later in the evening. Early diners still get admittance to view the fireworks — just show your receipt at the 2nd floor restaurant’s check-in desk!

California Grill Dining Room at Contemporary Resort

The gorgeous dining room at California Grill.

I highly recommend dining early, then taking the monorail for drinks and shopping at the Polynesian Village and/or Grand Floridian, and for the finale — returning for the fireworks. It’s a full evening of resort fun and especially perfect for a date night. 😉

Magic Kingdom's Fireworks from California Grill's Observation Deck

Magic Kingdom Fireworks from California Grill Observation Deck

Another favorite Contemporary Resort activity for our family — Chef Mickey’s for dinner. Mickey cooks up breakfast too but we prefer the liveliness of this restaurant during the dinner hours. In the morning, we aren’t always awake enough to get into the full swing of napkin twirling! Try Chef Mickey’s on your Disney Arrival Day; you’ll get a delicious meal and some time with Mickey and his friends before you’ve even entered a Disney park.

Chef Mickey's and Contempo Cafe Disney's Contemporary Resort

Chef Mickey’s and Contempo Cafe

For quick-service dining, head to the Contempo Cafe. You’ll often find some unique cupcakes here. Our family recommends the sandwiches and flatbread pizzas.

Contempo Cafe serves up sandwiches at Disney's Contemporary Resort

Enjoy a sandwich at the Contempo Cafe.

On the lobby level, The Wave… of American Flavors serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Enjoy breakfast before heading to the Magic Kingdom!

The Wave of American Flavors Disney's Contemporary Resort

The dining room is quiet during an early morning breakfast at The Wave.

On the first floor, Contemporary Grounds showcases bakery items and coffee. Plus, several bars and lounges are scattered throughout the resort.

Shopping

The bustling 4th floor concourse is also home to Fantasia Market (snacks and sundries), Fantasia (toys and souvenirs), and Bayview Gifts (souvenirs, clothing, and more!). Bayview Gifts is also a convenient stop for a slice of fudge or a freshly baked cookie. Looking for Pandora charms (I love the Cinderella slipper, I got recently!) or a new Disney Dooney and Bourke bag? This is a great place to shop for those pricier items.

Fantasia has toys and souvenirs at Disney's Contemporary Resort

Shop at Fantasia for toys and souvenirs.

Of course, toy monorails and the Contemporary Resort playset are especially popular! This was one of our son’s favorite toys.

Disney monorail toy playset

One of our son’s favorite toys!

Cost

Sorry, we had to reach this topic, didn’t we?! How much does it cost to stay at Disney’s Contemporary Resort?

Of course, the tower rooms overlooking the Magic Kingdom are the priciest option.

As of May, 2017, standard garden view rooms begin at $378 plus tax per night. And that coveted theme park view? $585 per night plus tax. Get current rates here.

Sticker shock, I know.

Budget Tips

Shake off that shock and try out these budgeting tips:

  • Try to find a Special Offer and use a discount. Disney Visa cardholders and Annual Passholders sometimes receive enticing discounts too. My favorite place to watch for Disney resort discounts is mousesavers.com.
  • Watch for seasonal pricing. Looking ahead for 2017, Friday and Saturday nights in July and August are cheaper than any other summer nights. Also price out the last week of August, September 1-21, October 15-19, 22-26, 29-November 2, November 13-16, 19-20, 26-30, and December 3-7 for lower prices. Stay away from holidays where even standard rooms begin near $500 per night.
  • Plan to stay here for a couple of nights and tour the Magic Kingdom during your brief stay. You can concentrate on the Magic Kingdom during a short visit to Walt Disney World or resort hop to a less expensive hotel during a longer visit. When we recently stayed at the Contemporary, we stayed at a moderate resort for the bulk of our trip and then transferred to the Contemporary for a two-night stay to celebrate Michael’s birthday.
Monorail at Disney's Contemporary Resort

Monorail traveling through the Contemporary Resort.

Our family avoided staying at Disney’s Contemporary Resort for many years. One reason for not considering this deluxe resort at Walt Disney World was due to the high balcony floors and open atrium. You see, I have a fear of heights and the thought of staying there with a small child made me even more uncomfortable.

I’m glad we finally gave this resort a try. For me, Disney’s Contemporary Resort is all about the location next to the Magic Kingdom.

Monorail and Walkway to Disney's Contemporary Resort

Walkway from Magic Kingdom to Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

Still, I’m not a huge fan of the contemporary design and the outdoor pool area seems uninviting compared to other resort pools on property. I would stay here again for a couple of nights, especially on a quick weekend visit with plans to only visit the Magic Kingdom. Read more perks of staying at a Walt Disney World Resort.

Have you stayed at Disney’s Contemporary Resort? Is it on your radar for a future visit? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Shop and Dine at Disney Springs in Walt Disney World

Shop and Dine at Disney Springs in Walt Disney World

Shop and Dine at Disney Springs in Walt Disney World

Our amazing week on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas was followed up with a day long stop at the now nearly completed Disney Springs in Walt Disney World. As a shopping and dining complex (similar to CityWalk at Universal Orlando Resort), Disney Springs can be a one-stop location or an all-day venue. It’s a great place to hang out on your Disney Arrival Day!

Disney Springs in Walt Disney World

Transformation at Disney Springs

It is astounding to see the difference a little less than a year makes. During our last visit in 2016, the renovations and additions to Disney Springs were about three quarters of the way complete. Visits up until that time allowed us to enjoy the recently completed Orange Parking structure, dine at The Boathouse, sip drinks at Jock Lindsey’s Hanger Bar, and gain an overall appreciation of the scope of the project.

Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar Disney Springs in Walt Disney World

Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar.

This visit in early February 2017 allowed us to savor even more of Disney Springs. While the list of new eateries and retail outlets is certainly too lengthy to review here, we’ll continue to take a closer look at individual Disney Springs’ offerings in future articles. Sign up here!

The primary highlight for us was enjoying the architectural and design details that have been added and integrated into the area (okay, we enjoyed some tasty eats too 😉 ). We parked in the Lime Garage and walked out into Town Center. What a pleasant surprise! The Landing was completely obstructed by construction walls last year.

Lime Garage Disney Springs

Convenient parking at Disney Springs.

UNIQLO

We shopped at the UNIQLO retail outlet to take a look at the much ballyhooed T-shirts and other exclusive offerings. I was able to get my hands on a unique Marvel Iron Man shirt! Yep, I highly recommend browsing this store for themed shirts.

UNIQLO Tshirts Disney Springs

Mickey shirts at UNIQLO.

By far, the most impressive aspect of the Town Center area lie in its design and architectural details. Those details allow for an immersive experience into the entirety of the Disney Springs thematic approach to shopping and dining.

Stores at Disney Springs

Plenty of stores to browse at Disney Springs.

Architectural Details

The retail outlets located here can be found at most upscale shopping centers and other areas, but it is the visual impact related to the details and design that make it special. It is clear that you are on Disney property.

Fountain at Disney Springs

Gorgeous fountain at Disney Springs.

Lighting at Disney Springs

Love the architectural details at Disney Springs.

D-Living

One highlight of this area was the D-Living store. At the time, this store was all decked out in Beauty and the Beast decor and merchandise. It was a fun store to browse through! Note that D-Living is closed until May 11, 2017 when it will unveil a new theme and matching merchandise.

D-Living Beauty and the Beast Theme Disney Springs

D-Living featured a Beauty and the Beast Theme.

Wolfgang Puck Express

For lunch we had an unadventurous, but thoroughly enjoyable pizza at Wolfgang Puck Express.

Wolfgang Puck Express Disney Springs

One of our favorite lunch stops is Wolfgang Puck Express.

Wolfgang Puck Express Disney Springs Offers Cheese Pizza

Delicious cheese pizza at Wolfgang Puck Express.

Amorette’s Patisserie

Next, we headed over to Amorette’s Patisserie. The rave reviews that this establishment has boasted since opening is certainly well deserved. An absolute joy to experience and our choices — a Mickey Dome Cake and Raspberry Eclair– were memorable. 😉

Raspberry Eclair and Mickey Dome Cake Amorettes Patisserie Disney Springs

Raspberry Eclair and Mickey Dome Cake. Yum!

Star Wars and Rogue One Merchandise

It should not be surprising to anyone that I was most eager at finding Star Wars and Rogue One merchandise. I was very pleased to see the entire middle wing of Once Upon a Toy dedicated to Star Wars and Rogue One merchandise!

Star Wars Merchandise at Disney Springs

Star Wars Merchandise.

In fact, Rogue One icons, posters, and other visuals were in display all across Disney Springs. As if there wasn’t any doubt, it is now entirely clear that Star Wars will be a huge influence over all that is Disney for the foreseeable future. I will not voice any complaints about that!

Star Wars

Star Wars Decor Disney Springs

Star Wars Displays at Disney Springs.

There will be lots more to see, eat, drink, and purchase at Disney Springs during future Walt Disney World visits. I am most looking forward to returning and dining at The Edison when it opens later this year. For now, our family plans to spend a day at Disney Springs in early June. Yes, I’m counting the days!

The Edison Disney Springs

Looking forward to The Edison!

Plan a visit to Disney Springs in Walt Disney World — and don’t be afraid to bring the kids!


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What do you enjoy most about Disney Springs in Walt Disney World? Do you plan to stop by Disney Springs on your next vacation to Walt Disney World?

Disney Arrival Day: Things to Do on Your First Day at Walt Disney World

Disney Arrival Day: Things to Do on Your First Day at Walt Disney World

Disney Arrival Day: Things to Do on Your First Day at Walt Disney World

Congratulations, it’s your Disney Arrival Day! After the stresses of traveling to the Happiest Place on Earth, you are finally on Walt Disney World property. And you’ve likely taken a picture of this welcome sign:

Walt Disney World Entrance Sign on Disney Arrival Day

Always a welcoming sight!

While Annual Passholders can certainly head straight to the parks, even these guests may need some down time from early morning flights or long road trips.

After you check in to your hotel, it’s time to embrace your first day at Disney.

Caribbean Beach Resort at WDW Check In with Luggage

Have some fun checking into your resort.

And I have some suggestions on how to decompress from the real world. Breathe in, let it out, and start soaking in the magic of a WDW vacation.

Things to do on your Disney Arrival Day at WDW

Make Your Hotel Home

Settle into your Disney resort room. I like to at least get our luggage or carry-on gear situated, phones charging, etc.

All-Star Music Resort WDW Standard Room

Standard Room at All-Star Music Resort

Get your refillable resort mugs, then take a walk around the resort.

Port Orleans French Quarter Resort Map

Take a walk around your Disney Resort.

Become familiar with the locations of the food court, shop, pool, and transportation depot(s).

Wilderness Lodge Resort Sign at WDW

Explore your Disney Resort.

You’ll want to know where the boat/bus/monorail stop is before you head to your first park.

This is also a great time to relax by the pool.

Stormalong Bay Pool Yacht and Beach Club

Stormalong Bay at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resort

Let the kids swim away their energy that has bottled up from your flight or drive.

Father and son enjoy pool at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort

Priceless vacation moment!

Soaking in the hot tub is another way to let your worries whisk away. If you are so inclined, the pool bar will offer libations for over-21 guests as well as kiddie cocktails (for the young and young-at-heart).

Banana Cabana Adult Beverage at WDW

Banana Cabana. Cheers!

Swim or take a bike ride, enjoy dinner at your hotel, then have the kids go to bed early or watch the resort’s outdoor movie. Attending the hotel’s campfire offerings is also a carefree pastime for your first evening.

Bike Rentals at Disney's Wilderness Lodge

Rent a bike at Wilderness Lodge.

Get a great night’s rest before your first park day!

Dine and Shop at Disney Springs

Shopping and dining at Disney Springs is another fun option. Our teen son likes to head to Earl of Sandwich for one of his favorite counter-service meals.

Ham and Cheese Sandwich at Earl of Sandwich, Disney Springs

Bite into a delicious sandwich at Earl of Sandwich.

Walk off your travel jitters and share a counter-service or table-service meal with your loved ones at Disney Springs.

Note that this location will be very crowded if it’s a weekend afternoon and/or evening, so plan accordingly.

Resort Dining and Shopping

Traveling to another resort at Walt Disney World to dine and shop can also be rejuvenating. I find hooting and hollering at Whispering Canyon Cafe at Wilderness Lodge or Hoop-Dee-Doo at Fort Wilderness to be a complete stress-reliever. For comfort food in a quieter atmosphere, make a reservation at Trail’s End Restaurant.

Buffet Dinner at Trail's End Restaurant at Fort Wilderness Resort

Comfort foods are on the buffet at Trail’s End Restaurant at Fort Wilderness.

Another favorite first night meal is Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary. You’ll get a home-style buffet meal plus meeting Mickey all done in one outing. This place is noisy but you simply can not walk out of here without feeling a little more light-hearted.

Pluto at Chef Mickey's at Disney's Contemporary Resort

Chef Mickey’s is extra fun when traveling with extended family!

Visit Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach

If you arrive early in the day, take advantage of your free time for a water-filled adventure at one of these gorgeous water parks.

Blizzard Beach Water Park at WDW

Escape to Blizzard Beach Water Park.

Impressively themed, Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach offer attractions for all ages. I just love floating down the lazy river!

Attend a Magic Kingdom Holiday Party

If you’ve got energy (especially if arriving from a different time zone that has you wired not tired), purchase tickets for an after-hours party at the Magic Kingdom. We highly recommend both Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

Main Street, U.S.A. Buildings at Magic Kingdom's Halloween Party

Main Street, U.S.A. is spooktacular!

And hey, if you decide to just crash and take a nap on your Disney Arrival Day, it’s all good. It’s YOUR vacation. We used to plan every second of our Disney vacations and now we have more fun just winging it. I love to get to our resort, check into our hotel, and park myself in a pool lounge chair (preferably in the shade). LOL! 😉

Shaded Area at The Dig Site Pool at Disney's Coronado Resort.

Kim enjoys the shade at The Dig Site pool at Disney’s Coronado Springs.


What’s your family tradition for your first day at Walt Disney World? Or tell us what you’re planning to do on your first trip! We love to hear from our readers.

Ten Classic Magic Kingdom Attractions that are Underrated

Ten Classic Magic Kingdom Attractions that are Underrated

Ten Classic but Underrated Magic Kingdom Attractions to Include in Your Next Visit

Your Magic Kingdom itinerary is already jam-packed and you’ve got to see princesses, ride a dwarf train, and have lunch inside a Beast’s Castle. Yep, I get it. When you need a filler between waiting in long lines for popular rides or maybe rain has pushed you to look for indoor fun, some of these overlooked Magic Kingdom attractions at Walt Disney World will provide unexpected amusement.

10 Overlooked Magic Kingdom Attractions

Let’s take a closer look at Ten Lesser Known Attractions to include in your next Magic Kingdom visit(s). These quintessential pastimes are great for the whole family.

Walt Disney World Railroad

It takes 20 minutes to do a full circuit on the Walt Disney World Railroad. Or you can alight from the train at any of the stations — Main Street, U.S.A., Fantasyland, and Frontierland. Take some time off your feet and enjoy one of Walt Disney’s favorite pastimes. During one visit, our son was chosen to be a guest conductor aboard the WDW Railroad; it’s still a favorite memory.

WDW Railroad Engine

The Walt Disney World Railroad circles the Magic Kingdom

Swiss Family Treehouse

Okay, there are 116 stairs to climb at this Adventureland attraction. Unfortunately, folks with ambulatory issues will have to sit this one out. If you are able to make the climb, you’ll be rewarded with beautiful vistas and charming rooms nestled within the Robinson Family’s treehouse home. My favorite room is the library.

Child climbing Swiss Family Treehouse in Magic Kingdom

Climbing the Swiss Family Treehouse is a fun adventure!

Country Bear Jamboree

While tech-savvy kids may find this attraction dated, remind them that this is one of the attractions that Walt Disney helped create. Grizzly Hall is home to 18 bears proud of their hillbilly songs. Warning: You may find yourself singing and clapping. Reminder: You don’t know anybody so have some knee-slapping fun. I love watching the talking heads — Melvin, Buff, and Max.

Country Bear Jamboree sign at Grizzly Hall

A wild and wooly good time!

Tom Sawyer Island

As your log raft crosses the Rivers of America, you’ll leave even more of the real world behind. Go ahead and wander; Walt Disney made sure this island was full of exciting nooks and crannies to explore. I love the meandering paths and sitting for a spell (in the shade!) at Aunt Polly’s Dockside Inn.

Barrel Bridge on Tom Sawyer Island

Our son enjoying a snack on Tom Sawyer Island. Fun for all ages!

Liberty Square Riverboat

Embark on the Liberty Belle’s 17-minute, half-mile cruise around Tom Sawyer Island. Watch the river’s edge for unexpected scenes or sit back (note that seating is limited) and rest your park-weary feet. Visit the Salon on the Promenade deck to see historical photos and maps. You’ll also find padded benches in this interior area.

Liberty Belle Riverboat

Cruise aboard the Liberty Belle

The Hall of Presidents

This stirring, patriotic presentation inside a replica of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall offers a respite from rain, Florida humidity, and tired feet. If you or a traveling companion needs a rest, head to The Hall of Presidents. Here’s two options: you can enjoy the time to relax and enjoy a presentation on American History OR take a 23-minute nap. I’ve done both many times.

Hall of Presidents building

Hall of Presidents is a replica of Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

Don’t miss the roll call with the U.S. Presidents that follows the film. It’s a genius showcase of audio-animatronics.

Currently closed for renovation.

“it’s a small world”

A Walt Disney classic, “it’s a small world” showcases children from around the world. And yes, they sing this special little ditty during the entire voyage. 😉 The colorful collages created by Mary Blair delight visitors of all ages. Some people love it; some hate it. Confession: I’m a fan of the boat ride, costumes, Mary Blair artwork, and… the song.

Final scene in "it's a small world"

Cruise through “it’s a small world”

Mickey’s PhilharMagic

Don your “opera glasses” to join Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse on a 3D musical adventure. Since I can’t hold a tune, I try to quietly sing along to my favorite Disney songs. 😉

Mickey's PhilharMagic sign at night

Join Mickey and Donald Duck in this 3D musical adventure.

Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress

Another piece of Disney history! Carousel of Progress was developed for the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair by Walt Disney. Sit back in the revolving theater and watch the four nostalgic acts of the show presented by audio-animatronics. This 17-minute presentation will have you singing “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow.” It’s been one of my all-time favorite Magic Kingdom attractions since my first trip at age 11.

Carousel of Progress sign

Carousel of Progress is a family favorite!

Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover

In a narrated ten-minute journey, you’ll get a relaxing tour of Tomorrowland as you weave in and out of the futuristic buildings. We’ve seen Space Mountain with the lights on a few times during rides on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority. Wow! And of course, I love to hear one of my favorite quotes — “Paging Mr. Morrow. Mr. Tom Morrow“.

 

Of course, you can’t see and do everything on a visit, however I would highly recommend including at least one of these ten underrated Magic Kingdom attractions in your itinerary. Show some love to the classics!


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After you conquer the most popular rides, what attractions in the Magic Kingdom does your family recommend?

Ten Epcot Attractions for Younger Kids at Walt Disney World

Ten Epcot Attractions for Younger Kids at Walt Disney World

Ten Epcot Attractions for Younger Kids at Walt Disney World

Epcot is often viewed as a park for older kids and adults. However, there are many Epcot attractions for younger children!

Young kids in Epcot

In fact, if you don’t pay a visit to Epcot while the kids are younger, you’ll miss out on some spectacular attractions that may no longer appeal to your brood once they are older.

With that said, I don’t want you to rush into Epcot without a plan. Utilize FastPass+, escape the park during the busiest (and often hottest) afternoon hours, and/or take breaks when needed. Epcot requires a lot of walking. A lot.

Epcot Friendship Boat Transportation

Tired feet will appreciate taking a Friendship Boat across World Showcase Lagoon.

Even with a teen, we tend to tour Epcot on two separate days. We might tackle Future World one morning, and then World Showcase on another evening. Of course, park hoppers help to break up a tiring Epcot day. There are many options for breaking up Epcot days, including touring until the International Gateway in World Showcase and then taking a boat to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Epcot Transportation Friendship Boat

Hop on a Friendship Boat.

If you are a one park per day family, then plan for rest stops. If you aren’t returning to your hotel for a mid-day break, then be sure to sit for small respites — Epcot has some wonderful hidden areas (the park in United Kingdom is a favorite!) where you can relax.

Hyde Park in Epcot's United Kingdom

Hyde Park is a lovely place to relax with the family.

Future World Attractions

Touring these Future World attractions first thing in the morning or later in the day (early evening is optimal!) is a good strategy for less crowded conditions. However, since these attractions are not headliners, you may be able to visit throughout the day with little to no wait, depending on the time of year that you visit. Of course, school holidays always yield longer lines.

The Seas with Nemo & Friends pavilion

This pavilion showcases a slow-moving ride in a “clamobile”. Join Pixar friends Marlin and Dory as you search for Nemo through vibrant ocean scenes. After, explore the 5.7 million gallon salt-water tank filled with sharks, dolphins, turtles, and more species. Don’t miss my favorite area — the manatee rehabilitation room. Love those “sea cows”!

Plan to see the first show of Turtle talk with Crush. It’s not-to-be-missed for younger kids and their parents. Children will be invited to sit on the floor in the front of the theater, so that they can peer into the undersea window and vie for a better position in which to chat with Crush. Innocent questions posed by the offspring can result in memorable laughs. This show is totally cool for your dudes and dudettes!

Club Cool

Coca-Cola fans (and visitors looking for a free thirst-quencher ;)) can sample products from around the globe. Kids of all ages have fun sipping these tasty and some not-so-tasty (yep, I’m referring to Italy’s Beverly) beverages. What’s your favorite?!

Child sipping beverage at Epcot's Club Cool

Take a sip!

Disney Phineas and Ferb: Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure

Phineas and Ferb’s pet, Perry the Platypus takes on an alter ego, Agent P, in this hands-on World Showcase adventure. Kids of all ages delight in becoming secret agents to help foil arch-nemesis, Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz. Clues are sent to a borrowed FONE (Field Operative Notification Equipment) or a family-owned smartphone that direct newly commissioned agents to one of seven World Showcase pavilions. Each location highlights a new 30-45 minute adventure. Try one, several, or all of them!

Sign for Agent P's World Showcase Adventure

Help Agent P save the world!

Treats, Toys, and/or Snacks in World Showcase

Look for unique treats, toys, and/or snacks in the World Showcase pavilions. On one Epcot trip, we had our son choose a different candy from each each country — a definite highlight of his vacation. Visit the shops, bakeries, ice cream shops, food stands, and restaurants for a smorgasbord of tasty edibles.

Variety of snacks including Pocky at Epcot's Japan pavilion

Candy in Epcot’s Japan.

Journey into Imagination

Another slow-moving ride that is perfect for guests of all ages! Dr. Nigel Channing’s sensory labs will delight your senses as you travel through this imaginative journey. Set your imagination free with the mischievous purple dragon named Figment. And, hold your nose in the Smell Lab! There’s a small interactive exhibit, ImageWorks – The “What If” Labs, that follows the ride.

Child playing in Epcot's ImageWorks

Jump on squares to create different sounds at ImageWorks

Kidcot Fun Stops

Mickey Mouse travels the world with his teddy bear, Duffy. During your adventure around the globe, take a breather while watching the kids join in artistic fun at any of the eleven Kidcot Fun Stops.

Kidcot Fun Stop in Epcot

Kidcot stations are fun stops in Epcot.

A Cast Member will provide a free cardboard Duffy the Disney Bear for your child to decorate and adorn with a commemorative stamp at each station. Ask the Cast Member about their home country. It’s especially fun to have them write your child’s name in their native language. By the time your World Showcase tour is over, Duffy will be completely decorated for a take home souvenir!

Kidcot Fun Stop in Epcot

Take a break at Kidcot Fun Stops.

Street Performers

One of the most popular performances to watch with kids is in France. Gravity defying acrobats –Serveur Amusant™ — delight young minds with their balancing acts.

French acrobat in Epcot

French acrobats amuse young audiences.

Characters

Disney characters can be found throughout Epcot. A quick look at the Times Guide (an informational sheet that you can pick up when entering the park) or on your My Disney Experience app will give you the daily schedule for character greetings. Stop by Epcot Character Spot in Future World or seek out Disney friends throughout World Showcase.

Child posing with Mary Poppins in Epcot's United Kingdom

Visit characters throughout World Showcase. Don’t forget your autograph book!

World Showcase Diversions

Don’t miss the little things. These unexpected diversions can really add to your youngster’s visit to Epcot.

Model train village in Epcot's Germany

Watch the train in Epcot’s Germany

Koi Pond in Epcot's Japan

Check out the Koi Pond.

World Showcase Attractions

Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros

Young kids love the mystery of Mexico’s pyramid and the twilit Festival Marketplace inside adds to the adventure. Kids like posing for a picture wearing a sombrero, trying out the maracas, and spotting the volcano on the way to Gran Fiesta Tour.

Child posing with sombrero inside Epcot's Mexico

Try a sombrero in Epcot’s Mexico pavilion.

The calm and silly boat ride is inspired by The Three Caballeros, a Disney film that debuted in 1944. What kids enjoy is helping to find Donald Duck. He’s disappeared! So, José Carioca (a Brazilian parrot) and Panchito (a Mexian charro rooster) need your help to find him.

Sign for Epcot's Mexico pavilion attractions

Head inside the pyramid in Epcot’s Mexico.

Frozen Ever After

Travel through Arendelle with Queen Elsa, Anna, Olaf, Kristoff, and other Frozen friends! A “summer snow day” is the perfect time to visit the frozen willow forest, Troll Valley, and North Mountain aboard a gently gliding boat. Along the way, you’ll hear favorite Frozen songs in this attraction at the Norway pavilion in Epcot.

Don’t leave Norway without stopping by Royal Sommerhus to meet Anna and Elsa.

IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth

A memorable fireworks show brings guests together around World Showcase Lagoon at the end of an Epcot evening. Earth’s birth, the history of humanity, and joyful hope for the future are all celebrated in this fiery display. If your little one is unsure of loud noises, visit a nearby shop where the sound will be diminished.

Epcot's fireworks during IllumiNations show light up the sky

If your child is afraid of loud noises, try watching IllumiNations from inside a shop.

Extra Epcot Tips

Plan a vacation during the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival as the topiary arrangements add an extra layer of free fun to your family’s itinerary.

Disney topiaries at Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival

Check out the floral exhibits at the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

Never underestimate the allure of the Disney monorail. Take the kids for a ride on the monorail before leaving Walt Disney World!

The Disney monorail passes through Epcot's Future World

Consider the Disney Monorail a must-do attraction!

Epcot should definitely be on your touring agenda. These attractions and others like Spaceship Earth will entertain the whole family.

What do your kids enjoy in Epcot?

Burn Ban Cancels Campfires at Walt Disney World Resorts

Burn Ban Cancels Campfires at Walt Disney World Resorts

Burn Ban Cancels Campfires at Walt Disney World Resorts

Orange County has announced a burn ban effective April 13, 2017. Extremely dry conditions in Central Florida have led to this state of emergency for the area, including the Walt Disney World Resorts.

Fire Pits  at WDW will not be lit during the Orange County burn ban.

Fire Pits will not be lit during the Orange County burn ban.

To comply with the fire restrictions, hotels at Walt Disney World have suspended campfire activities.

Burn Ban at WDW Resorts. Click for more information.

The outdoor fire restriction extends to all open flames including charcoal and wood grills, tiki torches (sorry Polynesian Village!), and personal fire pits and grills at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. Note that personal propane grills are still allowed at campsites for cooking needs.

Burn Ban in effect at Walt Disney World resorts. Click for more information.

Tiki Torches will not be lit during the burn ban at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.

Are you at Walt Disney World during the burn ban? Let us know if you observe any other suspended activities.