Snacking around World Showcase at Epcot it bit like the popular booze-fueled “challenge” but without the pesky downside of possibly climbing a pyramid and being banned from Walt Disney World for life. This guide covers our favorite foods and desserts, with recommendations, tips & tricks, and what to avoid.
It’s actually unfortunate this delicious endurance event is overshadowed by Drinking Around the World, because the snack options are better and cheaper. While boozing around the World Showcase is all sorts of fun, many of the drink choices are lacking; like many things at Walt Disney World, all of them are overpriced.
The situation is a lot better for competitive eaters, as snacks are still somewhat expensive, but significantly cheaper than booze. Plus, all of the snacks are unique whereas several of the alcohol choices are uninspired. Bud Light served at the American Adventure is the beer equivalent of a Little Debbie cupcake. Fortunately, these snacks several steps up from that–or even Hostess CupCakes!
Let’s start with quick tips for eating your way around Epcot. First, if it’s festival season (which is now most of the year), you should stop to enjoy offerings at those booths. The year starts with the Epcot Festival of the Arts in January and February. The Epcot Flower & Garden Festival runs from March until July. The Epcot Food & Wine Festival begins shortly after that ends, and continues through November. Finally, the Epcot Festival of the Holidays starts after Thanksgiving and continues through December 30 each year.
Note that items served at the festival booths are not cheap, and grazing your way around World Showcase during those events can be fun-but-expensive. As such, it’s a good idea to pair the festival food & drinks with menu items from the permanent restaurants and stands around Epcot. This is what we recommend, and will highlight our top picks throughout this guide to snacking around World Showcase so you know which savory snacks and decadent desserts are iconic, can’t miss culinary highlights.
We started out our Guide to Drinking Around the World at Epcot with a bunch of warnings about not over-drinking. The same is definitely not appropriate here. Not only is eating as many snacks as possible in a single day a commendable endeavor, but snacks are universally healthy and will probably definitely prolong your life.
Or, at least your quality of life. I’m no medical doctor and I know very little about science, but I’m almost positive that eating a lot of snacks is good for you when you’re on vacation. So eat as many of these Epcot snacks, both sweet and savory, as you can.
Some of the “rules” in that “Drinking Around the World” blog post still apply to this. Especially if you compete in what we’re dubbing the “Gaston Challenge” (sort of like the “Goofy Challenge” for the runDisney crowd, except this is more awesome), which involves consuming both snacks and booze. Bonus points if you pre-game by eating 4-dozen eggs before arriving to Epcot.
Namely, you should start early for this challenge, too (there’s no better breakfast than a cupcake), you should make it an all day affair, you should split snacks, you should do attractions along the way, you should “bite the bullet in France,” and you should finish the night with Illuminations. With these general tips in mind, here are our recommendations for things to grab in each country.
We recommended starting in Mexico for “Drinking Around the World,” so we’ll remain consistent and start here for snacking, too. Despite our snarky comments about eating as many snacks as possible, it’s probably unrealistic to expect to eat a snack in every country unless you really put effort into it. If you don’t anticipate being able to eat a snack in every country, skip Mexico.
If you elect not to skip Mexico, go with the Churritos or the nachos for something more substantial. A lot of people like churros, but there are so many options that are far better elsewhere, so if you don’t plan on doing every country, this is definitely one to skip.
Norway is one of the all-stars of the Epcot “snack crawl.” The snacks in Norway’s Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe are so good that you might just want to double up (perhaps to make up for skipping Mexico).
School Bread is the obvious choice. It’s a cult favorite, and it’s cheap. I think School Bread absolutely lives up to the hype, and it’s one of my favorite snacks in all of Walt Disney World. I rarely go a trip without having it at least once. It’s pretty simple: sweet and soft cardamom breading filled with vanilla creme custard and topped with shredded coconut.
Norway’s bakery has other rotating options, many of which are quite good. If something you see in the display case catches your eye, it can be worth a try. However, the School Bread is the one thing in Norway that’s an iconic Walt Disney World snack, and a must-eat. The Lefse and Kake (or whatever else is being served) might be fantastic, but the School Bread is not to be missed.
Kringla is also a great unheralded lunch spot, as a few of the sandwiches are excellent options. We’re big fans of the Ham & Apple Sandwich (Ham, Apple and Jarlsberg and Muenster Cheese with a Sweet Apple Chutney on Toasted Multigrain Bread) and the Norwegian Club (Ham, Turkey, Bacon, Jarlsberg and Muenster Cheese with fresh Tomatoes, Sliced Red Onion and Lingonberry Mayonnaise on Toasted Multigrain Bread).
For the longest time, we recommended skipping China (or grabbing a snack at the Lotus Blossom Cafe, like the pot stickers), as we were not too impressed with the Strawberry Red Bean Ice Cream here.
Then we tried the Bubble Milk Tea at Joy of Tea. The Bubble Milk Tea is a sweetened drink with peach flavored black tea and tapioca pearls. The sweetness can be a bit much (and the price definitely is!) but it’s an addictively good drink with a generous amount of pearls. We usually split this and enjoy it. By no means is this a must-order, but it’s good–especially if you’ve never tried boba.
Germany has an absolutely stacked snack lineup. Karamell-Küche is the hit here, and it’s so good that our review dubbed this Walt Disney World’s Best Snack Spot. We recommend getting something unique at Karamell-Küche, as contrary to what many people claim, the standard caramel corn is nothing special. That is, unless you really like caramel corn and having moderately fresh caramel corn is really important to you.
The menu usually has at least one cupcake on it, and this is a good option if the cupcake is fresh. Luckily, this place is usually busy enough that you should have no problem with that. (Pictured above is our “ideal order” at Karamell-Küche.)
But wait, there’s more.
Deep in the pavilion tucked away behind the clock in the waiting area for Biergarten is Sommerfest. This small quick service window is home to a limited menu that packs a powerful punch. Our favorite item here is the Pretzel Bread Pudding, which combines two of our favorite things (hence the name). As with the options at Karamell-Küche, this is another must-order.
If desserts don’t appeal to you, a savory option in Germany is Nudel Gratin, which is Baked Macaroni with Cheese Custard. It’s a relatively simple and straightforward dish, but it’s creamy, rich, and fantastic. An especially great option if you have picky eaters! (While good, all of the savory snacks in Germany are skippable.)
There are several different options in Italy, with the most popular option being the new Gelateria Toscana. This stand serves fairly good gelato, that tastes even better on a hot and humid Florida day. We recommend opting for the simple gelati or sorbetti in a cup or cone. The floats and “creations” might sound fun, but the accompanying ingredients are low quality and can mask the flavor of the gelato itself.
Another option here, and our sleeper pick, is the Tiramisu or Cannoli–or pretty much anything on the “Pastiggeria” portion of the menu. While we recommend any of these options, they’re skippable. This gelato is pretty far from life-changing, but it will cool you down on a hot day.
Finally, one to actively avoid in Italy is Pizza al Taglio–or the walk-up window at Via Napoli. You might find reviews suggesting this is good and a quick way to get a taste of the delicious pies served inside. That is categorically false. Those reviewers must’ve gotten “lucky” with the pizza window recycling uneaten leftovers from the table service pizzeria. Our experiences here have been awful, with even PizzeRizzo somehow putting this spot to shame.
The American Adventure has a funnel cake stand with a variety of ways to customize a funnel cake. This stand has become a cult favorite with Walt Disney World guests, and it can be quite popular. During each of the Epcot festivals, you’ll find something seasonal or in the spirit of the event. You’ll definitely want to give that a try.
So long as you get a fresh one, these funnel cakes are glorious. Warm and doughy in the center, with a light crispness on the exterior. Toppings that work well with the funnel cake itself, and usually include ice cream. This is not cheap, but the portion is large and shareable among a couple people.
Sorry that this list is so heavy on the savory snacks–that’s just the way it is. Fortunately, there are plenty of options at the festival booths for those not wanting to enter a sugar coma.
Our top recommendation in Japan is the Kaki-Gori, which is another cool, refreshing, and fun snack. We’d stop short of calling this anything special, but it is far better than your average sno-cone.
Another option is heading up to Katsura Grill and ordering from the “Osusume” (or Recommended Menu). We love all of the choices on here, and these plus the Udon are among our favorite choices at Katsura Grill, and why this is one of our favorite counter service restaurants at Epcot. (All good options if you’re really wanting something savory after all the sweets.)
Tangierine Cafe: Flavors of the Medina is your option in Morocco. This was previously a great counter service restaurant, but it’s become a mix of that and a permanent festival booth. With this, there are permanent menu options plus seasonal additions for the various events.
Here, you can’t go wrong with the grilled kebabs on the savory side. Likewise, the Stone-Baked Moroccan Bread is fantastic–as are its dips. Then there’s the Pistachio Cake, which is another winner (but honestly, not on par with other sweets that made the list above). Basically, Morocco is a strong option if you need a dish that’s filling to offset all of the dessert up until this point.
Although Norway is the country known for trolls, it’s almost as if there’s a troll guarding the bridge from France to the United Kingdom preventing guests from passing to complete the final leg of the “snack crawl.” In fact, it’s the many delicious options in France that lead to the demise of many snackers (and by many, we mean us…we assume it happens to others, though!).
The top option in France at Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie is the Napoleon. This very well might be the greatest counter service dessert at Walt Disney World. It’s filled with custard, but somehow (magically, I assume) the layers of pastry in between are light and airy. I’m no pastry-architect, but it doesn’t seem like the pastry layers are load bearing. Yet, they manage to hold the custard just fine. It’s all topped off with powdered sugar, which is like icing on the cake.
With around 20 other dessert choices at Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie, there’s a lot to try. Just about everything looks delicious, which doesn’t help. If you’re still wanting something savory at this point, the sandwiches are good, as are most of the specialties. We wouldn’t say any of them are as good as the desserts, but they’re worthwhile.
Sarah loves the fruit tarte, which is a great option. I prefer my sweets to be sweet, so I’d probably recommend the Éclair Chocolate instead. We’re also huge suckers for their holiday yule log, so be sure to check that out if you visit in November or December!
Next door to Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie in the France pavilion, you’ll find a small ice cream shop: L’Artisan des Glaces. This is another must-eat. Our normal favorites are the Caramel Fleur de Sel Ice Cream (basically like salted caramel–mildly contrasting flavors) and Cinnamon with Caramelized Apple and Crumble Crunch Ice Cream.
In September and October, you’ll find Pumpkin Spice as one of the seasonal ice cream flavors at L’Artisan des Glaces. From mid-November through the end of December, L’Artisan des Glaces typically serves Glace au Pain d’Epices, which is Gingerbread Ice Cream. Both are absolutely fantastic…as are the other flavors. Quite simply, L’Artisan des Glaces is the best ice cream at Walt Disney World. (Much better than the gelato in Italy.)
Unsurprisingly, France has a stacked snack lineup that doesn’t end there. If you wind back to the Streets of Paris area that’s home to Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, you’ll find a couple of creperies. The counter service window is Crêpes À Emporter, which is attached to the sit-down La Crêperie de Paris.
We have yet to try everything on this menu (we will…in the name of research!), but there are a couple of good crepes on the menu. Personally, we think the patisserie and artisanal ice cream shop are far better. Since you already have two must-stop spots in France, you might want to just skip the creperie.
In general, our tip for France is to share a few snacks before seeing the underrated Impressions de France, and then having a couple more after seeing Impressions de France. Maybe you should just “Snack Around France” instead of around the entire World Showcase!
Unfortunately, it’s all downhill after France. United Kingdom doesn’t have anything in the way of tasty sweets. A black and tan makes for a great “snack” for Rose & Crown, but that doesn’t really count.
You can also grab an order of fish & chips from Yorkshire County Fish Shop. This is a location that a lot of people love, but we think it’s a tad overrated. While tasty, there’s nothing special about the fish & chips. It’s ordinary, battered fish with ordinary, battered fries. Definitely not “so very British.” More importantly, fish & chips is a meal, not a snack. Perhaps the side of chips is a snack, I guess. This is one to potentially skip.
Here is where you’ll want to bust out your time machine to conclude the “snack crawl” with the best snack of all–the Beaver Tail! I mention this snack from time to time on this blog, and there’s significant buzz about it in the fan community. I’m convinced that if the buzz remains strong, Disney will bring it back like it has brought back other lost favorites like the Citrus Swirl.
For those of you lacking a time machine, all is not lost. Just past Canada is an innocuous looking refreshment gazebo with a limited menu. There’s really nothing attention-grabbing about the place, as it’s not styled like any of the World Showcase countries, and doesn’t draw huge crowds.
If you’re in the mood for a savory snack at the Refreshment Port, go for the poutine. There are actually a few varieties of this, and options rotate depending upon the season. This actually belongs in Canada (hence us listing it here), but there’s no location there that can easily serve it, so you’ll walk another couple of minutes.
As is evident from this list, not all countries were created equal from a snacking perspective. While there are clear standouts like France and Norway, there are a couple of duds, making it a bit more challenging to have a snack at each country. Fortunately, most countries have at least a couple unique and delicious options, so “Snacking Around the World” at Epcot can be a lot of fun!
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Have you tried “Snacking Around the World”? If so, what did you try? Did you opt to try a savory snack or decadent dessert in each country, or did you skip the lackluster ones? Thinking of giving it a try? Any questions? Hearing your feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts or questions below in the comments!