Disney World’s Epcot: The Amazing Race Gone Bad…and Then Good

For our first trip to Disney World, we only had three days so knew we wouldn’t have time to visit all four theme parks and the two water parks. However, Epcot was at the top of my list.

The boys posing in front of Epcot’s polyhedral icon

People either love it or hate it and I knew we’d be in the former camp. My kids are huge fans of experiential exhibits (the Denver Museum of Nature & Science is a favorite) so I was sure we’d enjoy Future World’s technological innovations. We adore traveling so the World Showcase’s shops, attractions and restaurants that represent the culture and cuisine of 11 different countries were no-brainers.

Oh, how wrong I was. I loved it and the other three, NotSoMuch.

I can’t really blame Epcot but rather, our strategy and timing. We visited early in our trip when all the kids wanted to do was go on rides. Instead of heading to Future World’s popular attractions, we inched our way through the 300-acre park’s exhibits. In an effort to make it more exciting, I spotted a new addition to the park: Phineas & Ferb: Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure. My kids are HUGE fans of the show so I thought they  would love receiving clues on their high-tech secret agent device and doing a scavenger hunt through seven World Showcase countries.

Calm before the storm

Oh, how wrong I was (again).

The concept of this secret mission is brilliant: Kids become secret agents to help Agent P defeat Dr. Doofenshmirtz by having them explore the countries. Hadley and Bode were instantly obsessed and fighting over their handheld device (another tip: get one for each child) and all they wanted to do was accomplish their mission. However, if this is your first visit to Epcot, I wouldn’t recommend it because the clues do not take you to all the countries.

And one of those countries it does not go to is Canada. You know. THE MOTHERLAND. The land of my birth.

I was obviously invested in touring it and Hadley (who was already being a moody tween) had a toddler-esque tantrum. “We can’t go to Canada. The mission doesn’t take us there!” I will spare you the sordid details but I was fuming. She was having such a colossal meltdown that I left her with Jamie and Bode and I explored it.

Replica of Victoria’s famous Butchart Gardens

I’ll hold ruining the Motherland over her to my grave.

Jamie told her she owed me an apology and stubborn little miss wouldn’t give in. When we arrived en France, we stopped in the patisserie and practically bought out the store with all my favorites–their les tartes aux pommes (apple turnover) tasted JUST like the ones I ate on my mission. It was as we bonded over pain au chocolat that Hadley finally said she was sorry.

Lessons learned in Epcot: Canada is the great divider and France is the great unifier.

I’m pleased to say the rest of our day in Epcot went smashingly. In Germany, we gorged on all-things caramel in Karamell Küche. And had the most delicious meal at Via Napoli in Italy (lunch after desserts–I highly recommend it). When we received our large pizza, we asserted we’d never be able to eat it all.

It was Gone in 60 Seconds (I totally *get* that movie now).

I could have spent hours touring the countries (next time I’m going it alone) so not wanting to rock the boat, we only focused on food and rides. Norway’s Maelstrom adventure cruise was such a hit we did it twice in a row and once back in Future World, we visited The Seas with Nemo & Friends Pavilion. Somehow, the red eyes totally work in Bruce’s mouth.

My expectations were pretty low when we went to The Turtle Talk with Crush Show but it was one of the most delightful parts of our day. All the kids sat up front while parents relaxed in the seats. I expected some kind of marine talk about turtle habits but it turned out to be a hilarious, interactive show where kids were invited to talk directly to the famous sea turtle, Crush.

I kicked back laughing and listening until I heard a very familiar voice.

“What’s your name little girl?”


Out of the 50+ kids in that place what’re the odds she would get picked? I was instantly on-edge. What if her tween attitude continued and she decided to CRUSH him?

After asking her a few questions, the big kahuna queried, “Where are Hadley’s parents?” We haltingly raised our hands. Jamie had a microphone stuffed in his face and corresponded with the on-screen turtle.

Crush: “Aren’t kids the greatest?”

Jamie: {Short pause} “Most of the time.”

{Other parents erupt in laughter.}

Crush: “Duuuuuude. We just totally had a moment.”

That day at Epcot, we had plenty of them.


My Disney World coverage:

Disney World’s New Fantasyland: A Dream Come True!

New Fantasyland’s Fire-breathing Dragon, our Orlando TV Debut and Jamie’s Famous Body Part

Disney World’s Epcot: The Amazing Race Gone Bad..and Then Good

Epcot’s Newly Revamped Test Track Quenches the Need for Speed

Disney World’s Animal Kingdom: Hear Me Roar!

The day We Lost Our Daughter at the Airport


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