Never been to Epcot’s World Showcase? Well, you’re in for a treat! Here are 15 things to know before you go…
15. Late Start – While Epcot’s Future World usually opens at 9:00 with the other parks, World Showcase does not open until 11:00. So if you plan to spend your whole day at Epcot, obviously you’ll need to start in Future World and move on to World Showcase later in the day.
14. Unique Food – World Showcase is known for the most unique food offerings in all of Walt Disney World. Each main pavilion (“pavilion” is the proper term for the “countries”) has at least one restaurant and one quick-service booth, some even more than that. It’s fun to have your choice of so many types of authentic dishes all in one place.
13. Special Events – During the Food and Wine Festival and the Flower and Garden Festival, World Showcase offers even more food and beverage options. If you’re visiting during one of the festivals, get ready for a jackpot of delicious options. There’s also special entertainment on select nights, though crowds seem to rise then (and sometimes get a little rowdy, just to warn families with young children).
12. Get a Schedule – Upon entering the park, you’ll want to get a printed schedule for the day. The shows in World Showcase are fabulous, but they do not run continuously. You’ll want to plan your route based on the shows you want to see. Your My Disney Experience app can help with this too, but I think it’s nice to have a hard copy.
11. Agent P Adventures – Kids of all ages (well, except babies) will enjoy the tech-cool scavenger hunt that World Showcase offers called Agent P Adventures. Your children – er, agents – will receive assignments via a borrowed cell phone. As they travel around the Showcase they’ll uncover clues and activate special surprises—it’s awesome!
10. Kidcot – For younger kids, check out the Kidcot Fun Spots, where they can make Duffy the Disney Bear puppets and learn about the countries from friendly cast members.
9. Hidden Rides – Most of Epcot’s rides are located in Future World. But don’t miss the festive boat ride in the Mexico pavilion featuring Donald Duck. (It’s often overlooked inside the big pyramid.) And the Frozen sisters will have their very own ride in the Norway Pavilion this summer!
8. Exclusive Characters – World Showcase is home to many characters, so be sure to check your app for their greeting times. For example, you’ll often find Belle in France, Mulan in China, and Snow White in Germany. With exceptions for high-capacity days, the World Showcase characters usually have low wait times.
7. The Back Entrance – There is another entrance to Epcot in between United Kingdom and France. It’s called World Gateway, and it will take you out to the Boardwalk and Epcot Resort area. You can also board a Friendship to Hollywood Studios here if you plan to park hop.
6. Boat Transportation – There is a boat that ferries people across the World Showcase Lagoon starting near the bridge from Future World and going to Morocco or Germany. World Showcase is rather large, so the boat can sometimes offer a needed break if you’re trying to catch a show on the other side.
5. Make Reservations – As with most of Disney World, it’s in your best interest to make reservations for any table service restaurant in World Showcase, especially at dinner time. However, if you find yourself there without a reservation, you will still get excellent food at counter service places and walk-up booths (and maybe can sample a few different types of dishes that way?)
4. Don’t Forget Dessert – Leave room for decadent desserts as you choose your meals. The pastries, crepes, gelato, and ice cream are just as authentic. It’s a great idea to stop in a sweet shoppe right before you settle in for IllumiNations.
3. Greet the World – The cast members in World Showcase all hail from the countries represented by the pavilions. So if you have questions about Moroccan culture or want to brush up on your French, look no further than the friendly faces you see in World Showcase.
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2. Shop the World – Although you may find a few general Mickey-related items, most of the stores in World Showcase carry items directly from the countries that they represent. You’ll find Italian leather goods, Chinese fans, and French perfumes among other cultural staples.
1. IllumiNations Viewing – World Showcase is a great place to view IllumiNations, the nighttime fireworks and laser show held over the lagoon. Some of the best spots include the bridge by World Gateway, the balcony in Japan, and near the water in China or Mexico.
Take your time and soak in all that World Showcase has to offer. Where else can you “see the world” all in one day?
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