We’ve read about the infamous drinking tours around Epcot’s World Showcase, but a family-friendly—and equally entertaining—time can be had discovering the many traditional sweets from the nations represented around World Showcase. So, take your children by the hand and mix culture with fun. At each of the 11 lands, visit the Kidcot Fun Stops to learn about the destinations, collect free stamps, and create personalized souvenirs.
Starting at the Mexican Pavilion, enjoy the new presentation by the famous Mariachi Cobre band that has brought joy to visitors of the Mexico Pavilion for years, performing traditional folk music from Jalisco, Mexico. The band performs the Academy Award-winning music of the 2017 Pixar film Coco. Mariachi Cobre, joined by a pair of Folklórico dancers, recounts, in a child-friendly approach, the story of Coco and the importance of family, life, and death. Guests will be invited to join the celebration, and Miguel Rivera himself will appear in the form of a hand-crafted puppet. Mariachi Cobre will perform A Musical Celebration of Coco several times daily. The new Coco-inspired show will not replace the regular Mariachi Cobre show; they will continue delighting Epcot guests with performances of traditional mariachi music—as they have done since 1982.
Now it’s time for dulce! Churros are found all over the four Disney parks, but enjoying Churros at the Mexican Pavilion at Epcot is as logical as having margaritas. Back to the churros, though! This is a family-friendly tour, so stay with me.
DON’T MISS: Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros inside the Mexican Pyramid. Who knows, the ride might get a Coco overlay soon. Inside the pyramid, discover ‘Remember Me!’ La Celebración del Día de Muertos, an exhibit featuring amazing artwork, including papel picado, sugar skulls, and paper sculptures, as well as pre-Hispanic items from Mexican and Mexican-American artists.
The Norway Pavilion is home to the Frozen ride and offers an amazing character meet-and-greet inside Akershus Royal Banquet Hall for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. While guests will be met by many princesses, Anna and Elsa are not there. Instead, the sisters meet their little friends, without a meal reservation, right next door at their Royal Sommerhus.
When it comes to snacks, I say you have to try Skolebrød, which literally translates into “school bread.” Kids in Norway take it to school in their packed lunches, and Norwegian parents love to prepare the treat for bake sales. My favorite, however, are the potato-based Lefsen. I like them with cinnamon and lingonberries, but they are also great with hearty add-ons such as beef.
DON’T MISS: The Frozen Ever After ride does not need any introduction, so I’ll let that go.
At the China Pavilion, Lotus Blossom Cafe serves a wonderful Caramel Ginger Ice Cream, but you do not have to eat at the café to enjoy this delicious treat. It is also sold at the pavilion’s food cart.
DON’T MISS: At the heart of the pavilion is the replica of the Temple of Heaven, home to a movie exploring the history and culture of the country. Also make sure to see a performance of the energetic acrobat troop and meet the brave and heroic Mulan.
The German Pavilion does not have a ride, but it has great food! And nothing is as German as Apple Strudel, so go for it—with or without fresh cream.
DON’T MISS: Make sure to meet Snow White at her wishing well, as Germany is home to the fairest of them all.
Nothing spells ice cream like Gelato! At the Italy pavilion, forget about the pizza and go for the best ice cream ever. I recommend the chocolate.
DON’T MISS: Being European-born, I really like the soccer-themed show of the juggler/mime Sergio.
The American Pavilion offers a great treat too. Did I mention you do not need lunch on my World Showcase tour? Go for the Funnel Cake here. If you are really brave, top it with vanilla ice cream. The portion is huge and great for sharing.
DON’T MISS: Even if you can’t catch the American Adventure show, make time to listen to a performance of the Voices of Liberty. I go every time I visit.
The replica of the torii of Itsukushima Shrine in front of the Japanese Pavilion is a sight to behold. Visiting the original shrine in Japan is high on my priority list.
The shops of the Japanese Pavilion have every Japanese candy you can possibly think of, but on a hot summer day nothing is better than Kaki Gori. You can get the shaved ice cream topped with sweet strawberry, melon, cherry, and tangerine syrup. If you want to taste it all, ask for the rainbow version!
DON’T MISS: Taiko drummers and Japanese storytellers delight guests daily in front of the pagoda. The Taiko drummers’ performance is impressive and can be heard all around World Showcase.
One of Epcot’s most authentic cuisines is available at the Morocco Pavilion. At Tangierine Café, go for the traditional Baklava, filled with honey and nuts. It is delicious!
DON’T MISS: The Morocco Pavilion is one of the most beautiful pavilions at World Showcase. The architecture alone is worth your visit. It is the only pavilion still sponsored by the nation it represents. Throughout the day, Musique Aramenco performs a fusion of traditional and modern music from North Africa. The show includes belly dancers. Little tykes will love to meet Princess Jasmine here. Ask her to take you on a tour of the bazaar!
Bienvenue to the France Pavilion, where food and snacks galore can be found. From L’Artisan des Glaces to Crepes des Chefs de France, and Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie, there are lots choices. My vote goes to the traditional Mousse au Chocolate from Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie. But there is, of course, the Créme Brûlée, the Napoleon, colorful Macaroons with raspberry and lime cream, and the perfect Éclair. Did I mention the Mousse au Chocolat?
DON’T MISS: Serveur Amusant, a 15-minute acrobatic show in front of the Chefs de France restaurant, and make time to meet Belle. Soon guests will be able to enjoy a brand-new “Beauty and the Beast” sing-along show, offered in addition to “Impressions de France,” which is already showing at the pavilion. And we are all, bien sûr, waiting for the opening of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.
The Victoria Cake is the star at the United Kingdom Pavilion. The two-layer spongecake filled with raspberry jam and whipped cream is the perfect teatime treat. In case you are wondering, Michael Hunter in his article “The Queen and her Cakes,” (English Heritage blog) remarks that it was Queen Victoria’s favorite cake.
DON’T MISS: If you love classic British rock, grab your cake and enjoy the British Revolution, a 4-piece band playing the timeless music of Queen, The Who, Led Zeppelin, and The Rolling Stones. For a softer and almost practically perfect experience, meet Alice and Mary Poppins.
For me, the most beautiful part of Epcot’s Canada Pavilion are the gardens, modeled after the Butchart Gardens outside of Victoria, British Columbia. When it comes to sweet treats, there is the Maple Crème Brûlée on the dessert menu of Le Cellier, but I had to ask Cast Members what they really consider the quintessential Canadian treat available at Epcot, and the verdict was unanimous: Coffee Crisp. Think crispy wafer layers filled with vanilla cream and coffee-flavored caramel, covered in chocolate for good measure.
DON’T MISS: O Canada! is a 14-minute circle-vision film highlighting the natural beauty of our neighbor to the north. As for live entertainment, there has been quite a turnover. Right now, Raffy, a French-Canadian quartet from Montreal, entertains. According to their website, they are playing Epcot through April 14th. For all performances and character appearances, check your Times Guide.
Liliane Opsomer is the coauthor of The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids. We hope you enjoyed this sweet tour around World Showcase!