Located between the Norway and German pavilions, the China Pavilion welcomes visitors through the triple-arched ceremonial Gate of the Golden Sun, leading to a half-size replica of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, which is part of the Temple of Heaven outside of Beijing. Did you know that the Temple of Heaven complex is on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list?
The pavilion opened on October 1, 1982. It does not have a ride, but the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests is home to Reflections of China, a 14-minute circle-vision 360° movie. It is a warm and appealing film, a brilliant (albeit politically sanitized) introduction to China’s people and natural beauty. Disney has announced that the film will be replaced by a new production called Wondrous China, but its premiere date is still unknown.
Don’t dismiss this beautiful pavilion. Even if you are not interested in watching the movie, make sure to visit the main hall and view the ancient Chinese artifacts on display. The carvings throughout the hall are intricate, and the domed ceiling of the rotunda is truly spectacular.
Feast your eyes on the courtyard of the pavilion, where the landscaping is superb. Beautiful ponds are covered with lotus flowers, footbridges, and a small waterfall—all surrounded by bamboo groves and flowers. Kids love meeting Mulan, who holds court outside most of the time—or inside the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests during inclement weather. On rare occasions, such as during the celebrations of the Chinese New Year, she is accompanied by Mushu.
The Chinese New Year celebration is held annually in late January or early February and includes special activities for kids.
Children will also love the Kidcot Fun Stop, where cast members share information about the country and provide stickers and activity cards free of charge. The backs of the cards provide information on the country visited. Upon your first stop, cast members hand out a small zip-top plastic bag that looks like a suitcase. Kids will also learn a few words: Hello in Chinese is “Ni hao” (Knee how), and Mickey Mouse is “Mi laoshu” (Me Lah-oh Su).
But there’s more! What would a visit to the China Pavilion be without shopping and food?
The largest shopping destination in World Showcase is the House of Good Fortune. The store has everything from a few dollar trinkets to items costing thousands of dollars. There is furniture with mother-of-pearl inlay, jade carvings and jewelry, ceremonial swords, carpets, chinaware, beautiful tea sets, silk clothing, and so much more. Children will love trying various Chinese candies.
For the Chinese New Year, even Buffy and friends are available with special outfits. 2023 ushered in the Year of the Rabbit, and throughout the store, rabbits are prominently on display. At the end of the store is an open-air market offering colorful parasols and string-animated puppets.
If all this shopping gives you a craving for Chinese food, check out the Nine Dragons Restaurant. The table-service eatery gets a bad reputation for being pricey, but the food and service are above average. Nine Dragons’ attractive interior—subdued wood tones, colorful lanterns, beautiful backlit glass sculptures from China—and efficient service create a respite from the bustle of World Showcase. Check out the menu here.
Adjacent to Nine Dragons is the quick-service Lotus Blossom Café. If you are interested in tea, check out Joy of Tea, which offers, among other items, Bubble Milk Tea and Jasmine or Oolong Tea on the menu. China is recognized as having started tea consumption. If you love tea, we suggest you enjoy it in the serene setting of Nine Dragons.
The Lunar New Year is celebrated at the China Pavilion with the colorful performance of Chinese Lion Dancers
For all there is to see and do at Walt Disney World, check out The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World and The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids. Also, check out the first post in this series, which takes you to Mexico! Our next discovery will take you to the land of Ratatouille and crêpes!