This post is a guide to Drinking Around the World in Epcot’s World Showcase at Walt Disney World, with our picks for the best beers, wine, and mixed drinks. There’s also plenty of strategy for conquering this worldly task without climbing up the side of Mexico pavilion and holding up a Duffy plush Lion King style. We originally wrote this post a couple of years ago, and have now updated it for 2015 with new ideas and drink recommendations.
Since most of us probably won’t be able to haphazardly spend thousands of dollars to fly to Paris at a moment’s notice for some artisan cheeses or brave a winter in Canada just for some fine brews anytime soon, Epcot’s World Showcase offers us the next best option: sampling many alcoholic beverages and decadent desserts of the world in authentic-looking environments all while on vacation at Walt Disney World. Of course, whose bucket list doesn’t also include having a drink in 10 different countries in a single day? No? Well, now you can add it to your list and cross it off.
The premise is simple: start out at one end of World Showcase, and continue through the countries, sampling a drink and/or dessert in each country. As there are 11 countries in the World Showcase, this is easier said than done. It’s even more difficult during Food & Wine Festival, when Epcot adds lots of kiosks that serve additional drinks. If you’re looking to complete this drinking event then, check out our Guide to the Epcot Food & Wine Festival for additional tips & info. With even more drinking options, expect Drinking Around the World during the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival to be a lot of fun…albeit perhaps not for your liver.
First, we will start with our tips and strategies for Drinking Around the World Showcase, generally, followed by specific drink recommendations….
Value for Money – If you have a Tables in Wonderland card, keep in mind that it’s valid for a discount on alcohol at Table Service restaurants, but not at kiosks or counter service spots. If you’re on the Disney Dining Plan, you won’t be able to use any credits for alcohol as you drink around the world
Snack Around the World – Food soaks up alcohol, enabling you to drink more. That’s just science. We have a separate, companion article to this title Snacking Around the World Showcase that offers snacking tips for each country. The non-drinkers and anyone who wants to enjoy more than just drinks should check that out. If you’re on the Disney Dining Plan, it’s a good idea to use some snack credits as you wander the World Showcase. Check out our article on Maximizing Snack Credit Value on the Dining Plan or, if you’re traveling during Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival (in the fall), check out our article on the Best Food & Wine Festival Snacks.
Make it an All-Day Affair – Yes, a day in a Disney theme park does cost a lot of money, but if done correctly, Drinking Around the World can be some of the most fun you’ll ever have. Starting in World Showcase around 11 am still gives you time to hit the big Future World attractions, such as Soarin’ and Test Track first thing in the morning. Plus, spreading the drinking out over the course of the day is always a good idea.
Be Respectful – Drinking Around the World at Epcot has proliferated in popularity in recent years. Some would say it’s gotten to the point where it’s a problem. On a given day in Epcot, you will see multiple drinking “teams” replete with matching shirts and obnoxious attitudes. Never forget that Epcot is a family theme park, and while Drinking Around the World Showcase can be a ton of fun, that fun should not occur at the expense of your fellow park guests.
Explore the Pavilions – You’re limited in which attractions you can visit with a drink in hand, so take some time to explore the wonderful details in the pavilions themselves. Morocco, Germany, Italy, and Canada, among others, all have great depth to explore. You’ll be surprised how fun it is to simply wander around deep in each pavilion and see the architecture and hidden details.
Share Drinks – Drinking in moderation is key to maximizing your fun while Drinking Around the ‘World. Split drinks when necessary to avoid over-consumption, and sample one another’s drinks to experience the different flavors of the ‘World. Additionally, not every pavilion has a stella option for both the beer drinkers and mixed drink fans in your party. Although beer selection is improving at Walt Disney World, it’s still weak in some countries. We have an article on Finding Good Beers at Walt Disney World, and our friends over at Beers and Ears have some great apps for finding beers at Walt Disney World that might further assist with finding good beers while drinking around the world!
Enjoy Attractions Between Drinks – World Showcase is not known for rides, with the Gran Fiesta Tour in Mexico currently being the only option (a Frozen ride in Norway Arendelle should be open by 2016). The films in France, Canada, and China plus the American Adventure are other great options. After a couple of drinks, you might weep uncontrollably at the emotional power of the American Adventure…or you might just fall asleep. Check out our full Epcot Ride Guide for ratings and reviews of every attraction in Epcot.
We used to recommend starting in Mexico, but if you’re a beer drinker, due to recent changes in Canada, you are now better suited to start in Canada. Mixed drink or tequila fans should still start in Mexico. If you start in Mexico, this list is in order by country. If you start in Canada, it’s in reverse order.
Mexico – Outside the Mexico pavilion you can get Margaritas that are pre-mixed, extremely sugary and are sure to upset your stomach. Avoid these, instead go inside to La Cava Del Tequila, which serves some excellent drinks, notably the Blood Orange Margarita, Avocado Margarita, and Jalapeno Margarita, and tequila flights. There’s even a special offer if you show your server that you follow @CavaDelTequila on Twitter. La Cava Del Tequila is far and away the best place for mixed drinks in World Showcase, which is why we recommend starting here…but just make sure you leave!
Get a Carlsberg in Norway – Carlsberg isn’t amazing, but it’s a solid beer…despite not actually being from Norway. Hey, it’ll fit right in with the Frozen attraction! This is a lesser-of-all-evils situation. The one thing you want to make sure you avoid is the aquavit shot. Unless the idea of a shot of potato alcohol that tastes like it’s mixed with fire and dill pickles sounds appealing. (I’m not kidding, that’s about what it tastes like.)
Don’t Miss the Tea Stand in China – Names can be deceiving! Featuring some of the most unique cocktails in World Showcase, the Mango Gingerita, Canto Loopy, Peach Snap! or Green Tea Plum Slush is the way to go here. Tsing Tao on draft is a rare sight, but it’s not better than the cocktails. Some readers have indicated they are a fan of the Plum Wine here, but it’s not my…ahem…cup of tea.
Skip the “African” Outpost – Way back in the 1980s, this was where the African pavilion was to be. Now it’s just a waste of space. It doesn’t count as a country, and thus is not an official stop on a Drinking Around the World tour. It’s fun for buzzed photos at the drums, but you do not need to stop for a drink here. Don’t be fooled by the Safari Amber that’s “exclusive” to Walt Disney World. It’s just a boring Anheuser-Busch InBev brew.
Avoid the Crowd in Germany – Due to the actual country’s reputation, the beer kiosk near the front in Germany typically has long lines. Avoid these by heading deeper into the pavilion. The beers offered here typically include Spaten, Altenmunster Oktoberfest, Lowenbrau, Radeberger, and others I can’t type or pronounce. There are also Jägermeister shots. I know Germany is a favorite beer country for many, but I find most of these beers to be good, not great. You should definitely get something here, but I think the real winners are in Canada. My pick here would be the Altenmunster Oktoberfest.
Stop at Via Napoli in Italy – You’re almost halfway through, so now is a good point for a relaxing air-conditioned break. Head inside Via Napoli and get a Moretti La Rossa, a malty beer with a big nutty flavor. The pizza is also pretty good if you’re in the mood for something filling. Moretti is now also available outside. It’s also available at Tutto Gusto, the Italian wine cellar, where you can get beer flights as well. The kiosks outside also have margaritas (not recommended), wines (some decent choices), and dessert wines. Despite Italy being known for wines rather than beers, I’d stick with the beer here.
Craft Beers in America – Finally! Our long national nightmare is over! The American Adventure used to be an awful spot for drinks, but that has all changed. Block & Hans is a small kiosk to the far side of the pavilion that opened last year, and it serves a variety of American craft beers. These rotate to some degree, but I’ve noticed Bell’s Oberon is there most of the time, which is a popular choice from my hometown in Michigan. Get that if they have it.
Experiment in Japan – Japan offers a couple good options: plum wine and hot or cold sake. The Kirin Ichiban beer is nice and smooth, too. These may not be things you’d normally drink, but give them a try anyway. My recommendation here would be the hot sake, which I think goes down pretty well. Whatever you do, don’t get the beer–especially the Frozen Ichiban. It will be tempting because it’s such a novel concept, but this is just an unpleasant drink.
Try a Mixed Drink or Sangria in Morocco – Casa Beer is the only Moroccan-themed beer offered (something tells me this fairly mild drink isn’t what they were pouring at Rick’s Cafe Americain) and it’s alright. The mixed drinks and sangria are also good options, especially the Sultan, but I highly doubt any of them are any more Moroccan than a can of SPAM. There’s also a bar in the Tangierine Café where you can get coffee infused with liquor. Perfect late afternoon pick-me-up if you need one. Honestly, this might be a country to skip if you need a mind-tour break.
$$$ in France – The Grand Marnier & Grey Goose Orange Slush, and the Grey Goose Citron Lemonade Slush are crazy expensive, but they’re also pretty good. They don’t have much alcohol and are terrible values, but they still aren’t bad options. Don’t bother with the (one) lackluster beer here. I have no insight to the wines here, but hey, it’s France…maybe they’re good?
Blend It Up in the United Kingdom! – There are quite a few beers on tap in Rose & Crown, and they’re all pretty good, but the best options are the pub blends such as the Bumblebee (Boddingtons and Guinness), Black and Tan (Bass and Guinness), or the Golden Fox (Boddingtons and Bass). Tastes Great, more fulfilling! Although this is one of the last stops on the list, we recommend trying to hit it earlier in the evening, as it gets really busy late at night. The restrooms here (picture above) are some of the busiest and loudest in Walt Disney World at night!
Canada Beer is the Best Beer (Here) – It used to be the case that you had to dine in Le Cellier, one of the most popular restaurants in all of Walt Disney World, to get the good stuff. Recently, Canada started serving a few varieties of Unibroue beers outside at the kiosk, as well! These include Éphémère and Trois Pistoles, but the real highlight is La Fin Du Monde. This is a robust Abbey Tripel that is arguably one of the best beers in the world. It scores a 99 on Ratebeer. (Just for reference, that’s over DOUBLE the score of the best beer in Germany.) Not only is it delicious, but it’s a great value. You might be thinking that an $11 beer can’t possibly be a great value, but I purchased the bottle pictured above at a local beer store for $12. So, by Disney standards, there is minimal markup here and it’s a great value. The Trois Pistoles is also an excellent, excellent beer–the second best in World Showcase. I’m not a huge fan of Éphémère, but you could do worse. Be ashamed, be very ashamed, if you purchase a Moosehead or Labatt here. The Torontopolitan is also to be avoided.
Truthfully, I’m to the point now where the novelty of Drinking Around the World long ago wore off for me, and now I just grab a Unibroue in Canada on my way into World Showcase, backtrack to get another later, maybe stop for a Bell’s Oberon in America, then stop at La Cava Del Tequila on the way out. That’s more than enough booze and money spent, plus I’m actually getting drinks I like as opposed to drinking something in each country for the sake of trying it. Your mileage may vary, and I understand there’s a certain novelty to Drinking Around the World Showcase, but depending upon your tastes, you might be woefully underwhelmed by a lot of these options.
If you’re determined to complete this grueling drinking challenge, by following the simple tips and drink suggestions above, your day at Epcot Drinking Around the ‘World should be an excellent time. Remember to drink in moderation and be courteous to fellow guests during your trip, as Walt Disney World is a family vacation destination, not your local college dive bar!
If you plan on stopping for an actual meal in World Showcase while on your world tour (and you should, as there are some great choices), consult our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews to pick the one that’s right for you!
Looking for Disney trip planning tips? Make sure to read our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide.
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Have you tried Drinking Around the World at Epcot? Which drinks do you recommend? If you have any other tips, please share them in the comments!