My post on Magic Kingdom was quite popular, so I’ve decided to follow up with my review of Epcot. Originally, we planned to take the kids to this park, but through a series of unusual and quite fortunate events, it ended up being a couple’s getaway.
So I thought it would be interesting to compare the two parks. I have to admit, Epcot seemed much more impressive before we actually visited many of the countries represented there. One of my friends once joked that they need to add Belarus pavilion, which would consist of one tall grey building and a babushka selling a sack of potatoes. Stereotyping.
Anyway, if you can’t afford to travel outside of US, this amusement park is probably the next best thing. This isn’t the real Venice, but sure looks similar. A lot cheaper to visit, too.
What’s really neat is that they hire people from their respective countries, so you do get a feel for the culture represented at different pavilions. They also have artists who perform several times per day.
We were there during a Flower Festival, and it was a delight to see various beautiful plants, some looking like Lady and the Tramp characters from a Disney movie.
We decided to eat at a Japanese restaurant and take advantage of a $19 lunch special. Yup, I’m taking pictures of my food now, this industry is rubbing off on me.
For the price, it was actually a pretty good deal, plus it came with miso soup and green tea ice cream. Our waitress was originally from Japan and was oh so friendly! She must have said “Thank you very much” 20 times.
We visited Norway section which has a newly added “Frozen” exhibit. It showed how the movie was made and different aspects of culture that influenced the story line. I saw a t-shirt in the gift shop that said “It’s a troll world.” It reminded me of blogging.
After that we moved on to China section, which had a replica of Terracotta warriors army. I would love to see the real deal in Xian someday.
Most country pavilions have movies showcasing the culture and scenery of the place. However, the screens are old and most movies were shot in the seventies. Disney, you are making a killing on those tickets! This is ridiculous.
The highlight of the day was most definitely the performance by a rock band in the Canada section. It was a bunch of middle-aged guys wearing kilts, playing different instruments. Some in the audience were clearly under the influence and started dancing to their heart’s content.
One guy was wearing a wool pancho (on a sunny Florida day), that he bought in a Mexico pavilion. The funniest part was watching the musicians trying to keep a straight face. After one of the songs the lead singer said: “I don’t know what is going on here, but everyone seems to be having fun.” That’s how I feel about my blog!
So, is it worth almost a $100 admission price? Honestly, it depends on your budget. We went there as part of a $129, 3-day Florida resident special. Otherwise, that’s a lot of money to go see replicas of famous buildings and movies from seventies.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice, but I think most kids would enjoy another day at Magic Kingdom, as crowded as it is. To quote my reader Cheapblackdad (again), IMO it’s a bit of a “weak sauce” when it comes to appealing to young children.
My husband and I had a lot of fun, but I’ll be honest, I wouldn’t pay $100 per person, though, would return when using Florida resident pass. Then again, I’m cheap and for the most part, Disney is not my cup of tea. Chase keeps sending me offers for Disney Visa trying to seduce me with images of Tinker Bell and Goofy. Wrong momma.
Lodging options near Epcot
As far as hotels go, if you have a boatload of SPG points, you may want to consider Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin resort, that runs 10,000 points per night, 5th night free. It’s very close to Epcot, which would make it very convenient if you have small kids.
You also get complimentary transportation and extra Disney admission hours, great perks for family. Dolphin resort will let you fit 5 in one room, but charges $25 per night for a rollaway bed.
I recommend you take advantage of “Nights and Flights” benefit. It runs at 70,000 SPG points and will let you get five nights at one of these resorts, plus 50,000 miles in an airline program that partners with Starwood.
You can combine your points at no charge with those living in the same household, though, it takes a few days once you request it. As always, you have many options, and I’ve listed some in my post on Magic Kingdom.
Credit card bonuses that can help you pay for Disney admission tickets
There are a few cards that would be a good fit. Among them are Wells Fargo Propel, Capital One Venture Rewards and Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard. The last two pay me commission when you apply through my link, and the highlighted bonus is only redeemable for travel expenses. Applying for Propel card can be a pain, as they usually make you fax your tax return.
When buying your Disney tickets, you should go through sites like Orbitz, to make sure your transaction is coded as travel purchase. See this page for more details. You can find more info on all the bonuses in my page “Best credit card deals for family.” Feel free to contact me with any questions. As always, be careful and don’t take on more minimum spend than you can comfortably handle.
Readers, have you taken your kids to Epcot? Did they enjoy it?
P.S. Make sure to read the comments and some tips from readers.
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Leana is the owner and founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.