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  • Amy Fandrei

Traveling Epcot's World Showcase

I've told you here and here, oh and here, that my favorite park is Epcot®. If I was forced to also pick a favorite side of Epcot®, it would be World Showcase, hands down.

(Photo Credit: Magical Pix by Candi)

I am the opposite of a world traveler. Growing up in central New York, I often went to Canada as a kid, but other than that, my first adventure outside of the United States was to Jamaica on my honeymoon. Someday I hope to explore the world with Adventures by Disney, but until then, I adore exploring the Disney magic-ified countries in World Showcase to get a taste of what I plan to explore for real one day.

The Countries The 11 countries in World Showcase are located in a circle around World Showcase Lagoon:

United Kingdom Canada Mexico Norway China Germany Italy United States Japan Morocco France

My family visiting the China pavilion.

Each country pavilion is themed to match the architecture, colors, signage, foliage, food, and sounds that you'd find in that country. If you are traveling with children, I highly recommend buying a Kidcot Passport to complete while touring the countries. It is a great way to keep kids entertained and engaged in looking around the countries while you explore the food, beverages, and products that each country offers.

One important note about this side of Epcot®. While Future World opens at 9 am most days (8 am if there are Extra Magic Hours), World Showcase opens at 11 am. There are a few exceptions to this rule, including select quick service food locations and Frozen Ever After in Norway.

Attractions In comparison to Future World, World Showcase is a little light on the attractions. There is a cute, family-friendly boat ride inside the pyramid in Mexico called the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros. It's a slow-moving journey through a Mexican village during which you are serenaded by The Three Caballeros, who are looking for Donald Duck.

(Photo Credit: Magical Pix by Candi)

Several countries feature family-friendly movies or animatronic shows that are a great way to learn about the people and culture of these countries (and a great way to get a break from the heat and the sun). You can find these shows in the United States, Canada, France, and China pavilions.

The prime attraction in World Showcase is Frozen Ever After. You can find this Tier 1 FastPass+ attraction in the Norway pavilion. For Epcot® history buffs, Frozen Ever After is in the same building as the old Maelstrom ride. It even uses the same track and the same boats as that ride. The ride queue is beautifully themed and the ride itself uses new technology for even more real-looking animatronics. The standby line for Frozen Ever After can get quite long shortly after the park opens, so if this is on your must-do list, I highly recommend selecting it for a FastPass+ attraction or get to Epcot® at Rope Drop and hightail it to Norway.

Dining One of the highlights of a trip to World Showcase is all of the fantastic and authentic food you can find. There are quick-service restaurants and kiosks throughout World Showcase, though not all of them are suitable for lunch or dinner, and not all include indoor seating. Our favorites include grabbing a pretzel and beverages from Sommerfest in Germany and fish and chips from Yorkshire County Fish Shop (my husband's reason for wanting Park Hopper passes). Many quick service locations also ranked high on our MousePros Agent's list for best ways to use snack credits when on the Disney Dining Plan.

My husband's favorite meal in all of Walt Disney World®.

There are also numerous table service restaurants, some of which are considered signature dining. I can personally vouch for Le Cellier steakhouse in Canada and Via Napoli in Italy. Next on our list to try is Tappan Edo hibachi grill in Japan and San Angel Inn in Mexico. San Angel Inn is the restaurant inside the pyramid, where you can take the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros. My kids were convinced we were in some alternate universe where it suddenly became nighttime because the evening atmosphere in the pyramid looks so real.

(Photo Credit: Magical Pix by Candi)

There is also a character dining option in Norway at Askerhus Royal Banquet Hall. This character dining experience gives guests the chance to meet and interact with Disney Princesses, often including Snow White, Belle, Cinderella, Princess Aurora, and Ariel.

Your MousePros agent can help you book Advanced Dining Reservations for any of the table service dining experiences starting at 180 days prior to your check-in date. Not sure which restaurant to try? Ask your agent for a recommendation!

Characters Many characters can be found throughout World Showcase. Many countries are "home" to a Disney Princess or other characters. Belle can be found in France, Mary Poppins and Alice in United Kingdom, Mulan in China, Aladdin and Jasmine in Morocco, Donald Duck in Mexico, Snow White in Germany, and of course, Anna and Elsa in Norway. None of these meet and greets are available as a FastPass+ selection, and many come and go throughout the day, so be sure to grab a Times Guide and Park Map when you enter the park so that you can easily find their locations at the appropriate times.

My boys loved meeting Anna!

Special Events Epcot® is known for the special events it hosts throughout the year. The calendar year kicks off with the Epcot® International Festival of the Arts, a month-long celebration of art, entertainment, and food.

As an annual spring break visitor, I have been lucky enough to experience the Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival several times. The character topiaries are stunning and so much fun to spot throughout the countries.

(Photo Credit: Magical Pix by Candi)

Fall brings Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival. This family-friendly event starts at the end of August and runs through mid-November until it is time to start celebrating the holidays. Epcot® International Festival of the Holidays picks up where Food & Wine leaves off, with even more food, entertainment, and holiday traditions featured throughout World Showcase.

What's Coming to World Showcase A new ride! Imagineers are hard at work bringing the Ratatouille: The Adventure attraction from Disneyland Paris to Epcot®. Construction on the new building for the ride has already begun in the France pavilion. No opening date has been set, but many suspect it will be ready by 2021, just in time for Walt Disney World's 50th Anniversary!

Now that we've explored Future World and toured World Showcase, which side do you prefer? If all our talk about Epcot® has you longing to go back, or to check it out for the first time, contact MousePros today for a free, no obligation quote! And check back with us next Thursday for the final week of our 35th Anniversary celebration when we talk about the holidays at Epcot®.

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