Epcot’s World Showcase is almost a park within a park. Designed as a mini World’s Fair, World Showcase is a place to wander, a place to learn, and a place to relax. Here are ten things you need to know before your journey begins:
10. Pavilions – World Showcase is a collection of eleven distinct areas called “pavilions”. Each pavilion represents the culture of a different country. The pavilions that you can visit include Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, United States, Japan, Morocco, France, United Kingdom, and Canada. Typically, the pavilions of World Showcase open each day at 11:00am.
9. Layout – The pavilions line the shore of World Showcase Lagoon. As you approach World Showcase from Future World, you’ll see the United States pavilion directly across the lagoon with five pavilions to its left and five to its right. With the exception of a small area adjacent to Future World, the pavilions form an almost complete circle around the lagoon.
8. Transportation – Friendship boats are available to shuttle guests from World Showcase Plaza (the “entrance” area from Future World) to the other side of the lagoon. As you approach the lagoon, the dock to your left will take you to Germany while the dock to your right will take you to Morocco. The Friendships are not necessarily faster than walking, but they offer a break for your feet. In between France and the United Kingdom, there is a park exit with boat transportation to Boardwalk, the Swan and Dolphin, the Yacht Club and Beach Club, and Hollywood Studios.
7. Shows – Each pavilion has its own unique entertainment that reflects the country’s culture. Most have live shows that you can catch by noting the schedule on your guide map or My Disney Experience app. It’s helpful to look over the entertainment options at the beginning of your day so that you don’t miss a favorite. Some pavilions have continuously running films at an indoor theater, which you can view at your leisure.
6. Shopping – World Showcase does not sell many typical Disney souvenirs. Instead, you’ll find shops that offer goods directly from the country that they represent. Leather items from Italy, perfumes from France, silks from China, and teas from England are just a few of the items that you can find.
5. Cast Members – To enrich the immersive experience of World Showcase, just strike up a conversation with a nearby cast member. World Showcase cast members hale directly from that pavilion’s country (often they’re a part of the Disney International College Program). Usually you’ll find these individuals will readily answer any questions you may have about their country.
4. Food – World Showcase has developed a reputation for some of the best food in all of Disney World. Each pavilion serves unique cuisine, usually in both table service and counter service venues. Be sure to make reservations for the table service places! And don’t worry—if you’ve got party members with less-adventurous tastes, there’s always familiar American menu options to choose from
3. Kids Activities – World Showcase is a neat experience for all ages, but sometimes the educational aspects are lost on the littlest family members. To help keep small kids involved, Epcot hosts Kidcot Fun Spots in each pavilion with cast member led crafts. For slightly older kids, the Agent P Adventure is amazing! It’s an interactive digital scavenger hunt that’s full of surprises. Sign up to be an agent wherever you see cast members in teal outfits.
2. Festivals and Celebrations – Anytime is a great time to visit World Showcase. But the best times may be during one of the seasonal festivals. In spring, the Flower and Garden Festival boasts colorful topiaries, outdoor activities, and exclusive garden-inspired food stops. In the fall, Food and Wine Fest beckons with rich dishes and drinks in sample-sized portions and nostalgic concerts. And Holidays Around the World is a terrific celebration of different customs and festive decorations.
1. IllumiNations – Finally, World Showcase is a great place to view the nighttime spectacular, IllumiNations. Grab a dessert and find a space to settle in at your favorite pavilion. Some suggestions: Japan’s second floor balcony, waterside in Italy, or the bridge between UK and France.
What a great way to “see the world”—all in one day!
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