Stacy Cacciatore is a member of the 2013 Disney Parks Moms Panel.
What makes Walt Disney World Resort the “Most Magical Place on Earth”? For one, you could return year after year and still discover something new and exciting. While many families focus on experiencing the most popular attractions and dining experiences, I want to share a few secrets, specifically about Epcot, that I’ve gathered over the years. These five off-the-beaten-path activities will help you see the park in a new way, and with fewer crowds.
1. “Behind the Seeds” Tour
One of my favorite attractions at Walt Disney World is “Living with the Land” because I’m fascinated with the wide variety of plants grown through hydroponics. Many people know about the boat tour that takes guests through the greenhouse and aqua cell, but did you know that Epcot also offers a Behind the “Seeds” Tour in which guests can actually walk through the greenhouse? When we experienced this tour we were able to release ladybugs, sample a Mickey Mouse shaped cucumber and feed the fish. This interesting tour is both educational and fun. Reservations can be made up to a year in advance.
2. Dine with the Princesses
Everyone knows about dining in Cinderella Castle with Cinderella and her closest princess friends, which means that Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs) are difficult to get. You usually have to call 180 days in advance for a chance at scoring a seat at this highly coveted dining spot. But did you know that you can dine with the princesses at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Epcot? This dining spot is located in Norway within the World Showcase. A princess will greet guests upon arrival and you can have your picture taken with her, which is included in the price of your meal. Follow up your royal encounter with a meal of authentic Norwegian cuisine.
3. Hidden Mickey Hunt
Make touring Epcot fun for your kids by conducting a “Hidden Mickey” hunt. You can even create a scavenger hunt before you leave for Walt Disney World and have your kids follow along. Some of my favorite hidden Mickeys are on the brass plates outside of the shop in Morocco, the bubbles on the doors for Club Cool andthe freckles on the character in Innoventions West. I recommend visiting www.hiddenmickeyguy.com for information on the hidden Mickeys throughout Walt Disney World.
4. Swim with the Dolphins
Disney’s Dolphins in Depth is an intimate dolphin experience in Epcot’s Future World. This is a 3-hour, once-in-a-lifetime experience that allows guests to interact with dolphins in the water. Guests can also learn about caring for dolphins, their diets and how Disney trains them. You don’t have to know how to scuba dive to participate, as you will be in shallow water. Guests must be 13 years old or older to participate, however.
5. Kidcot Fun Stops
While adults love traveling the World Showcase for food and drinks from countries around the world, kids can grow weary of this trek.A fun way to keep kids engaged throughout their journey is to participate in the Kidcot stations. Kids (or adults) can obtain a Duffy the Disney Bear cut-out at their first Kidcot station and collect stamps from the 11 countries around World Showcase. Each Kidcot station is staffed with a Cast Member from that country. Kids can ask questions about each of the native lands, color pictures and sit down to relax.
Members of the 2013 Disney Parks Moms Panel have received/will receive a Walt Disney World Resort, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, Disneyland Resort or Disney Vacation Club vacation for panelist and up to three family members and/or park tickets for their participation on the Walt Disney World® Moms Panel. The views expressed in the Panel are those of the panelists, who are independent contractors. These views are not intended to reflect the opinions of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Online, its affiliates, its management, its agents or its employees and have not been reviewed or approved by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Online prior to posting.