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When Getting out of the Country Means Going to Epcot

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Channel your inner child with international fun by visiting Disney World’s Countries of Epcot

Spaceship Earth illuminated at night

When you can’t get out of the country for real, the next best place to go? Disney World! Specifically, the World Showcase at EPCOT (which stands for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow). This may seem a little silly, but I’ve never felt more worldly than when I peruse the streets of ‘Morocco‘ and stand in awe of the pagodas of ‘Tokyo.’

It really is a one-of-a kind experience, and one that I just couldn’t appreciate at age eight, when I first visited the theme park. Now, at age 20, I’ve found that wandering solo around this manmade melting pot of cultural assimilations is far more entertaining than riding Space Mountain eight times in a row. So, if you’re ever bound to go, here are five things you can do to broaden your worldview. Yeah, even Disney can do that.

1. Go to Ice Station Cool. Not only will you quench your thirst in the little hut/gift shop filled with Coca-Cola paraphernalia ranging from lunch boxes to glass bottles of soda, but you’ll also have the opportunity to try beverages from around the world. My personal preferences are Kinley Lemon from Israel and Mezzo Mix from Germany. The one I try even time even though I know I hate it: Beverly from Italy (it tastes more bitter than a bad beer). Don’t worry, the cups are small and no one will notice or even care if you pour it out.

France - Epcot
The France Pavilion

2. Then, get a crepe in France. Your experience will be heightened if you have a little fun talking with an accent. Don’t fret if you can’t pull a foreign accent off, though; the stranger you sound, the less people will ask where you’re from. In my personal experience, ordering a sugared crepe in a sort of British or Irish accent will confound anyone from the English speaking world  to  the point where they just won’t ask…but they’ll probably be curious enough to talk to you.

3. Once you have your crepe, walk the whole showcase. Walk in Canada’s blooming garden, walk in Norway’s quaint town square, and walk among the streams and koi ponds in Japan. I think I perused the showcase at least three times over and saw something new every time. It helps if you do this with an intentional smile upon your face. First of all, if alone, people will think “Wow, what an independent woman!” and secondly “She looks so happy. She has a crepe. I think I’ll have to get a crepe to be happy too.” (Just a little push to keep Disney alive.)

4. Don’t forget to watch the videos and go on the rides. Sure, “Oh, Canada” with Martin Short is corny and also panoramic (it might make you sick, beware) and the Viking simulation, all dark and cold, is rather frightening when you’re a child; but these provide escapism. Not that being in Florida isn’t enough of an escape already.

The American Adventure and Japan at Epcot

5. Finally when visiting each of the countries of Epcot, be sure to look and listen. The bevy of languages you will hear and people you will see is sure to astound you. When I was there, there were loads of Asians and a plentiful amount of Canadians, Europeans and Latin Americans. It’s bizarre to think that in a place like this, there’s more cultural diversity than in my whole hometown. Open your eyes and your ears…

… It is a small world after all!

*Photo credits: Benjamin D. Esham / Wikimedia Commons, p_a_hJason Pratt

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