Spring breakers tour the world through Epcot

I’m lucky enough to say that I have gone to Florida multiple times throughout my life, however during spring break I was given the chance to go to Disney’s Epcot for the first time. I was accompanied by my boyfriend and some of his family including his brother, his brother’s girlfriend and his aunt and uncle. Not only was this a chance at meeting some of his family, but it was an opportunity to learn more about different countries and cultures.

We started our walk through the World Showcase in the Mexico pavilion where we were greeted by snack booths and a statue of Miguel and Dante from Disney’s “Coco.” We ended up stopping at the Jardin de Fiestas booth where I tried the “taco vampiro.” It was braised beef on a corn tortilla with grilled Monterey Jack cheese and salsa ranchera. The crispiness of the grilled cheese was delightful and the perfect way to start our journey.

The Mexico pavilion is known for its towering pyramid that contains shops, some history of Día de Muertos, restaurants and a fun ride with the three caballeros. The inside was modeled to look like a market square with the room lit by dim lanterns and the back wall decorated to look like a starry sky.

Up next was the Norway pavilion where I freaked upon seeing multiple trolls. Their gift shop had small troll figurines for all occasions and, in the middle, an enormous troll statue that you could pose with. Had he been real, he would have been able to pick me up in his giant hand!

Striking a pose with the giant troll in Epcot’s Norway pavilion. Photo by Peyton Bortner

They also had a room you could walk through to learn more about Norse mythology. In the middle of the room was a column with four Norse figures carved into the wood: Thor, Loki, Odin and Freya. There were also relics enclosed in glass cases along the walls and signs with information about Viking history.

Following Norway was the China pavilion. We swung by the Lotus House booth where I snacked on their house-made cheesy crab wontons and found that they were heavenly. They only serve three in one portion, but they are so packed with the cream cheese mixture that three is enough.

We made our way through a garden area that included shrubs trimmed to look like pandas as well as a line of pedestals holding sculptures of the Lunar New Year animals. Apparently, being born in the year of the horse, I’d be most successful as an adventurer, scientist, poet or politician. Talk about a wide range!

Afterwards, we journeyed through the Italy pavilion where we walked through the gift shops. We found ourselves in a room full of beautifully crafted masks. They were works of art, with signs all over the room warning us that our oily fingers alone could tarnish the quality. There was one mask I loved because it reminded me of one of the door knockers from “Labyrinth.”

From Italy, we made our way to the Japan pavilion where we walked through the Kawaii Museum. “Kawaii” means cute in Japanese and denotes a subculture of Japan. The walls were lined with icons like Hello Kitty and Rilakkuma, and they even displayed a sample apartment where most of the furniture aligned with the aesthetic. My favorite was the “My Neighbor Totoro” bathroom accessories.

Finally, we visited the France pavilion where we went on the Ratatouille ride. We sat in a cart and followed Remy as we tried to escape the humans. We were taken into multiple areas with giant screens where we watched scenes unfold, pulling us into the experience. What made this ride even more interesting was that there were no tracks! The carts used technology where they had a mapped-out route programmed.

As the night came to an end, we stopped to watch the beautiful fireworks display. Songs from various beloved Disney movies blasted throughout the area as the sky was lit up including “Arabian Nights,” “Hakuna Matata” and “Dig a Little Deeper.”

The trip was overall, cheesy enough, full of magic. If you have a chance in the future to visit Epcot, I highly recommend it. Also, try the crab wontons… they’re fantastic.



Featured photo by Peyton Bortner