EPCOT’s World Showcase is easily my very favorite place in the Walt Disney World Resort. As many times as I’ve visited this park, I always seem to find new experiences when exploring the pavilions.
In fact, it’s a really cool way to learn about different cultures from around the world without having to travel far.
The shops and restaurants of each pavilion are staffed by cast members hailing from the host countries. There are lots of places where you can find authentic food and beverages from around the world.
Let’s go on a clockwise tour of the 11 different countries in EPCOT’s World Showcase Pavilions. Beginning at the Port of Entry (the part of the World Showcase closest to the main park entrance), we will head left toward Mexico.
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With the tall pyramid inspired by the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza, you won’t be able to miss the Mexico Pavilion. However, I somehow never realized that you could go inside the pavilion until I was in my late 20s.
Inside, you’ll be transported to a Mexican market at night. There’s a table service restaurant called La Hacienda de San Angel. This restaurant is inspired by The San Angel Inn in Mexico City.
There’s also a musical boat ride called Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros. Outside, there’s a quick-service restaurant called La Cantina de San Angel across from the pyramid. The outdoor dining space is right on the water of the World Showcase Lagoon.
To the left of the pyramid, you’ll find Choza de Margarita. This is the perfect place for a quick bite. In addition to adult beverages, they serve snacks like authentic Mexican street corn and guacamole topped with pumpkin seeds and diced mango.
With the Norway Pavilion sandwiched between Mexico and China, it’s clear that the arrangement of pavilions at EPCOT is unrelated to real-world geography.
This pavilion is a popular one because of its main attraction: Frozen Ever After. This dark boat ride features the beloved characters and popular music from “Frozen”, Disney’s hit 2013 film. There are also shops, a couple of restaurants and a Norse Mythology Museum.
Akershus Royal Banquet Hall is a character dining experience that remains temporarily unavailable, at the time of this writing. However, this has been a very special experience in years past for meeting several Disney princesses. Keep an eye out for its return as Disney continues its phased reopening.
But for now, you can visit Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe for traditional Norwegian baked goods. One of their most popular menu items is School Bread. This sweet bun is filled with custard and topped with toasted coconut.
One of the highlights of my family’s most recent trip to Walt Disney World was a date night that my husband and I spent at EPCOT. We wanted to see the Circle-Vision film “Reflections of China” but first we stopped for a snack at Joy of Tea.
This kiosk is located by the water across from the main China Pavilion. They serve pork egg rolls and a variety of beverages, including Bubble Milk Tea and Honey Hibiscus Iced Tea with Blueberry Boba.
The China Pavilion also has beautiful gardens where Mulan character sightings are held throughout the day. There’s also an expansive shopping area and two restaurants.
The Germany Pavilion is my favorite. I have five little boys and they could spend hours watching the locomotives in the Miniature Train Village. This gives mom and dad an opportunity to hang out and split a bratwurst or giant pretzel.
In my humble opinion, Germany also has the best restaurant in EPCOT: Biergarten. Biergarten’s dining room is arranged in a graduated semicircle around a stage where a polka band performs in full lederhosen.
Guests are seated family-style at long tables. Of course, this is a dream for extroverts who love to chat with strangers and make new friends. There’s a buffet with traditional German fare, which provides a great opportunity to try new things.
What I love most about Biergarten is the dance floor, where little guests can move and burn off some energy while parents “sittervise” from the table with our new friends. Princess enthusiasts will be excited to meet Snow White in the Germany Pavilion.
The Italy Pavilion doesn’t have any rides or shows. However, it does boast several dining and shopping options.
There’s also stunning Italian-inspired architecture, including an 83-foot bell tower, a fountain and a wide piazza.
Guests can grab a slice from the Pizza al Taglio walk-up window and enjoy the atmosphere. If you have more time, try Via Napoli, Tutto Italia or Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar.
6. United States
U.S. history buffs won’t want to miss The American Adventure show in the American pavilion. It features famous audio-animatronics and tells the rich history of the United States of America.
Throughout the year, you can also catch live music performances in the open-air theater on the lagoon side of this patriotic pavilion.
The Regal Eagle Smokehouse is a quick-service location serving up regional barbecue favorites. Their menu features four different sauce options and barbecue cooking styles from different areas in the U.S.
You can also pick up a turkey leg at the Fife & Drum Tavern or a sweet treat at the Funnel Cakes kiosk.
The Japan Pavilion has one of my family’s favorite quick-service restaurants in the park: Katsura Grill. It’s kind of hidden away up a garden stairway on your left once you enter the pavilion.
It’s a great place to retreat from the hustle and bustle of a busy theme park and enjoy a quiet meal. We had dinner here for my son’s birthday last spring.
My boys were all happy with the kid’s menu offerings. I particularly enjoyed the Vegetable Udon Noodle Bowl. Meanwhile, Dad was enjoying sushi for dinner on that warm spring day.
Teppan Edo is the pavilion’s table-service dining option. It’s a traditional Japanese steakhouse where guests are seated around a flat-top grill while their meals are prepared right in front of them.
Near the entrance of the pavilion, you’ll find the Kabuki Cafe kiosk, which specializes in Japanese-style shaved ice.
Most of the right-hand side of the pavilion is dominated by the Mitsukoshi Department Store. This sprawling gift shop carries a wide variety of souvenirs and merchandise imported from Japan.
In fact, Mitsukoshi is an actual Japanese department store brand that is a corporate sponsor for the Japan Pavilion at EPCOT.
Host countries were involved in the development of each of the pavilions of the EPCOT World Showcase. However, the King of Morocco went above and beyond in his sponsorship of the Morocco Pavilion.
He sent artisans to Orlando to assist in the design and installation of the beautiful mosaic tile work that’s on display throughout this pavilion.
Princess Jasmine also makes appearances in the Morocco Pavilion throughout the day.
Dining options include Tangierine Café for quick service. They serve Mediterranean staples like hummus, falafel and grilled kebabs.
For table service, guests can choose between Spice Road Table and Restaurant Marrakesh. Restaurant Marrakesh is located toward the back of the pavilion.
You’ll find Spice Road Table on the World Showcase Lagoon. Their menu features Mediterranean small plates in both indoor and outdoor waterside dining areas.
Next to Spice Road Table, you’ll find Oasis Sweet & Sips. Sometimes called Morocco Juice Bar, this bakery window serves a dozen or more traditional middle eastern pastries, including Almond Crescent Cookies and Pistachio Baklava.
They also serve a variety of beverages including Frozen Mint Tea and a Citrus Pomegranate Slushy.
To the left of Spice Road Table, there’s a dock where you can hop aboard a Friendship Boat. These boats take guests across the World Showcase Lagoon from Morocco to the Port of Entry and back.
It’s a neat experience that few guests seem to take advantage of, but I highly recommend it. The view of the pavilions from the water provides a cool visual perspective.
The France Pavilion recently received a major expansion which makes it easily the largest pavilion in the World Showcase. The expansion includes the new ride: Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. It also includes a new restaurant called La Creperie de Paris.
Even before this expansion, the France pavilion already had some of EPCOT’s most impressive restaurants. Les Chefs de France and Monsieur Paul are table service options.
This pavilion also boasts a replica of the Eiffel Tower and plenty of quick service options for delicious food and shopping.
10. Great Britain
The United Kingdom Pavilion offers character meets featuring Mary Poppins and Alice throughout the day. Dining options include The Rose & Crown Pub and Yorkshire County Fish Shop.
Also, if you’re visiting the World Showcase in the evening, you may hear the live British Rock Band that performs nightly in a gazebo surrounded by a hedge maze.
Day or night, my kids love to chase each other through or play hide and seek in this hedge maze.
Canada may be one of the most underrated pavilions. It’s probably most famous for Le Cellier Steakhouse, which is an excellent sit-down meal option, especially for steak lovers. My kids also love the maple popcorn at the Popcorn in Canada cart.
Ascend the stairs up and into the pavilion and you’ll find two hidden gems. Keep left to enter the Circle-Vision theater for viewings of the “Canada Far and Wide” film.
Fans of Johnny and Moira Rose from “Schitt’s Creek” will particularly delight in the recently updated educational film. Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy narrate a visually stunning tour of the spectacular geographical features and distinct cities of their native Canada.
The second gem is a manmade waterfall inspired by the Canadian Rockies. Follow the narrow path along the waterfall and it will take you back to the Victoria Gardens area near the entrance to Le Cellier.
The path is so close to the falls that you’ll be able to enjoy the refreshing mist on a hot Central Florida afternoon.
What countries were removed from EPCOT?
No countries have been removed from EPCOT’s World Showcase since the park opened in 1982. However, there have been several instances in which a pavilion for a country or region was announced before the plans were scrapped.
An Equatorial Africa pavilion was supposed to be developed between Germany and China Pavilions, but the plans never came to fruition.
Plans for Iran and Spain pavilions were also announced and later canceled.
What is the best country in EPCOT?
The best country in EPCOT is probably France.
With the recent expansion featuring Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, it’s easily the largest pavilion with many shops and restaurants.
Which pavilion is your favorite? Let us know in the comments.