Orlando, Florida’s Disney World is nothing short of magical — and the magic doesn’t stop at the princesses. Epcot features 11 pavilions in the style of various countries. Continents represented include North America, Europe, and Africa, all of which showcase each country’s beautiful architecture, rich history, and delicious food. Here are the must-see countries to complete your next worldly visit.
If you can’t travel to the country itself, Epcot’s replica of the Eiffel Tower is a pretty nice substitute. The tower is one tenth the size of the original, but its creators followed the exact blueprints of the original, making this replica one of the best. Beautiful gardens and fountains line the center of the French pavilion for visitors to view and enjoy. Plus, the pavilion is run by a French restaurant group, putting this country’s cuisine a step above the rest. Monsieur Paul, the pavilion’s high-end restaurant, accepts reservations up to six months in advance.
Eater ranked Morocco the most stunning — and delicious — of all of Epcot’s pavilions. Morocco’s architecture is what sets it apart from the others; the country sponsored its pavilion and sent more native artisans to assist in the planning and structure of the buildings than any other country. The country of Morocco is located in North Africa, making this pavilion the only one from its continent. This gives it a unique touch, since its architecture varies so much from anywhere else. The pavilion’s main restaurant, Restaurant Marrakesh, serves traditional options like roast lamb and couscous.
The Japan pavilion is home to the Bijutsu-kan Gallery, which showcases kawaiian design. Kawaii means cute in Japanese, which describes the gallery’s objects very well. Plus, it’s a great way to get out of the Florida heat while learning a little more about Japan’s culture. The blue-roofed pagoda is a replica of the country’s Horyuji Temple, and the native plants that surround it make for a beautiful photo. Japanese taiko drumming is performed several times throughout the day, which lets visitors feel connected to the native sounds of the country.
Don’t let Canada go unnoticed. Every province is showcased here, from Horseshoe Falls in Ontario (the other side of Niagara Falls) to Vancouver, British Columbia’s gorgeous skyline. Purchase authentic maple syrup, then head to Le Cellier Steakhouse for a perfectly cooked steak. Canadian favorites like savory poutine and fresh seafood are also offered. If you’re over 21, be sure to also try some of Canada’s traditional beers.
The Chinese pavilion has a very relaxed vibe, with a trickling waterfall, bamboo groves, and ponds that seem to promote peace. A theater with standing-room only shows a 360-degree film of the best parts of China, including the Great Wall to the Forbidden City. You can purchase silk clothing, stuffed pandas, paper fans, and more in the pavilion’s House of Good Fortune. As for the cuisine, Nine Dragons Restaurant is a sit-down that serves up Chinese food that will put your local takeout place to shame. Plus, since Chinese takeout is so common in the U.S., there is often a short wait time.
There’s nothing wrong with a midday margarita in Disney World, right? Aside from margaritas, there is also a tequila bar worth checking out if you need a breather from Mickey. Plus, it features a massive Mesoamerican pyramid that’s impossible to miss. Live mariachi is also on the must-see list. Visitors can also check out the Art of Mexico, which features many original artifacts from the country.
The shopping in this pavilion is hard to beat if you’re looking for items like trendy jewelry, handbags, and clothing. While Italian favorites — mostly referring to pizza — are available all over the United States, Disney World does a pretty outstanding job at competing with the best of the best. Its restaurants give a food tour of Italy, and rumor has it they outsource the water for the pizza dough to make it taste even more authentic. Plus, Italian architecture is always beautiful to look at.
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