You’d think, growing up in Europe as I did, that the World Showcase at Walt Disney World’s EPCOT might not be all that interesting by comparison. Or that it might be boring for kids. As it happens, it’s always been one of my favorite parts of the 4 Walt Disney World theme parks.
As you walk around the back section of EPCOT (rebel that I am, I usually go counter-clockwise) you pass through 11 countries counting the USA: Canada, United Kingdom, France (pictured), Morocco, Japan, USA, Italy, Germany, China, Norway and Mexico.
Sure it’s Disney’s romanticized version of these countries, but even for someone like me who’s been to 8 of them in real life, I still enjoy it very much. If you’ve seen Woody Allen’s recent films set in Paris and Rome, EPCOT’s countries that kind of hyper-realistic feel to them.
I love that the cast members employed in each country are actually from that country. Be sure to take a moment to say, “hi!” On our last visit one of the shop clerks in the United Kingdom chased after Mary Poppins to ensure our 3½ daughter could meet her.
Dining ranges from casual to downright gourmet, e.g. the Monsieur Paul restaurant in France. And it’s just possible you might even run into Chef Remy from the movie Ratatouille. Sadly he’s being replaced, I hear, by Rizzo from the Muppets. Has anyone else heard this?
Each country, of course, has shops selling products both native to that country as well as more Disney specific wares. Most also have shows, movies and some even rides, like Norway’s Maelstrom. I thought that might be too scary, but our 3½ year old was fine. That said, I’d probably save it until at least 5.
Many families ignore the back section of EPCOT in favor of the more exciting rides and shows in the front Future World section. To be sure, they are terrific, but you and your kids would be missing out if you don’t indulge in the international experience that is EPCOT’s World Showcase.
And regardless of which part of EPCOT you visit, don’t miss the IllumiNations fireworks and Lazar show over the World Showcase Lagoon. You can get a clear view from almost any country around the lagoon, as well as that end of Future World. Don’t miss it!
To find out more about all the EPCOT attractions, entertainment, dinning, events and tours, visit their site at https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/destinations/epcot