POLL: Favorite EPCOT World Showcase Pavilions

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As part of my daily routine, I love to play Disney Parks music. Today, I decided to start my morning by listening to the sounds of the World Showcase. As soon as each song started, I was immediately swept away to the part of the world featured in the track. And as I moved through the playlist, I traveled with each song while imagining all the things I love about each pavilion.

If you have ever been to the World Showcase, you probably know many of the songs on my playlist. You also know there is so much to encounter that picking favorites is close to impossible. As hard as it was, I did my best to try! So today, I would like to share with you my top five favorite EPCOT World Showcase pavilions.

EPCOT Exploration

Before I share my top five, you may be interested to know that my feelings on EPCOT have changed over the years. In the last ten, EPCOT has earned a much closer place in my heart. When I was a child, it was not my favorite park. But I certainly did not hate it.

Well, except for when they removed Figment from Journey Into Imagination. Yes, I was that kid sobbing at the ride entrance refusing to go in because they stole my childhood. I will never forget the Cast Member’s response: “Oh Honey, don’t you worry. You are not the only one who feels this way, so I bet he will be back” (spoiler alert: she was right!). She did make me feel better, but it was still heart-wrenching. Other than that horrible memory, I always liked it there.

My roommate from college and I would talk about Disney every day. I thought she was crazy when she first told me EPCOT was her favorite park. I mean, I liked it. But favorite park? No way! However, those conversations helped me understand a whole new side of EPCOT that I never really paid attention to before.

I have always had an appreciation for Disney’s detail and Walt’s vision for the future. I thought the countries were very immersive, but I never really stopped to think about the significance of World Showcase or what EPCOT truly offers overall. That is when my love grew even more.

Over the years, I have spent a lot more time in EPCOT. And I find myself enjoying the World Showcase more and more with each visit. I love experiencing the festivals, trying new restaurants and learning more about each culture. One of my favorite things to do is spend time with my niece and nephew playing Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure — or “missions” as they like to call it. We love how interactive and informative it is, and we always have a blast. And now, we are even more excited for the new DuckTales World Showcase Adventure that is coming soon. We cannot wait until it’s time to play. We love DuckTales! Woo-hoo!

With my ever-growing love for EPCOT, I find myself spending a lot more time there. With so much to see, eat, and experience in the World Showcase, sometimes I do not even make it to Future World.

Let the Countdown Begin

Are you ready to hear my top five pavilions? Let’s count them down now. After I share my top five favorite pavilions, I want to know what your favorites are, too! Please vote at the end of this article, and do not forget to comment and tell me why you love your pick!

5: Japan

(C) Matthew Cooper Photography – www.thetimethespace.com

Konnichiwa! I like to describe Japan in one word: beautiful. All the pavilions are very attractive. But Japan has a special beauty. I feel like everywhere you look, the image is taken right out of a picture book.

I have never visited the real Japan. But if it looks anything like the EPCOT pavilion, count me in! Not only are the buildings exquisite, but the gardens are so tranquil. When the World Showcase gets crowded — and with little shade along the main path — it is easy to feel overwhelmed and hot. The Japanese gardens are a perfect spot to escape the crowds and cool off.

Japan did not make it into my top five for beauty alone (although it probably could have!). The entertainment and experiences give this pavilion major points! Matsuriza, the traditional Japanese drummers, are incredible. I love it when they are performing right as you enter Japan. The percussion really draws you in and creates a sense of excitement for what you are about to encounter. They are so fun to watch!

Japan also has one of my favorite experiences: picking your own pearl. If it wasn’t already an intriguing activity, Cast Members make it very interactive for you and the other guests anxiously awaiting their turn.

There is plenty of shopping, with a large variety of Japanese souvenirs and gifts. And when it’s time to take a break from all the fun, you have many choices for a delicious, authentic meal. My personal favorite is Teppan Edo. They have the best hibachi I have ever eaten, and the chefs are so talented!

4: United Kingdom

(C) Matthew Cooper Photography – www.thetimethespace.com

Hello, mates! My number four pick is the United Kingdom. I love it when there is room to explore, and the U.K. has plenty of places to check out. You can choose to walk down the cobblestone streets and admire the beautiful architecture (fun fact: it follows Britain’s historical timeline). Or, you can choose to take a slow stroll through the gardens and view the topiaries.

If taking in the sights is not your thing, no problem! There is plenty to see inside the stores. You can find anything from tea to jewelry to books, or even your everyday sword. You can look up your family crest and have it framed or embroidered.

Another thing I love about this pavilion is the entertainment. Years ago, there used to be a band called the British Invasion that played in the gazebo. They looked, acted and sounded just like the Beatles. And being the massive Beatles fan that I am, I thought they were amazing. When they stopped performing, I was super bummed.

But, thankfully, it took no time at all for me to love the band that took over. The British Revolution plays an assortment of classic British rock, and they really know how to put on a show. The courtyard is usually packed with guests listening to the band!

I love food, and the Yorkshire County Fish Shop is one of my favorite places to grab a quick bite to eat. The fish and chips are so good! I also had the privilege of eating at the Rose and Crown Pub for the very first time on my last trip and loved it.

The United Kingdom has yet another element that brings this pavilion into my top five: Mary Poppins! She is one of my favorite characters; I love everything about Mary Poppins, so I am very excited to see what Disney has in store for the new Cherry Tree Lane neighborhood!

The United Kingdom offers so many different things. Every time I visit, I naturally gravitate toward this pavilion. Even if it is just for a quick picture inside the bright red telephone booth, I have to stop every time and do something there.

3: Mexico

(C) Matthew Cooper Photography – www.thetimethespace.com

Hola! I love that Mexico is such a fun surprise, especially for first-timers. You get this slightly underwhelming feeling at first. The Mayan temple is cool, but where is everything else? Then, you realize you can go inside the temple.

As you walk up the stairs, you think about what could possibly be hiding inside. Maybe a cultural experience, gift shop, a place to grab a taco or a small attraction? But then you are pleasantly surprised when you find ALL of those things inside! The small attraction you imagined is actually the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros. And that taco stand is a lovely and intimate restaurant overlooking the water. This temple is filled with culture, excitement and beauty.

Mexico made it into my top five for two other very important reasons: food and music. I LOVE tacos, quesadillas, burritos and really anything with a tortilla, meat and cheese. The best burrito I have ever eaten was at San Angel Inn Restaurante. If it were up to me, I would eat in Mexico on every trip to EPCOT — even if it is just for a churro.

But wait, there’s more: the music! I am not afraid to admit I have always had a little fan girl crush on Mariachi Cobre. They are excellent musicians who fill the atmosphere with delightful music. And if their playing isn’t already great enough, I melt when they start to sing.

This pavilion is also where I can find one of my favorite viewing spots for Epcot Forever. There are numerous great places to watch all around the World Showcase. But if you are early and lucky enough to grab a table against the railing at La Cantina de San Angel, you will not be disappointed!

2: Norway

(C) Matthew Cooper Photography – www.thetimethespace.com

Hallo! Norway is adorable. All of the incredibly cute buildings come together to create this quaint little village.

Have you ever noticed the grass on top of some of the roofs? I once asked a Cast Member about it, and they told me sod roofs are popular in Norway because they help keep the boards in place and provide insulation. That’s definitely one of my favorite Disney details! And the Stave Church Gallery is a must-see with its magnificent architecture and cultural exhibits.

Having an adorable village means you need to fill it with locals. If you have never had the privilege of encountering the awesome and very funny vikings, I encourage you to do so.

As you explore more of this pavilion, you will come across Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe. This bakery produces a few of my favorite scrumptious treats. And it only gets better, because Norway has a dignified eatery fit for royalty — literally.

Akershus Royal Banquet Hall is awesome, and I will never pass up a chance to eat there. And not just for the the yummy flyt-stuffed pasta and old world feel, but also for the opportunity to meet some Disney princesses without waiting in line. There are two special ladies, however, that cannot be found at Akershus.

Instead, you have to stand in line to see them. But I believe it is worth it. Queen Elsa and Princess Anna can be found hanging out in their Royal Sommerhus. Their meet in greet is beautiful, and  Elsa and Anna are even sporting their new Frozen II looks!

Norway is filled with great food, experiences and shopping — actually, it is the only place in Florida that actually entices me to buy a big comfy coat! But there is one more thing that really put this pavilion into my number two spot. That is, of course, “Frozen Ever After.”

I love everything about this ride. The queue line is yet another adorable village. Everything inside the ride is so vibrant and beautiful, and the animatronics are absolutely mesmerizing! It is so impressive how Imagineers were able to create a new fun and cohesive story using the original Maelstrom track. A lot of creativity went into this attraction, and it does not go unnoticed!

1: France

(C) Matthew Cooper Photography – www.thetimethespace.com

Bonjour! It was really hard picking which pavilions would be in my top five, let alone picking my number one. I wrestled with this decision quite a bit, but France was able to pull through to the number one spot. In fact, there is so much jam-packed into this pavilion that I have spent an entire afternoon there and had an absolute wonderful time.

There is an undeniable charm that emanates from France. I love entering through the International Gateway so I can get a glimpse of the beautiful architecture before even entering the park. The Eiffel Tower is perfectly placed to give the illusion that this pavilion goes on for miles. I love the details that start popping up as you cross the bridge toward the pavilion. You start to see evidence of locals spending the afternoon boating or artists trying to capture the beauty.

This pavilion was able to check off all of my must have boxes, but there was one thing that really sealed the deal to put it in the number one spot. Chefs De France is the prefect spot for a delicious lunch; the lobster bisque is to die for!

After lunch, head down the boulevard where you will find a quaint little ice cream shop called L’Artisan des Glaces. They have so many ice cream and sorbet flavors to choose from! In the middle of the afternoon once the heat starts to creep in, there is a cool place where you can enjoy and participate in the brand new Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along.

Now that everyone is refreshed, it is time for shopping! You can find all sorts of treasures here, like wines, kitchen linens, cookware, fragrances, cosmetics, books, Paris souvenirs and (my favorite) “Ratatouille” and “The Aristocats” merch!

Now that you have bought all the things, you can go watch Serveur Amusant, two funny and very talented Parisian waiters who will astonish you with their acrobatic feats. I have watched their act numerous times, and it never gets old!

While you wait for your dinner reservation at Monsieur Paul (or maybe Chefs De France again, if you loved it!), you can get your picture taken with one of my favorite princesses, Belle. After dinner when things start to unwind, grab a seat in the Palais du Cinéma for an enchanting short film called “Impressions de France.”

The show conveniently lets everyone out right at Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie where you can find the most delicious pastries. There are so many delicacies to choose from such as a chocolate croissant, an eclair, a macaron or even creme brulee. Or, you can be like me and have them all!

Enjoy your yummy treat at an intimate cafe table, a park bench where you can admire the sights, or grab a spot on the bridge for Epcot Forever. There is so much to see and do in this pavilion and, believe it or not, I didn’t even cover it all. I love spending time here.

In the near future, I am going to love it even more because Disney is finally bringing Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure to Walt Disney World. “Ratatouille” is one of my favorite movies of all time, and I cannot be more excited for this attraction. Check out the latest progress right here!

Vote Now

Now that I have shared my favorites with you, it’s your turn! I love hearing from you and learning all about why you love Disney, too! Vote for your favorite pavilion below, then leave a comment telling me why you voted for it!

What is your favorite Epcot World Showcase Pavilion?

View Results

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Bonus Tip

Here is your Extra Magic Tip: Shade! Shade! Shade! Like I mentioned above, the main pathway can get crowded and hot. Your adventure around the world should be fun and leisurely, not daunting! So on your travels, do yourself a favor and find shade, drink water and take breaks.

About the author

Cassie Calkins

Cassie has been regularly visiting the Walt Disney World® Resort from the time she was 3 years old. In 2013, Cassie became an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. As a Disney enthusiast, she is always eager to share her experiences, park tips, and planning advice. With her overall love for Disney and years of park experience, she is the WDW Hostess with the Mostess. Contact me at [email protected]

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Lisa Ann
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Lisa Ann

France is my #1 too!

Rob
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Rob

Mexico is my favorite pavilion because of the margaritas and tequila bar, but the ride really needs to be updated to Coco.

Christa
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Christa

I loved your picture of the “old” France pavilion. I miss the trees already!

BigAl
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BigAl

The represented countries are fantastic! Who can deny the golden taps in Germany, the great atmosphere of United Kingdom, the music of Morocco, the contemptuous attitude of France & Canada? Who doesn’t walk past Norway and want Maelstrom back? The wine selection of Italy is not to be missed. But how understated and overlooked is the American Adventure? This great country’s rich and hard history, all the adversity that was overcome, and the anchor of world showcase! It is great to see this area getting an updated restaurant and Sam Eagle is an amazing and perfect addition for world showcase,… Read more »

Bob
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Bob

I’ve always felt that including an American pavilion in a U.S. park is akin to building a California Adventure park in the state of California. Unless I’m traveling with a first-timer who wants to experience “all the things,” or I’m really desperate for a 30-minute air-conditioned nap, I believe the animatronic show is a “one and done” experience that has seen very little change since its 1982 opening. While the production is impressive and worth seeing once, there isn’t much of a repeatability factor to the America pavilion, unless I happen to like the band performing at the America Gardens… Read more »

Dan
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Dan

Great column, thank you! Would you be willing to share the music playlist you referred to that you listen to, and how to find it?

KEN HAYDUCK
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KEN HAYDUCK

My top 5 are based on places that I have never visited. From the USA, so been here done that. visited several areas of Canada. Went to Mexico, and although I have never visited the UK, we hear and see so much about it in the US, that I feel like I have been there. Having said that, honorable mention goes to Mexico because I like the atmosphere of an open air market with dining under the stars. Although, I liked the previous version of the boat ride better. I also have several Oaxacan art figurines. Amazing to see and… Read more »

Dominique
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Dominique

France is definitely #1 to me! Especially being vegan, the strawberry dairy free ice cream come is “oh my goodness, glorious”! Just enjoy so much of all of them. Canada is my 2nd since I am an avid gardener and the landscape there is breathtaking. U.K. has really cool stuff. Japan used to have my favorite candy making characters show. Wish that was back. Norway is beautiful. Had a funny argument with those viking dudes! Italy has a funny show with the juggler. Well, that’s what came to mind. Hope you all enjoy them!