World Showcase: Borefest or Brilliant?


Epcot’s World Showcase is often considered boring, unless you like to drink around the world or do some snacking. For its size, it has one of the worst ride distributions in all of Walt Disney World, and more “educational films” than most guests will tolerate. After Disney’s Animal Kingdom, it’s probably the second-most divisive large-scale area in Walt Disney World.

This is a follow-up of sorts to the “I was wrong about Disney’s Animal Kingdom” post, except in this case, we weren’t wrong. We have always (well, since being adults) loved World Showcase, and think it offers a great mix of architecture, details, entertainment, ambiance, dining, and attractions. We probably spend more time in World Showcase than any other area (for lack of a better term…it’s not a land, per se) of Walt Disney World. Others aren’t necessarily wrong for not liking World Showcase, as it isn’t for everyone. World Showcase is notoriously lacking for small children, and this reputation with families is a reasonably fair one (even despite the couple of rides, coloring station, and Phineas and Ferb game). However, we feel a lot of people who might be inclined to enjoy the World Showcase attractions skip them because of their reputation and the common sentiment that they’re “nothing but boring movies.”

Unlike Disney’s Animal Kingdom, World Showcase isn’t necessarily misunderstood. Most people recognize the beauty of the pavilions and enjoy the dining here, so there’s no point in fixating on how great each of these things are (actually, not to incite controversy or anything, but we think World Showcase has several good restaurants, but its dining is overrated as a whole). Even the atmospheric entertainment acts seem more popular than in other parks. In the case of World Showcase, it’s pretty much all about the attractions. In the vein of that Animal Kingdom post, we’ll start by looking at World Showcase’s attractions and then move on to where World Showcase is lacking.

Attractions

We’ll start in Mexico and hit each World Showcase pavilion in order, addressing only the moderate to major attractions (skipping smaller exhibits and displays):

Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros (boat ride) – This indoor boat ride that seems like a nighttime cruise through various parts of Mexico as Panchito and Jose search for Donald Duck. If there is one attraction in World Showcase that’s going to appeal to kids, this is it. Gran Fiesta Tour can best be described as a nice diversion with enjoyable music and fun character antics in a culturally rich setting. This attraction was updated from El Rio del Tiempo a few years ago to add the characters (in the process removing one of my favorite Disney theme park songs), and I think this is one instance of characters breathing life into a dated attraction, but it could probably use even more of an update. For what it is, it’s not a bad little ride, especially one that’s typically a walk-on. Just don’t go in with any sort of expectations.

Maelstrom (boat ride) – This boat ride is supposed to showcase Norway’s sense of adventure. I love Maelstrom for what it is: bizarre, campy fun that is clearly a product of the 1980s. It has everything: trolls, anorexic polar bears, an oil worker who looks like Chuck Norris, and Children of the Corn. It’s also infinitely quotable, with plenty of memorable lines that have great use in everyday life (such as “Back, back! Over the Falls!” and “You are not the first to pass this way, nor shall you be the last.”). I doubt Maelstrom aspires to be this bizarre, as it certainly doesn’t make me want to book a trip to Norway, and guests who lack nostalgia for the attraction or don’t have senses of humor similar to mine probably won’t enjoy it nearly as much as I do, but if you go in with the right mindset, it’s a lot of fun. In the past it has had a lot of issues with maintenance that hinder the experience; many of these have been resolved, but the ride still feels very dated.

Spirit of Norway (film) – This borders on minor/moderate in terms of World Showcase attractions, but we think it’s worth mentioning. For a while, this film was a running joke between us. If the doors to it were open when we got off Maelstrom, we had to race out of the boat to prevent being trapped. If the doors were shut, we were trapped because of the “[Expletive] Norway film!” The theater doors are now left open, but we recently stopped to watch it all the way through for the first time. Much like Maelstrom, parts of the Spirit of Norway are laughably dated, but you can tell the film was well done for its time, and it did make us more interested in Norway. It’s definitely the worst film in World Showcase, but it’s also the shortest, and you should get a chuckle out of some of the outfits and electronics. Not something we’d watch every trip, but amusing once in a while. I think just about everyone agrees that it needs to be updated.

Reflections of China (Circle-Vision 360 film) – This is a major attraction, but I’d hazard a guess that it’s one that most guests have never done. This Circle-Vision 360 film is poetically narrated, and features scenes in China where Western camera crews are not normally allowed. Much like Impressions de France, it’s beautifully shot and scored. You are enveloped in the action in a way not possible through traditional film, and this 360-degree approach also adds repeat-ability to the attraction, since you can’t possibly see it all in one viewing. We highly recommend Reflections of China to any discerning guest.

The American Adventure (Audio-Animatronics stage show) – The American Adventure has stood the test of time, with only minor changes since EPCOT Center’s opening. It still amazes me each time I see it as I am stunned that so many convincing scenes featuring Audio-Animatronics figures can simply appear out of the ground. The geek in me would love to see the “war wagon” that organizes and controls these scenes. It’s visually impressive and its take on American history might be a sanitized, CliffNotes version (what do you reasonably expect in a theme park?), but it’s a moving and powerful tribute. For me, this ranks as one of the all-time greatest achievements of Imagineering, and an attraction that always leaves me a little misty-eyed.

Impressions de France (film) – Impressions de France is a panoramic, 220-degree film exploring France. Besides The American Adventure, Living with the Land, and Spaceship Earth, Impressions de France is the only attraction at Epcot that we make sure to experience every trip. It’s one of our picks for “Underrated Walt Disney World Experiences.” In fact, I’ve argued that it’s superior to Soarin’ at Epcot, and I stand by that. The score is hauntingly beautiful, and the imagery as you swoop through different parts of France is stunning. Besides receiving a digital projection, it remains unchanged since 1982. With the exception of a few 80s outfits here and there, it has aged well. Thanks to its gorgeous footage and a great classical score, I think it’s fairly timeless and hope it isn’t tinkered with anytime soon (there are bigger fish to fry in Epcot, anyway).

O Canada (Circle-Vision 360 film) – O Canada is the newest attraction in World Showcase, and the differences between it and the other films speak to the current mentality of decision-makers versus the mentality in the early 1980s. O Canada is still a beautiful film with awe-inspiring visuals, but instead of minimal, elegant narration, Martin Short hosts with his over-the-top shtick. Don’t get me wrong, I think Martin Short is hilarious, but I don’t think this is the appropriate venue for his talents. O Canada is still enjoyable and those who find the other films boring are most likely to enjoy this one, but not everything should need to be ostentatious and flashy in order to be considered entertaining. We like it better than the Spirit of Norway, but far prefer Impressions de France and Reflections of China.

Overall, the attraction lineup for the World Showcase is different than what you’d find elsewhere, with the rides actually being the weakest part of the experience, in our opinion. World Showcase’s strengths are its live atmospheric entertainment, its beautiful and fully explorable environments, and its overall ambiance. Quite simply, it’s a fun place to be. However, since rides are what most guests are inclined to do, they form a negative opinion of World Showcase due to the relative dearth of them. It also doesn’t help that the two rides World Showcase does have are far from headliners. World Showcase might be a boring place for kids (depending upon what they enjoy), but it certainly shouldn’t be for adults. If guests take the time to experience the supposedly boring educational films, they just might find themselves enjoying World Showcase a little more, especially if those films are supplemented with exploring some of the walk-through exhibits, watching the artisans at work, enjoying the live entertainment, and doing a little snacking and drinking!

What’s Wrong With World Showcase?

I don’t think Walt Disney World is all about rides, but I do think World Showcase could use at least one more ride “deeper” in it. Having another family ride that both kids and adults could enjoy would definitely give World Showcase better balance.

With that said, the most common complaint about World Showcase is the abundance of films, and we don’t see any problem with this, whatsoever. In fact, we love the World Showcase films. Not only are films like Impressions de France and Reflections of China brilliantly shot and scored, but these are actually attractions that will encourage guests to visit those countries. Since the goal of each pavilion’s sponsor is to promote tourism to the actual location, these films are more valuable to the countries than rides–even good ones.

Think about it…how many of you want to visit Norway after riding Maelstrom? Probably not many of you who don’t count yourselves as professional troll-hunters. Does seeing Impressions de France make you want to visit France? It made us want to visit, and before planning our trip to France last year, we researched some of the places in the film. These films are able to capture the actual beauty of a foreign country that encourages people to visit in a way that a ride simply cannot. Even the best ride has an attendant fantastical element to it that makes it less likely to convince guests to visit the country it represents. I’m certain that Rhine River Cruise and the Mt. Fuji Coaster would have been great attractions, but there probably would have been a disconnect between what you experienced on the rides and actual Germany or Japan, making these rides of lesser value from a marketing perspective. Certainly not every guest leaving the World Showcase films is going to log onto Expedia the next day and book a trip to a foreign locale, but I’d hazard a guess that more people visit France, Canada, or China because of those countries’ World Showcase attractions than visit Norway or Mexico because of their World Showcase attractions. I’d also hazard a guess that more people experience the attractions in Norway and Mexico each day than any of the World Showcase films.

The point here is not just that World Showcase films are a necessary evil from the perspective of the Epcot sponsorship model, but also that they play an important role in Epcot’s mission. Since they are (mostly) well made and show cultures with which many guests are unfamiliar in a light that encourages further exploration, they advance the “edutainment” goal of Epcot.

This isn’t to say each pavilion should have nothing but films; I just know that if I were a representative of the country or corporation sponsoring a World Showcase pavilion, I’d be quicker to write a smaller sponsorship check for a film than a larger one for a ride. Based upon the numbers the Parks & Resorts division of The Walt Disney Company does, I’m not so sure the “sponsorship model” is actually necessary. Sponsors are great, but where they are available, Disney should open up the coffers and build as necessary. A ride in Japan, Italy, or Germany might qualify as such a “necessary” addition. I think it could also use a daytime show on World Showcase Lagoon or even a pre-Illuminations parade, like fan-favorite Tapestry of Nations.

Beyond the attraction balance, my qualms with World Showcase are that it has been calculably adjusted to be a food and beverage cash cow. Flower & Garden Festival was turned into Food & Wine Festival light this year, and new restaurants and bars have been built in World Showcase at a far greater rate than any other refurbishments, let alone additions. More and more of World Showcase real estate (and waterfront views!) is disappearing in favor of restaurants, and for nearly half the year, temporary kiosks selling expensive snacks and booze clutter up the place. Entertainment doesn’t seem as prevalent as it once was, and fall weekends are intolerable because management seems fine allowing World Showcase to turn into a satellite frat party for UCF–so long as it means plenty of liquor sales!

Ethnic cuisine is an important part of the World Showcase experience, but it isn’t the only important part, and for the last few years, it seems that has been the sole focus of adjustments and additions to World Showcase. Beyond balancing out the attraction lineup, it would be nice to see Disney recognize that World Showcase is a part of a theme park, not a fancy setting for a fancy food court, and make improvements and changes to it accordingly.

Overall, World Showcase is an incredible place to just pass time and enjoy “other” elements of the theme park experience besides attractions, but it’s not too shabby when it comes to attractions–just not rides–either. Kids are least likely to enjoy it, although we think there is a reasonable number of things for them to do in World Showcase, too. We think World Showcase is probably best for couples, especially those looking for the adult side of Walt Disney World, but any adults should be able to find ways to have fun in World Showcase!

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Your Thoughts…

How do you feel about World Showcase? Have you done all of the attractions listed here? What would you like to see added to World Showcase? Hearing from you is half the fun, so share your thoughts in the comments!

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78 Responses to “World Showcase: Borefest or Brilliant?”

  1. Daffystardust says:

    It is so easy to accidentally short-change World Showcase when you have just a single day in EPCOT (as is usually the case). Yes, I always eat there, but otherwise there’s no telling what will catch my fancy. No single attraction there has been a part of every visit. The American Adventure has fantastic audio animatronics and is a great show, but I have to admit that I’ve drowsed off in there after a long day in the park. It has actually been quite some time since I’ve taken in the various movies, but I’ve vowed to change that when I’m there for the Food & Wine festival in late October.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Sarah always falls asleep in the American Adventure. Probably because she’s a communist.

      Are you one, too?! ;)

      • Nate says:

        My wife falls asleep in there all the time too!

        I’m thinking that they should have installed the Starbucks there instead of in Future World for three reasons: 1) To give our pinko commie wives an extra jolt before the show, 2) nothing’s more American than overcharging for a mediocre cup of coffee, and 3) many people would go to great lengths for a mediocre cup of coffee, and that would be the perfect way to get them to go further into the park and past all the restaurants.

      • Daffystardust says:

        …and now I’m going to sound like a FRENCH commie:
        They reaaaalllllly need to get the footage of Lance Armstrong out of the American Adventure film. The guy is an admitted cheater who ruined other peoples’ lives with his denials and does not represent what the U.S. should be about. As an international tourist spot, WDW needs to be aware of exactly how jarring his presence is.

      • Ryan says:

        Accusing people of being commies?! Walt would be proud, as he acussed every union worker and thensome of being communist!
        Also I totally agree that Lance Armstrong needs to be removed from the American Adventure.

      • Jim Martin says:

        We were in EPCOT in October 2012 when Lance Armstrong was stripped of his Tour de France titles and so it was particularly jarring to see him in the finale of the American Adventure attraction… You can see him briefly here https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=uGhMjDZlaqU#t=643 at the 10:43 mark although all the controversy surrounding him at the time made his appearance seem not so brief and not deserving of being up there in tribute with the others… I have wondered if he was cut from the presentation since then… I would be interested to know if anyone can comment when he was last still seen for sure or if anyone knows if anyone from Disney has made statements on if and when the film might be updated…

  2. Kerri says:

    Maybe I am weird (most likely :p) but even when I was very young Epcot was always my favorite park and the World Showcase was my favorite area of Epcot. I am not a ride person so the lack of rides doesn’t bother me, and I have always felt that wonder and magic that you want to feel in Disney while walking through and “experiencing” different architecture and culture in a little walk-through. I have every intention of dragging my kids around the World Showcase this year when I take them for the first time and I hope that they appreciate it for what it is.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Yeah, that’s weird! ;)

      Actually, I think it’s great that you enjoyed World Showcase from a young age, and even better that you’re trying to do the same for your kids. Kudos!

    • Tristen says:

      Kerri ~ you’re definitely not weird! My first visit to Epcot was in 1984, when it was still very unfinished and, to this day, it remains my favorite park. I was lucky enough to spend time in Canada and Europe, and fell in love with traveling and all that comes with it (food, shopping), so Epcot is always top of the list when we visit, for nostalgic reasons, as well as the food (and the shopping)! Not a ride person, either, and I haven’t seen ONE of the films mentioned in the article (though I will next summer when we go), and I certainly agree in the magical element of Disney while exploring the different pavilions. If I could move into the park, I would. :o)

  3. Aaron in DC says:

    Excellent topic, Tom! Your post gave me a moment of pause, because WDW has an advantage none of their other world wide resorts really have. Every acre, every square foot doesn’t have to try and appeal to the largest number of people. For all of my (quite legitimate!) gripes about the World, it has some amazing redeeming features like the ability to offer a stunning variety of enjoyable experiences.

    I approach World Showcase the same way I approach any place in the world I might travel to. I want to see what it’s about, and take in the various and sundry points of interest, but for me its mostly about the people (and the food!). I love wandering through World Showcase not knowing whom I may meet, but eager to engage with the people I do. This goes for cast and guests. Striking up a conversation in a store, on a bench, or in a restaurant is great fun for me!

    One of my favorite memories of World Showcase was a dinner I reluctantly agreed to at the hibachi restaurant in Japan. Yes, I cringed when he suggested it, but my mom taught me at a young age how to have a wonderful time anyplace I may venture. We were seated with a family with four children. Much to my delight there was an al a carte menu with more traditional Japanese fare. We had already struck up a conversation with the whole family when the plates started coming out. Fortunately the benign (if not pedestrian) edamame was first, which I introduced the kids to and they loved. They were then eager to sample everything else that came out. This engaged the cast, and we ended up having an amazing cultural exchange, completely unexpected.

    Sure, World Showcase could use another attraction or two, or more importantly fill in some of the vacant plots with countries from regions not yet well represented. The only complaint I’ve ever had is that it’s too perfect – it’s hard for me to suspend reality because it’s so pristine, and all the “locals” speak perfect English. This dilemma was rightfully solved at Animal Kingdom in brilliant fashion, as you described in a recent post.

    But to all the naysayers out there, find one of us fans and discover a glorious other way to “theme park.” You have no idea how much fun you’re missing!

    Oh, and people who don’t like American Adventure, don’t marvel at the story or technology, or call it a “movie” are *totally* communists.

    • james says:

      very well said & i agree

    • Kevin says:

      That’s a good point about talking to the Cast Members. One of the little things that makes the World Showcase special to me is that when in Norway, the CM’s are actually Norwegian and the like. We’ve spent a fair bit of time at the Kidcot coloring stations and it’s fun to chat with the CM’s about their home countries.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I agree with you up until you speak to the over-perfection of World Showcase. First, since the countries (or major companies from those countries) are sponsoring the pavilions, they aren’t going to want gritty realism. Even assuming there were no sponsors, I wouldn’t want gritty realism. I think most people are intelligent enough to realize these are idealized visions of countries of the world, not wholly authentic recreations in every regard. Imagine France with fliers for nudy shows scattered on the ground, or American Adventure with rats running lose. Heck, imagine in New Orleans Square was like the ACTUAL New Orleans. The places wouldn’t be quite so pleasant.

      Animal Kingdom’s environments work because they focus on areas of the world that either aren’t fully developed or are ancient and have “ruins.” These areas match our expectations for how they might look (and even then, certain aesthetic unpleasantness is sanitized or exaggerated) and we don’t think anything negative of these locales as a result. If you took places from Germany, England, France, etc. and showed their “gritty” sides, I don’t think guests would react to that in quite the same way.

      • Aaron in DC says:

        Eeek! Definitely a bad analogy on my part. What I meant to say is that a lot of it lacks that “lived in” look achieved in New Orleans Square and to a much greater extent the Hotel Mira Costa. That, and the popcorn lights! I definitely wouldn’t argue for dog poop on the streets of France in Epcot!

  4. Bruce Dillahunty says:

    My family (wife and now 13 year old son) love the World Showcase. Epcot is our favorite park (and has been my son’s since he was little), and much of the draw is the World Showcase.

    I do love Spaceship Earth though… the old version better, but either way, love it :-)

    We’ll be back in two weeks and expect to spend a good bit of time there.

  5. Disneyland says:

    World Showcase is definitely not a borefest! We love visiting the different countries, talking with the different people, and (of course) eating the different foods. During our last Disney visit, we arrived at the World Showcase at 11, and spent the entire day there. We saw most of the videos and did the rides in Norway and Mexico. We skipped the American Adventure (not communists), but saw the other attractions. Our kids also love the World Showcase portion of Epcot…they have since they were little!l
    We believe that it was a great idea, on our part, to make Epcot a two day visit.

  6. Tommy says:

    I love the World Showcase! Definitely brilliant!

    I seem to spend more time in the World Showcase than I do in Future World. Honestly, I’m usually killing time during the morning in Future World while I wait for the World Showcase to open up.

    Of the four parks at WDW, I generally spend the most time in either the Magic Kingdom or at Epcot. However, without a doubt, I take the most pictures at Epcot and the vast majority of those pictures are at the World Showcase.

    I love the diversity of food and eat in the Showcase frequently. Tangerine Café makes for an “exotic” option when you’re sick of typical theme park fast food.

    Personally, I don’t go to the Showcase for attractions (although I do love the Grand Fiesta Tour. Instead, I see it as a beautiful example of one of Disney’s best features: Rich and immersive environments. World Showcase is a wonderful blend of architecture and world cultures. I can wander around and waste hours there, soaking up all the details.

    Traveling is my hobby and I am addicted to culture shock. I understand the World Showcase isn’t anything like actually traveling to these countries but it still is a way to feed my addiction, even if for just half a day. :)

    As a side not: The World Showcase has actually moved me to want to travel to one of it’s countries, even without a film. ;) In fact, I am traveling to Morocco in a couple months. The Morocco pavilion has always fascinated me and I finally bit the bullet and purchased the airfare! I’m so excited to see the Koutoubia minaret in person.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      We spend much more time in World Showcase than Future World, too. Also agree that Tangierine Cafe is one of the best counter service restaurants in all of Walt Disney World. (It was not a part of the ‘overrated’ bunch mentioned in the article.)

      Also very cool that the World Showcase inspired you to travel to Morocco. You should send an email/letter to their National Office of Tourism sharing that: http://www.tourisme.gov.ma/english/1-Administration-tourisme/3-Organisation/onmt.htm I’m sure they appreciate feedback like that, and who knows, it might help the pavilion get more funding! :)

      • Tommy says:

        That’s actually a great idea! I never thought of that. I’d love to support the pavilion.

        Unfortunately, it looks like the website is a little out of date and the contact link is broken.

  7. Charles B says:

    You’ve all but glossed over my favorite part of the World Showcase. I love the live entertainment. There are so many little shows and live music acts, you can easily spend an afternoon and evening just hopping from show to show.

    Here’s a list, check some of them out next trip!

    Canada – Off Kilter (bagpipe rock!)
    UK – British Revolution, World Showcase Players, and the Pub Musician (in the pub)
    France – Serveur Amusant
    Morocco – MoRockin and the Belly Dancer (in the restaurant)
    Japan – Matsuriza (drummers) and Miyuki (candy sculptor)
    USA – Voices of Liberty and the Fife and Drum Corps
    Italy – Sergio (juggler) and the Ziti Sisters
    Germany – Oktoberfest Musicians (in the restaurant)
    China – Jeweled Dragon Acrobats
    Mexico – Mariachi Cobre
    Future World – the Jammitors

    • Douglas says:

      I fully agree. I’d welcome even more live entertainment, but there is a lot to enjoy. The entertainment really brings the country pavilions to life and is great fun for kids and adults alike.

    • Don Livingston says:

      The Chinese Acrobats are really amazing and the French Waiters are awesome as well.

      • Tom Bricker says:

        Those waiters in France are so impressive. I love watching them. I can’t believe I didn’t think to use a photo of them as one of the pics here…maybe I’ll have to make a change.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I didn’t gloss over them, I just didn’t feel they were worth mentioning because I don’t think they’re misunderstood. Whenever any of these groups perform, we always see very large crowds around them–guests seem to love them! As I pointed out in the article, I was only going to focus on the attractions, as I think those are what many guests underappreciate.

      Thanks for the list of performers, though, as it will help anyone who is not familiar with World Showcase see just how much great atmospheric entertainment World Showcase has. And these performers all truly are GREAT!

  8. Mary says:

    I love world showcase. I think one of the reasons is because I am able to see how I have grown up. When I was little the best part of the countries was coloring a mask and trying to go to all of the kid cot fun stops for stamps. Now I see the kids making duffys and Perrys and smile. But now I prefer to go through every shop, eat gelato, and listen to British revolution. My sister and I even got henna in morocco this past trip. I am looking forward to turning 21 to be able to drink around the world. I can see that I have grown up in the other parks but because the countries have so many options on how to experience them, I find it fun to repeat some traditions from when i was little and try new things each visit.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I get where you’re coming from with this. When I was really young, about the only thing that entertained me was the daytime show on World Showcase Lagoon, getting passport stamps, and the double-decker bus of characters. As I started getting older, I gradually appreciated the countries more and more.

  9. Stephanie says:

    Our family loves World Showcase too! Our daughter has loved it since she was 4 and we visited Epcot at Thanksgiving. Each country had a display that told how they celebrated a winter holiday, and in many countries there was a storyteller dressed as that country’s version of Santa. Our daughter also loved getting her Epcot passport stamped and personally signed by the kind castmembers in each country, they each wrote a little something special about their country! We enjoyed searching for the penny squasher in each country and trying on hats! Now that our daughter is older (12), we look for all the details in each country and take lots of pictures! We always enjoy visiting a country in the World Showcase that we have visited in real life and reliving our memories of those trips! (i.e. we compare the pastries in the France Pavilion, to the ones we had in France etc). We always spend at least one afternoon and many evening strolls in the World Showcase!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Holidays Around the World with the Storytellers is a great time, especially if the weather is mild. (It’s tough to watch some of them all the way through on a hot, sunny day!)

  10. Chris Hansen says:

    My Dad always derogatorily called the World Showcase “gift shops and restaurants from around the world.” It’s a nice place to look around, but it is one heluva lot of walking.

  11. Stephen says:

    World Showcase has always been my favourite area, even since my first trip many years ago when I was 8 years old. However in recent years I find myself loving it slightly less. I think it’s a combination of the fact that parts of it really need updating (the Norway film is an embarrassment), and (as you put it) it becoming a glorified food court. I would like to see some kind of development that didn’t just involve new restaurants or bars. I think an E-ticket in World Showcase would probably throw the whole area off-balance, but a couple of new, small rides would be a start.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I also wonder what kind of strain an E-Ticket would put on the infrastructure of the World Showcase. If there were one, I think it would need to be set back a little further than other pavilions with a large indoor queue so the line didn’t overflow outside and cause congestion.

  12. Laura says:

    An interesting piece. I totally agree with you about the American Adventure– a feat of imagineering. Ben Feanklin and Mark Twain are the perfect hosts. In college to be a social studies teacher, I read a book deriding this attraction and Hall of Presidents for their historical inaccuracies, but as you point out, what do you expect from a theme park?

    Not as enthusiastic about France and China films. They are aesthetically beautiful but heavy- handed in their delivery. I had never thought if WS as a glorified food court as we don’t really go there to eat or drink a lot, but you are right about where Disney is directing its investments in the area. So sad.

    We think that what WS really needs is an infusion of new countries like Brazil, South Africa, and Australia– to reflect areas of the world that are noticeably lacking now. It may be a pipe dream with the economy the way it is now, but it is time. I’m no imagineer, but with today’s technology, the challenge should be to make Attractions that feel like a fun ride but have the sense of place that you’ve noted is so important.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      It always cracks me up when people criticize American Adventure or Hall of Presidents for presenting sanitized versions of history or leaving things out. Of course things are left out, the shows have less than 30 minutes to present on topics that span hundreds of years. As for being sanitized, again, no shock there. Disney theme parks are largely escapes from reality with very optimistic tones. Fixating on the negative would leave a bad taste in the mouths of guests and fly in the face of everything else Disney does. These attractions should be applauded for their ambition, and the fact that they can pique guests’ interest in history, who can then go out and research the “full story” if they so desire.

  13. james says:

    Epcot & WORLDSHOWCASE are the main reasons we visit Disney every year, its amazing and so much fun. LOVE IT!!!

  14. John T says:

    “Beyond balancing out the attraction lineup, it would be nice to see Disney recognize that World Showcase is a part of a theme park, not a fancy setting for a fancy food court, and make improvements and changes to it accordingly.”

    This is so true and I could not agree more. It really feels like the place has become a “Hey grab something you can eat/drink and sit/stand around and look at the water with nothing happening on it. That is not really a bad thing to do, most would actually enjoy but like you said, that is not the World Showcase theme.

    Colleen and I both LOVE World Showcase and it’s shows. I am a sucker for shows as well. I am not a big history buff but I LOVE watching American Adventure. It actually makes me want to learn more about our country and how we got to where we are today.

    World Showcase is especially awesome at night. Especially if you have someone to hold hands with and enjoy the surroundings. It’s awesome to sit down somewhere in Italy and hear the accordion pumping through the speakers and get lost with your mate for a few minutes.

    As far as rides go…I saw add Egypt and lets get a ride that will take you into the pyramids and what not. “The Pyramids” would be a PERFECT fit. A ride through them would be awesome, creepy, and adventurous all at once.

    My only issue with Epcot (and it’s entirely our fault) is that if you don’t literally take the time and enjoy the shows, films, and ride…you can walk right through it fairly quick and find yourself at Mexico or Canada saying “I really don’t wanna go back through there again.” So if I could offer any advice to anyone…World Showcase is a pretty awesome to just “hang out”. Or just wonder around the pavilions and see things from that respective country. Enjoy the sights and sounds. Take it all in…it is built to awesome to just walk through and ignore all of that.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Egypt would be a great addition to the World Showcase. There are a number of countries that would, and despite how “full” World Showcase looks, there’s actually ample room.

      When I read my old EPCOT Center books and see the plans for all that countries that never came to fruition, it makes me sad. I love what’s there, but I think expanding would be great.

      Even if Disney wants World Showcase to remain a place to sell food & beverages, it seems like this would be in their best interests. More countries=more places to have restaurants…

      • Tommy says:

        My only concern with Egypt is its similarity to Morocco. Right now the Morocco pavilion is the only country representing an Arab country. As such, it is unofficially functioning as a generic window to the Arab world.

        Having been to Egypt myself I can confidently say that a Morocco and Egypt pavilion may be too similar to each other. As it stands, the shops and the things they sell (all the knick-knacks, trinkets, carpets, lamps, teas sets, etc.) are the same things that would be sold in an Egyptian market.

        Of course, if they did do Egypt they could do a mini version of the famous Kahn al Kalili market in Cairo. As far as the pyramids go… you can go inside. There’s nothing to see. It’s just a cramped tunnel that dead ends. Hardly, E Ticket material.

        Honestly, I think Turkey would be a better option. Istanbul is an incredible city. You’d get a mix of European and Arab culture, interesting food, the Grand Bazaar, and fabulous architecture. I think I would make a stunning pavilion while being totally different from any other pavilion.

  15. Meggyc says:

    Seeing the “war wagon” of the American Adventure during a Backstage Magic tour was one of the greatest Disney experiences I’ve ever had. I was only there for ten minutes, but it was just so moving to be so close to the animatronics. And seeing the huge sets being pushed and pulled and these elements all working together perfectly was really incredible to see. Also, it was interesting to see how cramped the place was. It was difficult to appreciate just how big the building really is.

    As for space for an ride or another nation to be represented, I wonder if there would be enough space where the millennium village building is? I think it’s time they do something substantial with that area, personally.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Awesome that you got to see the war wagon. We might just have to do that tour now!

      As for space, it may not look like it, but there are several expansion pads in World Showcase, even without removing Millennium Village they could add new countries.

      • Meggyc says:

        I know changes to tours can alter experiences and regardless of how much I enjoyed it, it may not be for everyone, but based on my experience, I recommend the tour for Disney World fans who want to try something different and don’t mind having the magic “ruined”. (I appreciate the magic even more when I see all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes.) Of course for obvious reasons, there’s not much opportunity for photography, but I do recall it being okay to take pictures at the greenhouses where the topiaries are developed.

        That’s true about there being more room for expansion elsewhere, but it would be nice to see something happen on a more permanent scale for the old Millennium Village. Though the Millennium Village is far from a beloved classic, it makes me sad to see untapped real estate (I’m looking at you, Wonders of Life pavilion and upstairs ImageWorks). And while I suppose it’s not hurting anything remaining closed and the average park guest would walk past it, I can’t help but to walk by and think “I remember you…” like seeing a classmate who has really let themselves go ten years after graduation. And sure Millennium Village was no class valedictorian by any means, there’s still untapped potential there.

  16. Crystal says:

    We love World Showcase! The American Adventure is my favorite part of Epcot. It’s always exhilarating to see and hear and smell and taste all the different cultures coming together as you make the loop. We bought my 8-year-old son the passport set, and he loved seeing the different written languages in his book, as well as hearing the accents while getting them. He took his passport to school for show and tell, and he had a couple of foreign exchange students read and translate their native languages from it (which was exciting for all of them.) It has really encouraged us to learn more about other countries.

  17. Ben says:

    You missed one of the attractions!! The margarita ride in Mexico!! Ok, so maybe that a joke. But Cava de Tequila will always be considered an attraction for me, my friends always make a stop their for the best Margs in the park! Coffee, Avacado, and Cucumber are all incredibly delicious margaritas!

    Great post! And for me, Epcot is my favorite. It’s an experience every time.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      La Cava is basically an attraction in itself, you’re right! Out of all the recent restaurant addition, that one is by far the best.

  18. mitch says:

    How have I been WDW 4 times in the past four years and NOT taken the time to see Impressions de France, Reflections of China, or O Canada.. yet I’ve managed to see Ellen’s Energy Adventure and Captain EO?? This is shameful. We love Epcot world showcase, and it’s the primary reason a trip to Disneyland will never give us the same excitement as a trip to WDW.

    On a side note- what’s up with being kicked to SmugMug whenever I click on one of your glorious photos? I preferred the old style where I would click and the image would become slightly larger (but still disappointingly small)

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I would try to make you feel better, but…that is pretty shameful! ;)

      As for the photos, on any article that uses my “stock” photos (so basically everything except dining reviews and trip reports), I try to pull the photos from my SmugMug galleries where I upload all of my “best” photos. This accomplishes two things: 1) it eases the strain on my server in having to host images, and 2) it allows me to use photos that can be viewed at full size. It’s annoying that it goes to another site, but I still prefer this option to using smaller images. I think the photos to be as large as possible, and I’m already pushing it using 1024px photos (you might have noticed that in the last few months I bumped up the size from 640px to 1024px) with the other articles. I’d upload everything to SmugMug, but that would be too much work.

  19. Betsy says:

    The music for El Rio del Tiempo is one of my all time favorite Disney Parks tracks! So glad to hear someone else is nostalgic for it. If the music was still part of the attraction, I might be able to do more than just tolerate the Gran Fiesta Tour. Blech.

    Last year, my entire family rode Gran Fiesta together, and my dad (who loves Disney but hadn’t been in awhile) responded with, “They HAVE to be able to do better than that.” My husband responded with, “I wish every country had a boat ride.” I tend to agree with both of their sentiments. I know that a ride or attraction in every country isn’t realistic, but I feel like at least if that German river cruise would have come to fruition, it would have added a lot to WS.

    I love World Showcase and am anxious to see how it continues to develop over the years. Fingers crossed for more than just waterside restaurants…

  20. Erin says:

    So I feel compelled to mention that the Norway pavilion did inspire me to visit Norway. After a lot of Epcot trips at impressionable ages, Norway wound up at the top of my must-see list.

    I spent a week there in 2003, and had an amazing time. The ride is definitely ridiculous (in a fun way), but I think it does capture a bit of the spirit of the country. The landscape is so beautiful and dramatic, and it does have that untamed/adventurous feel. And there are trolls everywhere, but they’re the plastic or stuffed kind. :)

    We’re taking our first family trip to WDW next month, and I can’t wait to see what inspires my kids.

    Great post!

  21. Mi Mi says:

    Since our first visit to DW in the early 90′s, Epcot’s World Showcase has been our favorite. So much so that when we first took our 3 children, then aged 11-16, to DW, we chose to stay at the Beach Club. Its wonderful accessibility to Epcot was a big reason. (Back then, it was a private access for hotel guests only.)

    Epcot’s countries were our favorite entrance to any Disney property. Their peaceful elegance and immersive ambiance set the tone for the day.

    As one person already put it, it’s the experience of viewing that is the key to World Showcase. Great architecture and landscape design are powerfully soothing and uplifting. More so than we realize!

  22. Monochrome Eye says:

    On a roll Tom. I Commented on your last post about DAK. Now you have hit my second favorite photo op in WDW! I have spent hours shooting the pavilions. Hundreds of great photo ops (if you ever see a couple with tripods shooting the ceilings in Morocco at dusk waiting for the people to clear from in front of Chine say Hi;-)) Shoot the pavilions at dusk for truly magical shots. I also love the films. China being my favorite. France is very good but needs updating a bit. As for a parade I remember the one they had for the millennium. Can’t remember the name. We went over for it almost everyday while were there a couple of years. A new one would be great. Something to show off the culture of the places in the showcase. It is why , overall, Epcot is our favorite park.

  23. Dana says:

    My husband and I LOVE World Showcase – it’s our favorite part of in all Disney World. I am hoping the rumors I’m hearing are true, and several new countries will be added to the line-up soon.

    One thing I have to say – I laughed out loud when you said that the Gran Fiesta Tour in Mexico would appeal to any kids. When we rode it last fall, the two children sitting in front of us became hysterical when we entered the scene that’s reminescent of It’s a Small World. It wasn’t the skeletons that scared them to tears, no – it was the animatronic children! They just kept screaming “They’re zombies! Why aren’t they blinking? Why?” It was just hysterical, and it was a real fight not to laugh.

  24. Steve says:

    “For a while, this film was a running joke between us. If the doors to it were open when we got off Maelstrom, we had to race out of the boat to prevent being trapped.”

    As a kid I used to rush my parents to get the heck outta there after we got off the boat. Hated that film!

  25. I LOVE World Showcase for precisely the reason you state: it is a fun place to simply BE. The places where it is fun to simply BE, I think, are the key to WDW, and the failure to recognize that is what leaves some guests sometimes disappointed with the experience.

    Also, anytime anyone mentions Norway I immediately think to myself, “The spirit of Norvay has alvays been and vill alvays be ADVENTURE!” followed shortly by “BEfore REcorDED time…”

  26. Heath says:

    I love World Showcase, but the lack of any real “attractions” bothers me. As you say, it seems to be viewed as a glorified food court by management as no new rides have been built since Norway. Because of that, I don’t think it’s fair to charge full price for admission. Granted, Epcot admission also includes Future World, but when we visit Epcot, we spend the most time in World Showcase.

    Disney is almost certain to make money off of guests on food, drinks (booze), and souvenirs in World Showcase- why charge admission on top of that simply for “atmosphere.” I think the few rides, films, and shows like American Adventure should be charged a la carte and admission to World Showcase should be free- much like Downtown Disney.

    I know it’s logistically nearly impossible and could overwhelm the space with crowds, but I can’t help but feel ripped off every time I buy a ticket to Epcot, ride the rides in Mexico and Norway, then spend the rest of the day eating, drinking, and giving more money back to TWDC.

  27. Deborah says:

    We always spend the am in Future World and then head over to World Showcae sometime in the afternoon after lunch. We are the “commando” type family and see all the films and ride all of the rides there. We’ve been to Disney enough to learn how to work the parks and do it all. I do wish they would update the films and maybe add another ride there. My favorites by far are The American Adventure and Reflections of China but enjoy them all! World Showcase is great since it offers something for the non riders and older guests. Always enjoy your posts!

  28. Rosalie says:

    Epcot is a two full day park for my family, and my 3 children are 6 and under. Now granted, a great amount of time is focused in the front of the park as there is SO MUCH for children to do, but we also love the world showcase. My girls love finding the princesses scattered around the world, and as we always go at the flower garden time of year, they love looking at the many topiaries and beg for pictures in front of each one. Parents don’t realize how excited children get over carefully groomed plants!

    I always convince families who are quick to ‘skip’ Epcot on their upcoming vacation to go. They are always shocked to hear just how many things there are (mostly in the front of the park)that their kids will love. Next to Magic Kingdom, it has the most to offer for young children. – Between the ride, turtle talk, and the aquariums, my kids spend over an hour in the seas pavilion alone…

  29. Kris says:

    I could sit here and go on about my love for the World Showcase and all it’s interesting things to see and do but I a way to excited for our upcoming trip to the Food and Wine Festival! We are staying at the Boardwalk Inn and have the tequila lunch, party for the senses, and a few seminars booked!

  30. Manny says:

    “This indoor boat ride that seems like a nighttime cruise through various parts of Mexico as Panchito and Jose search for Donald Duck.” Run-on or partial sentence. :-)

  31. Dan Heaton says:

    I love World Showcase, and my appreciation has only grown over the years. If I lived in Orlando, the one place that I could visit and not do any rides would be EPCOT. World Showcase is the reason. It’s fun and attractive and is like no other place in a park, even from Disney.

    That said, I do agree that it could use another ride. One of the countries without an attraction (Germany, the UK, Japan) could support one and help with distributing crowds. I love the movies, especially Impressions de France. It didn’t even need an update!

    I will disagree on the Mexico ride, which feels like a shell of its former self. It isn’t as big a downgrade as Imagination, but the characters don’t add much. On the other hand, my three-year-old daughter loved it. So I can see why Disney made the change.

    Nice job with this post!

  32. David says:

    I’ve been to Epcot twice in my life, first in 82 or 83 and then this past June. Neither time convinced me that this was an awesome park. As a kid I was bored, and as an adult I was disappointed in how dated Future World was and the sheer size of World Showcase. Grant it, the summer heat didn’t help, but the scale of the place made us underwhelmed at most pavillions by the time we got to each one. I still find the lack of rides to be the weakest point. While the pavillions are aesthetically nice, I couldn’t help feeling that I would have a similar experience in Vegas (where drinks are free!).

    I’ll give it one more chance and try to visit during a cooler month. But I still think Epcot is the WDW park most in need of a major revamp.

  33. Shelby says:

    I like that world showcase has minimal rides it always seems less crowded! As for it being a food and beverage cash cow…. If it wasn’t for the food and wine festival or the flower festival I’m sure 90% oft he people who look forward to going to disney each year (me included) wouldn’t spend more than one day in would showcase apposed to what has now become 3 days. Even if they had one ride that was a bit more exciting I can’t see my self going back to work showcase over and over in one visit. I would say most people who go to world showcase are going for the food and beverage not the films. I think disney is putting their money where they are receiving the investment from their guests. Disney got this right.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      If guests aren’t going to World Showcase for attractions (and you’re right, they aren’t), but only for food & beverage, that doesn’t suggest to me that Disney should focus solely on food & beverage. It says that Disney should direct more attention to the attractions to balance things out. It’s clear Disney’s primary concern with World Showcase is increasing food & beverage sales, because those are highly profitable. That would be fine if people weren’t already paying admission to enter a theme park. If you’re paying admission for a theme park, you shouldn’t then have to spend even more money in order to actually enjoy an area.

      I’m not saying World Showcase should be a place for ride junkies–just that Disney shouldn’t ignore that aspect of the experience, which is what they’ve effectively done by not adding anything besides restaurants and snack kiosks in the last decade plus.

      One of the big reasons we spend so much time in World Showcase is its seasonal events. In no way am I suggesting those be eliminated or that they aren’t important.

  34. Rockster says:

    Well, the wife and I are retired and in our later 60′s. We live in Northern Illinois – a long ways from Orlando. But we are Disney Vacation Club members and have season park hopper passes, so that should say how big of a fan we are of WDW. We love to take family and friends down with us and use our DVC points to stay in DVC villas with full kitchens, separate bedrooms, etc.

    Unless we are taking the grandkids down, our vacations are adult only and so we tend to stay away from places like the Magic Kingdom that are packed with kids. Our favorite park is Epcot and so we tend to spend most of our time there. We do hit all the parks, but generally do not spend all day in any park other than Epcot. For us, Epcot is not about rides, it is about enjoying the ambiance of the different cultures represented by all the country pavilions. We have done the rides mentioned in the article a million times and every time we go down, we do them again. Sometimes, it is nice to get out of the heat of the day and do these rides just to get cool. But they are familiar and still entertain us. There are a few rides at Epcot that we do like to catch whenever we can – test track and soarin are the best at Epcot. Plus the way they have redone the ride inside the globe is fabulous. We have a great time creating our little movie of us in the future when we are on the globe ride.

    We are also big pin traders and spend a lot of time chatting with cast members and trading pins with them. Because Epcot is not packed with kids like some of the other parks, it seems more leisurely to walk around, chat with cast members, trade pins, and just look at the things being highlighted depending on the time of year. One of my favorite things to do in the afternoon is to get a beer at the UK pavilion and sit in the English garden there in the shade and watch people walking by.

    We love the San Angel Inn across from the Mexico pavilion and always try to book one meal there whenever we go down. And the Caballeros ride in the Mexican pavilion is another “boring” ride that we love to do on every trip. Epcot does have its busy days and we like to go down in late Fall towards the end of the Food & Wine festival, or in the early Spring to catch the start of the Flower and Garden show. These are times when the crowds are not so bad. But overall, the tour of nations area has a lot fewer screaming kids and that is what appeals to us – it is the one place at WDW that appeals more to adults.

    Yes, we have our own kids and grandkids and we take them down now and then and they like to do their rides at MK and the other parks and we enjoy seeing them have fun and enjoy our trips down with them. At the same time, we grew up with Mickey Mouse and his friends back in the 50′s when we were kids and our older generation seems to have a different kind of appreciation for Disney and what it stands for. I am really interested in the history behind Mickey and the gang, how they have developed over the years, what goes on in the background at the parks, hidden stuff that most people don’t see or look for, people watching while having a beer in the UK garden area, watching the performers that appear out of nowhere on the streets in the parks – there are tons of things going on all around you that don’t involve crazy rides. We can’t wait for the next trip to go down and see what new things we can discover, new foods we can try, what new pins we can trade – there is just so much to look forward to. We always have a place to stay thanks to DVC and we already have our park hopper annual passes so we can always get into the parks. All we need to do is catch a plane down there and take wads of money to eat, buy Disney junk, and survive for a week – ha..ha..

    By the way, I have a younger brother (64) and a younger sister (60) who are DVC members and who also feel like we do. Sometimes our vacations overlap, but most of the time we are going down at separate times. Our family spends enough down there that Mickey could dine on steak and lobster at least once a week. Our next trip down is coming up in early November and I can already feel Mickey’s hand on my wallet. It is a familiar feeling. Guess I better start stuffing it with cash early to make sure Mickey is happy to see us coming.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Sounds like you know how to do Disney! :)

      We have found that World Showcase is least busy when it isn’t Flower and Garden Festival and isn’t Food & Wine Festival. Regardless of how busy the other parks or (or even Future World is!), World Showcase generally isn’t too bad if those three things aren’t happening. This is especially true before 6 pm. We were there over July 4th weekend (an insanely busy time), and during the day, World Showcase was not busy at all.

      It can get really crazy at the beginning of Food & Wine Festival, which is really “impressive,” especially since that’s an otherwise slow season in the other parks!

  35. JT says:

    World Showcase might be my favorite place in WDW. I’ve always been a bit of an Epcot fanatic – maybe because it was the first Disney park I ever set foot in. I just remember being 10 years old and entering Epcot and just having one mind-blowing discovery after another in ’80s Future World and then my head exploding with all the different countries in World Showcase.

    There are few places I’d rather spend an afternoon and evening than World Showcase. I never miss the American Adventure – it always makes me want to run out and buy a David McCullough presidential biography or history book.

    The entire area of World Showcase is incredibly hard to beat for just being so completely immersive and atmospheric. That being said, I would love to see a couple more countries added, and a ride or two. It’s really a shame that the Rhine River attraction never saw the light of day. Whenever I pass by Sommerfest, all I can think is “The queue is RIGHT HERE! Why, why?!”

    As you’ve mentioned, Tom, and others have as well, my main concern is the seeming insistence on adding more food/beverage locations to the detriment of adding attractions or keeping the ones there fresh. As much as I look forward to trying Spice Road Table, there’s also a part of me that sees it as a bit of an eyesore or nuisance since it’s taking up valuable waterfront property that I wish they’d keep clear.

  36. Erin says:

    Ideas for Epcot:

    Italy: Gondola ride (great option for young children and older guests seeking a ride option)
    Pizza making classes (not a ride per se, but fun and interactive nonetheless)
    France: Ride to the Eiffel tower.
    Canada: Small coaster ( there’s plenty of room)
    UK: a dark ride that incorporates England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland. (Dare I say a touch of classic Alice in Wonderland would be fun to integrate in a ride of this nature?)

    Epcot would benefit from more rides that accommodate the young to attract younger families. Also, this would provide more options for couples & older guests who aren’t seeking thrill rides.

    I could talk Epcot all day. Such a great place to visit. It’s like no other park in the world.

  37. Andrew says:

    I highly recommend the backstage magic tour if you want to see how the American Adventure Works! It’s fascinating and truly a technological feat.

  38. Kiki says:

    We don’t usually spend any time during the day in World Showcase, simply because there’s just not a lot to hold my six kids’ (or my husband’s) attention. However, on our last trip, we spent almost every evening there. It’s such a gorgeous, relaxing way to end the day. My husband and I can grab a few drinks, and the kids can wander free with no lines and no agenda. Next trip (March ’15) I’m planning to make a late dinner reservation so we can have the park to ourselves on the way out…. thanks for the idea!

  39. Andreia says:

    My family absolutely loves World Showcase. Usually we visit the Disney parks twice a year and we always spend a lot of time in Epcot. My kids always love to explore every country, check the stores, get something different to eat and so on. We also enjoy eating around the world :-). Can’t forget to mentioned the beautiful pictures we have taken there!

  40. Lee says:

    I have to confess to being in the “World Showcase is boring” during our trip in 2012, but really enjoyed it in 2014. The difference was our Hidden Mickeys guide. My daughters and I had a great time searching for hidden Mickeys while my wife popped into stores. It was a great way to really appreciate the detail of the pavilions.

    I still think Epcot is a one-day park, at best, but that’s because I’m only interested in Living with the Land and Spaceship Earth in future world.

  41. Crystal says:

    I’m completely with you on wanting to see how all those animatronics are housed in the American Adventure – it’s just amazing. My kids were 5 and 8 the first time we went, and they really enjoyed buying their passports to be stamped in each country. We took it a step further at home, and spent a week studying each country over the summer (we ended each week by making dinner from that particular country.)

    • Kevin says:

      That sounds like a great summer plan with your kids. I might steal that!

      I also was thinking a bit about the animatronics in American Adventure after seeing it last week. That is a truly impressive show.

  42. ed says:

    We have been to WDW over 25 times and we still have a hard time to find anything interesting in the world showcase . We go on the lame rides / so called shows just cause there is nothing else there. The only rides in the beginning of the park are always so crowded because there hardly any rides . Test track and soaring are the only draw to the park . spaceship earth is a good hot afternoon take a load off your feet ride, but its nothing spectacular .
    As stated previously , if all that you want to do is eat and drink all day then its a good park for you . I like to be entertained for the money that we have to lay out to go to these parks and this one just doesn’t do it . There is so much wasted property that can be used to build great rides . Lets get those imagineers to start thinking and building new attractions .

  43. Brenna says:

    I love the world showcase but I’d also want to see what they did to update the Gran Fiesta Tour throughout all the countries. So many Disney movies are set in different countries and that should be implemented more than just a few poorly placed character meet ups. That’d get kids more interested and help them make a cultural connection.
    I think they’re also really missing out on a Greece Pavillion. Hercules and Greek food, who doesn’t love that?

  44. Tori says:

    I agree that World Showcase is not suitable for very small children, but I think, if you’ve raised your kids to actually enjoy learning, they’ll enjoy World Showcase from a pretty young age. I think the first time I went I was 8 or 9 and I loved it. But I’d been going to different museums and watching PBS (bring on the mocking) since I was in diapers. So really, I think the unpopularity in World Showcase is mainly because of people’s attitudes. Because if you’re raised like so many kids are today, that learning is boring, then, even when you’re an adult, you’ll shy away from anything that is even remotely educational.

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