The World Showcase area of Epcot features countries from around the world. Each pavilion allows you the opportunity to sample some of the food and the culture that each has to offer. Some countries feature actual rides (Mexico and Norway). Others features movies showcasing the culture of the host nation (China, Canada, France). While others may feature character interactions (Mary Poppins and Alice in England, Belle in France, Snow White in Germany). Every country has something that is worth exploring, but here is our list of our 5 favorite pavilions in World Showcase!
5. United Kingdom – there is something special about the United Kingdom pavilion. I appreciate the fact that you actually get surrounded by the buildings of the country, so it truly feels like you are in the United Kingdom. The Rose and Crown is always a stop my family makes while wandering around World Showcase. The shops have a wide variety of treats to try, as well as a variety of pop culture items (Dr. Who, Downton Abbey, the Beatles) for any fan. You can also meet Pooh and other friends from the Hundred Acre Wood in the extreme back in the last rowhouse there. The United Kingdom also has some great bands that play in a somewhat hidden garden behind all of the shops. Alice and Mary Poppins appear throughout the day, so if you are a little early or late, you can always grab a pint at Rose and Crown and jump in line.
4. Norway – Norway was home to the much loved (or, depending on your opinion, rightly maligned) Maelstrom that was recently closed to make way for a Frozen-inspired boat ride featuring the kingdom of Arendale. Still, there is much to love about the Norway pavilion. There is a great bakery that features traditional Nordic treats. Norway is also home to Princess Character Dining in Epcot at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall. Our family has not had the opportunity to dine there, but Akershus features breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so there are multiple opportunities to dine there. The menu features Nordic, as well as more traditional fare. Norway is also home to a traditional Stave Church for you to explore.
3. France – it is very easy to walk right past France based on how it is positioned at the back of World Showcase, but you definitely will be missing some things if you do! France is home to two table service restaurants – Chefs de France and Monsieur Paul. France also has some elegant shopping available, but the two best things about France is the movie, Impressions de France and L’Artisan de Glaces (read as “delicious French ice cream”). The ice cream is hidden in the back of the pavilion, but features a delicious combination of various ice creams and gelatos. One of the most enjoyable things to do is to grab some ice cream and head for Impressions de France and view the movie. It differs from the films in Canada and China because it allows you to actually sit down, rest, relax, and re-charge for the rest of your journey around World Showcase.
2. Japan – Japan is also home to amazing restaurants – Tokyo Dining and Teppan Edo. Both are amazingly delicious! Tokyo Dining features a wonderful collection of sushi and amazing views of the World Showcase Lagoon. If you have advanced dining reservations, you may even be able to enjoy the fireworks from the comfort of your table. Teppan Edo is traditional Hibachi dining. The grills are centered around 8 people, so if you don’t have enough people in your party, you will be seated with people you don’t know. The true stars of this meal are the chefs who will amaze you with tricks while preparing your food. Japan also features an interesting exhibit on Japanese culture.
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1. Germany – Germany doesn’t have a movie or an attraction, but Germany does have grapefruit beer! No matter how long my family is going to be at Epcot, no trip is complete without a trip to the pretzel cart located outside of Germany for some Schofferhofer’s grapefruit beer. The name may sound a little weird, but trust me, it is something you have to try! The beer has a low-alcohol content, but it is a delicious and refreshing beer! Germany is also home to a great bakery, Karamel Küsh, that features a variety of different desserts drizzled with caramel and chocolate. Biergarten is also a fantastic restaurant that transports the diner to a classic Oktoberfest celebration featuring all the food you care to enjoy. I also enjoy looking at the model train display that is set up to the side of Germany as you walk towards Italy.
No matter what you find appealing about World Showcase, each country has something for you to enjoy. Food, drink, shopping, or entertainment is featured at each country. Be sure to take some time to actually go into the pavilion and explore. A lot of what is to be enjoyed there cannot be seen from just walking by. What is your World Showcase must-do?
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Photo courtesy of Disney Photo Snapper