For our summer vacation, we drove to Disney World and camped for six nights at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground. Part 1 of my trip report:
After driving 900 miles from Maryland to Disney World, followed by two long days in Disney theme parks, we were due for a leisurely day. So we slept in and had a big hot-cooked breakfast at our Fort Wilderness campsite. We always get to the parks early before they open because we love to beat the crowds. But we were planning to spend this day touring Epcot’s World Showcase, which doesn’t open until 11:00 a.m.
With the Epcot crowd still standing in line for rides in Future World, we were among the first into the World Showcase – the eleven international pavilions around the Lagoon. There aren’t many rides here, but we love meandering from country to country, exploring the shops, attractions, and restaurants that embody the culture and cuisine of countries around the world. And each country has its own beer!
Here are the brews and other highlights from our day in Epcot:
- The beer: Carlsberg Beer
- Must see: The Maelstrom, a fun boat ride on a Viking ship.
- The beer: Kirin
- Must see: The Mitsukoshi Department Store. My kids loved browsing through the Japanese store – it’s amazing how many popular kid’s toys, games, and characters originated in Japan (e.g. Pokémon).
- The beer: Altenmünster Oktoberfest
- Must see: The Biergarten, an indoor courtyard featuring a German Oktoberfest buffet. We ate dinner here on a past trip to Disney.
- The beer: Tsingtao Beer
- Must see: The Dragon Legend Acrobats, an amazing show by young Chinese acrobats. You have to see it to believe it.
- The beer: Birra Moretti
- Must see: Sergio, the juggling mime. His show was hilarious.
- The beer: Sam Adams Summer Ale
- Must see: I love the USA pavilion! There are a lot of must-sees here: The Voices of Liberty, an a cappella group that sings American patriotic songs in the rotunda of the pavilion; The Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps; and an audio-animatronic stage show called the American Adventure.
- The beer: Casa beer
- Must see: Restaurant Marrakesh, which offers traditional Moroccan cuisine and live belly dancing. We ate dinner here on a past trip to Disney. I also really like the authentic architecture of this pavilion – as you walk all the way to the back you almost forget you are in Epcot.
- The beer: Kronenbourg 1664
- Must see: The mini Eifel Tower, the perfect backdrop for photographing a fun Disney moment.
- The beer: Harp
- Must see: The British Revolution, British rock group imitators who play all of your favorites.
- The beer: Unibroue – we ate dinner at Le Cellier Steakhouse and enjoyed flights of Unibroue beer including Éphémère, La Fin Du Monde, Maudite, Trois Pistoles, Blanche de Chambly, and Don de Dieu. The combination of top-notch beer and delicious food (I love Poutine!) made this one of the best dinners in my life.
- Must see: There is a lot to enjoy at the Canada Pavilion. We especially like the “O Canada!” film presented in CircleVision 360, which highlights Canada’s natural beauty, cities, and culture and is hosted by Canadian actor Martin Short.
- The beer: None. At one point I was a bit beered-out, so I opted for a Margarita in Mexico. It seemed like the right thing to do at the time.
- Must see: The Gran Fiesta Tour starring the Three Caballeros is a gentle boat ride popular with the kids. It features Donald Duck and friends.
I’ll be the first to admit that the list of beers I drank around the world at Epcot is not an impressive list of beers. Unibroue was easily the best but most were light lagers brewed for the masses. For example, Kronenbourg 1664 and Casa beer are both rated 10 out of 100 on RateBeer.com. But the quest for a different beer from each country made for a fun day, which was capped by watching IllumiNations, a lights and fireworks show on the Lagoon.