World Showcase is one of our very favorite things in all of Walt Disney World. Even without the seemingly endless festivals, it’s just a joy to walk around and take in the various cultures from around the world.
Just for fun, we’ve decided to do a little ranking of our the country pavilions from the one we spend the least time in, to our very favorites. That’s not to say they aren’t all great in their own ways; they are.
11. United Kingdom
The UK pavilion is mostly made up of shops. While they are fine, there is nothing particularly unique about them. The table service restaurant is Rose & Crown Pub. The food is good but we don’t eat there all that often due to the abundance of this style pub available to dine at near our own homes.
That’s probably why we tend to spend the least amount of time in this pavilion as a whole. Its quite lovely, with some beautiful gardens, but it’s not all that different from everyday life here in the US. Same goes for the entertainment. The British Invasion is a good cover band, but they play songs we’ve heard on the radio 100’s of times so we rarely stop to watch a whole set.
Alice of Wonderland fame will meet guests regularly throughout the day here. The pavilion also has a new Mary Poppins area on the way (Cherry Tree Lane… announced at this year’s D23 Expo) along with some type of an accompanying attraction. Perhaps that will elevate the UK on our list once it opens in a few years.
Italy is another pavilion that we probably spend less time in due its similarities to our everyday life. The building are still really cool looking, and the Venice canal area is neat, but other than that we don’t tend to do a whole lot there.
We are big fans of Via Napoli however. We don’t eat there every trip due to easy access to quality Italian food at home, but still sometimes we just can’t resist. If we had to eat Italian every night we’d probably be just fine with that!
The other restaurants, Tutto Italia and Tutto Gusto we’ve had more mixed results at. There aren’t really any interesting shops in the pavilion either.
The Canada pavilion features some really neat architecture and some impressive faux rock work in the rear of the pavilion. The shops are small but have some fun items. Le Cellier is the signature restaurant. We used to be big fans but found that the quality has dipped a bit over the years. Nowadays if we are going to buy a $50+ dollar steak on property, its more likely going to be at California Grill or Yachtsman (or less than $50 at The Boathouse).
We always liked the recently closed O’ Canada film which played in the theater at the back of the pavilion. A replacement film is on the way but we have no announced opening date at this point.
Like the UK, the pavilion has some wonderful landscaping and gardens.
It’s also been killing it on the entertainment front lately which a revolving door of acts playing the main stage.
8. The American Adventure
The American Adventures is probably the least interesting pavilion on the outside. All we really have is one large facade of the building which houses Liberty Inn, a small shop, the Native American Museum and the American Adventure attraction.
The attraction alone however, is enough to catapult this up a few spots on the list. As we wrote in our recent review, The American Adventure show is a crowning achievement in Disney Imagineering and should not be missed!
The pavilion also has the wonderful Voices of Liberty and the America Gardens theater. Most of the festival acts that play the theater we don’t care all that much about… now if they would just start performing Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Live all year round then it may be hard to keep this pavilion from jumping to the top of this list!
The China pavilion features a replica of the famous Temple of Heaven and its a pretty awesome site. It also has the underrated Nine Dragons Restaurant. We were hesitant to dine here figuring it would be just like any other Chinese food we can get at home. And it kind of is, but its much better quality than anything we have near us. The food is really good and reasonably priced. There is a reason Josh of Easywdw eats here 4 – 5 times a week!
The pavilion’s attraction is the circle vision film “Reflections of China”. This film will be replaced next year with an updated circle vision film, the first to feature a seamless video.
The China pavilion is super cool during the Flower and Garden festival with topiaries like this large dragon, as well as one for every animal of the Chinese zodiac. The Dragon Legend acrobats will also perform in the area in front of the temple throughout the day.
You can meet Mulan here as well!
The Norway pavilion is a bit of an enigma to many these days. Many folks claim the pavilion has been ruined due to takeovers by Disney princesses and snowmen. We still love it and are in the camp that believes that Frozen Ever After was an upgrade to Maelstrom. We were never big fans of Akershus to begin with so the princess takeover there doesn’t really bother us. It serves the purpose of providing an easier to book, less expensive (although not by much) alternative to Cinderella’s Royal Table.
The attraction, which we review in full here, is well done and features several really neat animatronics. The Royal Summerhus meet and greet is great for families as well!
Whether we like it or not, the characters have arrived at World Showcase so I am not going to penalize this pavilion for that. There are still plenty of authentically Norwegian things to see in the Viking museum, as well as the great shops within the pavilion.
The majority of things to see and due in the Mexico pavilion are inside the large Mesoamerican pyramid. This area houses an market place set under an eternal night sky, as well as the La Cava del Tequila bar, San Angel Inn restaurant and the Gran Fiesta Tour attraction.
The setting in here is really cool, with a Mayan temple similar to what you would find at the Coronado Springs pool off in the distance. San Angel Inn lets you dine on the waterfront with great views of the temple. The food is pretty good but we do wish that the tables weren’t squished so close together.
We are big fans of the Gran Fiesta Tour attraction. Its a solid dark ride which rarely has much of a wait. Take an in depth look at the ride here!
Outside the pyramid you can find the a margarhita bar, a quick service restaurant and the other table service option, La Hacienda de San Angel. This is one of the few restaurants in Walt Disney World we have yet to dine at.
The Donald meet and greet features the world famous duck in one of our favorite costumes of his as well!
I was torn between Japan and Mexico for the number 4 spot, but Japan eventually won out. It’s one of the largest pavilions to wander around and features the best shop in all of World Showcase. A torii gate provides a great photo op with Spaceship Earth behind it off in the distance.
The quick service restaurant is Katsura Grill and its one of the best quick service options on property. It also has this peaceful outdoor seating area which is nothing short of divine. Table Service options include the wonderful Tokyo Dining, the fun Teppan Edo and the newly added Takumi Tei which is a unique (and expensive) authentic Japanese multi course dining experience.
The rear of the pavilion features a museum which hosts long term exhibits on Japanese Art and Culture. The shop, Mitsukoshi Dept Store is huge and features tons of cool items. There is also a really neat experience in which you can purchase an oyster, which is then opened during a little ceremony and you get to keep the whatever pearls are found inside.
The main entertainment is Matsuriza, a group of traditional Taiko drummers. They are a fun little performance to watch.
I myself am of almost 100% German ancestor, so perhaps I’m a little bias here, but we love the German pavilion! The shops are great, especially the Karamell-Küche which has some of the best smells on property.
It’s always Oktoberfest at the Biergarten restaurant which features family seating style buffet and features live music and dancing. The food is solid and the whole experience is great fun. For a more casual meal, the quick service Sommerfest offers various German brats, sandwiches, pretzels, and of course beers.
There is also almost always some form of super fun entertainment going on at the outside stage as well. The guys features below were kind of a German version of the show Stomp and were so much fun to watch.
The model train village is an awesome touch as well. We hope we don’t lose this completely once the future Brazil pavilion is eventually announced.
The main facade of the pavilion features a ton of cool architecture with lots of neat touches such as the Glockenspiel clock and the St. George statue. Snow White greets guest in the pavilion as well.
The Morocco pavilion is just straight up gorgeous and a delight to wander around. It has lots of neat nooks and crannies to explore, all filled with interesting items, detailed tile work and other fun things to discover.
The main table service restaurant, Restaurant Marrakesh, is vastly underrated as far as we are concerned. The quick service Tangerine Cafe may be the best quick service option on property! Spice Road Table provides another solid table service option located along the water.
The shops are also all really neat. There are tons of intestesting items, some awesome insence aromas, a henna artist and more! You can also meet Aladdin and Jasmine but we have never taken the time to do so.
Our very favorite pavilion in World Showcase is France. The pavilion features 2 great table service restaurants, an amazing bakery / sandwich shop, the best in park ice cream of WDW, and the best film attraction in WDW.
Impressions de France continues to be a favorite of ours no matter how many times we see it. The brilliant soundtrack and gorgeous videos really make you want to visit the actual France! It’s also a great break from the heat during the summer months.
Monsieur Paul is one of the very best restaurants on Disney property and Chefs De France is no slouch either. Check out our full review of Monsiuer Paul here, and our review of the Chefs De France pre fixe menu (a great value) here.
The pavilion also features meet and greets with both Aurora and Bell, as well as the best topiaries from this year’s Flower and Garden Festival (its the Muppets… the Muppets are the best). It’s also absolutely gorgeous at night time with the beautiful fountains, warmly lit restaurants and shops, and the Eiffel Tower off in the distance.
The pavilion will only get strong next year once a whole new street opens up featuring a new crepe shop and a Ratatouille trackless dark ride!