One of my favorite activities at Disney World is leisurely walking around the World Showcase. Country after country are mere yards apart, offering immersive experiences in each culture including entertainment, food and shopping among other things. You could easily spend an entire day in the World Showcase alone at Disney World, but if you don’t have quite that amount of time allotted, you could possibly miss some of the more amazing experiences this beautiful attraction area has to offer. Below are a few things you might be missing At EPCOT’s World Showcase.
7. Character Meet And Greets
Alice from Alice in Wonderland, Aurora, Belle, Jasmine, Mulan, Winnie the Pooh… these are a few of the adorable Disney characters that can be found in the different areas of the World Showcase (WS). Some of them, however, are tucked away in out-of-the-way places making them easy to miss. Upon entering EPCOT, make sure you get your hands on a “Times Guide”. This handy pamphlet outlines the locations of our beloved Disney characters and the times they’ll appear.
6. Venture Off The Beaten Path
Each country has meandering walkways that beckon you deeper into their city streets lined with shops and eateries. In addition, you’ll find galleries containing artifacts and artwork that are amazingly unique and enriching. Other countries contain magnificent gardens, water features and landscaping that often goes unnoticed by passers-by that don’t venture deeper into the countries pavilion. One such experience is Victoria Gardens in Canada. Enjoy views of immaculately landscaped lawns and flowers arranged around a variety of water features including a waterfall and serene pools. So take the time and meander around inside each of the countries to get the full experience Disney offers.
5. Find A Cozy Spot
As anyone will tell you, the press of crowds and the hustle bustle of Disney can put even the mellowest of people a little on edge. EPCOT’s WS offers an escape from the frenetic pace of roller coaster rides and shoulder-to-shoulder guests. Venture deep into the meandering streets of any of the countries and you’ll discover ample cozy spots where you can sit and enjoy the view while enjoying a drink and a snack. Two of my favorite spots are the main street into the United Kingdom and the EPCOT Resort Area entrance into WS between the UK and France. Find a bench in the shade and people watch while enjoying a welcome respite from the crowds. The EPCOT Resort Area Entrance affords beautiful views of France, uniquely representing the banks of the Seine river of Paris lined with stone walkways. You can watch the brightly colored Friendship boats delivering guests to and from EPCOT to the resorts in the area as well as other Disney destinations.
4. Friendship Boats
Speaking of Friendship Boats, you’ll enjoy the panoramic views of the WS from the World Showcase Lagoon plus enjoy a bit of a short cut from one country to the other. The Captain and other Cast Members on the boats offer fun facts and tips on happenings inside the park that day while you sit back and enjoy the ride.
Need a break from the heat? Take in a movie! Oh Canada and Impressions de France are just a couple of our favorites. Try to imagine the panorama of Soarin’ but without having your seats leave the floor. In particular, Impressions de France is projected onto five adjacent screens, giving 220° coverage, resembling Circle-Vision 360°. Beautiful scenery, enriching cultural insights and inspiring music introduce you to these amazing countries. Films aren’t long, usually 18 minutes or so but well worth the time.
Street performers of all shapes and sizes including, acrobats, crooners, percussionists lend a festive air and insight into the culture of each of the countries you encounter. Check your times guide for performance times and offerings.
Kidcot Fun Stops are craft stations at each of the 11 pavilions of Epcot World Showcase where kids can draw, color and collect stamps with Duffy the Disney Bear. Cast Members at each Kidcot Fun Stop can provide your child with a complimentary cardboard Duffy the Disney Bear. Your Child can then decorate it using supplies available at each station. While they are hard at work, Cast Members share insights about their native land and provide a stamp of Duffy for each country visited.
So you see, there’s so much to enjoy and discover at EPCOT’s World Showcase. Try to carve out enough time during your trip enjoy a leisurely pace around this amazing presentation of culture and history.
Title Photo courtesy of Disney Photo Snapper