November 21, 2014

Epcot Countries

There are 11 Epcot countries in the World Showcase part of the park. Each has very unique architecture, dining and shopping. All of the Epcot countries are located around the World Showcase Lagoon. The saying goes that what Epcot really stands for is Everyone Comes Out Tired and it is true that it can certainly be a challenge to take in everything that Epcot has to offer in just one day! Most of the countries have been there since Epcot opened on 1st October 1982 but some have been added since that time, and of course there is always speculation that one day there will be additional countries added to the existing eleven nations which are represented in World Showcase.

So let us take a tour around the World Showcase Lagoon to get a flavor of the Epcot Countries.

Photo by stuckincustoms

Epcot Canada

This is the first country you will encounter if you take an anti clockwise tour around the lagoon and enter from Future World. The architecture is certainly imposing and is designed to make the guest think of the great Canadian outdoors. Beautiful gardens, cascading waterfalls and magnificent totem poles great you in the Epcot Canada Pavilion.

There is an excellent attraction here. O’ Canada is a circle vision movie presentation which takes you on a journey around the diverse landscape of this huge country. Yes the narration by Martin Short can be a little cheesy, and you do have to stand for the whole performance but this is one of those not to be misses World Showcase experiences.

The one disappointing feature of the Canadian Pavilion in Epcot is the shopping. There is now just one store since the upper level shopping venue closed a few years ago due to low revenue. The remaining store just doesn’t seem as interesting as most of the others in World Showcase.

It is here that you will find one of the most popular restaurants in the whole of Walt Disney World, Epcot Le Cellier Steakhouse. This traditional steakhouse is one of the most difficult to get Advance Dining Reservations for.

Epcot United Kingdom

The United Kingdom Pavilion displays a very varied selection of British architectural styles. From Tudor to Georgian and Regency style to Victorian England this is certainly a mix but it all works really well together. Sadly the United Kingdom does not have an attraction or ride, but the shopping and dining opportunities are well worth a look.

The shops offer a wide selection of British goods. Want some tea, fine china, soccer shirts, Beatles themed items of even your own family heraldic crest? This is the destination for you!

The full service dining Rose and Crown offers traditional British pub food fare including the famous dish of Fish and chips. The Rose and Crown is one of the best places to view the Epcot Illuminations fireworks which are staged every evening at the World Showcase Lagoon.

Epcot France

Photo by Wyscan

The first thing that you will notice of course is the one tenth scale replica of the Eiffel Tower which dominates the Parisian style architecture of Epcot France. This is a very stylish place to be with excellent shopping and high quality dining. It is also a great place to find Disney Princesses Belle and Aurora.

The shops sell great selections of wine, household goods and of course perfume. Epcot France also has the only stand alone Givenchy store in the US.

The Impressions de France is one of my favorite Epcot attractions. This 18 minute movie, although very dated, has beautiful music and shows the diverse and beautiful scenery of France.

Dining in France is of course of excellent quality. If you want fine dining head to the Bistro de Paris and if you want something also of very good quality but rather less formal then choose the Chefs de Paris. If you just want a quick snack then the Boulangerie Patisserie is a great place to stop for a French cake or pastry. No they don’t quite taste like the real thing but they are good quality and the cafe tables offer a great place to rest for a while before you head off again around World Showcase.

Look out for the excellent street entertainment in France. Serveur Amusant is well worth waiting for and draws a large crowd.

Here is our complete guide to the Pavilion:

Epcot France

Epcot Morocco

This is one of the most recent additions to the World Showcase part of Epcot (it was added in 1984). It is designed to look like an authentic Moroccan city and The King of Morocco even sent some of his own artisans to work on the project to ensure the highest degree of attention to detail.

Restaurant Marakkesh is one of those hidden Epcot gems. It is located at the back of the Pavilion and many people either don’t realize that it is there or are deterred by it’s unfamiliar menu. Take a chance and see if you like it and you will likely be rewarded with one of the best Epcot restaurant experiences. The food is good and reasonably priced for an Epcot restaurant. Everyone will love the belly dancing entertainment and you can even join in if you are brave enough.

The shopping is also a lot of fun in Epcot Morocco. Here you will find authentic jewelry, clothes and Moroccan ceramics. The Cast Members here are amongst the friendliest in the whole of Epcot.

Morocco also has one of my favorite quick service dining destinations in the park. Tangier has great authentic food at reasonable prices. It is particularly good if you are vegetarian. Just don’t drink the wine!

Epcot Japan

The architecture here is stunning, the food is excellent and the shopping is amongst the best in the whole of World Showcase. The huge red torri gate is one of the most imposing and memorable features of the World Showcase Lagoon. The very tall pagoda also dominates the skyline. You will find that this is one of the most tranquil places in World Showcase. Make sure that you spend some time in the large courtyard and just look at the attention to detail and the beautiful spaces in this wonderful Epcot Pavilion.

There are 2 excellent restaurants here. Tokyo Dining has all the traditional times you would expect such as sushi and bento boxes on the menu. It is also one of the best restaurants for exceptional service in the whole of Epcot. Teppan Edo is also a lot of fun with excellent food. This traditional teppanyaki dining room offers entertainment as well as excellent food. The Yakatori House which is slightly hidden away is also a great place for quick service dining.

Miyuki is one of the best of the street entertainers. She practices the ancient and rare art of making animal shapes out of candy. Her show is very entertaining and you can see this in the courtyard at scheduled times on most days.

The shopping here is amongst the best in Epcot. The Mitsukoshi Department store is huge and has everything from traditional Japanese clothes, Japanese dining items including some very fancy chopsticks, jewelry, and lot of toys.

As you can probably tell the Japanese Pavilion is one of my very favorites. Definitely plan to spend some time here so that you can experience the very special ambience of this Pavilion.

Epcot United States

Photo by Brian and Kathy Mickle

The United States Pavilion in Epcot is the largest space and has the most imposing building – a huge colonial style mansion which houses the American Adventure attraction. This is one of the most technologically advanced attractions in the whole of Walt Disney World and it tells the story of American history using a mix of movie footage and animatronics. All of the US Presidents are represented on stage – it is a very memorable and thought provoking attraction.

It is also home to the large American Gardens Theatre which is an outdoor theater which stages many live events such as the Eat to the Beat concerts and the Holiday Candlelight Processional features.

Sadly the American Pavilion lacks a full service dining venue. The only food available here is in the quick service location. If you want traditional American burger and fries this is the place to be. For funnel cakes there is also an outside small kiosk. The shopping is also strangely limited here. There is a small store selling books, clothes and other items but really most guests will be expecting something more. The focus here is on the American Adventure attraction – and whilst this is spectacular I really do wish there was a little more offered here.

Epcot Italy

Photo by Brian and Kathy Mickle

Of course Epcot Italy is one of the most relaxing and stylish of the World Showcase Pavilions. Great dining and shopping and people watching. Just pick a spot on one of the tables in the square and watch the world go by for a moment.

The architecture takes it’s inspiration from Venice, Rome and Florence. Epcot Italy has 2 restaurants. Via Napoli is a traditional pizza restaurant with a huge wood fired pizza oven dominating the space, and Tutto Italiana has a good (if pricey) selection of pasta and traditional Italian entrees.

As you would expect, the shopping is also great in Italy. Everything from excellent wines and high quality kitchen items, to perfume, jewelry and clothes.

Epcot Germany

Photo by Jalsoli

This Pavilion seems to be particularly beautiful at night. All of the lights and music just seem to work even better after dark. The theme here is Oktoberfest. The architecture is exactly what you would expect to see in a traditional medieval German town.

Germany is home to one of the most fun of all of the Epcot dining experiences. The Biergarten offers traditional German food in an all you can eat buffet. The real attraction here is the entertainment. Guests are seated at huge tables and are entertained by a traditional German ‘oompah’ band wearing the national costume of lederhosen! Certainly an experience not to be missed (although the food is not the best in Epcot).

The shops offer lots of interesting items. It is Christmas year round here and they store sells some great Holiday decorations including the traditional Pickle. The wine cellar offers some excellent German wines. There is a large selection of glassware, traditional toys including the Stein bear, and a large selection of cuckoo clocks.

Epcot China

Another visually stunning and imposing Pavilion, Epcot China offers great shopping and a very watchable movie attraction. Unfortunately the dining is the most disappointing in the whole of the Epcot park.

Reflections of China is a very entertaining movie showing the diverse culture and history of China. Like O’ Canada this is Circle Vision 360 but it is a continuous image projected all around the room (the Canadian movie is repeated images around the room not one continuous one). Whatever the technical details this is a movie to to be missed. Be aware though that guests to have to stand for the duration of the movie.

There are excellent shows throughout the day in the courtyard which showcase the talents of young Chinese acrobats. Check your daily schedule for details. Also see the schedule for appearances by Disney Princess Mulan.

The Yong Feng Shangdian store is one of the largest in World Showcase and has an excellent choice of clothes, home goods, jewelry and toys. Particularly popular are the parasols and the puppets which are sold in one of the kiosks in the courtyard.

The quick service dining venue is the Lotus Blossom Cafe which serves good Chinese favorites. Unfortunately the Nine Dragons restaurant is one of the most disappointing in the World Showcase. Average food and average service.

Epcot Norway

This is home to one of the most popular dining venues and one of only 2 rides in Epcot World Showcase. Epcot Norway is the place where the Disney Princesses are found in Restaurant Akershus. If you are looking for a great character dining location where you get quality time with the Princesses then Disney Princess Storybook Dining is the place for you. The food may take second place to the character greetings but this is still a great choice for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

The Maelstrom water ride is a lot of fun for all ages (but beware it is a dark ride so may scare the younger ones). Take a boat ride through Viking Norway to the present day on this water ride. There is one small drop and the ride seems really short but it is worth a visit if the lines are not too long. A Fast Pass is also available if the wait times seem to much to deal with. There is a short, and very outdated movie at the end of the ride. Most people skip this but if this is your first visit then take some time to watch it. Norway is an amazing country with beautiful scenery and I wish that more people would take the time to watch the movie – incredibly outdated though I know it is!

The store is rather disappointing. A large part of it is devoted to traditional Norwegian clothes which although high quality (and high priced) somehow seem out of place in the Florida sun. The store also offers some toys (think Viking helmets, swords) and a lot of trolls! There is jewelry and perfume too but nothing particularly exciting here.

Epcot Mexico

Photo by spreadthemagic

As you would expect Epcot Mexico is vibrant and lively. The Pavilion is the only Pavilion to be mostly housed inside a building (a replica of a Mayan Temple). Step inside and you will be captivated by the sights and sounds of a traditional Mexican market place. It truly is beautiful.

The Grand Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Cabelleros is a fun, but slightly strange boat ride though Mexican historical sights with Donald Duck as your companion. Sounds strange? It is slightly but is nonetheless worth a visit.

The dining here is very good with 2 choices of restaurant. The San Angel Inn is a candle light dining venue at the side of the ‘river’ of the water ride. The food here is good (but pricey) Mexican fare. There is also a very popular outside restaurant at the edge of the World Showcase Lagoon – Hacienda de San Angel. Again the food is good but one of the main attractions here is the view. If you can snag a lagoon side table later in the evening you will get one of the very best views available of the nightly Epcot Illuminations fireworks show.

The shopping in Mexico is also very good. Here you will find traditional Mexican crafts, pottery, and clothing is good value.

Another very popular spot in Epcot Mexico is the La Cava de Tequila bar. Go here for speciality tequilas and of course very good margaritas!

There are so many Epcot countries to explore you do need to make sure that you devote at least a day to touring both Future World and World Showcase. If you can spare 2 days then you really will get the most out of your visit to Epcot.

You may also like:

Epcot Restaurants

Top 10 Walt Disney World Must See Rides and Attractions

Top 10 Magic Kingdom Rides for Toddlers

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Comments

  1. I think all of the countries sound cool but I think Epcot should add more like Russia, Vatican City, Brazil, Australia, Ireland, Greenland, Argentina, Chile, Egypt, Greece and Jamaica.

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