Editor’s Note: This post was originally about Epcot’s World Showcase KidCot Stations when they included small puppets to color, before the current Ziploc bag “passport” activity. In order to celebrate the KidCot my children fell in love with, I’ve kept the original content. I’ve also updated it to include current information. The sentiment remains, though – most kids love Epcot much more than grown-ups think they do! 🙂 Find out why – and what there is for kids to do in Epcot’s World Showcase.
I think one of the most overlooked activities in all of Epcot may just be the very thing that makes your family fall in love with the park (if they don’t already enjoy it). This screen-free activity is, without a doubt, the reason my kids are always excited to explore World Showcase. They don’t even mind how much they’re learning while on vacation!
How Kidcot Fun Stops Change the way Kids Enjoy Epcot’s World Showcase
From the first time we went to Epcot with children, the Kidcot stations have been a favorite activity for each of them – and for my husband and me! It’s not often these days that a super low-tech activity – and one that features somewhat lesser-known characters, at that – can keep the attention of kids of all ages. That it competes with all of the stimulation offered during a theme park vacation is nothing short of spectacular… or maybe, these little tucked away tables are exactly the kind of oasis we all look for now and then, regardless of age.
What is “Kidcot”?
Previously at each of the eleven Kidcot stations – one located in each of the World Showcase pavilions – kids could color a cardboard Duffy the Disney Bear or Perry the Platypus “puppet”. Representatives from each country would also stamp their puppet (or a passport, available at some of the World Showcase shops for purchase), and draw or write something special on the back.
Today, as of the update of this post, many of this same interaction can still happen. There are cards for each of the pavilions that kids can color, and cast members are still happy to converse with your family, write or draw something on the cards, teach your child a word in the cast member’s native language, etc.
What we love about Epcot’s Kidcot Fun Stations
It’s not true 100% of the time, but when you find yourself exploring World Showcase on a crowded day (and let’s be honest, with all of the festivals and things to draw people to it, when is World Showcase not crowded anymore?), there’s a good chance that the Kidcot stations will have far fewer people hanging around than, say, the craft beer booth.
I don’t know if it’s because they’re somewhat tucked away, or if people don’t want to “waste” time on their vacation coloring and learning, or what… but the Kidcot tables and surrounding areas are often much quieter than the main thoroughfares. If there is a small crowd when you arrive, don’t worry – people usually don’t stick around any one of the tables for very long.
When children check in with the cast members at each Kidcot station, they’re bound to learn a thing or two. In the most basic of interactions, cast members will usually teach guests to say “hello” in their native tongue, or will write a message or the child’s name in their primary language.
We have had even more fun sitting and chatting with the cast members about their country, culture, family, and traditions. They are eager to answer questions and share stories; guests can often learn more from these cultural representatives in an afternoon than they would from some books… and have fun making a friend or two!
The new KidCot activities from Ziploc actually have printed cards with facts about each pavilion, too. So even if your kiddo doesn’t want to – or is unable to – interact with the cast members, they can still find out some cool information along their journey!
A Different Experience Every Time
Obviously if you spend time talking with cast members as described above, you can have as many unique opportunities as you do Epcot visits. Even when we’ve opted for shorter stops, though, we’ve had cast members draw cute little doodles, write different words, draw miniatures versions of their flags, and more.
Additionally, you could have cast members help with questionnaires, sign or answer a question in your autograph book, make a passport at home in which to collect stamps, etc. The possibilities are endless!
Free Souvenirs at Walt Disney World?!
There are actually a handful of free things guests can collect during their Walt Disney World vacation. These KidCot goodies – whether the previous puppet activities or the Ziploc Passport activities – are some of our favorites. As mentioned, each one is different, too!
Excellent Life Lessons & Other Benefits
Visiting the Kidcot stations sparks creativity, entertains children while grown-ups are also enjoying World Showcase, and allows families to take a break and rest their feet. It also increases curiosity and encourages children – and adults alike – to interact with people from around the world.
Have you experienced Epcot’s Kidcot Stations, throughout the World Showcase? If so, did you prefer the puppet version or the passport version? Share your experience below!
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Becky @ Disney in your Day
I love that they do this, it’s those little extras that make Disney so special! World Showcase is such a unique place, I would love to see them add even more little details like this.
We like these tables. You can learn so much from an informal conversation with the cast members.
I definitely agree! It’s always fascinating to hear their stories and learn more!