World Showcase, Epcot's second theme area, is an ongoing World's Fair encircling a picturesque 40-acre lagoon. The cuisine, culture, history, and architecture of almost a dozen countries are permanently displayed in individual national pavilions spaced along a 1.2-mile promenade. Pavilions replicate familiar landmarks and present representative street scenes from the host countries.

World Showcase features some of the most lovely gardens in the United States. Located in Germany, France, England, Canada, and to a lesser extent, China, they are sometimes tucked away and out of sight of pedestrian traffic on the World Showcase promenade. They are best appreciated during daylight hours, as a Clio, Michigan, woman explains:

Make sure to visit the World Showcase in the daylight in order to view the beautiful gardens. We were sorry that we did not do this because we were following the guide and riding the rides that we could have done later in the dark.

Unofficial Tip

If you do not want to spring for the Passport Kit, the Disney folks will be happy to stamp an autograph book or just about anything else (we saw one four-year-old with a stamp from France in the middle of his forehead).

Most adults enjoy World Showcase, but many children find it boring. To make it more interesting to children, most Epcot retail shops sell Passport Kits for about $10. Each kit contains a blank passport and stamps for every World Showcase country. As kids accompany their folks to each country, they tear out the appropriate stamp and stick it in the passport. The kit also contains basic information on the nations and a Mickey Mouse button. Disney has built a lot of profit into this little product, but I guess that isn't the issue. More importantly, parents, including this dad from Birmingham, Alabama, tell us the Passport Kit helps get the kids through World Showcase with a minimum of impatience, whining, and tantrums:

Adding stamps from the Epcot countries was the only way I was able to see all the displays with cheerful children.

Children also enjoy "Kidcot Fun Stops," a program designed to make World Showcase more interesting for the 5–12 crowd. So simple and uncomplicated that you can't believe Disney thought it up, the Fun Stops usually are nothing more than a large table on the sidewalk at each pavilion. Each table is staffed by a Disney cast member who stamps passports and supervises children in modest craft projects relating to the host country. Reports from parents about the Fun Stops have been uniformly positive.

The World Showcase offers some of the most diverse and interesting shopping at Walt Disney World. Boats ferry the foot-sore and the weary across the lagoon, although it's almost always less time to walk. Moving clockwise around the promenade, here are the nations represented and their attractions.

Related Blog Posts on World Showcase:
Epcot's Morocco and Me: A Love Story
Drinks of Walt Disney World Vol 3 - Germany
Drinks of Walt Disney World Vol 1 - United Kingdom
A Trip Around the World: Japan
A Trip Around the World: Mexico
A Trip Around the World: Norway
A Trip Around the World: China
A Trip Around the World: Germany
A Trip Around the World: Italy
A Trip Around the World: America
A Trip Around the World: France
A Trip Around the World: Canada
Holiday Storytellers Around World Showcase
Impressions de France is Better Than Soarin'

Attractions

Disney Dish with Jim Hill

Rooms With a World Showcase View

The next round of Disney's time-share resorts won't just be built near the theme parks, but inside them, giving Disney Vacation Club members the sort of access they've only dreamed about. The first of the next-generation resorts is supposedly slated for World Showcase, reportedly stretching from behind The American Adventure all the way over to Morocco.

Dining