The Traveling Teen Visits Disney World

Friday, July 1, 2016 - by Abbie Bryant, age 14
- photo by Abbie Bryant

Being the most visited amusement park in the world, you have to hold your standards high. WDW definitely does that.

Now let's move on to World Showcase which is located in a circle around World Showcase Lake. I will mention each pavilion, and the things I remember from them, working my way clockwise. I can not possibly mention everything. To be honest I haven't seen everything each pavilion has to offer.

Mexico: Being from New Mexico this country feels like home. The main hub is located in an Aztec temple. Inside is a marketplace filled with everything from hats to dolls. A restaurant, San Angel Inn is a bit dark but has a fun atmosphere. Also there's a boat ride that takes you through the story of Donald and the Three Caballeros.

Outside are two restaurants and a bar, all looking over the lake. La Cantina de San Angel is the only one I've eaten at but I've seen all of them, also La Cantina de San Angel is the cheapest. Don't miss the nachos! Next is La Hacienda de San Angel. Definitely the most expensive, but it has more of a restaurant feeling. The bar is La Cava del Tequila but I won't discuss it because we aren't quite old enough for it yet ??. Some of the pavilions I don't recommend spending a whole lot of time in, but this one is one of the better ones and there's nothing like eating nachos and listening to the lively music.

Norway: Rated the most popular Epcot country, Norway is truly unique. The buildings, like all pavilions, make you feel right in Norway. In the shops you can find gear for winter and troll themed merchandise. I even have a picture of my mom kissing one of the troll statues! Frozen Ever After, the new Frozen ride replacing Malestrom, will be in place soon. Food options include a character meal restaurant called Akershus. Here you can dine with princesses! The only other food option is Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe. So put your Viking hat on and come try Norway.

China: Dragons, dragons everywhere. Here I didn't spend as much time as I did at some of the others. There are some gorgeous architecturally designed buildings and unlike the other pavilions it isn't run by Disney, but by a Chinese company. Two restaurants, Nine Dragons and Lotus Blossom Cafe, are here. I'm not a Chinese food lover so I did not eat at either. But from other reliable sources they get negative reviews. Acrobats are often performing and are very fun and interesting to watch. The shops have a variety of China products and my sister still has a hand-painted fan from there.

Germany: This is my favorite pavilion. The eight stores and their main products are Kaufhaus (mostly apparel), Der Teddybar (children's items), Die Weihnachts Ecke (Christmas decorations), Kunstarbeit in Kristall (glassware), Stein Haus (beer steins), Volskunst (clocks), and Glaskunts (glass figures). The architecture is stunning with beautiful carvings and vibrant colors. Snow White can often be found here and if you go during flower and garden festival you can see topiaries of her and the seven dwarfs. For food there's Biergarten, a buffet with exhilarating entertainment. The fast food option is Sommerfest and they have food such as sandwiches. Karamell-Küche is a bakery. Several beer options can be found also. Don't miss the pretzels!

Italy: This one is on the smaller side, but is definitely something special. The courtyard is stunning and the street performers offer delightful entertainment. As far as food goes there are three restaurants. The smallest is Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar. The portions are small which makes it a good place if you aren't hungry. But if you're looking for a big meal the next two might be more to your liking. Tutto Italia is said to be the most satisfying Italian food restaurant in Disney property. It's the most expensive, but yet the most elegant. Finally, my favorite, Via Napoli. I'm a little obsessed with pizza and Via Napoli sure knows how to do it. With giant ovens that look like a man opening his mouth, to being able to watch them prepare the pizza, it's very entertaining. There are two shops. First is Il Bel Cristallo which sells clothes, jewelry, and even makes carnival masks for you. La Bottega offers mainly wine and Christmas ornaments. Don't miss Italy!

The American Adventure: America, the land of the free. It's time to take a minute to step back into its history. The main attraction is the American Adventure show. Using animatronics it depicts America through the years. It's an educational show I can't get enough of. It's not boring, trust me. Don't miss it. In the same building as the show a cappella group called the Voices of Liberty are beautiful. They perform American classics in their colonial American costumes. As far as food goes there aren't many options. Let's be honest in all the other parks you're eating American good food anyway. Liberty Inn offers decent BQB with reasonable prices. Funnel Cakes has the best funnel cake I've ever had. All in all it was a very messy meal! Heritage Manor Gifts provides colonial gifts. I recommend definitely seeing the show but especially if you're from the states I would move on after that.

Japan: I would say the most impressive thing here are the gardens. Bridges connect trails winding up next to the beautiful ponds and stream. Japanese architectural towers climb to the sky and it's a very relaxing atmosphere. At least it is until you enter the department store. Mitsukoshi department store is 10,000 square-foot. They have everything you could possibly want and more. But the really special thing comes when you pick a pearl. You select your own oyster and get to keep whatever is inside. It's a very personal experience and the cast members are awsome. Eating options are Katsura Grill or Teppan Edo. For faster meals Katsura Grill is best. Teppan Edo is more of a show with a tableside chef. Over all, do the gardens, do the store, maybe do the food.

Morocco: Do you like Aladdin? Good. This pavilion is exactly like stepping into his marketplace. You can even meet the charming prince and princess in their own character spot. Check times because sometimes it's hard to find them. There are beautiful tiled fountains and small shop stands, each offering their own array of products. Camel merchandise seems to be their biggest seller. Moroccan dancers (belly dancers) and musicians can be found along the promenade. Restaurants include Restaurant Marrakesh, Spice Road Table, and Tangerine Café. Restaurant Marrakesh is not as authentic but does have a show and if you have picky eaters this may be a good option. With windows overlooking the lagoon Spice Road Table is very bright and airy. For fast and cheap go withTangerine Café, best for just wanting to try something new. See the streets and take a bit to just wander and see everything.

France: Every time I've ever been to Epcot it's during flower and garden festival. And France has the best topiaries. There's mainly princesses and my favorite is one of Beauty and the Beast. Speaking of princesses I've never been to the France pavilion and not seen Belle. With the Eiffel Tower standing proud in the background this is the most magical pavilion. There are four food options but I'm only going to discuss one. Halle's Boulangerie and Patisserie has some of the best pasteries I've tasted. They are not only delicious but beautiful. It's the only counter service restaurant located in world showcase that opens before 11 a.m. The shops are a bit overpriced but fun to look around. The show Impressions de France is a show I hear is stunning. I've never personally seen it, but from what others say it's a must see. Hopefully I can try it next time I go down there.

United Kingdom: What's not to like about this pavilion? There's so much to see and do here I don't even know where to start. Being a hard core Alice in Wonderland fan I'm in love with her little spot. There's a place to meet her, giant tea cups, and ever a hedge maze. Guess what? I'm also a hard core Pooh Bear fan. His meet and greet is absolutely magical. You enter a room just like Christopher Robin's bedroom. There Pooh and a friend (usually Tigger) wait to hug, jump, and take a pic with you. They are very sweet and one of my favorites to meet. Of all the street performers I feel United Kingdom has the best. They are Celtic and fun to dance along with. Would you like a spot of tea? Good because the shops here have a lot of tea cups. Rose and Crown Dining Room has food such as soup and shepherds pie. The patio is relaxing and if you eat late enough you may enjoy watching Illuminations. Besides Rose and Crown, Yorkshire County Fish Shop is the only other eating choice. It's a window service seafood stand with limited menu. But I hear (I don't eat seafood) the food is good.

Canada: Oh Canada! We've reached our final spot and what a way to end. I've developed a love for Canada through this pavilion. The totem poles and water features are its real charm on the outside. My favorite show in World Showcase is Oh Canada. Martin Short hosts this 360 view video of all the famous spots located in the country. With beautiful music the only downside is that it does require you stand. And after a long day I know it can be tiring. For beautiful photos make sure to stop by Canada!

Notes: We finally finished. I hope this was enough to make you want to visit Epcot. If you were already going maybe it gave you some helpful information. There's one last World Showcase thing I want to mention. At each pavilion they have a stand set up called Kidcot. For free you can take a Duffy (the Disney bear) stick puppet. It has a color in Duffy picture attached to a stick, so when you go to each pavilion they will stamp something from their country on it. These can be found at the Kidcot. Another thing is the passport. This you do have to purchase and we found mine at the store right before you enter World Showcase. The package comes with stickers of each country, a pin, and a booklet. At the Kidcot stands they will write your name in their language in your book. It's a great souvenir and the cast members are very eager and happy to interact with you.

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Pastries in France's exhibit
Pastries in France's exhibit
- photo by Abbie Bryant

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