Chances are pretty good that you’ll visit the Germany pavilion in the World Showcase while enjoying everything the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival has to offer. So, here’s a suggestion for you: take a little time to stroll over to the miniature village between Germany and Italy where you can be transported to a faraway land in a more halcyon time while you snack on your pretzel-wrapped bratwurst and Schöfferhofer Wild Cherry Hefeweizen.
Leave the main walkway and take the stone path called “the Romantic Road” (look for the signs). Named after the Romantic Road that runs between the Würzburg and Füssen regions in Germany, the real deal passes through some of Germany’s most picturesque villages, mountains and forests. (Read more about it here: https://www.romanticroadgermany.com)
By taking this path, you’re ON the Romantic Road, walking from Füssen to Würzburg “through” a remarkable miniature village, complete with inhabitants, railways, and beautifully manicured landscape features, much like you would see in Germany.
This Bavarian Train Village made its debut at the 1995 EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival, and although its installation was intended to be only temporary, it proved to be such a popular attraction that it assumed a permanent place here.
The Village is modeled after a mid-century Bavarian town complete with town square, homes, shops, and churches. It’s set in an expansive countryside filled with trees, streams, and boulders on the mountains; tiny gardens and well-tended hedges also run throughout. Various little scenarios take place in the display, as well: you can see people in the village walking around, doing their shopping, running errands, their cars and trucks parked outside the stores, waiting for shoppers to complete their purchases. Peer through the windows and you’ll see what merchandise the shops have to offer.
A wide range of authentic Germany architectural styles are represented in the different buildings. For example, the downtown church is quite ornate with its beautiful spire, while the smaller white church tucked into the hillside is far more modest.
Imagineers decorate the village for celebrations including the Festival of the Arts and Flower and Garden (little banners are hung throughout the town) and the Food and Wine Festival (tiny stands selling food are set up). At Christmas, the streets and buildings are decorated in high style with wreathes and garland. And if you’re a highly observant repeat visitor, you may notice that the inhabitants (even the animals) “move” around the village – again the work of the Imagineers, who like to change things up periodically.
And then, of course, there is the main attraction: the trains. Each of three trains run on their own separate loop through and around the village, over bridges and streams and through tunnels out into the countryside and back again. The trains are G-scale Lehmann Gross Bahn models built with tremendous attention to detail. While a critic may remark that the trains are slightly out of proportion with the buildings and people, that doesn’t detract from the fun of watching them run their routes.
It would be easy to walk pass this intricate display, chalking it up as boring, but it’s worth remembering that Walt himself loved trains and would probably have thought of this little quiet spot as a favorite place to linger. Maybe you will too.
Are you a fan of the train display in Germany? Let us know what you think in the comments.