History, Culture, Food and Fun are all found in Epcot's World Showcase. What did you say, Dad? Fun? Yes, FUN. It's fun to see the beauty of other countries, watch their history, sample their food, see the native entertainment.
Uncle Walt tested his first rides at the Worlds Fair. The World Showcase is Disney's tribute to the concept of a World's Fair. It has offerings from a number of different countries and cultures. Each of the countries is staffed by cast members from the country, which brings a real authenticity to the experience.
The World Showcase
Either way you go, to the left or to the right, you will start with a country that border the United States. We'll start as you walk in from the main gate by going left (that's where all the rides are). Here are the countries of the World Showcase
Walk into the Mayan Temple and find treasures at every turn starting with a tour lead by the Three Caballeros of the country of Mexico. In the plaza there is some great shopping and some authentic (for America) Mexican food and drink.
The Germany Pavilion is the first pavilion (from the left) that doesn't have an attraction, but there is a lot to see (and eat) in Germany.
There is a Biergarten and shopping. Lots of shopping. You can get chocolate, watches, and just about anything else that's made in Germany. The only thing missing is the Mercedes (which you can probably order somewhere).
Between Germany and Italy there is an area where Disney has set up a garden railway complete with several model trains.
The layout is 150 X 30 and features 3 LGB (Lehmann Gross Bahn) engines that pull a few cars around the tracks. This is easy to miss, but don't. Dad can spend hours here. This is one of those neat little things that makes Disney special. The details of the village, the countryside and things around the track are amazing.
Italy may be the best looking (and the best smelling) Epcot Pavilion. The statues and restaurants make for a wonderful combination.
The new pizza restaurant brings something that has been lacking in Epcot since it opened. Good pizza!
The American Adventure. The host country of this World Showcase sits right in the middle of the countries. This pavilion tells the story of America. From crummy fast food to the technological marvel that is the centerpiece of the World Showcase, it's truly America.
Here is all you need to know about the World Showcase. From dining to crowds to hours, Dad's got it all.
Eating in the World Showcase is at time nothing short of amazing. And others are nothing short of awful (Liberty Inn). Some of the best restaurants in Epcot and even in the world can be found in the countries. There is something here for everyone.
Epcot was the first Disney Park where alcohol was served. (It's still not available in the Magic Kingdom.) When Epcot opened Disney decided that drinking was part of the experience from around the world and started offering drinks at the restaurants (and in some of the shops).
One of the favorite "games" that's played in Epcot is called "drinking around the world" (or at least it's one that's talked about a lot in some forums). Although Dad doesn't participate, lots of people talk about the drinks found in the pavilions. Please, drink responsibly (for Dad that means only 3 Cokes per day when I'm driving.)
During the year all kinds of events happen in Epcot. The best happen in the World Showcase.
International Food and Wine Festival - Every year from September through November Disney cooks up a storm in Epcot. At each of the countries booths are set up with food representing each of the countries. Lectures happen in the afternoons and special concerts happen in the evenings.
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival - in March, Epcot is taken over by flowers. Beautiful Flowers. The Flower and Garden show lasts from March through May with flowers, lectures by celebrities from the Home and Garden Channel (HGTV) and some really good classic music.
In every pavilion there is some form of entertainment to catch your eye. Dad's favorite is the Voices of Liberty in the American Pavilion. But there are the drummers in Japan, the British Invasion in the United Kingdom, MoRockin in Morocco,
I could go on for a while. These sometimes overlooked gems are the best part of Epcot. They provide entertainment and education at the same time.
Entertainment changes all the time. Check out your park maps for performance times. Disney is the king of entertainment and these offerings are what separate Disney Parks from other theme parks.
Epcot's Hours are boring and the World Showcase follows right a long. For 95% of the year the World Showcase opens at 11:00 am and closes at 9:00 pm. (Extra Magic Hours can keep things open later.) During very busy periods, Epcot will close a whole 30 minutes later than the standard time. Whoopee.
At Walt Disney World crowds are just part of the package. Not so much in this part of Epcot. Since there are really only 2 rides the crowds rarely affect touring. However, lines can form for the rides and even the shows.
Dad recommends Touringplans.com for every visitor to Disney World. TouringPlans has all the crowd information for each park plus over 140 plans to help you avoid crowds. Their Lines app will tell you how long the lines are at any ride in real time.
Through the years Disney has tried several programs to get children more involved in the World Showcase. I remember when we would buy (I think they are still available) Passports for the kids and take them to each country where a Cast Member would sign them for the children and put a stamp on the passport. It was nice, but not enough to keep the kids interested.
Next Disney started ...
Kidcot Fun Stops
Kidcot Fun Stop is an area in all of the pavilions where children can create a souvenir. Each Kidcot Fun Stop (which is sponsored by Sharpie) has a Cast Member who will help children create a personalized souvenir that represents that country. There are stamps and markers for the children to use on the provided paper.
There is more to Epcot than just the countries. Future World is packed with the history and future of technology. Future World is home to some of Walt Disney World's best and most thrilling attractions.
The World Showcase is a wonderful presentation of cultures and countries and food from around the world. Yes for some (like Dad) history and culture is boring but somehow Disney has found a way to make it fun (and tasty).
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