If you only have a few days to visit Disney World, you may be wondering which park you should skip. The answer is Epcot.
I know, I know, Epcot is a beloved park but trust me, I have some really good reasons as to why it’s the Disney park to skip when you simply don’t have enough time to visit each one. Please don’t hate me.
Alright, Let’s Hear Her Out…Why Skip Epcot?
Simply put, Epcot is mostly geared toward adults. While younger kids will love Frozen Ever After and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, the reality is that there isn’t a ton of stuff here that will keep the average child entertained past a few key rides and attractions. Does this apply to every child? No.
Growing up, Epcot was always a part of my parents’ travel itinerary, but I loved Magic Kingdom and MGM, I mean…Hollywood Studios more – and that’s kind of the point. Here are a few key reasons why Epcot should be the park you skip if you don’t have enough time.
It’s a Lot of Walking
Epcot is roughly 300 acres, making it twice the size of Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. Though Animal Kingdom is way bigger at 540 acres, the park is mostly shaded, whereas Epcot is not. Parents, what’s better to deal with during the day? A happy kid or one that’s sweaty and overheated? I think we all know the answer.
There Aren’t a Lot of Entertaining Rides
There are 11 rides in Epcot:
- Spaceship Earth
- Living with the Land
- The Seas with Nemo and Friends
- Test Track
- Frozen Ever After
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
- Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros
- Mission: SPACE
- Journey Into Imagination with Figment
- Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
Except for the newer Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, Test Track, and Frozen Ever After, the rest of these rides on the list are either too extreme or don’t hate me, boring, for kids of a certain age to really enjoy. For example, Test Track, Soarin’, and Mission: SPACE have a height requirement of 40”, placing those who are eligible to ride them between four and six years old (generally speaking). Though they may be able to ride, there are portions of these rides such as when the truck appears out of nowhere on Test Track and the total experience of both Soarin’ and Mission: SPACE that may just be too scary for children of those ages.
Even the newest ride on this list, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind requires children to be at least 42” tall to ride.
While the other rides on this list don’t have a height requirement, scenes in Spaceship Earth and The Seas with Nemo and Friends may be too dark for young children, and though it pains me to say this, a ride such as Living with the Land just isn’t going to provide the entertainment value that it would an older child or adult. Though this same argument may be able to be said for Hollywood Studios, the rides that are geared toward any age/height are simply more entertaining than the ones at Epcot.
Read more: Why Do We, Thank the Phoenicians?
But What About all the Offerings at the World Showcase?
I agree with you that these are entertaining, but is watching a performance by Sergio the Italian Clown Juggler in the Italy pavilion and Voices of Liberty going to be the standout experiences of your child’s Walt Disney World vacation? Depending on their age, probably not.
Festivals Bring a Different Crowd
If you made it this far and aren’t seething with anger, you may be when I mention the fact that the Epcot festivals simply bring a different crowd that parents may not be super comfortable bringing their kids around.
This is really geared toward the International Food & Wine Festival that takes place at the tail end of summer through early fall. Because it’s a festival designed around good food and spirits, this is the most popular festival for adult crowds, bachelor/bachelorette parties, and weekend birthday trips. Furthermore, since most kids are in school during this period, adults who can take the time off during the periods between back-to-school and the holiday season tend to flock to this festival over all the other ones that occur during the year.
While Disney does a good job at preventing super rowdy guests, the bottom line is that people do make it a point to try and get drunk at Epcot. This could lead to louder, boisterous crowds, cursing, and more reckless conversations/actions that parents don’t want to associate with their family trip to Disney.
Not as Many Opportunities for Down Time
Speaking of festivals bringing a different crowd to the Disney parks, the festivals themselves mean that Epcot rarely experiences a down period anymore. While the other parks continue to get more and more crowded, there are pockets of downtime when the kids go back to school and after the holidays.
However, that’s just not true for Epcot. Since COVID-19, it seems like these festivals are getting longer and longer. Here was the festival lineup this year in 2022:
- International Festival of the Arts: January 14, 2022, to February 21, 2022
- International Flower & Garden Festival: March 2, 2022, through July 4, 2022
- International Food & Wine Festival: July 14 through November 19, 2022
- International Festival of the Holidays: TBD but usually runs through November and December.
This means that the parks are always going to be pretty crowded no matter when you go, which could be a huge deterrent for parents with younger children who can’t handle long queue lines or large crowds.
This List is Geared Toward Young Kids, but Which Park Should I Skip if I Have Older Teens?
Older kids are probably going to get the most enjoyment out of Hollywood Studios since they are going to be old enough to fully enjoy rides such as Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, Rise of the Resistance, and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. While you could argue that Magic Kingdom has more kid-based attractions that older teens may not enjoy, it’s the quintessential Disney park no family should really skip during their vacation. Plus, it has thrilling rides such as Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain that teens usually enjoy.
That being said, I’d argue that either Epcot or Animal Kingdom are the parks you skip if you’re traveling to Walt Disney World with teens and don’t have enough time to do all four theme parks. Animal Kingdom has the least attractions geared toward teens, and the wait times for attractions like the Na’vi River Journey are just not worth it, especially when you think of the payoff.
Is Animal Kingdom Really Better For Little Kids Than Epcot?
As I briefly mentioned earlier, when it comes to deciding which park to skip, the choice is usually going to come down to either Epcot or Animal Kingdom.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom park is kind of divisive, with a lot of people either totally loving it or ranking it as a “half-day” park with not a lot of things to do. Deciding whether to skip Animal Kingdom or Epcot is going to come down to your party and what you think their interests will be. If your child loves animals and adventure, then Animal Kingdom should be on your must-do list because there are a lot of fun character interactions/sightings and ways for them to get their hands dirty. Epcot doesn’t really have that, so that can be a major detractor for parents of younger children.
However, older teens may prefer Epcot, especially during festivals because it makes them feel older. Plus, with practically every teen being on Instagram and TikTok, it makes for a lot of beautiful backgrounds that make for really cool and aesthetic pictures.
Deciding Which Park to Skip at Disney World When You Don’t Have Time is a Personal Decision
Ultimately, deciding which park to skip at Disney World when you don’t have time is going to be up to you. There really is no right or wrong decision, and just because you skip out on one park during your visit doesn’t mean you’ll want to on the next. The bottom line is that there is something for everyone at all four theme parks, but how much entertainment value it brings to your party is up to you.
As a teen, Epcot always provided the least amount of value to me because I was still too young to appreciate rides like Living with the Land and festivals such as the International Flower & Garden Festival. However, the older I get, the more I realize just how magical this park is…but it took me a long time to get there.
As a self-proclaimed Mouseketeer, Courtney Dercqu is a fan of all things Disney. Between decorating her desk with souvenirs from the park, to making unique mouse ears and having a dedicated Disney Instagram, Courtney is a true believer in the magic of a Walt Disney World vacation. Having had more than 200 articles published on various content, Courtney’s excited to share her knowledge and experience with everyone! Be sure to follow her on Instagram for all the Disney magic.