For many experienced Disney World visitors, Epcot’s World Showcase is the place to be at Walt Disney World, especially at night. But for many first time Disney World visitors, they just don’t understand the attraction. Check out 10 reasons why you and your family should make your way to Epcot and visit Epcot’s World Showcase. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.
- The romance and glamour of International destinations! You can explore the world without the hassle, stress, and expense of modern travel. In one afternoon, you can stroll through Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Morocco, France, England, and Canada (not to mention America itself!). You’ll have the opportunity to speak with young people from each of the foreign countries represented who will be happy to answer questions about their home country, culture, and customs. Travelogues in the form of memorable films highlight the beauties of China, France, and Canada while you can tour Mexico and Norway (the FROZEN version!) by boat.
- Come hungry and nosh your way around the world. Every pavilion offers both sweet and savory palate-pleasers. You’ll wish you had more than just one stomach to devote to a trip around Epcot’s World Showcase. Most of the stands and kiosks are on the promenade while some are within the pavilions. You can stroll around the whole circle as you taste your way through the countries, looking for the perfect spot from which to come back for IllumiNations.
- Come thirsty! Epcot’s beverages from around the globe are out of this world. As you’ll observe from the frequently-seen (drinking) team t-shirts that visiting groups arrive wearing, “drinking around the world” is a popular pastime. But it needn’t be just about the alcohol – there are delicious non-alcoholic beverages for Disney World guests of all ages and preferences; fruity frozen options for steamy summer afternoons, steaming hot chocolates and liquer-laced hot toddies for chilly winter evenings (chilly being a relative term in Florida, of course).
- Disney will warmly tell you to, “Be our guest” in World Showcase – at some of the most popular table service restaurants in all of Disney World. If the idea of grazing and munching while you stroll (since counter service seating is very limited and its availability can’t be counted upon) does not appeal, you might prefer to sit in air conditioned comfort and enjoy a leisurely Epcot full service meal. Be sure to plan ahead because Advanced Dining Reservations for some locations disappear as early as six months prior. Canada’s Le Cellier steakhouse can be an especially difficult reservation to snag, as can the Disney-princess-filled Akershus Royal Banquet Hall.
- The shopping! You’ll discover unique items that are hard or even impossible to find anywhere else in the United States. Inside its Mayan temple, a Mexican marketplace awaits. Don’t forget the giant sombrero photo op! The wafting fragrance of “Laila” will tell you at once that you’ve come back to Norway where you may admire the gift shop’s sterling silver jewelry and Scandinavian knitwear. It’s always Christmas at the Germany Pavilion’s Die Weihnachts Ecke (Christmas corner) where you can find a beautiful ornament that might become your family’s future heirloom. Japan’s Mitsukoshi Department Store is full of fun gift items. Don’t miss the food section at the back of the store with exotic snacks, candy, and bottled beverages. At the Morocco pavilion you can find a miniature brass genie lamp to wish on at the Brass Bazaar!
- World class entertainment. Head to the UK pavilion to hear The British Revolution, a tribute band rocking out classic tunes of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, The Who, Queen, and more. The five-person a cappella American Music Machine can normally be found at the America Gardens Theater at the American Adventure pavilion, performing some of the greatest American pop hits. From late afternoon through early evening, you can catch a performance of the talented Jeweled Dragon Acrobats at the China pavilion; while at the pagoda in Japan, you’ll hear the thundering Taiko drums of the Matsuriza ensemble performing from about noon until mid-afternoon. The Voices of Liberty entertain guests with a cappella renditions of patriotic favorites such as ““America the Beautiful,” “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and “Yankee Doodle Dandy” in the rotunda of the American Adventure. These outstandingly talented singers are dressed in Victorian-era finery which changes with the season.
- Great Disney character greetings. Anna and Elsa now have their own charming Royal Sommerhus to entertain visitors (with lines that generally move much faster than in days of yore at the Magic Kingdom). Other characters, appropriate to each country’s pavilion, greet visitors around World Showcase; and a little known secret is the existence of character greeting “Training meets.” These are somewhat low-traffic locations where new “friends” of the characters can get experience meeting guests before taking on busier meet and greet locations or character meals. This is also your best chance of coming upon a rarely-appearing character. One of the character training locations is just inside Epcot’s backdoor, aka the International Gateway. After passing through the entrance, you may find a character waiting for you off on the right hand side of the pathway (the line for characters here is almost always very short). Two other good spots are the area between Canada and the UK (in front of the World Showplace gates) as well between the American Adventure and Italy pavilions. These character training greets are not included on the official Times Guide entertainment schedule you receive at the park entrance, so you have to keep your eyes open to see if you can spot a special Disney someone making a rare appearance. And don’t forget that Disney characters aren’t the only characters at Epcot – people watching is especially fun here on the lagoon promenade!
- Beautiful architecture of the World. Carefully detailed recreations of famous world icons adorn Epcot’s World Showcase. You can stroll the romantic streets of Venice, Paris, or London as you listen to evocative music of each country playing in the background. You can go inside a Stave Church at Norway while China’s beautiful Temple of Heaven houses the Circle-Vision 360° film “Reflections of China.” In Germany, you’ll find a replica of the medieval Kaufhaus of Freiburg. The Eiffel Tower looms forced-perspectively over France. And a recreation of the Butchart Gardens of British Columbia enjoy perpetual Florida bloom at the Canada pavilion.
- Special event seasons! January and February – the brand new Epcot International Festival of the Arts which celebrates six weekends worth of visual, edible, and performing arts masterpieces. March, April, and May – the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival with unique gardens and topiary displays, 13 outdoor kitchens cooking up exotic dishes, and a Garden Rocks Concert Series every weekend during the festival. September, October, and November – the wildly popular Epcot International Food & Wine Festival with global kitchens, seminars, and demonstrations. November and December – Holidays Around the World features decorations, festivities, and comestibles highlighted by the celebrity-led Candlelight Processional from the end of November until the end of December. A 50-piece orchestra accompanies the vocal talents of a mass choir as the Christmas story is stirringly retold.
- IllumiNations! Every Epcot Evening ends with a fireworks extravaganza, visible from around World Showcase Lagoon. With the help of an “Inferno Barge,” IllumiNations tells the story of the fiery birth, the present, and the future of planet Earth and humanity. A dramatic “Earth Globe” floats into the lagoon and comes alive with illuminated, moving images. Comet-like plumes of light race up from behind all the pavilions as the globe opens like a giant lotus flower, the blazing torch within representing the hopes and dreams of humankind. The dramatic musical score contributes to the mesmerization of the crowd – until the show ends and the crowd moves in one body towards the park exit! Resist the temptation to join the exodus. Wander instead around the nearest pavilion until the crush has passed, then enjoy a quiet walk around the promenade, bidding an affectionate and tranquil good-bye to World Showcase – until next time!
Why do you and your family visit Epcot’s World Showcase?