Webster’s Dictionary defines edutainment as “entertainment that is designed to be educational.” When EPCOT first opened in 1982 many of the attractions were perceived to be strictly educational. Disney Imagineers struggled with making EPCOT more entertaining for all age groups.
As EPCOT evolved in the 1980’s, Imagineers added and adjusted new attractions and experiences that not only taught us about world cultures and new technologies, but also added elements of fun along the way. Edutainment was born at EPCOT.
Fast Forward to 1996 and the now retired International Children’s Weekends. Disney Imagineers introduced an activity where children had the opportunity to decorate a mask around the World Showcase promenade based on each country’s culture. This concept was very successful. So much so, that in 1997 this experience was made permanent and given the name Kidcot Fun Stops.
You will find a Kidcot Fun Stop in each World Showcase pavilion. Each stop gives children the opportunity to color and decorate a cultural mask with various markers, symbols, and props along the way. The stops are labeled and themed very well based on the shop or area that is nearby. As you progress through World Showcase the mask is continually decorated with symbols, stamps, and markers from each country.
Kidcot Fun Stops gave children something more to experience in the World Showcase. An area where many families felt needed more for children to experience. However, as I’m about to explain, Kidcot Fun Stops are not just for children. It’s an experience that can and should be shared by the entire family.
One of the best ways to experience EPCOT’s World Showcase is by exploring the various pavilions. Inside you will find representatives from the host country who can tell you stories about their particular nation. You will find some of these representatives at the Kidcot Fun Stops who are eager to talk with families about their host nation while you are decorating your mask.
Because Kidcot Fun Stops are located in different places at each nation’s pavilion, trying to find them can be a fun adventure. As you look for each stop be sure to explore and enjoy the pavilion along the way. EPCOT’s World Showcase was not designed to be a rushed experienced. Kidcot fun Stops can typically be found in the back of the pavilions to allow families to enjoy and explore the pavillion’s many hidden treasures before arriving at the stop and exiting the pavilion. Instead of listing each location in this blog I’ll let you discover them on your own.
Parents are highly encouraged to assist their children with decorating their mask along the way. In fact, parents may find decorating their own mask with their children can be very rewarding. One of the best aspects of the Kidcot Fun Stops is after you’ve completed your mask it is yours to take home. A free souvenir included with your paid admission to EPCOT. You’ll be able to look at (or through) your mask for years to come and remember your family trip to Disney World.
Here are some of the materials you will find at the Kidcot Fun Stops
Each country has a specific tag you can attach to your mask
A rendering of a finished mask
A couple of items that should be mentioned. Since Kidcot Fun Stops are sponsored by Sharpie the markers used for coloring are permanent. Children should be supervised while coloring their mask so marker does not end up on clothing or skin.
Additionally, you will find 2 more Kidcot Fun Stops inside the Land and the Seas pavilions in Future World. These two stops operate independently from World Showcase and do not use the mask as a decorating prop. They utilize a more themed prop based on the pavillion’s background.
The next time you are in EPCOT make sure to enjoy Kidcot Fun Stops. It’s a cultural experience designed for the entire family. Even better is the feeling of accomplishment after your family has visited the 11 World Showcase countries and 11 Kidcot Fun Stops with a fully decorated Kidcot mask. A true family edutainment experience.
Related link: EPCOT overview and World Showcase
Next Up: One of the best family freebies at Disney World. A trip to Disney’s Boardwalk