Florida Guide > Disney Parks
Back in 1967 when Walt Disney unveiled his plans for the city of E.P.C.O.T, experimental prototype community of tomorrow, his vision of a futuristic, hi-tech, ideal world was a long way from The Epcot Centre we know today. However some aspects of Walt’s original plans have remained including the monorail system and to some extent the World Showcase. Walt imagined a large shopping area in the City of Epcot that would have the feel of a World’s Trade Fair showing the culture and inventions from different countries around the world. This idea was expanded on and gave birth to the World Showcase at Epcot as we know it.
The World Showcase makes up one half of Epcot and consists of eleven pavilions spread around the large central lagoon each one representing the architecture, cuisine and culture of a different country. The countries represented as you travel clockwise around the lagoon are Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, USA, Japan, Morocco, France, United Kingdom and Canada.
Each nation is staffed by young people from the actual country, serving in the shops and restaurants and apparently dressed in traditional costume. I think a certain amount of artistic licence has been used in this area if the UK costumes are anything to go by.
All the different nations have full service restaurants serving dishes particular to that country, so if you find yourself craving good old British fish and chips then the Rose and Crown pub or Harry Ramsden’s in the UK pavilion might be the place to find them. I can personally recommend the the Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe in Norway and the Boulangerie Patisserie in France as both have a mouthwatering selection of cakes and desserts, and the Lotus Blossom café in China does a decent take away.
Some of the pavilions also have rides in them others have film shows which try to give the visitor a feel for the country and its people. The Maelstrom boat ride in Norway is popular and sometimes has huge lines, although I enjoy this ride I would not be prepared to wait longer than 10-15 minutes as there are better ways to spend your time. If you like “It’s a Small World” in The Magic Kingdom then don’t miss “The River of Time” Boat ride in the Mexico pavilion, if you thought the tune in "It's a Small World" was hard to shake wait till you hear this one. There is hardly ever any line for this ride so it is worth doing, young children will probably enjoy it most.
There are lots of shopping opportunities throughout the world showcase where you can buy some of the more unusual souvenirs and gifts. There are also some great vantage points to watch the IllumiNations fireworks which take place in the centre of the lagoon every evening at 9pm. So although Epcot is seen as more of an educational experience than the other Disney parks it is still a fun place to visit with something for most age groups.
Author: Steve and Julie Roach
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