World Showcase at Epcot is one of my favorite things in all of Walt Disney World. It features 11 counties, all along the World Showcase Lagoon. These countries are: Canada, United Kingdom, France, Morocco, Japan, United States, Italy, Germany, China, Norway, and Mexico (plus an African Outpost).
I love walking through World Showcase and really feeling as if I’m in those countries. The architecture, music, food, and shopping are based on the countries that they represent. Many of the cast members are from the country in which they work, so they speak the language and know the culture.
It is beautiful. It is fun. It is educational. It is delicious.
But, is it something I can do with my young kids? Won’t they be bored?
YES, you can experience World Showcase and enjoy it with your kids!
NO, they won’t be bored!
1. Kidcot Fun Stops
Kidcot Fun Stops are stations that are located in each country of World Showcase. Part of the fun is locating the station itself. Once they’re there, kids receive a cardboard character that they can color. (Each station has markers, so they can color a bit here and a bit there.) A Cast Member at the Kidcot Fun Stop will also stamp the back of their character with their country’s stamp. They’ll draw a little something on the back too — usually a Disney version of the country’s flag (with Mickey worked into it!) or they may write the child’s name in their native language. Some countries also have trading card-type information cards to give away. Kids can also ask questions about the country, or learn to say a phrase in the language.
This can take as much or as little time as you want it to. It is fun and interactive for the kids.
2. Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure
Speaking of interactive fun for the kids, you can’t get much more interactive than Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure.
Agent P is the alter ego of Perry the Platypus from Disney Channel’s Phineas and Ferb. Kids can visit a “recruitment center” to receive a device called a F.O.N.E. (It looks like a cell phone) to use to complete the mission they are given to defeat Dr. Doofenshmirtz.
Clues are located in 6 of the World Showcase pavilions. The F.O.N.E. causes things to happen in the scenery around them.
Sadly, I haven’t been able to experience this personally. Once, they were out of F.O.N.E.s and we didn’t get a chance to check back. Another time, Dr. Doofenshmirtz had caused trouble and the system was down. I can’t wait to try it with my little ones on another trip though.
Hidden in the back corner of the Mexico pavilion (inside the Mayan pyramid), is “Gran Feista Tour, Starring The Three Caballeros.” This attractions features characters from the 1940s film, The Three Caballeros and Mexican culture and music. The question throughout the ride is, “¿Dónde Está Donald Duck?” (Where is Donald Duck?). Donald Duck is lost and his friends (and you) must help find him! As you float in a boat down the Rio Grande, you’ll see audio animatronics (similar to those in “it’s a small world”) and Mexican scenes superimposed with animation. With the upbeat music and bright scenes, this was our 1-year-old’s very favorite attraction. We rode it over and over again. As a bonus, the line is usually short! (And it’s a great place to hang out if it’s raining!)
Beginning in the Spring of 2016, Norway will feature “Frozen Ever After.” Guests will board a Viking-style boat and ride through the world of Frozen. There will be audio animatronics, simulated snowflakes, “Let It Go,” the little snowgies from the “Frozen Fever” short, and more in this new attraction.
Live entertainment can be seen at different times throughout World Showcase. (Check your times guide or ask a Cast Member for specifics.) You can come and go as you please during these performances.
We love watching the Japanese drummers “Matsuriza” as they play percussion with synchronized moves. Jeweled Dragon Acrobats perform in China. Mariachi Cobre plays spirited music in Mexico. Sergio, the master juggler and mime, performs in Italy. And more! You might happen to come upon a performance as you walk through the streets. Or, schedule one or more into your day. They’re fun to watch!
5. Character Meet-and-Greets
I love meeting characters in World Showcase. They seem to have shorter lines than they do in other places (oftentimes).
Here are the characters that come to each country:
United Kingdom: Alice
United Kingdom: Pooh and Friends
United Kingdom: Mary Poppins
France: Princess Aurora
France: Belle (in her blue dress)
Morocco: Aladdin and Jasmine
Germany: Snow White
Norway: Elsa and Anna (beginning in Spring 2016)
Mexico: Donald Duck (as Caballero Donald)
Get our your times guide and your autograph books and take the kids to meet some favorite characters! I was more than a little excited to meet Mary Poppins and some princesses!
6. Pressed Pennies
Almost every country has a pressed penny machine located in its pavilion. (Japan does not. We were told that you could find a Japan penny at the International Gateway between the UK and France.)
It’s fun to collect a penny from each country! We keep ours in a souvenir album that is available in many of the gift shops on property. (An album cost us $8.95 and holds 48 pressed pennies and 6 pressed quarters.) You could always just keep them in a jar. Or get crafty with those Pinterest ideas of making pressed penny bracelets!
Pressed pennies cost 51 cents to make and you choose your design.
It is fun to try food from the different countries of World Showcase. If your budget (or your appetite!) doesn’t allow you to get a large snack at each stop, you might try getting a piece of candy or something small along the way. Sometimes, you can even find individual candies or chocolates for less than $1 apiece. Or you could a candy bar or bag of something to share among the whole family.
Here are a few ideas: Germany has Hairbo gummies and its Karamell-Kuche shop sells packaged and individual Werther’s candies and chews. Japan has tons of brightly packaged candies to choose from. Italy and France sell chocolate by the piece and Cadbury goodies can be found in the UK. Norway has licorice and Swedish Fish. … There are goodies galore!
Of course, the nations’ bakeries are never a bad choice either!
…Or a German soft pretzel…or shaved ice in Japan (Kakigori)…or…a funnel cake in the USA…or… (You get the idea!)
I’ve written before about taking photos of our kids in a hat from each country. You could even have the kids be the ones on the lookout for hats. It’s fun and makes for cute keepsake photos.