One of the memories that has lasted with me from my family holiday many years ago to Florida was our time exploring the World Showcase in Epcot. I wanted to make sure that this time around, with my four-year-old son, we would hopefully create some new lasting memories. I have heard people ask how true is Epcot’s World Showcase to the actual world we live in. Well, I have visited 6 (actually lived in two of them!) of the 11 countries and I’d say that each of them does a great job of representing the country that they are.
What is Epcot World Showcase?
So what exactly is World Showcase? Well, it’s a miniature world with miniature countries. A lot of the famous attractions are scaled down such as the sites in Venice, the Eiffel Tower from France, Temples from Japan etc. The shops and restaurants in these ‘countries’ are all themed and decorated appropriately. In most cases, you literally feel like you are visiting that country.
I urge you to make the time during your visit to Epcot to walk around the World Showcase. It’s especially great at giving young kids, who are yet to see the world how we may have seen it, an insight into each of the 11 countries. One thing I have to say is please allow a lot of time as it takes a long time to walk around. Far more time than I’d actually allowed for ourselves.
We did one half one day and the other half the other but this still meant a rushed job. Honestly, I think you could spend a whole day wandering around, exploring the countries, eating the different foods, meeting all the Disney characters there, going on the two rides in this area, watching the shows and anything else that may be on.
Top Tip – How to get decent selfies in World Showcase
If you want to see the World Showcase without the crowds please bear in mind that a lot of the countries don’t open until 11 am. We headed to Canada around 10:30 am and we were able to explore the outside areas of the United Kingdom and France with hardly anyone around.
The rope dropped between France and Morocco at 11 am and we were then able to see this part of the World, again with hardly anyone around…bliss! The other rope drops between Norway and China at 11 am. Please bear in mind that you can’t get in any of the buildings before this time (on most days). It’s a good idea to check these times before heading to Epcot for the day as they can change.
Below I will cover what you can see in each country. If there is a ride or movie to be seen there, what restaurants you can expect there, are there any character meet and greets? The World Showcase also has outdoor stalls where you can grab a quick bite to eat. The names and locations of these can change throughout the year.
Mexico is the first country that you will come to if you head left as you enter the World Showcase. Just before you reach Mexico you will find a Pluto Meet and Greet Photo Opportunity. This area is the Showcase Plaza. Why not find out even more about meet and greets at Epcot?
Mexico has one of only two rides in the World Showcase. There is a temple which you go inside and here you will find the Gran Fiesta Tour starring the Three Caballeros. This is a long and sedate boat ride which we loved. Plus we didn’t have to queue which is always a bonus. There is also an art exhibition inside the temple. It’s dark and atmospheric inside the Mexican temple and it was my favourite place to visit. They had ‘street’ stalls to buy gifts plus a number of places to eat.
The places you can get food and drinks from within Mexico are – Choza de Margarita and snacks from a cart/kiosk. San Angel Inn Restaurante, reservations are recommended (lunch and dinner), A La Carte Dining. La Hacienda de San Angel, Unique themed dining, reservations are recommended (Dinner). La Cantina de San Angel, quick service (lunch and dinner) and La Cava del Tequila (drinks).
You can meet Donald Duck on the Mexico Promenade.
Norway mostly has buildings that you can look at and take photos of but serve no purpose. It is home to the second ride in the World Showcase. This is Frozen Ever After which I highly recommend booking a Fast Pass for. It’s a really good ride and not one to be missed.
There is a walk-through exhibit – Norsk Kultur which showcases the Inspiration for Disney’s Frozen. There’s also a really fun shop with photo opportunities inside and outside plus a shop selling Frozen merchandise.
Food wise Norway is home to Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall which is a sit-down character dining restaurant with princesses. The food is American and Norwegian. Booking is essential and they serve lunch and dinner. If you are after fast food there is the Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe which serves pastries and sandwiches.
You can meet Anna and Elsa at the Royal Sommerhus. There is no Fast Pass for this meet and greet.
China is the first country we came to that I have actually been to. We visited on the occasion we chose to stay for the fireworks so it was dark when we walked around. It is worth seeing the World Showcase in both the day and night time as they feel so different in the light or dark. I was very impressed with China. There is a temple where you are free to look around.
At the back of here, you will find Reflections of China which is a 14-minute 360 film all about China. There is also an exhibition Igniting the Dream: Inside Shanghai’s Disney Resort. A little in front of the temple we saw traditional Chinese performers. It’s all very picturesque in this area and very true to China. There is also a very large shop in this area.
We ate at the Nine Dragons restaurant. Reservations are recommended however we didn’t need one on the occasion that we ate there. I was very impressed with the children’s menu and Jamie had better food not just in quality but also in taste and value for money.
The food is Chinese and the service was very attentive. The Lotus Blossom cafe serves quick-service Chinese food for lunch and dinner and there is also the Joy of Tea where you can purchase drinks and snacks. Not only that but there is a selection of quick service stalls.
You can meet Mulan at the Temple of Heaven in China
On your way over to Germany keep your eye out for the model railway. This is the only ‘attraction’ in Germany.
If you want to eat in Germany there is the Biergarten restaurant which reservations are recommended for. You can eat lunch or dinner there and the dinner menu is more expensive than lunch. The food is buffet style. Another place to eat in Germany is Sommerfest. This is a quick service which serves lunch and dinner. Both places sell German food.
You can meet Snow White at the Germany Wishing Well.
Look out for the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs topiary in Germany. I hope it’s there all year round because it was fabulous.
Having visited Venice twice it is lovely to see their replicas of the Doge’s Palace and the bell tower from St Mark’s Square in Italy. If you head over to the lagoon you can also spot some Gondolas parked up. There’s even a small fountain where you can throw in a coin. Like Germany, there is no actual attraction in Italy other than places to eat, places to shop and plenty of opportunities for photos.
In Italy, you will find plenty of Italian food at their restaurants. There is Tutto Italia Ristorante which reservations are recommended. This serves lunch and dinner and is a sit-down a la carte menu. The Tutto Gusto wine cellar serves lunch, dinner and snacks. Again it is an a-la-carte sit-down restaurant. Plus the Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria serves lunch and dinner and again is an a la carte sit-down restaurant.
The American Adventure (USA)
The largest building in the USA area is based on a colonial mansion. Inside there is the exhibition ‘Re-Discovering America: Family Treasures from The Kinsey Collection‘ My son loved the interactive displays here where pictures glowed in a lantern. Also in here is The American Adventure.
This is a 30-minute story exploring the past and the future of America. It is done using 35 audio-animatronic figures. Across the way, there is an amphitheatre and it is worth checking your guide map on arrival to find out what’s on during your visit.
There is no sit-down restaurant in the USA. If you do want to sit down and rest there is the Liberty Inn quick service restaurant. Which serves American cuisine. Plus the Fife and Drum Tavern.
Japan is the country where you will find the best view over to the dome. There is an exhibition within Japan entitled Kawaii! Japan’s cute culture. There are plenty of picturesque places for photos in Japan. It also feels like the largest area in World Showcase and is a pleasant place to spend a bit of time.
If Japanese food is your thing there are plenty of places to try some. Teppan Edo, reservations are recommended (lunch and dinner) A la carte dining. Tokyo Dining, reservations are again recommended (lunch and dinner) A la carte dining. Katsura Grill, lunch and dinner quick service. Kabuki cafe snacks and drinks, quick service.
Morocco is incredibly authentic. It took me right back to our time spent in Marrakesh. Well done Disney! Again there was so much attention to detail. With no one around we really felt like we had this country all to ourselves and it was perfect for photo ops. There is a gallery within Morocco entitled Moroccan Style: The Art of personal adornment.
I love Moroccan food and this is somewhere that I’d have loved to have had a meal. You can dine at Restaurant Marrakesh, reservations are recommended, lunch and dinner, a la carte. Tangerine Cafe, lunch and dinner quick service. Spice Road Table, reservations are recommended, lunch and dinner, a la carte.
You can meet Princess Jasmine at the Lamps of Wonder, Morocco.
France is a country that we lived in for 14 years so it was really fun to spend a bit of time here. I especially loved the miniature Eiffel Tower. The streets were very authentic and so, by the looks of it, was the food. France is an incredibly pretty place to visit. There is one attraction here which is Impressions de France. This is a 20-minute film that explores the French countryside.
There are many places you can eat/buy food in France and there is plenty of opportunities to try traditional French cuisine. There is Chefs De France, reservations are recommended, lunch and dinner a la carte. Les Vins des Chefs de France serves quick service drinks.
Monsieur Paul, dinner only a la carte, this is the most expensive restaurant in the World Showcase. Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie, bakery quick service. Le’Artisan des glaces, quick service ice-creams and sorbets.
You can meet Belle on the France Promenade and you can also meet Princess Aurora at the France Fragrance Gardens.
The United Kingdom is where I have spent most of my life. Was I a bit mad to get giddy looking at things that are ‘normal’? Perhaps but it was fun. The streets reminded me of Stratford-Upon-Avon and our son spent lots of time playing in the old-style red phone box.
There is no attraction as such in the United Kingdom, however, there are often performers out on the ‘streets’. There’s also a really pretty English garden to spend some time away from the crowds.
Food wise if you want to taste some good English grub there are 3 main places to eat in the UK. Rose & Crown Pub, a la carte pub food. Rose & Crown Dining Room, reservations are recommended, lunch and dinner, a la carte (more money than the pub). Yorkshire county fish shop, lunch and dinner quick service.
You can meet Alice at The Tea Caddy Gardens, UK and Mary Poppins on the UK Promenade.
Canada is the last but actually, the first country if you head right when entering the World Showcase. Canada’s attraction is a 14-minute 360 film O Canada showing the best in the country. The main building is based on a hotel in Ottawa. The grounds are lovely, full of photo ops and capture everything that Canada is.
Restaurant-wise you will find the popular Le Cellier Steakhouse, reservations are certainly recommended. It is a reasonably pricy a la carte restaurant serving Canadian cuisine. There are also kiosks and shops in this area.
And that concludes my tour around the World Showcase. I have a post all about the rides at Epcot for kids and families with young kids. Plus you can find out which rides and attractions I recommend to Fast Pass at Epcot and is the Coral Reef restaurant at Epcot worth the money?
Walt Disney World Tickets
Are you looking to book tickets for Walt Disney World in Orlando Florida? Why not buy your tickets from this a UK based website?. It’s a good place to find savings on your tickets. It’s always an idea to shop around if you are uncertain. This website is often recommended on Disney planning groups on Facebook.