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Is Epcot “Weak Sauce” Compared to Magic Kingdom?

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Author: Leana

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.

10 thoughts on “Is Epcot “Weak Sauce” Compared to Magic Kingdom?

  1. You had to know I’d pop in. I am so jealous of you Florida residents with your beaches and cheap disney tickets.

    Love your point on using points to buy the tickets. I never pay full price for disney tickets because I use points. But I want to stress that people should use Undercover Tourist to buy disney tickets that are more than 2 days tickets. Great savings and it posts as reimbursable on the arrival card. You are spot on that you need to be careful about buying the tickets through disney as they won’t post as travel on cards like the arrival.

    But here’s the deal on Epcot. You need to focus on Future world with your kids. They have great rides like Soarin, Test Track for kids 5 and up. And for toddlers like my daughter, the Sea with it’s Nemo ride, Turtle Talk with crush, and aquarium is great. Also, the Land has great toddler rides, like Livin With the Land for a nice slow meander through lessons on sustainability. Further, Spaceship Earth is great for young kids and toddlers.

    Also, they do a great job with the innoventions buildings. They literally have a wall of video games in one of them, and a ton of interactive experiences, Games, and small rides. We haven’t done a lot there yet but your kids won’t want to leave the innoventions buildings.

    The World Showcase is great for trying new foods, and thry have some great live performances like the Canada band and the China acrobats. Also, the Mexico pyramid has a fun slow ride inside of it that young kids and toddlers would like. And there’s alchohol. drinking around the world on word showcase is pretty popular with every other human being but my wife and me as we don’t drink.

    So, the expeience you had with just you and the husband was likely very different from the one you would have with just kids. Disney has bent over backwards to make Epcot fun for kids. But it’s also the one park that is remarkably different without kids in that you will likely do completely different things with no kids.

    But, Magic Kingdom is a tough act to follow. If I had to choose one day, it’d be Mk. If it was me and the wife for two days, it’s MK and Epcot. If it’s two days me and the wide and kids, probably MK and Animal Kingdom.

    • I agree with everything the above poster said! Epcot is my favorite park (after Magic Kingdom) and the Future World area is great for kids. Please tell me you rode on Test Track, my favorite ride! And Illuminations (the fireworks show) is pretty great, too! All of the countries light up in coordination with music before the fireworks. My dad loves Epcot because of the “beers around the world”. I agree with you about the movies in the countries, they definitely need updating!

      • Yay for TeamEpcot. We’ll convince her yet.I also forgot to mention the great “Kidcot” activities in World Showcase. We’ve never done this, but my understanding is that it’s a huge World Showcase scavenger hunt. Great for kids out of the toddler stage. We may try this in March for our 6 y/o son if we go to the parks an extra day, but I think the JW Marriott may be worth staying put at. (seriously, google it)

        Illuminations is definitely a family favorite. Notice I said “family” and not “cheap black dad” favorite. This is a bit of a rant here, but stick with me. I just I don’t know that I’ve ever quite figured out where to stand to have a comfortable view of Illuminations. I am tallish (6’3), plus have a smallish afro, and usually have a toddler on my shoulders so I always feel as I if I am in the way if I stand since the fireworks aren’t high like they are in MK. I’m sure everyone behind me is like “Oh, great. Goliath is standing in front me.” At least my daughter or son has an awesome, comfortable view on Dad’s shoulders. There’s a lot of walking in Epcot and not being able to sit for Illuminations has always been a bit of a pet peeve of mine. Especially since I’ve been lugging around strollers and smallish human beings all day (the children, I mean). Seriously, I have to pick up and carry so much stuff at Disney. My wife is always pointing out how tired I am by mid week and how great she feels. I think it’s because I’m basically lifting weights 10 hours a day.

        /end rant as miles for family likes to stay

      • @Shoesinks I’m actually TeamEpcot myself, I promise! When it’s just me and my husband, this is where we love to go. And with Florida pass, the price isn’t horrible at all. We’ve been there a few times now and had a great time. Actually, writing this post made me want to go back! Yes, we did those rides you mentioned and illumination show is spectacular.

        Still, my goal with this blog is to point out the best value for families who have very limited vacation funds. When someone is making six figures, it’s no big deal to pay to visit all the parks. But for those who save up all year for that dream Disney vacation, it’s important to prioritize. But perhaps I was too hard on Epcot. Sorry if I came off as a “Disney party pooper”!:)

    • @Cheapblackdad You got me! I specifically mention you because I hope to encourage you to chime in. Your comments crack me up. I just knew you would have an afro!

      I actually do agree with what you said. Epcot is an enjoyable park, no question about it. I hope to visit it again at some point. And actually, I should have added that my in-laws did take the kids there, and apparently, they liked it. But not as much as Magic Kingdom, that’s the park they keep asking to go back to pretty much on a weekly basis. No mention of Epcot. But of course, that’s my kids, which may not be representative of all families.

      I guess, I have to keep in mind that I’m writing for families on a budget. For a couple, $100 per ticket may not be horrible. But multiply it four (or five) times, and it can add up to a small fortune. You are right, when you buy multiple-day tickets, by all means, include Epcot.
      However, many families end up buying 2-day passes, since it’s much cheaper. I think if you have small kids and are visiting Disney for the first time, maybe it’s best to just focus on Magic Kingdom. When you come back again in the future, then sure, include Epcot.

      It’s true, living in Florida definitely has advantages. However, the salaries are much lower here and jobs are scarce in our rural area. My husband would probably make at least 50% more elsewhere with his skills. But that’s where his family is, and it’s important to us to have them around our kids.

  2. We are local to the Disney area and much prefer Epcot. Especially when our kids are at Grandma’s. I really like your use of pictures. I just started my blog and would love some feedback. Anything would be much appreciated. Thanks!

    • @The abundant life Congrats on your new blog! It looks great. Honestly, I’m not an expert on blogging, so you may want to ask others for tips! I think I’m a good example of how NOT to blog. 🙂
      I agree with you on Epcot. For adults it’s a winner, no doubt. We had a great time and I hope to visit it again. Butt the price for non-Florida residents is hard to swallow. One hundred bucks per person, yikes!

      • It is crazy expensive. We have annual passes, which are expensive enough. We find ourselves feeling pretty stressed that we need to use them to get our money’s worth. They are great with the kids and it is a magical place!

  3. Pingback: No, I Do Not Hate Disney | Miles For Family

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