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You’re mapping out your upcoming WDW vacation and need to squeeze in a laundry list of Epcot “must-do’s” into a short amount of time. After realizing it’s impossible to get everything in, you start making cuts. While it’s an easy target, cutting time in the World Showcase is something you don’t want to do.
Largely untouched since the Norway pavilion was added in 1988, World Showcase is quintessential Walt Disney World. There’s nothing else like it. Each pavilion offers a snap shot of the architecture, food, and entertainment of the represented country. As a result, investing time to explore the eleven pavilions around the World Showcase lagoon is a fun, rewarding experience. Plus, it’s a long-term time and cost saver since you can forgo a trip to the actual country after touring the World Showcase version. Am I right?
At issue, though, is the hard truth that you may not have the time to invest. You may need to spend a majority of your time at Magic Kingdom taking the kids to their eighteenth showing of Hall of Presidents…or maybe Dumbo. In that case, you’ll have to prioritize your World Showcase visit.
To that end, we’ve compiled rankings from 14 Disney experts to bring you the top 3 “Must Do” World Showcase pavilions.
Disney experts say France is the #1 Must Do pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase
Why it’s a Must Do: 80’s throwback Impressions De France (soon to share time with Beauty and the Beast sing-along), expansive dining options (Les Chefs de France, Monsieur Paul, Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie, L’Artisan des Glaces, Crêperie), fully-realized atmosphere, and fun street entertainment.
WDW Info – You can easily spend hours in this pavilion between the entertainment, numerous food options and sheer beauty. Wander around, take it all in, and find one of the many great spots to sit and look out at this amazingly themed pavilion.
Theme Park Tourist – Monsieur Paul and Chefs de France offer incredible sit-down cuisine, while Le Boulengerie Patisserie Des Halles gives guests an incredible assortment of pastries and breads to try…charming shopping and gorgeous architecture to make France among the most photogenic pavilions in the entirety of Epcot.
Bucket List Narratives – We think [France] is a perfect representation of what a World Showcase Country could be when living up to it’s full potential…the pavilion is charming, romantic, and well rounded – we give it two thumbs up!
Disney experts say Japan is the #2 Must Do pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase
Dad’s Guide to WDW – This pavilion is such a break for the normal routine of the rest of the parks. In the Japan Pavilion there is no line to stand in, guests are free to just wonder around and enjoy getting to know the culture.
Living a Disney Life – What makes this pavilion #1 to me right now? The Mitsukoshi Department Store! It’s not about shopping – it’s about seeing the incredible assortment of Japanese goods and cultural items. I could stay in there all day and never see everything!
Living with the Magic – Here, is the Matsuriza, which is Japanese taiko drumming, performed several times a day. It is hard to walk by the show without stopping to watch and listen. There is also an art gallery…which offers a fantastic insight to the Japanese culture.
Disney experts say Mexico is the #3 Must Do pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase
My Disney Addiction – Ah, Mexico. My (and apparently everyone else’s) favorite. (I’m going to go ahead and assume I’m just a natural born leader and trendsetter). What’s not to love?? The dining, the margaritas, the total-immersion experience of being in the temple, margaritas…
Undercover Tourist – We always start at Canada when we tour World Showcase, so the Mexico Pavilion is our final stop…My parents seem to really enjoy the Margaritas, but we all enjoy listening to Mariachi Cobre.
Attractions Magazine – I voted for Mexico as Epcot’s greatest pavilion! It is the only pavilion that is mostly indoors, offering a unique constant-night view of a Mexican town square. Combine that fun look with controlled good ‘weather’ indoors, a fun boat ride and delicious food to create a real winner at Epcot.
Rankings 4 – 11 look like…
4. United Kingdom
5. Norway / Morocco
8. China / Italy
It’s hard to argue against calling World Showcase’s France pavilion the #1 Must Do. Add in the Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure attraction slated to open in 2020 and there may be zero argument for France as #1 at that point.
However…it’s not our personal #1. That honor goes to the often-maligned America Pavilion. If you’re looking for a great afternoon in the World Showcase, it’s hard to beat America’s entertainment line-up. We like to start off with a 3-4pm-ish performance by Voices of Liberty, queue up for The American Adventure stage show immediately afterwards, eat dinner on the terrace at Liberty Inn (soon to be the Regal Eagle Smokehouse), and take in (if scheduled) a concert at the American Gardens Theater. If there’s a better way to spend an afternoon at a them park, I’ve never heard of it. So while you can’t go wrong with the expert-cited Must Dos, we say slot the America pavilion into your schedule if at all possible.
If you’re short on time, however, we think you’re better off taking in one or two Must Do pavilions in-depth rather than skimming through all eleven pavilions in a cursory loop around the lagoon. Just know that World Showcase, as a whole, has so much more to offer than a passing glance.
What is your Must Do World Showcase country? Let us know in the poll below. Also, let us know why it’s your favorite in the comments section.