A Trip Around The World: China

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Today we visit the beautiful land of China on the next stop of our trip around the world. Welcome back to those who have been reading! If you’re just joining us you might want to take a stroll through Mexico and Norway before continuing on. Looking at the image below you’ll notice one thing – there are no people! That’s because before 11am this is where Disney draws the line on World Showcase. If you enter through Future World you can go no further than this point.

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A little further down this path on the right you will find a small, outdoor gift shop. I’m a big fan of the panda umbrellas they sell here! They also carry paper umbrellas, paper fans, walking puppets, and other small toy and gift items. The open area to the right is where you’d be able to find a great Food & Wine booth during the festival. I always miss it when it’s gone!

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Just beyond this outdoor market is the Joy of Tea. This is a great little spot to grab a drink or snack. They serve excellent cold teas and some fun alcoholic beverages. They also have one of the best dining values in the park with the Lucky Combo. This entree includes a Pork Bun, a Chicken Pocket, and an Egg Roll, with your choice of a Soft Drink AND Ice Cream all for less than $10 (see menu)!

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If you’re not looking for a bargain but you’re looking for an excellent meal, you might want to take a walk across the street to Nine Dragons. I’ve said before that this is my favorite restaurant in Epcot, and that still remains true. The food is excellent (see menu) and the service is better than on a cruise ship! The exterior is pictured below, but inside the restaurant is twice as beautiful and also offers a great view of IllumiNations.

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Just beside Nine Dragons you can’t miss this beautiful arch with a view the replica of The Temple of Heaven. This is a very popular spot in the China pavilion, with Mulan greeting in this courtyard throughout the day.

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Just past the arches you get an even better view of the temple. It’s one of the most beautiful spots in the parks, and I realized too late that I didn’t do the gardens on either side justice. There are ponds with beautiful plants and flowers. Make sure you stop and take a look the next time you are in the park.

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This lovely stone is in the staircase leading into the temple entrance. It seems a shame that they don’t clean it up daily. It was pretty dirty with water and dirt standing in the grooves the morning I visited.

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The path leading up to the entrance also has these detailed markings on the fence posts. Obviously there are lots and lots of dragons throughout! :)

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When you first enter the temple, which houses Reflections of China, be sure to look up to see this amazing ceiling! Honestly, my photo doesn’t do it justice. The view is breathtaking!

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Just past this is a quiet, air conditioned room which serves as the waiting area for the show. This spot is a great little secret. Most people won’t enter because they think they’ll be forced into a line! Actually, there is a big and cool area to hang out on a hot day. You also don’t have to exit through the attraction entrance because it connects to another museum area.

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Connected to this building you can currently see a pretty amazing display of Tomb Warriors. This is very interesting to take a look at but it’s also air conditioned and generally not too busy! Both good things 9+ months out of the year!

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When you’re finished you can exit through these double doors. I love the details and the foo dogs. (If you take a look at the one on the right you might notice a little something from Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure)

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When you exit this display and head towards the right you’ll be in “gift shop alley”. This is marked with another outdoor market on the right and then a couple more shops in front of you.

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I love the details of the China Pavilion. Even at an outdoor gift shop that is selling low end stuff they have amazing architecture like this photo below. I could go on and on about the beauty found in the China Pavilion! It is really one of my favorite spots on Disney property.

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Just past this outdoor gift shop on the right are real, working pay phones! I had to pick them up and check when I was there. I can’t remember the last time I saw a pay phone and there they were right in the middle of Epcot! I hadn’t noticed them before. I wonder if they get used often?

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When you get to the end of gift shop alley, you’ll see items like those in photo below. This is another large outdoor market that features mostly low- end paper goods and toys. The exit for Reflections of China is through this gift shop, so it seems like they really want everyone to see their paper and toys!

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Inside the gift shop you can find this stunning mural next to a door that leads backstage. This is a nice hidden photo spot for a family picture!

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Below is the view inside of this outdoor market. As you can see they carry lots of the same stuff found on carts and outdoor markets throughout the China pavilion.

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Below is another display within this market showing some of the lovely paper fans sold in China. The ones you see here are pretty huge, but they carry all sizes. These can be a nice souvenir when fighting the Florida heat!

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This pretty mural and display are found just before entering the higher end store connected to the outdoor market. The indoor shop is called Good Fortune Gifts and is very different from the shopping found through out the rest of the land.

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While Good Fortune Gifts does still carry some toys and tchotchkes, you’ll see from the photo below that the store has an entirely different feel to it. Pretty pottery, jewelry, incense, silk, and many other nice gifts can be found in this store.

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When you stop into this shop also take some time to appreciate the details in the woodwork. There are many scenes like this one below hidden throughout the store.

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Below is a statue inside Fortune Gifts. I believe this is Meng Shan, God of longevity. (I could be wrong on that – if anyone is certain please let me know in the comments.) Every time I pass through this gift shop, there is money left on the lap of this statue. It gives me a little faith in the world that is seems to be left there without being disturbed. Also, be sure to notice the wood carved arch just behind this statue.

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This is just a little bit of the jewelry found in this shop. They have some really pretty pieces, and the prices aren’t terrible! Deep down, what girl doesn’t want a big, jade bangle to remember her Walt Disney World vacation?

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There is so much good stuff in this shop that it’s impossible to include it all. This last photo is of some of the silk right before the exit. They also have purses, slippers, and other silk items. Good Fortune Gifts is such a fun shop that I could kill lots of time there!

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If you exit the gift shop and start heading back towards the World Showcase Lagoon, there is one last place to check out in China, the Lotus Blossom Cafe. I know this restaurant receives low marks from much of the Disney community – but what can I say? I just love Chinese food! A recent renovation left it bright and pretty, plus the prices are reasonable by Disney standards (see menu).

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The only down side is the outdoor seating that, while modern and pretty, can be very hot during the summer months.

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And with that we wrap up another land on our tour. Did I miss something you love about China? Did you see something you didn’t know about that you’re excited to visit on your next trip? Is the Lotus Blossom Cafe hot or not? (Ok, that last one is just for me.) Please let us know in the comments below – we love to hear from you. As always thanks so much for reading!

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Posted on December 20, 2013

12 Responses to “A Trip Around The World: China”

  • Thanks for this post. Epcot is our favorite park but I forgot about all the great hidden spots around the world showcase. When you have young kids, they don’t enjoy just strolling around to look at every beautiful hidden gem. I will keep these spots in mind when we go back next year. Looks like a lot of great places to sit and relax in the air conditioning while a baby takes a nap. My son loves the performers in China. We have to go see them several times on our trips!

    • Hi LA! Thanks for the kind words – I’m always on the hunt for great hidden spots to share. I hope you enjoy some quiet air conditioning on your next trip! :)

  • Growing up,China was my families favorite. We always loved the street performers and Lotus Blossom was one of the few places all the kids would agree to eat at. Plus we always stopped into the gift shop to buy several boxes of Jasmine tea. We never bought enough :(

    • Hey Holly! This is the situation we’re currently in – China is one of the few places that myself and the hubby will both eat so we end up there a lot. I’m glad you were able to relive those memories. Now I’m going to have to go look for Jasmine tea – yum!

  • by daffystardust on December 20, 2013, at 3:20 pm EST

    Thanks so much for this series! I can’t wait to read the rest of it!

    It kind of makes me wonder if you chose your photos shrewdly how long you could keep showing pictures to a layperson before they figured out they were all from WDW.

    Those gardens in China really are lovely.
    Count me among those who give low ranks to Lotus Blossom Cafe despite the snazzy new look. The food there is about at the level of bad microwaveable Chinese food. The chicken fried rice at Anandapur Local (Yak & Yeti) is more delicious, more substantial, and less expensive than the similar dish at LBC.

    But we all have our favorites which do not always align to those of the majority. I love Liberty Tree Tavern, while most in the Disney community give it a big shrug.

    • Hey Daffy – Maybe I’m just not picky because I love, love, love Liberty Tree! And I agree on the photos. When Googling a few things for this article I was surprised how much Epcot looks like the real thing. I bet you could get away with it! ;)

  • Hi Daisy,
    I am loving your Epcot World Showcase Country series. I agree with the reply above, as a family of 5 (with young children) we never have enough time to fully take in the world showcase. Thanks for this blog series. I think I will need to plan an extra day on our next trip so we can explore more leisurely (as much as you can in June). Great pictures!

    • by Daisy Lauren on January 2, 2014, at 4:14 pm EST

      Thank you, Carol! I’m really loving all that I’m learning doing this series. I’m so glad you’re enjoying it too! I should have Italy up next week! :)

  • In memory of our dinner at Nine Dragons! First, a big note of thanks to Daisey Lauren for posting about how much she liked this restaurant and helping us make up our mind regarding which of the many restaurants in the World Showcase that we had yet to try.

    Next, about the Appetizers: we wanted to try them all but we decided on the Appetizer Trio and the Shrimp and Taro Lollipops. Hey, we were 4 hungry adults who had been walking almost all day since 9AM. And here it was 9PM! And then it happened, a table nearby began to shout out their praise of the Shrimp and Chicken Egg Rolls, so we quickly added that to our list of apps. And, we all wanted to try the Hot and Sour Soup, so we asked if we could add that to our tab as well.

    Drinks- we had had enough of alcoholic drinks so everybody voted on tea for dinner. Some had the raspberry iced tea and some had the blackberry jasmine iced tea. I think these are the exact same blends that you get outside at the Joy of Tea, but I cannot be certain. Most of my day had been spent with tequila, so my memory was very fuzzy.

    Entrees- you might think that after ordering all those apps and soup that we might abstain from entree selections. But, nooooo! Our selections were Canton Pepper Beef, the Fragrant Five Spiced Fish, Shrimp and Steak, and Fried Rice. I tasted each one and liked them all. I will be working to duplicate the Fried Rice recipe forever!

    Evaluation- Our server never hesitated. She dutifully kept bringing out plate after wonderful plate. We ate non-stop, exchanging everything with everyone, and we weren’t close to slowing down when the manager shows up and courteously informs us that the restaurant will be closing in 20 minutes and that we must prepare to leave! Huh? What? We hadn’t even considered desserts yet! I had Chinese Ginger Cake on my mind and I might have been tempted to sample a glass of that 10 year old Tawny Port that I had spied on that impressive wine list of theirs.

    So, sad to say, we had to get a lot of food boxed up and bagged up and made ready for our walk back to the parking lot. We had had an epic day at Epcot and the World Showcase and we brought back a lot of the Nine Dragon Restaurant with us. I remember hearing the fireworks but I was too road weary to want to move my butt and go watch them.

    Unlike Daisey, I cannot post that I like this restaurant more than all the others in the World Showcase, or even if I like it more than many of the many other Chinese Restaurant options that one can choose from in the Orlando Area, not to mention Thai, Korean, Indian, Japanese, etc etc., because there are so many others yet to try!

    I want to commend the Manager at the Nine Dragons for being so professional about kicking us out. And, especially for remembering that I had expressed an interest in tasting the Ginger Cake. In one of our take home bags (we had at least 6 of these bags), I found a huge slice of Ginger Cake, and 4 forks, so thanks for that!

    It was moist and flavorful, and paired perfectly with coffee the next day.

    I hope to return to the Nine Dragons Restaurant again someday. In the meantime, if anybody has any ideas on where I can find recipes for any of the various, wonderful sauces that they use, I would appreciate hearing about it.

    Let’s see, there was the special Wu Xiang Dipping Sauce for the Lollipops, and the Plum-Chili Sauce for the delicious Egg Rolls, and the Chinese Red Sauce for the Dumplings and the special Five Flavor Sauce for the Fish, which was my very favorite sauce of all!

    Thanks again, Daisey, for recommending the Nine Dragons Restaurant in the World Showcase in Epcot. I wish there was a way to return for a longer stay for dinner without having to buy a ticket to get into Epcot to do it! Keep up your great blogging.