7 Fun Things to Do at Epcot’s World Showcase
The World Showcase is one of the best places to hang out at Walt Disney World. The back half of Epcot features 11 different international pavilions, each of which possesses its own distinct architecture and style. Over the course of your life, you can and should spend several hours at each of these pavilions. Imagineers frequently update aspects of each one to keep them fresh. During your next park visit, you won’t have time for all of it. You’ll want to maximize your World Showcase time by experiencing many of its highlights. Here are seven fun things to do at the World Showcase.
Catch a Jeweled Dragon Acrobats Show
One of the wonderful quirks of the World Showcase is its daily schedule. Performers are working stiffs, just like you and me. They have a time when they have to do their act, and it varies by pavilion. As you wander from country to country at the World Showcase, you may find yourself heading toward a special event. This happens more often than you might expect, and one of the most serendipitous places for it to occur is the China Pavilion.
The stars of this pavilion are the Jeweled Dragon Acrobats aka the Dragon Legend Acrobats. They’re everything that you’ve ever heard or seen from Cirque du Soleil, only they take their performance out to the streets. Anytime you enter the China Pavilion area, there’s a chance that you’ll catch the colorful costumes and the juggling and the contortionism and the flag waving and…well, I could go on. Take a look for yourself!
It’s definitely a show that you should stop and watch. Grab an Epcot schedule on your way into the park or check My Disney Experience to find out when the acrobats are performing.
Eat at Restaurant Marrakesh…and Take in a Show
I previously listed Restaurant Marrakesh as one of the best Table Service restaurants at the World Showcase. When you’re in the mood for something exotic, it’s the perfect place to eat. While this place can certainly cure your problems when you’re hangry, it has a second major selling point. This eatery hosts belly dancing performances during the meals! It’s nothing salacious. We’re talking about a Disney show, after all. The belly dancing show is simply a fascinating way to provide entertainment while you’re eating.
Go Kawaii Crazy
The Japan Pavilion is my family’s favorite, and it has two different aspects that every family will love. One of them is the current exhibit at the pavilion. Its name is Kawaii: Japan’s Cute Culture, and it’s one of the most popular showpieces in recent Epcot history. Seriously, during the early days of the exhibit, the Bijutsu-kan Gallery was absolutely mobbed. Now that it’s two years old, you shouldn’t have any trouble carefully examining all of the items, though.
The Kawaii exhibit includes literally hundreds of merchandising items from Japan. Each one reflects the popularity of cute designs in Japanese culture. You’ll see Hello Kitty, Studio Ghibli, and Pokemon among countless others. You’ll also see cosplay items and a stunning piece of art, the Melt-Go-Round statue created by Sebastian Masuda, owner of Kawaii Monster Café, the coolest restaurant in Tokyo.
This entire exhibit is IG-worthy, and I strongly suspect I’ve taken more than 500 photographs here. Looking at everything should take about 20 minutes. And the exhibit is conveniently located right beside…
Shop at Mitsukoshi Department Store
One of the strangest phenomena of the internet era is that we’ve become more aware of merchandise from around the world. Whereas Americans eat basic Kit Kats, the Japanese turn them into strawberry and tea flavors. They turn basic sticks into sugary candies called Pocky. And the country’s popcorn obsession is well-documented by anyone who has ever visited Tokyo Disneyland.
Mitsukoshi Department Store is the place where you can shop for all of these candies and snacks. Amazingly, that’s only about 10 percent of the store. Once you’ve found all sorts of food mash-ups to try, you can wander the rest of the building. Here, you’ll discover breathtaking Japanese art and home goods. A few steps later, you’ll discover kimonos and other fashionable clothing available for sale. Then, you’ll enter a section that is toy central. It’s the place for all of your stuffed and Funko Pop needs. You’ll also have the option to purchase rare figurines based on videogames and Miyazaki films. And there’s a fine jewelry section, too.
Fans of Japanese culture of ANY kind will find dozens of things to buy at Mitsukoshi Department Store. It’s like having a small part of Akihabara right here in the United States. You can see a lot of the merchandise available here. It’s the most unusual and exciting place to shop at Walt Disney World that isn’t Disney-merchandise exclusive.
Visit the Gods of the Vikings Exhibit
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has caused a resurgence in the popularity of Norse mythology. Thor and his mercurial brother, Loki, are two of the “gods” of this culture. Their father, Odin, is the ruler of the people of Asgard. And Thor: Ragnarok reveals the unusual fate of these powerful citizens of the realm. Their society is doomed to collapse, only to start anew. This belief is somehow pessimistic AND optimistic.
At the Norway Pavilion, Disney recently added an exhibit that shows the cultural heritage behind the popcorn cinema. Entitled Gods of the Vikings, it’s an engrossing series of art pieces that will fill in the blanks about any parts of Norse mythology that you don’t understand. Plus, all of the stuff on display is absolutely gorgeous. The Thor statue here is more impressive than Chris Hemsworth’s muscles.
Watch the American Adventure
When I was younger, I didn’t fully appreciate the value of a good show. I possessed so much unbridled energy that I could easily power through any park day. Now that I have some gray in my beard, I’ve learned that a 30-minute show is like a special gift from the park planners. I can sit down, bask in the air conditioning, and marvel at some of Disney’s impressive Audio-Animatronics (AAs).
The American Adventure is the titular attraction at the host pavilion of the World Showcase. Think of it as the extended edition of the Hall of Presidents presentation. It’s a fascinating exploration of American history, with several significant figures from the country’s history. And it’s in an air-conditioned building, giving you the opportunity to escape the Florida sun. That last part isn’t patriotic, but it’s certainly pragmatic. This show is a wonderful way to beat the heat while celebrating America.
Watch the Fireworks from Rose and Crown Pub
A few restaurants at the World Showcase include a bonus benefit. They’re located close enough to the waters of World Showcase Lagoon that you can watch the award-winning fireworks exhibition, Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. Everyone has a favorite. My family’s is Rose and Crown.
The servers here do an impeccable job of timing the meal to match the fireworks display. Presuming that you eat appetizers and dessert, the latter dish should arrive moments before the show begins. You’ll have Sticky Toffee Pudding and pyrotechnics providing a backlight in the darkness. It’s a sensation that will hypnotize you, and it’s the perfect way to end the day at the World Showcase.
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