Frequent Disney World travelers often here, “You’re going to Disney World AGAIN? Don’t you know there are other places in the world?!” You can happily reply, “yes, I have visited 11 countries: Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, the United States, Japan, Morocco, France, United Kingdom, and Canada”. Only Walt Disney World can make you feel like an international traveler!
The eleven countries of EPCOT’s World Showcase make up 1.2 miles of international delights where you will find cast members from, and representative of, each country.
The themed wardrobe, environment and language make you feel like you are in a different country.
If you haven’t experienced the World Showcase, lace up your sneakers and get ready to walk! We are going on a tour of the World Showcase! For those who don’t want to talk around the world, read along and you can figure out which stop you’d like to shop and plan accordingly. There are boats available at Friendship Landing (to the right of the entry at World Showcase) which will take you across to different locations in the showcase. The lagoon that serves the boats are also used for EPCOT’s nightly fireworks show, “illuminations, reflections of earth”. So if you are planning on taking a shortcut on the boat be mindful of the time; the lagoon will close for the preparation of the show.
Disney resort guests can really put their perks into practice when shopping in the World Showcase, if you are more than two days from your departure date, you can have your packages sent to your resort, at NO COST! Pay for your purchases, fill out the slip and wave goodbye! You will receive a phone call in your room when your packages are available and you can pick them up in the gift shop at your own resort!
Each country is, of course, different but each also offers a unique international experience and in true Disney style, there is something for everyone. Kids can get in line to meet characters while Mom’s look in the shops with those little fragile delicacy’s , there are also KidCot fun stops around the world showcase where they can make a craft while you shop.
While I appreciate the authentic cultural experience that the World Showcase provides, I especially enjoy the shopping! Entering the World Showcase and working clockwise you’ll find what the following countries have to offer.
The Mexico Pavilion is burrowed inside of Aztec pyramid and is a treasure trove of Mexican souvenirs. Clay sculptures, ponchos, morocca’s, sombrero’s, silver jewelry and mexican spices. You can often find a Mexican artisan at different times during the day, some that make custom leather purses and others that hand paint piggy banks. The Mexico pavilion is a great place to cool off in the steamy summer days, you can even stay a little while and take a boat ride through Mexico with the Three Cabeleros.
When you see a Viking Ship and roofs with moss and flowers you know you’ve reached the Norway Pavilion. Norway is full of collectibles ranging from children’s toys to grown up luxury’s. Let the little viking in your family enjoy the section of Scandinavian necessities like shields, swords and viking helmets. Dress them up in a handmade wool sweater and read them a fairy tale from Hans Christian Andersen. For a more grown up shopping experience, sample the scents of Norway: Geir-the power of Norway, and Laila-the essence of Norway. Norway also offers silver jewelry and you can grab something sweet from the bakery on your way to the next country!
The beautiful blue circular pavilion you see on the left when entering the world showcase is home to China Pavilion – one of the largest venues for shopping and the largest variety. You can find silk clothing (pajamas, robes and slippers in many different colors and varieties), mother of pearl trinkets, tea pots, carvings, incense, candles and paper fans. There is a lot to see both inside and out! Just when you think you’ve seen it all, there is an open air market style shops with more to see!
Germany Pavilion is a cluster of small shops with architecture from different areas, each featuring different items such as cuckoo clocks, dolls and porcelain goods. You will also find Swarovski crystal and a miniature train!
St. Mark’s Campanile (bell tower) can be seen from all around the world showcase and marks the spot in Italy. This pavilion includes high end silk scarves, jewelry and fragrances. Italy is also one of the most popular venues for dining featuring Via Napoli and Tutto Italia. Musicians clowns and acting troupes also appear throughout the day.
The American Pavilion is mainly a food court (the Liberty Inn), large outdoor theatre that features seasonal performances and a small gift shop selling American goods.
Like China, Japan Pavilion is another huge venue for shopping. Clothing at all different price ranges, cosmetics, toys, purses, incense, bonsai trees, kimonos and Geta (Japanese wooden sandals). The store also features different candy from Japan and oysters where you can “pick your own pearl”.
Morocco Pavilion has both indoor and outdoor (in bazaar style) shopping. There are many ceramics, carpets, belly dancing gear and instructions, vases and ceramic tiles. You can also find jewelry, clothing and shoes.
Are you exhausted yet? That’s a lot of shopping but we aren’t done yet! There are still three more countries: France Pavilion, the United Kingdom and Canada Pavilion.
Walk into France stop at a popular place in the World Showcase…the bakery. Grab a snack and refuel so you can finish walking around the world! The little shop in France has a variety of items featuring French artists, knick-knacks (including the Eiffel Tower in a variety of sizes!) and French cookbooks. There is a wide price range for items which are both practical and lavish.
The United Kingdom has all the things you would expect: Beatles memorabilia, a selection of teas and tea pots (and mugs of course!), clothing, etc. You will also find Wimbledon items often featured here.
Canada is home to one of Epcot’s signature dining experiences: LeCellier Steakhouse. Wander through the lush gardens before you enter the castle to have a fantastic dinner! You won’t find extensive shopping here, just a few kiosks outside with Canadian merchandise: key chains, shot glasses t-shirts, etc. Check the times guide or the sign in front of the pavilion to find show times for that day’s entertainment.
If you survive shopping the World Showcase, stay around the lagoon at 9:00pm for “Illuminations, Reflections of Earth”; a beautiful fireworks and laser light display with some pretty amazing surprises!
- A Canadian Perspective of the Epcot Pavilion (chipandco.com)
- What to do with a Test Track Junkie During the Rehab (chipandco.com)