Reader Question: Drinking Around the World

Hey Pete!!

A few friends and I are heading down to Disney World at the end of May to celebrate graduating college! We’re doing a 5 day trip with a park hopper and plan on hitting all the parks. I can’t wait to see the castle!! My friends and I want to really experience EPCOT and drink and eat in every country! Can you give us some tips and make some recommendations?

Thank u!

Kacie

Hey Kacie!

First of all, going to Disney to celebrate your graduation is such an awesome idea! Congratulations!

I love EPCOT. The food and drinks are amazing and it’s a really fun park. I’ll start with a couple of tips when it comes to planning your day at EPCOT and then we’ll plan out each country! When my family went down for a wedding a few years ago, the bride and groom put together a “Drink Around the World” on our first day. They made t-shirts and everything! It was an absolute blast! I didn’t make it all the way around – only because my parents made dinner reservations at Brown Derby, so I had to end it early. Plus, I wanted to enjoy (and remember) my meal!

First of all – I’ll preach. It’s going to be hot. I don’t have to explain to someone who just spent four years in college about the dangers of drinking when it’s hot outside. Be safe,  stay hydrated and dress comfortably.

Next – EPCOT has a lot of outstanding drinks that go down very, very easy. Keep in mind it’s a family park. I’ve only seen a handful of “over-served” people at EPCOT, but between the heat and the drinks, it could hit you out of nowhere. I’d love to tell you to drink everything, but you can also share. Take your time and enjoy the pavilions – they’re all wonderfully themed. If you space out your drinks and eat, you should be fine.

Okay, now that I got that out of the way, let’s get to the fun stuff.

I’d imagine you’re starting your day in the morning. You have a choice – you can eat a big breakfast at your hotel or go against the grain a bit. If you eat at the hotel, grab a nice hearty breakfast. But let’s have a little fun. EPCOT typically opens before the World Showcase. Let’s assume EPCOT opens at 9am. Not many people know this, but Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie, the bakery in France, usually opens at the same time as the park and serves breakfast. The menu not only includes beer in the morning, but it has champagne and orange juice. You can put two and two together. Order up some breakfast with a side of a do-it-yourself Mimosa and you’re off to a great start!

Whether you get a headstart at France or not, I’d recommend picking a side of the World Showcase and making your way around. We usually like to start at Mexico. It just feels more natural going clockwise.

You can’t stop at Mexico and not get some tequila. On a hot day, a margarita will be delicious! There is a stand that serves frozen margaritas, but I’d recommend heading to La Cava del Tequila. The pre-made frozen margaritas found at the stand are very sugary. The bar at La Cava del Tequila has freshly made margaritas and a ton to choose from! I’m partial to the Blood Orange Margarita. If you’re like my sister and don’t like tequila, they also have beer and wine! For food, I’d recommend the nachos at La Cantina de San Angel. The Quick Service restaurant has both indoor and outdoor seating. On a nice day, it’s a great spot to sit outside and enjoy the view of the World Showcase Lagoon. If it’s too hot outside, the indoor area is a nice place to eat in an air-conditioned setting.

After enjoying Mexico, it’s time to head to Norway. Norway really lacks the options compared to Mexico. The Kringla Bakery serves a Viking Coffee, but I’d skip that on a hot summer day. Plus, our next recommendation is a coffee-based drink! If you’re looking for authentic Norwegian, I’d go with the Danish Carlsberg beer from the outside cart. The cart also serves some non-Norwegian wines, as well as a Scandanavian liquor called Linie Aquavit Glacier. The Kringla Bakery serves up one of the more popular snacks at Walt Disney World. School Bread is a sweet bread roll injected with vanilla custard and then covered with sweet icing and toasted coconut. I tried it a few years ago and wasn’t the biggest fan. I think it had a bit of a lemony aftertaste. Most people love it, but I guess I was expecting something different.

China serves up my favorite drink in the World Showcase. The Joy of Tea booth has the “Tipsy Duck in Love.” I’m not sure if it’s offered year-round, but if they have it, get it! The drink is a creamy tea and coffee combination blended with bourbon and topped with whipped cream. Don’t watch them make it – I made that mistake. The authenticity was a bit ruined when I saw them pour Jim Beam in the cup and cover it with Reddi Whip whipped cream. Oh well. I eat Americanized Chinese food, why not drink an Americanized Chinese drink? China serves the usual snacks – dumplings, egg rolls, etc. I’ve never had them because I usually save my appetite for Germany.

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Most guests usually pass by the African Trading Post, but when drinking around the world, you need to stop everywhere! None of the drinks at the African Trading Post are really “authentic” to the theming, but you just sucked down a Chinese drink with Jim Beam and Reddi Whip, so who’s really counting? There’s a smoothie offered with Starr African Rum, so I’d recommend getting that – especially on a hot summer day.

Next up is my favorite country in all of EPCOT: Germany. You have to go with beer in Germany. The last time I visited EPCOT they had a grapefruit-flavored beer. It was a little sweet for my taste, but perfect for someone who doesn’t normally drink beer. There are plenty of beer carts throughout the pavilion. If you don’t like beer, they also serve Jaegermeister and have wine at the wine cellar. I love grabbing a beer in the souvenir stein and a huge pretzel. Try and find a spot that has freshly made pretzels. I’ve had one that tasted a little old, but if you can get a fresh one, they’re divine. The huge pretzels pair perfectly with a tall beer. I believe there’s some benches by the lagoon. If not, walk over to Italy. This is a nice spot to take a break and do some people watching.

Pretzel and Beer

Half my pretzel and my beer in a plastic souvenir stein from EPCOT’s Germany pavilion.

Next up is Italy. Grab a slice of pizza from the Via Napoli Pizza Window. It’s not quite the same pizza as the one served in Via Napoli, but it’ll do for a quick snack! I usually go for a Peroni beer while in Italy. As expected, you can also get a great glass of wine! Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar offers a nice, quiet place to sit down and cool off. The menu is pretty impressive, with a wide selection of cheeses and antipasto, and over 200 varieties of Italian wine! The wine cellar offers a wine flight for $25. It’s a little pricey, but a great way to try some different wines. The restaurant is fairly small and it doesn’t accept the dining plan, but it’s definitely a great place to stop if you can find a table!

After stamping your passport in Italy, it’s time to return to America. A few years ago, guests were limited to Sam Adams and a few other popular American beers. Disney recently added the Block & Hans booth, which serves craft beers from several breweries around the country. The last time I was there, they had Victory, Abita and Blue Point. I’d definitely recommend a Blue Point, but I’m biased toward Long Island!

Ready for some Sake? At the very back of the Japan Pavilion is the sake bar, found inside the merchandise shop. There are a few different varieties available. If you’re not a fan of sake, the bar also offers Sapporo, or Kirin Ichiban. If you’re feeling adventurous, try the Ginga Kogen. It’s a hefeweizen-style beer brewed at the foot of Mt. Waka-dake in Iwate prefecture in Japan, known for its heaviest snowfalls resulting in clean, cold water – making it ideal for brewing. It’s an unfiltered beer distinguished by its fruity aroma and pale color!

Morocco used to be limited in terms of drinks, but that all changed when Spice Road Table opened. Spice Road Table is an awesome open-air restaurant with unmatched views of the lagoon. The restaurant has a walk-up bar and a tapas-style menu full of specialty cocktails.

Next up is France. While the pavilion has a great selection of wine, I’d recommend getting the Grey Goose Citron or Grand Marnier Orange slushes from the outside booth. Ice cold and refreshing, they’re perfect on a hot summer day (or any day, really.) They are usually offered in a small wine glass, but you can ask them to put it in a solo cup. They’ll usually do it for you. If you’re there at night, grab a slush and head to the bridge connecting France and the UK pavilion. It’s a great spot to watch Illuminations while enjoying your drink! As far as snacks, I’d definitely recommend hitting the French Bakery,  Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie, if you haven’t already. Even if you have, go again! The bakery is serving up delicious desserts and pastries. If you don’t have much of a sweet tooth, it also serves some great sandwiches or you can coat your stomach with fresh bread and rolls.

Napoleon

Napoleon pastry from the original French Bakery in EPCOT’s France pavilion.

The UK Pavilion is an awesome spot. You may even choose to return after finishing in Canada. There’s an outdoor booth serving plenty of beer, but I’d recommend heading inside the Rose & Crown Pub. The pub has a vast selection of authentic British beer, as well as a full bar! I love enjoying a Black and Tan (Half Guinness and Half Bass Ale.) If you’re not much of a beer drinker, try the Snake Bite (Cider topped with Harp.) The bar also serves plenty of delicious mixed drinks, whiskey, and wine. Right next door is the quick service version of the Rose & Crown restaurant, serving up delicious fish and chips!

Last but not least is Canada. Canada’s selection pales in comparison to the UK. There is only one cart that sells beer – Moosehead and Moosehead Light. Grab a beer in Canada and head back to the UK for some fish and chips and another pint!

Be sure to pick up some souvenirs along the way! The last time I went, Germany, the UK Pavilion and Canada all had plastic souvenir steins available with the country’s flag and the EPCOT logo. I would have collected them all, but I already have about ten steins from the Germany pavilion!

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