Where else in the world could you expect to visit eleven countries in one day? Nowhere other than Disney World of course! The World Showcase at Epcot is one of Orlando’s best kept secrets and gives visitors a taste of cultures, all the way from Norway to Mexico.
To give you an insight into just how wonderful this experience can be, we’ve asked Disney bloggers to describe their favourite countries, which will have you ordering your Disney theme park tickets in no time.
“Japan is a country I have always wanted to visit - and I hope to one day – but in the meantime, I can take a walk around the Japan Pavilion. It is one of the most picturesque pavilions at Epcot World Showcase, with the Torii Gate at the edge of the lake, the towering Pagoda, and the beautiful gardens and ponds, brimming with koi.
“I can happily spend a couple of hours here, soaking up the atmosphere, taking photographs, enjoying a kakigori (a shaved ice dessert), looking at the art gallery, watching the amazing taiko drumming group – Matsuriza, and do plenty of shopping in the huge Misukoshi Department Store which sells a large variety of Japanese gifts and souvenirs.”
“And of course, there are some amazing places to eat around the Japan Pavilion, including Teppan Edo, where the chef prepares your food right in front of you on a large grill – it's very entertaining, and the food is delicious too. And if you don't fancy a sit-down meal, you can pick up sushi, udon noodles, sake and more at Katsura Grill.” - Michelle Ordever, The Purple Pumpkin Blog
Stepping inside the ancient Chinese city at Epcot will awaken all of your senses, with colourful and intricately decorated temples, traditional music and delicious smelling delicacies. Entertainment can also be found in abundance, with impressive performances by talented acrobats, as well as Chinese staff willing to tell you all about their home country. Those in search of Disney characters will also be able to meet Mulan, Mushu, and Shang while visiting China.
“My favourite Pavilion inside Epcot's World Showcase has to be Mexico. When you walk inside, it's already twilight, and the party has begun! My eyes welcome the low light of this Pavilion, and the cool air-conditioning inside feels amazing after being outside in the heat. The smell of authentic Mexican food coming from San Angel Inn is intoxicating.
“On your left you will find Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros. This fantastic little boat ride rarely has a long wait time, and I can never get enough of this attraction. To your right is La Cava Del Tequila! Here you will find 200 tequila options, specialty margaritas, top-shelf cocktails as well as Mexican beer and wine! What's not to like? Here’s an insider tip!! Sometimes you will find that a Margarita flight is also available at La Cava. Just remember to ask your server.” – Krista, Disney Ways
“All [the pavilions] offer something unique, but if I had to choose it would probably be Mexico, if only for the tequila bar. La Cava Del Tequila is, in my opinion, the best bar at Disney. They have many unique tequilas you don't see other places and great margaritas. My favourite is the Jalapeno, it's really ruined other margaritas for me. Most of the Mexico pavilion is inside too, which is great for Florida since it's always either 1000 degrees or thundering.” – Mags on the Move
"One of my favourite countries at Epcot's World Showcase is Mexico. You can't miss the beautiful towering pyramid that encases the main building. Inside, a Mexican village at twilight is the backdrop for the pavilion's attractions, restaurant and shops. You'll feel like you've left Florida for a Mexican seaside hideaway. The pavilion's flagship restaurant, the San Ángel Inn Restaurante, features authentic and tasty Mexican fare. I recommend the Pollo a las Rajas.
Tip:While you're waiting for your table at San Ángel Inn Restaurante don't miss the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros boat ride, which weaves through the open-air interior of the pavilion. If you're a fan of Mexico, "It's a Small World" or boat rides in general, this is a must-ride."- John Stevenson, Coaster101.com
As Germany is highly regarded for its beautiful architecture, it’s no surprise that this is well represented at Epcot, from the small village houses to fairy tale Bavarian buildings. There is even a medieval castle, and a clock tower which features a glockenspiel that chimes a special melody on the hour. Those looking for a bite to eat will also be well catered for in the Germany Pavilion, with an all-you-can-eat style buffet restaurant, Biergarten, which serves an assortment of food ranging from frankfurters and sauerkraut to apple strudel and cheesecake.
"My family's favourite country at Epcot's World Showcase is Germany. The pavilion's German village-inspired entrance area features architecture from various periods of the country's history. The Glockenspiel clock overlooks the area. After grabbing a bratwurst, you can spend a considerable amount of time perusing the four shops inside the pavilion. Kids (and kids at heart) will love the Miniature Train and Village situated in a beautiful garden area.
“Tip: Don't miss the German buffet and live entertainment at the pavilion's flagship Biergarten Restaurant. You'll make new friends thanks to the community-style dining and enjoy Oktoberfest-infused live entertainment. And German cuisine aficionados will likely need to make two (or more) trips to the buffet. The food is excellent."- John Stevenson, Coaster101.com
“Those who seek Norway will find adventure and peril, but more often find beauty and charm. And school bread. Yummy, yummy school bread. Epcot’s Norway, with its cobblestone square and stave church evokes a land of daring and enchantment, and it’s a pavilion we always visit on any trip to Epcot. Here, you can dine with royalty at Akershus, get spritzed with Laila: The Essence of Norway, try on a Viking warrior helmet, and face down a giant troll. Oh, and did I mention the school bread?
“Despite the fact that I, too, come from a land of ice and snow, I don’t spend much time in the shops looking at some of the high-end ski apparel; rather, I love browsing the book section, which is always filled with the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen and tales of trolls. Speaking of trolls, the giant troll has been there since my first trip to Disney, and it’s our go-to photo spot. Every time we visit, we snap a picture of my children posing in front of the troll, and it’s interesting to see how they have grown from trip to trip and year to year.”
“From the stave church exhibit to dining with fairytale princesses to snacking on school bread and troll horns to battling giant trolls while wearing a Viking helmet to the scent of the wafting perfume, Epcot’s Norway pavilion is truly full of adventure, peril, beauty, and charm.” – Fancy Free Diva, Tips from the Disney Divas & Devos
The Canadian Pavilion is incredibly authentic, with its centrepiece inspired by a historic hotel that can be found in Ottawa, and a replica of the Canadian Rockies complete with a 30-foot waterfall. One of the highlights is most certainly the 360° cinema, where visitors can watch footage of locations such as Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Niagara Falls, which is narrated by Canadian comedian Martin Short.
From the streets of London to a quintessential English cottage, Epcot has managed to capture the true charm of the island nation, which will even impress those who originate from the United Kingdom. With an authentic fish and chip shop, and a yard of ale available outside the Rose and Crown, those who are missing traditional food from Blighty while staying in Florida can get their fix. There is also the opportunity to relax in an English garden should wandering ‘round the world’ take its toll on your feet.
Warm terracotta buildings and stuccoed archways that are characteristic of Morocco make this pavilion particularly beautiful, with more native craftsmen used to create this setting than in any of the other replica locations. Peruse the bustling marketplace and bazaar, relax in the flower filled courtyard, or watch the exotic belly dancers, and get a little taste of this country which is often described as the ‘jewel of North Africa’.
“Whenever I visit Epcot, I always allow plenty of time to visit World Showcase. It’s like a trip around the world without needing a passport. One of my favourite pavilions to visit has always been Italy. I love everything about that pavilion - the music, the architecture, and particularly the food. Having dinner at Via Napoli is now a must-do for our family each visit. The authentic wood fire pizzas they serve are one of my favourite meals at Walt Disney World.
“In addition to the delicious food, the pavilion itself is a big draw for me. To me, the way the Imagineers designed it makes it feel removed from the hustle and bustle of the main thoroughfare. The statue of Neptune tucked in the right corner is one of my favorite places to stop and rest for a moment, so I can soak in the atmosphere. I have never actually been to Italy, but thanks to Walt Disney World I can feel like I have every time I visit World Showcase.” - JollyFrogger Diva, Tips from the Disney Divas & Devos
"My favourite country in Epcot is Italy, solely due to the meals I've eaten at Via Napoli, one of two restaurants in the Italy Pavilion. I feel like food is often an afterthought in the theme park experience, but the authentic wood fired pizza at Via Napoli is not only the best theme park pizza I've ever had, but easily one of the best I've ever had, anywhere.
“Tip:An appetizer (I like the Mozzarella Caprese) and Individual Pizza will definitely fill up two people."- Andrew Stilwell, Coaster101.com
As you’d expect, there is a replica of the Eiffel Tower, although this a tenth of the size of the real thing. Particularly beautiful at night, there is also a spot which is reminiscent of the Seine waterfront, lined with streetside artists and flower carts. The shopping experience is just as you’d expect in the France Pavilion too, with wine and perfume galore, which can all be sampled before purchase. You may also bump into Beauty and the Beast while exploring the France Pavilion, which will delight those with autograph books.
“Oddly enough, I think my favourite country in Epcot is actually the good ole U. S. of A. Aside from the fact that the America Pavilion is the only place in Epcot to get my all-time favourite Disney snack—the Cream Cheese Pretzel – it also has The American Adventure stage show which I love. Located in a building made to look like a colonial mansion, The American Adventure is a 30-minute show in a comfortable air conditioned theatre that seats over a thousand people. The show features a Who’s Who of animatronic American history favourites, set pieces that rise up from the stage and some great film clips from the last 60+ years of American history. I’m not too proud to admit that watching the firefighters raise Old Glory in the rubble of the twin towers still brings a tear to this girl’s eye. And while you are waiting in the rotunda for the show to begin, be sure to check out the spectacular presidential portraits while listening to the Voices of Liberty, a truly amazing acapella group that does some fabulous renditions of old American classics mixed with some Disney favourites.
“While the America Pavilion does not have a table service restaurant, it does have the Liberty Inn which is a great spot for some classic quick service foods like burgers, barbeque, fries, chicken nuggets, and the like. You can also find two kiosks outside of The American Adventure, Block and Hans where my beloved cream cheese pretzel can be purchased and consequently devoured along with your beer of choice, and Fife and Drum Tavern where you can find other snack items like turkey legs, slushes, popcorn, and soft serve ice cream. I love the World Showcase in its entirety, from Mexico to Canada with all the various smells, tastes, and sights, but I must admit that the America Pavilion’s location smack dab in the middle makes it the perfect spot for a rest and a snack.” - Daisy Diva, Tips from the Disney Divas & Devos
"My favourite country at Epcot is The United States Pavilion because it houses one of the “can’t be missed” attractions of Epcot, the American Adventure. This show uses audio-animatronics that rise out of the floor onto a giant stage. It’s one of the most complicated theme park shows ever created, a true feat of engineering and entertainment. You’ll come away feeling very patriotic, at least until someone ditches you in line at the next attraction.
“Tip: Visit during the Christmas season to check out the Candlelight Processional in the America Gardens Theatre. This show tells the story of Christmas and is narrated – in person- by a guest celebrity such as Neil Patrick Harris or Whoopi Goldberg."- Nick Weisenberger, Coaster101.com
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