Rachel Awtrey

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Disney | Epcot

Today we spent the day in one of my favorite parks: Epcot. Not only does it have the fun and impressive rides (Soarin', Mission Space and Test Track) it has a World Showcase as well that brings you literally all around the world. 

Future World

Our fast passes covered Mission Space and Test Track so we booked it to Soarin' when we first got to the parks in the a.m. Y'all, Soarin'. I'm telling ya. Last time we were at Disney World, this ride took you in a hang gliding experience all over Florida and California. Now, it has broadened to different locations all over the world. Soarin' takes you from Switzerland, Antarctica, the Great Wall of China, Paris, and much much more. Wellll worth the wait, with or without a fast pass. However, your experience will be heightened if you chose to sit in Gliders B, Row 1. You can ask a cast member to seat your party in this section if you please. 

After Mission Space (a space flight simulator with added G's if you like "intense") and Test Track (another great rollercoaster), we grabbed a quick lunch before shopping in Mouse Gears. Right across from Mouse Gears is the meet-and-greet with characters. Compared to having to find them all over the park, this is an indoor (air conditioned) space that puts all of your favorite characters in one locations. However, the line can get a little long so make sure to go at a prime time. 

World Showcase

Mexico

A great indoor market with plenty of the authentic knick-knacks you'd find overseas. You can find this inside the beautiful temple when you first enter Mexico. Inside is also a slow ride chasing Donald Duck around Mexico. Enjoy a break for your feet here. Make sure to jump across the street to the Mexican cafe and buy some churros with caramel sauce (seriously delicious).

Norway

This is as authentic as it gets, I asked one of the cast members. Frozen apparently takes place in Norway so you can meet all of the Frozen characters here along with riding the Frozen Ride!

China

Make sure to catch China at a time where the Dragon Acrobats are preforming. They are seriously amazing and you'll be missing out if you don't plan to see their show. Head all the way to the back of China to see authentic toys and fun shops with chopsticks, noodles and learn to say your name in Chinese.

Germany

Grab a German craft beer at any of the snack stands in Germany. While you're at it, you can sip and look at German chocolates, teddy bears and take a bite out of a Wiener Würstchen (or German hot dog)-a great snack. 

African Pavilion 

There's bongos, face painting and beads for a quick little trip to Africa

Italy

So romantic and so real. There's leather shops that sell Prada bags, there's the square with the fountain and statues in the middle, the greenery growing up the sides of the cobble buildings, the umbrellas selling wine flights underneath. When I say they had me fooled, they really did. If your a carbs girl like me, there's a fabulous Pizzeria in the back of Italy if you keep walking. 

Plan around to see Sergio preform-another great act. 

America

If you're an American native, imagine that you stepped back in time to the historic Revolutionary times. If you go for the Holiday season, there's gingerbread making and you can meet Santa Claus. 

Japan

If you're a Japan fan, this is for you. If you like sushi, hibachi and all that jazz, make reservations at the Japanese restaurant to get the full hibachi experience. Underneath the restaurant is the largest gift shop I have ever seen. They sell everything from Japanese groceries, candies, drinks, toys, makeup, jewelry, decor, accessories, and so so much more. 

Morocco

Belly dancing, Aladin and Jasmine, and beautiful architecture is what you're in for when walking to Morocco. There's a really great restaurant that has fun belly dancing shows for dinner if this is your type of food. 

France

The French restaurant is seriously amazing. If you don't have time to make a large break, or didn't make reservations, go to the very back of France to get more scenery, and you'll find a bakery in the back selling all of your favorite pastries. I grabbed a box of macaroons, and the boys got sandwiches and creme brulé. It's a win-win.

United Kingdom

If you love tea, like me, make sure to stop in the Twinnings Tea shop selling all of the original English tea. Head across the street to grab authentic Fish and Chips.

Canada

This was probably Thomas's favorite (probably because Canada is known for their fly fishing). They had the rustic feel with maple leafs, red and white everywhere. Make sure to go inside the gift shop and check out the Niagra Falls in the back that will lead you to the 360 show!

The great part about the World Showcase is 1. If you don't feel like walking all the way around, there's a ferry that can take you from one entrance to the other. 2. Every country has cast members that are originally from that country. This means you get the full experience, the fun and the information!

If fireworks are your thing then you'll be extremely impressed by the Illuminations show in the lagoon between the countries in the World Showcase. Seats are hard to get (I use "seats" loosely because you'll be sitting on the ground or on the fencing) so make sure to get "seating" ahead of time.