You don’t have to break the bank buying souvenirs at Walt Disney World—especially at Epcot. Epcot is the best park for collecting fun and memorable souvenirs that are actually free!
One of my personal favorites, and one that many people already know about, is the free samples of Coke products. At a place called Club Cool in Future World, you can sample Coke products sold around the world. Some of them are quite good. Others are fun to encourage your friends to try, and then watch their reactions. Keep these free fountain drinks in mind if any of the rides in Future World make you queasy. We took advantage of the ginger ale sample after a particularly nauseating experience on Mission Space (orange). It helped all of us feel better—even my four-year-old. Club Cool is also a great place to refresh yourself in the afternoon after walking around World Showcase.
Before heading out to World Showcase, spend some time in Innoventions. You never know what you might find, but there is always something fun to do.
In 2005, my boys were able to create virtual robots and race them against other creations. Before leaving this exhibit that was about plastics, we made plastic robots to take home as souvenirs.
The Creations of Two Little Boys at the Plastics Exhibit
On our next trip in 2007, the plastics exhibit was gone, but I had read about a Xerox exhibit that allowed you to create calendars to take home. By the time we visited Epcot, that exhibit had gone as well. But I didn’t want to give up on a free souvenir so easily. I asked an Innoventions West CM if there were any exhibits that allowed guests to make something they could take home. The CM directed us to Slapstick Studios by Velcro in Innoventions East. My boys enjoyed competing against another couple of kids to build the tallest Velcro block tower. And we all enjoyed watching dad compete in the baby doll diapering contest. As we exited the exhibit, we found ourselves in a Velcro-frog-making area. Not only did we learn about Velcro, we were also able to decorate a cute two-dimensional frog to take home as a reminder of the fun we had at Slapstick Studios.
Other fun and free memory-makers are the video email kiosks throughout Future World. Several attractions allow you to send a video email to yourself and to friends back home. Take some time to do this because it is so much fun to watch them when you get back home and reminisce about your time in Epcot. Spaceship Earth, Mission Space, and Journey Into Your Imagination with Figment are a few of the attractions that have the video email kiosks.
Moving on to World Showcase, kids can make a mask and decorate it with ornaments made at the various countries. Just look for Kidcot fun stops. If you finish all the countries, you will receive a special prize. We have never finished all the countries, so I don’t know what the prize is.
When touring through Japan, be sure to note when Miyuki, the Japanese candy maker, will demonstrate her candy-making because 3 or 4 of the children near the front will be given her handmade confections. If you want to increase your chances of being chosen to get one of her special creations, try to position your family near the front and put siblings close together. She seems to like to give her confections to siblings who will share.
We also found that the CMs in many of the countries are happy to write the children’s names out in the native orthography of that country. My boys have their names written in Japanese and in Moroccan Arabic. It is also a great opportunity to talk with the CMs and learn more about their home country. We truly enjoyed these freebies!
There are other fun freebies in Epcot that you can’t plan for—they just happen, like being invited to do a special activity or being chosen as the family of the day at a restaurant. (This happened to us once at The Garden Grill!) Disney does a great job of creating magical moments. You don’t pay extra for them. They are just part of the Disney magic. So on your next trip, enjoy the Disney magic, but don’t forget to seek out the free stuff!
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