Menu Monday: The Best World Showcase Pavilions for Drinking

by on February 9, 2015 28 Comments

Filed under: Adults, Drinking, In the Parks, Walt Disney World (FL)

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Enjoy the details in Epcot's World Showcase - Torii gate in Japan (Photo by Sarah Graffam)

Whether you’re attempting to drink around the world or simply want to stop in at one of your favorite spots in World Showcase, there’s no denying that Epcot is a great place to kick back and have a few. A lot of that has to do with the fact that you can take in the sights and sounds of different cultures from around the world in a single day. Many park guests have made it their mission to have a drink in every single one of the World Showcase countries in one day, which isn’t a task to take lightly. If you’d rather just sample a drink or two and need help prioritizing which countries to hit up, you’re in the right place. Below you’ll find my list of the best countries to drink in at World Showcase in Epcot. When I originally set out to do this list, I was going to rank all the pavilions from best to worst but found that a lot of my descriptions were the same because frankly there isn’t that much to do in a lot them drinking wise besides take in the architecture, walk around the gift shop and move on. With that in mind, I decided to limit the list to the five best pavilions.

I based my rankings on five categories. Each category is scored on a 5-point scale, so there is a total possible score of 25 points. The categories are:

Drink Selection

This category focuses on the amount of different drinks available in the pavilion and whether or not they’re any good.

Drink Availability

Nobody likes waiting in line to get a drink. The more places you can order a drink from within a pavilion means less time waiting between drinks. A higher score means less congested drink ordering and more places that serve.

Atmosphere/Immersion

Theming is a huge part of Disney Parks. Any area should make you feel as if you’ve been transported to wherever the theme is emulating. This is especially true for World Showcase pavilions. A higher score means a higher level of immersion.

Food

What’s drinking without great food? Table service dining doesn’t factor into this ranking. Instead, this category ranks the pavilion’s “bar food” style offerings. Think of foods that you can grab on the go or eat quickly before moving onto your next drinking destination.

Entertainment

Live entertainment and outdoor drinking go hand in hand. A higher score means more quality live entertainment offerings. You may not be able to take that drink with you onto an attraction but you can enjoy it while listening to a great band.

After the score, you’ll also find my drink of choice for each pavilion. With that, here are the best World Showcase pavilions for drinking at Epcot.

 

5. Morocco

 

Morocco is a surprisingly deep pavilion. What I mean by this is that most pavilions usually consist of a table service restaurant, a counter service restaurant, some kind of food/beverage stand and a gift shop. Morocco though is very immersive if you take the time to explore. There’s actually a lot to take in ambiance-wise the further you go back into the pavilion. It’s winding and has a sense of verticality that makes you feel like you’re actually walking the alleyways of the country. You can be outside in certain areas and not be able to see anything else in Epcot, which is a level of immersion I really appreciate. I think people often skip Morocco because it’s the most different of the pavilions but you’d be missing out if you didn’t grab a drink and take the time to explore it for a little while.

When talking about drinks at the Morocco pavilion, you’ll probably hear a lot of people bring up their Sangria. I was underwhelmed though. Sangria Sunday was a thing at one of the bars at my college and it tasted much better than what the Morocco pavilion has to offer. It was also only $5 for a pitcher but that’s a whole different issue.

As for food, your best bet is to grab something from Tangierine Café. Personally, I don’t usually stop to eat in Morocco but I’m also not the most adventurous eater so keep that in mind. (Ed. – Tangierine Café is one of the our staff’s two favorite counter service restaurants at Epcot. The other is Sunshine Seasons, but no one wants to drink there.) Although, if want, you can pretend you’re one of The Avengers and eat shawarma, which is pretty awesome.

Drink Selection: 3/5

Drink Availability: 3/5

Atmosphere/Immersion: 5/5

Food: 2/5

Entertainment: 3/5

TOTAL: 16/25

 

Drink of choice: Habibi Daiquiri or go for a Mimosa if you just woke up.

 

4. Germany

 

The plaza in the Germany Pavilion

The plaza in the Germany Pavilion (Photo by Katie McNair)

Even without taking Biergarten into consideration, Germany is still a great pavilion to have a drink in. There’s folk dancing and music, which are both sure to get you in a festive drinking mood. There’s also Weinkeller, which isn’t quite a full bar but is a great place to relax and hang out at one of the standing tables. It definitely fosters an environment where you’ll not only have fun with your own group but maybe even make friends with other guests as well. Sommerfest also offers all the kinds of foods that you’d want after having a few beers. I’d personally recommend the nudel gratin, which is basically macaroni and cheese but there’s no need to mess with a classic. My favorite part, however, is a miniature German village complete with model trains. It’s incredibly detailed and something completely unique to the Germany pavilion within World Showcase. Have a beer and watch some trains.

 

 

Drink Selection: 4/5

Drink Availability: 3/5

Atmosphere/Immersion: 4/5

Food: 5/5

Entertainment: 2/5

TOTAL: 18/25

 

Drink of choice: Beer, duh! Last time, my girlfriend got the Schofferhofer Grapefruit, which I tried. I would definitely get my own next time.

 

3. Italy

 

Italy is arguably the most beautiful pavilion in terms of architecture. As mentioned earlier, I think ambiance is a key factor in determining where you want to hang out and have a drink. Even with its stunning architecture, until 2012, Italy wouldn’t be on this list. What puts it this high now is Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar. Opened in 2012, Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar is arguably the most relaxing drinking experience at Epcot. If you want a quieter, more intimate environment in which to drink, I’d definitely recommend spending most of your time in the Italy pavilion. They also serve Meatball Sliders, which is pretty much perfect when it comes to bar food. Also, even if you’re not a wine drinker, you can go to the Italian Gelato Kiosk and grab a Moretti, which is a good Italian beer that I’ve also had at Via Napoli.

Drink Selection: 5/5

Drink Availability: 4/5

Atmosphere/Immersion: 4/5

Food: 4/5

Entertainment: 3/5

TOTAL: 20/25

 

Drink of choice: I’ve got to be honest. I’m not a wine connoisseur. I usually ask my server what to get while we’re there, which involves him or her giving me something delicious off of my horribly vague description of what tastes I like. There are over 200 bottles available so if there isn’t something you like, that’s on you.

 

This is where the list gets seriously contentious. Either could’ve been my favorite country to drink in (They actually have a tie score!) but as of this writing I went with my gut. #2 and #1 are definitely the closest as far as quality drinking experiences in World Showcase.

 

 2. United Kingdom

 

Rose and Crown

Photo by Katie McNair

The United Kingdom pavilion is a great place to drink thanks to its combination of outdoor entertainment and a lively pub where I could easily spend more than a couple of hours. As for the former, you could have a drink while laughing out loud at an improvisation group in the spirit of British comedy or even see a cover band of some of England’s most legendary rock groups like The Beatles or The Who. If that was all the UK pavilion had to offer, it’d still be awesome but we’re not done yet.

The Rose & Crown is the best pub in Disney World that isn’t named Raglan Road. Although it can get too crowded at times, one of the things I love about Rose & Crown is the piano player. She plays festive songs while interacting with patrons and incorporating them into the music.

The food and drink offerings aren’t too shabby either. This is the best beer selection you’re going to get at any of the Disney parks. If you’re hungry, I’d recommend getting Fish & Chips, which are available in the Rose & Crown or outside at Yorkshire County Fish Shop. With Rose & Crown being crowded on the busier days, it’s good to know that I can still get good food and beer at Yorkshire right outside.

UK Pavilion Fun Fact: They decided on the name Rose and Crown because “Rose” and “Crown” were the two most common names found in British pubs.

Drink Selection: 5/5

Drink Availability: 5/5

Atmosphere/Immersion: 4/5

Food: 4/5

Entertainment: 5/5

TOTAL: 23/25

 

Drink of choice: For beer, go Golden (half Bass, half Stella). If I want a cocktail, I usually get the Welsh Dragon.

 

1. Mexico

 

cavaexteriorThe Mexico pavilion is unique in that it’s mostly indoors but still creates the illusion of being outside at nighttime. You first ascend the steps of the Mayan temple where you’ll usually encounter Mariachi Cobre performing, and then enter a lobby filled with various pieces of art before finally descending into a marketplace beneath a faux starry night sky.

The drinking centerpiece of this pavilion is La Cava Del Tequila. Ask any Disney drinker what their favorite bar is in all of Disney World and I bet you’d get La Cava Del Tequila more than any other answer. The ambiance is warm and welcoming thanks to the variety of seating options from standing tables to comfy chairs but lively enough that you can’t help but be excited to drink. It’s not only a great bar but the servers are excellent as well. I was last there on New Year’s Eve (aka the busiest day of the year at Disney World) and I was impressed at how well they handled the crowds. There was a short wait to get our drinks but it was hardly the disaster I was expecting.

I don’t pretend to have any level of knowledge when it comes to tequila but the staff there is always helpful and friendly when I need some assistance in making a drink choice. Every time we drink in Epcot, we always start out with a tequila shot in Mexico and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Drink Selection: 5/5

Drink Availability: 5/5

Atmosphere/Immersion: 5/5

Food: 5/5

Entertainment: 3/5

TOTAL: 23/25

 

Drink of choice: Tequila shot and a Dos Equis Lager.

 

After putting this list together, it’s surprising that most of the pavilions don’t offer a whole lot to do in terms of drinking. The best of them are great but the amount of actual bars is lower than you’d expect. While I’m sure this is a purposeful move by Disney so as to not turn Epcot into Bourbon Street, it’d be nice to have at least one more full service bar to alleviate crowds at current ones. Give me a colonial pub in the America pavilion so I can drink like a Founding Father! That’s just my opinion, though. I want to hear from all of you. Which is your favorite country to drink in and why? Let us know in the comments below.

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Posted on February 9, 2015

28 Responses to “Menu Monday: The Best World Showcase Pavilions for Drinking”

  • Fascinating amount of detail regarding the author’s desire to tie a few on at Epcot. I suggest he contact Disney directly to see about each country’s pavillion offering “a whole lot [more] to do in terms of drinking.”
    Regrettably, re: the author’s query, I never went to Epcot in search of “a favorite country to drink in.”

    • What is your problem, DisneyDad? Drinking in Epcot is an activity many people enjoy. This article is very thorough and helpful if you’re planning on imbibing during your trip around the world, especially if you’re looking to get the most for your time or money. No need to be so negative!

    • I’ve got to agree with others on here. One of the joys of the World Showcase is the chance to try some adult beverages you might not find at home. Disney seems to agree- in fact, they have a 50% of a a festival devoted to it “Food and WINE.” For those who like to drink responsibly, articles like this are very helpful. The author even points out that drinking round the world “isn’t a task to take lightly” – he isn’t encouraging people to over-indulge.

    • Another classy comment from DisneyDad; Always entertaining.

    • Why would you even read this if you never go to Epcot in search of a favorite country to drink in? Get out of here with that nonsense!!!!

    • I’m obviously in the minority here, but I’m inclined to agree; having attended Food & Wine this year, I was absolutely disgusted with the amount of people walking around completely hammered, many with kids in tow. I understand having a drink or two to try something new or if a person really needs one to relax I guess, but I don’t really understand the logic of paying a premium for a vacation, a premium for liquor, and walking around in front of the maximum number of families with zero dignity. The title of this article alone put me off, which as a subscriber, I feel okay with mentioning.

      • Be prepared to get “hammered” Gillian, but I don’t mean in a tipsy way. Amazing, the vitriol generated by 3 sentences–none of which criticized the well-researched article. I enjoy a good buzz, but have yet to make that my goal when visiting Epcot. I’ll stick with the fascinating CMs from around the world, the culture, the food, the atmosphere. I might even have a beer or two. Not much of a wine enthusiast.

      • It is called “the drunk park” for a reason

  • Unlike disneydad, I liked this article and enjoyed how it highlights some of the drink options for menu Monday. It is also nice when planning a trip to get an idea of where to make time to go. We have no intention of being completely wasted our whole time but do plan to imbibe in a few spots during our stroll around the world showcase. I look forward to articles like this as they are an enjoyable read.

  • Great article!

  • Hi TJ,
    Fun article, and I love the evaluation criteria – very informative and insightful. One thing I’d love to see is beyond your “Drink of choice” perhaps an honorable mention of a lesser know “hidden drink gem”. I’m always excited to learn about new things to try beyond my usual Grand Marnier Slush. 🙂

  • It seems like the author has potentially left out the analysis that there is a large increase in the amount of “small bites” / drinking table service restaurants in world showcase now.

    I really like the Morocco small bites restaurant view of the lagoon. I don’t remember their drink menu as having choices that are totally memorable. However, the quality of the coffee there is excellent. Have a standard brewed coffee or add a little bit extra.

    • Okay I re-read the premise a little, and I don’t know if you can call a specific pavilion bad for drinking. Although, I’ll try to run down the pavilions that didn’t make it:

      Canada: Our neighbors to the north love getting a Molson;
      Norway: Do you want to get sick in new ways? When already a little tipsy, try a shot of Aquavit; Also, now that there’s NOTHING going on here, the crowd level has dropped.
      China: I don’t know what there is to drink there. Tea, I think? Is Tsing Tsao Chinese? I don’t know. I like Kirin better.
      American pavilion: Truly upped the game lately with lots of craft beers. Some favorites appear here. But I’m biased because I categorize my best celebrity sighting is seeing Jim Koch and entourage live and in person just walking around EPCOT.
      Japan: Great ambiance (gardens) for relaxed, zen like drinking; And I do enjoy Kirin.
      France: Basically a clone of the Italy experience without Tutto Gusto. But they have a movie (that you can’t bring food/drink into). As for drinking; the wine selection is unique and pricey. But their cheese plate does go well with a nice wine pairing.

      • Aquavit is great stuff, FYI it is only available in Norway and at Epcot. $9.95 a shot is a bit steep even for Epcot, but…you can buy a bottle of it in the Norway gift shop for $40. You have to pick it up on your way out of the park though 🙂

        • Aquavit reminds me of Boardwalk Empire. LOL!

          At the kiosk in front of the China pavilion you can get the Tipsy Ducks in Love drink. Tasty, and comes in a non-alcoholic version as well.

  • I’m a little surprised France doesn’t come out ahead of Morocco, between the wine tasting, Grand Marnier slushes, and ice cream martinis. Japan also seems like it deserves an honorable mention for the most interesting “hidden” option, the sake sampling bar in the back of Mitsukoshi.

    As it is for many categories, Canada is of course the worst option 🙂

  • I totally agree with Brian on France and Japan. I’m not a big sake fan, but they do have an “honorable mention”-worthy Sake bar. Morocco has a good beer, Casa. But to me, the fact that France has the Grand Marnier slush (incredible!) and the Grey Goose citrus slush puts it higher than Morocco. (I wish I could watch Impressions de France while sipping my slush.)

    Still, a great article. Thanks for your work on it.

  • Great article. Thank you. My daughter and I both love Epcot and plan to visit when she turns 21 and is able to “drink around the world”. She has already had some sampling when she visited Europe where the drinking age is 18. Her father and brother have been given the option of sampling ice cream or desserts of the world if they wish to join us.

  • I prefer to find selections other than the generic cocktails or common beers such as:
    1. the creative margaritas and less-ubiquitous fine aged tequilas at La Cava
    2. the Negroni & Bruschetta Martini at Tutto Gusto…or the excellent Italian craft beers at Via Napoli (Moretti is not a craft beer)
    3. the excellent tapas and sangria at Spice Road Table
    4. “Tipsy Ducks in Love” at the China Tea Stand
    5. the Sake bar in Japan…including some uncommon beers such as Ginga Kogen Premium Unfiltered
    6. the craft beers at Block & Hans
    7. the ice cream martinis at L’Artisan des Glaces

  • I knew this article would cause a flurry of comments when I saw the title. I loved the article .. When we come down from Canada with my family we always get a 10 day pass and I can’t lie one of my favourite days is when I have a few drinks at EPCOT. Is great that Disney has something for all ages. I agree Cava is amazing in service and an amazing spot just to hang out.The avocado margarita was great. Some people will always find something to be upset about and this is a classic example. There is no where that being a drunk is ok and this clearly isn’t the goal here. Even having a drink and a dessert in one country is an unforgettable event . I look forward to more of your articles.

  • Oh man, the Tangierine Café.

    Do you like coffee? Get their Tangierine Espresso. First time I got it, the wife and kids were waiting to see Aladdin and Jasmine outside (before they moved the meet and greet indoors.) I came back to the lineup with a coffee in this little plastic coffee cup – it was just Triple Sec and espresso. But it smelled sooooo good, that 3 people in line asked me what it was. When I told them, about 6 people disappeared from the lineup to go bring one back. It tastes as good as it smells.

  • Changing gears here, but still on the food and wine festival, , I couldn’t help but notice that on Sept 25, 2015, TP predicts a “3” crowd level for Epcot. The lowest of the parks for that day… despite Epcot staying open until 10PM AND the fact that the food and wine festivals occurs that day, Not that I am doubting TP, and I know it is early on for Sept planning, but any chance anyone could explain that prediction? I would h ave assumed that with the longer hours and the F&W fest, Epcot would be the least recommended park for Sept 25, 2015.
    Thanks in advance.

  • Great article! And while I respect Gillian’s warning of the dangers of partaking in too much festivity, I think it’s hilarious that DisneyDad’s condescending, purely antagonistic trollery was so completely predictable!

    Anyway, like others, I gotta speak up for France here.
    Drink selection: Great wine list, unique slushes, good cocktails, ice cream martinis, and for the beer drinkers, Kronenbourg in a big souvenir mug. If it weren’t for the limited beer selection, I’d argue for a full 5 points, but I think the variety and uniqueness still merit 4/5.
    Drink availability: in addition to the 2 sit-downs (which I know are outside the scope of scoring this), you’ve got Boulangerie-Patisserie, Artisans des Glaces, the wine cart, the crepe shack, and wine flights or by the glass at the wine store. That’s certainly more options than in UK. At least 4/5 for France, but probably should be 5.
    Atmosphere/Immersion: The French gardens are probably not quite as nice as the British or Japanese ones, and the architecture and immersion aren’t quite as strong as Italy, Morocco, or Mexico, but the island by the International Gateway gives France some points (even though it’s not actually in the pavilion, but the same could be said for the railroad “in” Germany). At any rate, it sure beats Norway and the US, and probably a few others depending on personal taste. At least 2/5 for France.
    Food: I know Boul.-Pat. is pretty high on this site’s counter-service hierarchy, as is the ice-cream place. And let’s not forget the crepes. 4/5 for France seems conservative.
    Entertainment: Mariachi Cobre or Sbandieratori < Serveur Amusant < all the options in the UK. I also think any pavilion with an Agent P adventure should get credit here, since it's a great way to spend time like a kid as you enjoy your adult beverage. That gives an extra boost over Italy and Morocco. 4/5 seems fair.

    That's a total of at least 18 points, but I'd argue for 5's in food and availability, and maybe another point in atmosphere. That puts France in a tie for #4 at worst, and into the 3 spot at best.

    Go ahead, tell me where I went wrong. 🙂

  • by T.J. Van Fechtmann on February 12, 2015, at 11:09 pm EST

    Thanks for your comments everybody! As for the France pavilion, I love it! It was number 6 on my list and just missed out. At the end of the day, it just came down to personal preference. Glad to see everyone coming in with their own rankings though. They’ve definitely made me want to try some different things the next time I go.

  • by Gregory Germain on February 19, 2015, at 9:23 am EST

    This post makes me sick. Disney and Epcot are places that bring out the child in everyone and I love taking my kids there. The problem is people like you that show up and go “around the world” drinking and then start puking everywhere. TJ, you are the problem with America and kids these days. When I was younger and prohibition was going on, this country was at it’s best but now kids are allowed to parade around Disney drinking and smoking dope without any repercussions. FOR SHAME!