SATURDAY SIX: The Six Most Interesting, Most Unusual, and Strangest Souvenirs in EPCOT’s World Showcase
This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at the Six Most Interesting, Most Unusual, and Strangest Souvenirs in Epcot’s World Showcase. After last week’s article on the Six Best Snacks in World Showcase, we’re going stay in the same area and look at another underrated part of Epcot; all the unique gift shops. This is the one theme park in Orlando, if not the world, where you will not find the same old stuff. Outside of the Norway Pavilion, it’s pretty much impossible to find any Frozen merchandise and you will have to go to Future World if you want the Disney Parks merchandise you will usually see at the other parks, Disney resorts, or Disney Springs. It’s a breath of fresh air and there are so many incredible items throughout World Showcase. However today we are not going to look at those. Instead we are going to look in the nooks and crannies and find the six most interesting, unusual, and strangest items starting with….
# 6 – Panda Sitting On a Toilet (China Pavilion)
While World Showcase is filled my with great shopping experiences, by far and away my favorite area to browse is at the Yong Feng Shangdian Department Store in the China Pavilion. It is a gigantic store packed with some of the coolest and most unusual in all of WDW. Wall of actual swords? CHECK. Intricately designed wooden ships? CHECK. Jade sculptures? Gorgeous Chinese dresses? Paper fans and chop sticks? All here. This is a store you could spend the better part of an hour just walking through and checking everything out. It also may contain the most amount of panda related items in Florida. Panda stuffed animals, keychains, coffee mugs, earmuffs… you name it, this store has it. The greatest of all panda items is this Panda Siting on a Toilet toy. Who knows why it could possibly exist, but aren’t you glad it does?
Speaking of animals, the China Pavilion is also your go-to place if you’re looking to get a new wardrobe for your small dog. Socks, collars, silk Kimono robes, and – yes – even an outfit to make your dog cosplay as a panda. If you ever wanted Fido to dress better than your favorite theme park blogger, Epcot is the place for you.
# 5 – Camel Shirt (Morocco Pavilion)
In our monthly the Magic, the Memories, and Merch Disney Outlet Reports, I give a lot of grief to the Disney shirts which have a great looking face shot of a character on the front and then you turn the shirt around to see the back of the character sticking themselves through the shirt. This camel shirt takes it to the next level though. That said, I think Morocco is hands down the most underrated Pavilion in World Showcase. It is visually stunning and – for me – the only one that feels like I’m walking into a completely different environment as I explore it. Granted my world view is shaped by movies, but the Morocco Pavilion makes me feel like I am shopping in Aladdin‘s Agrabah marketplace or am about to turn the corner and see Indiana Jones shoot a swordsman. We buy a lot of gifts for our family at the stores in this area including incense and traditional Moroccan clothing.
# 4 – Hockey Player Maple Syrup Bottle (Canada Pavilion)
We in America have Mrs. Butterworth syrup bottles while Canada has ones in the shape of hockey players… seems about right (although now I want to know what type of bottles the Japanese would use. Don’t ruin my dream of a sumo wrestler or Hello Kitty syrup bottle.) Available at the Trading Post in the Canada Pavilion, these Hockey Players are just one item of a wall of maple syrup and maple candy options. Only thing missing is that flask we saw in Elf for those who follow the standard North Pole food groups of candy, candy canes, candy corn, and syrup. After enjoying the lumberjack show nearby, here is where you can get lumberjack clothing. The stores in Canada are also the only place within the Disney parks where you can buy official NHL merchandise (although to be fair, the American Adventure should have a sports section called “The Bandwagon Corner” which would currently be selling Tampa Bay Lightning merchandise.) We’re sorry to report there are no Martin Short items available, but the good news is that there is no Justin Bieber ones either, so it all works out in the end.
Bonus points to the Canada Pavilion for having a Tervis shot glass. Whaaaaaat?!
# 3 – Guinness Candy (UK Pavilion)
We love gong to the UK Pavilion to get a drink at Rose & Crown, with a pint of Guinness being one of our favorites, so imagine our surprise finding you can find Guinness candy located just steps away? The shops within the Pavilion have an interesting mix of items including clothing themed to The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and the BBC version of Sherlock Holmes (which gets my highest possible recommendation) along with other pieces of merchandise themed to the English royalty and professional soccer. Need kitchenware to serve your own version of English tea? Here’s your one stop place to go in Walt Disney World.
# 2 – Disney Character Items in Mexico Pavilion
Walking into the Mexico Pavilion’s Aztec temple is one of the coolest experiences at Epcot. As the area opens up you get to see the San Angel Inn in the back, La Cava on your right, and various Mexican vendor carts filled with items directly in front of you. Thanks to the Day of the Dead celebration in Mexico, this area actually has more skull related items than Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights, but also some fun photo opportunities with huge sombreros and authentic ponchos. While we mentioned earlier that World Showcase shops in general aren’t filled with Disney characters, the La Princesa de Cristal shop does have a bunch of high end options. Presented by Arribas Brothers, who have an even larger store at Disney Springs, here is where you can buy an $815 Duffy the Disney Bear that is about as large as your index finger.
# 1 – A $400 Fly Statue (China Pavilion)
We end where we started, back at the Yong Feng Shangdian Department Store. The artwork and statues throughout the store are an attraction in and of themselves, but amidst the stunning displays are some items that may leave you shaking your head, such as this $429 fly. There are many spiritual items in the store, and animals play a large part of Chinese culture. In fact one of my favorite things in the store is the shirts and other merchandise related to the Chinese Zodiac (I am a Year of the Ox, represent!) I’m not exactly sure how respected flies are in the Chinese culture, but I still think I’d spend my money on a dragon statue.
HONORABLE MENTION: Pickle Ornaments (Germany Pavilion)
I have been informed by several members of the SATURDAY SIX staff that the pickle ornaments in the Germany Pavilion are, in fact, not weird. They stem from a German tradition in which children were rewarded for finding the pickle ornament hidden within their Christmas Tree. This practice would encourage children on Christmas morning to not just devour their presents under the tree, but instead to take a moment and appreciate the ornaments on the tree.
After careful consideration, I am here to debunk this tradition.
As a red blooded American, I spent much of my time as a kid going through high-sugar cereal boxes looking for the free toy inside. This did not make me appreciate the cereal surrounding the toy, and – if anything – annoyed me. Every kid knows that unwrapping the presents is the highlight of Christmas morning, it’s what we literally waited all year for. Wasting our time by having us go on a recon mission before opening up the gifts? Sorry, the pickle ornament tradition is just your grandparent’s version of an ad you have to watch before a YouTube video.
DOUBLE SECRET HONORABLE MENTION: Personal Massager (Japan Pavilion)
This hand held massager is quite possibly the most photographed item in World Showcase, at least by #Millenials on Instagram. The main gift shop in the Japan Pavilion is the Mitsukoshi Department Store and sells some of the coolest items in the entire park. Named after one of the oldest stores in Japan (original was founded in 1673, or one year after Disney announced Avatarland at Animal Kingdom) the store is one part pop culture explosion mixed with tradition Japanese items. Here you will find Godzilla, Transformers, and Power Rangers toys, but also bonsai trees, Calligraphy brushes, and Japanese lanterns.
I remember going to Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom as a kid and one thing that fascinated me was seeing Astronaut Food. When I see freeze dried ice cream, well, I’m going to have to try it. As an adult it is harder and harder to find food items that bring that feeling of wonder when seeing them, but lo and behold right outside the Mitzukoshi super store, a cart at the Japan Pavilion delivered with prepared squid.
Be sure to stop into the store to see the selection of pearl jewelry and a neat opportunity to pick your own pearl from an oyster. An overlooked gem at the park with a very reasonable price.
So there you have it: The Six Most Interesting, Most Unusual, and Strangest Souvenirs in EPCOT’s World Showcase. See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! articles, or, for your listening pleasure, check out the Pardon the Pixie Dust podcast. You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan)
If you enjoyed this article, you will surely like the following:
The Six Best Meet and Greets at the Magic Kingdom
The Six Most Unique Dining Experiences at WDW
Six OUTRAGEOUS Food Items at WDW
Six Theme Park Questions for the Magic 8 Ball
Special Thanks to crack staff photographer Brandon Glover and Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. Be sure to also check out Brandon on The Park Blogger podcast with co-hosts Aengus Mackenzie and Brian Carey.
FINAL PLUG! Did you know The Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando has a special edition of the SATURDAY SIX in it? Finally, someone came up with an actual reason to read a book. PRE-ORDER this baby now! (For every copy sold, a percentage of the profits* go towards buying a DVD of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train rap video.)
40 thoughts on “SATURDAY SIX: The Six Most Interesting, Most Unusual, and Strangest Souvenirs in EPCOT’s World Showcase”
Wow, you are way less witty than you think.
SATURDAY SIX guarantees 100% reader satisfaction or your money back, no questions asked.
Whoa, turn it down a notch, Johnny.
I liked the article, Derek and I’m checking out those Tervis shot glasses next trip!
There’s no harm done BearsMom. A theme park blogger who can’t take criticism won’t last long. Besides, the SATURDAY SIX is an acquired taste, one some people never acquire (much like prepared squid snacks.)
Wow, simmer down Johnny. I think Thumper has some words of wisdom for you.
Aurora looks like one of Cinderella’s wicked stepsisters!
The story of the German Christmas pickle is actually a myth. No one in Germany has ever heard of this “tradition.” It seems to have been invented in America in the 19th century. The more you know.
Sounds like it is time for a special SATURDAY SIX investigative report.
Yes, I can confirm Stevens post.
I’m from Germany and we don’t have pickles on our Christmas tree. Last time we were in Orlando I was tempted to buy one of them, so that you can find a pickle on one German Christmas tree.
I’m American, but my Polish grandmother always had a pickle on the tree. Maybe they just got the wrong country?
And “christmas morning” is wrong. In Germany you unwrap the presents on the evening of 24th december. I am german, too, no one does the pickle thing here. Funny is: if you try to search for a pickle and christmas tree (Gurke + Weihnachtsbaum) on google you find the same story as an American tradition 🙂
I used to travel to Munich several times a year for work, which I loved since Munich is such a beautiful city. I once discovered a Christmas themed store in the touristy area next to city hall. Having really enjoyed the times I could experience the Christmas markets in Germany, I went in hoping to see some of the charming Germany style Christmas ornaments and other items offseason. In the store I saw a Christmas tree decorated with pickle ornaments. So I struck up a conversation with the store owner, telling them I had heard of the German tradition of the Christmas pickle. They immediately told me there is no such tradition, or at least not in Bavaria. They only stocked the pickles for all of the American tourists asking for them.
I should add that the store owner also said that they heard that this myth originated from some American theme park, but they could not remember which one. 🙂
That’s awesome. We have a classic German Christmas market in Chicago, and the ornament stores (all of which are operated by German companies) stock trees of pickle ornaments. So funny that you don’t have them in Germany.
I’m from the UK and have never seen the Guinness candy truffles on sale anywhere, how did they end up in the UK Pavilion?
I swear if someone from Cancun or Mexico City says that no one there wears overly large sombreros I may never walk into World Showcase again.
And Arrendelle is not really in Norway. Also a myth…
(Not that you’re complaining, Jekylldog, but…)
I am *so sick* of people complaining that Arendelle is not really in Norway. Arendelle is clearly themed after Norway. People who complain about the Frozen attraction not belonging in the norway pavillion in Epcot (1) clearly don’t remember how STUPID the Maelstrom was, and (2) aren’t complaining that Morocco isn’t Agrabah, and yet you can meet Aladdin and Jasmine there.
Lighten up, Francis.
Guiness is from The Republic of Ireland.
Ireland is not part of the United Kingdom, just as Canada is not part of the United States.
Disney should know better.
To repeat what was stated by Darryl.
Guiness is from The Republic of Ireland. (The Republic of) Ireland is not part of the United Kingdom.
Northern Ireland is currently part of the UK, the Republic of Ireland is not. Guiness is from the Republic of Ireland.
Yes, Joe. You have accurately summarized the jist of Darryl’s comment and the Wiki article I posted! Huzzah
Japan only gets an honorable mention? They have got to get back on their game and out-weird the panda on the toilet.
You missed all the weird Japanese toiletries
Looks like a return trip is in order.
Great article as always Derek! I especially enjoyed the Tampa Bay bandwagon crack. I’m from Canada and while we have a respectable amount of supermarket shelf space devoted to various grades and brands of maple syrup, we don’t have bottles shaped like hockey players! I don’t know why as people would totally buy them. Hockey is used here in commercials to sell us trucks, beer, Canadian Tire, Tim Hortons, and is even used in election ads – putting it with maple syrup is genius. By the way, I anxiously awaiting a follow up article on how the panda on the toilet works.
Aurora looks like Miss Piggy.
I concur! (Whew. I thought it was only me.)
I don’t often comment, but I read every Saturday 6 and Magic, Memories, & Merch. installment. I find 80%+ of what you write to be witty. Please keep it up, and thank you for the entertainment. I would love to read a Disneyland version of either of your series, too.
I could not agree more with your praise of the BBC Sherlock show. We enjoy it so much that we cannot even bother to watch the American tv offering. It might have the same name, but it is not even comparable as a show.
There was supposed to be a wink after that “witty” comment.
I like it better without the winky face. Makes me think you conducted an in-depth scientific study (with graphs and charts) showing exactly what is witty and what falls straight on it’s face.
As for Disneyland…. are you sure California is ready for me? We may need to open up a vote on this subject.
I need to know what that panda on the toilet does and how much is it?!?! My 5 year old and I were cracking up and he has to have one. Love to read about Epcot world showcase. Thank you!! Can’t wait for the follow up.
The panda on a toilet was only $9.95. The China Pavilion’s gift shops are also one of the most child friendly of all as I think it has the highest amount of stuff they would like, including lots of plush and even puppets you play with right outside the main store.
There are a lot of solar toilet things in the office where I work, but since my boss is Japanese I assumed the toys were as well. The pickle thing is to Germany as Chow Mein is to China, made in America. http://german.about.com/library/blgermyth11.htm
Thanks again, Derek…for wit, wisdom, the money-back guarantee and the shout out for Sherlock!
After watching the first episode of Sherlock on DVD I was kicking myself so long for waiting, but then realized I was lucky as I got to binge the entire series over the course of a week. Was so happy. Now I’m just like everyone else and waiting for the next one. Just a brilliant take. Had no idea it was set in current day when I sat down and watched for the first time.
I was laughing out loud by the time I got to the double secret honorable mention. Perhaps Saturday Six is an acquired taste, or perhaps some people wouldn’t recognize sarcastic humor if it hit them in the face. It just happens to be my favorite kind of funny. Thanks for the great article.
My first thought was “the panda on the potty should be number 1”. Then I realized a better ranking would be number 2. Shame on y’all for missing an obvious pun.
The SATURDAY SIX only has a sophiscated level of humor. We are like a gag from The New Yorker while that joke is clearly a “Ziggy.”
I love reading the Saturday Six 🙂 I might be overthinking this… but to me the “fly” sculpture looks more like an ant in the shape of the head and body. Perhaps an internet entomologist could consult on the matter.