Drinking Around the World

Friday, August 05, 2011

Let me ask you a question.  If you could find some of your favorite worldly alcoholic beverages in one place would you visit that place often?  Just think there would be no need to hop a plane to get to each destination to enjoy these beverages.  What if I said you could enjoy these drinks in an atmosphere conducive to the beverage you are enjoying?  Sounds like a great place to visit, eh?  Over at EPCOT’s World Showcase you can enjoy Drinking Around the World not only by yourself or with your family, but you can also enjoy this activity with friends. 

Most of you know what Drinking Around the World means, but for those of you who are new to this concept let me explain what this event is all about.  EPCOT’s World Showcase is broken up into 11 countries around the World Showcase Lagoon.  Each country or pavilion represents itself with a specific menu of drink items you can choose from which the country is famous for developing.  For instance, in the Canada pavilion you will find Labatt’s Blue on tap, which is a Canadian brewed pilsner at a cart as you enter the pavilion.  Of course, there are other drinks to choose from, but the main idea is the beverage is relative to the country.  Groups of individuals and friends will walk around World Showcase and sample some of these different drinks in a social manner. 

Drinking around World Showcase as a group is not a new concept.  Some may think this activity recently started not too long ago.  This is simply not true.  Drinking Around the World really got started back in the 1980’s after Disney World guests embraced EPCOT’s theme and understood World Showcase was more than just a world’s fair.  As Drinking Around the World evolved as an activity it has become more popular over the years.  Groups of friends and even family enjoy sampling what World Showcase has to offer.  This holds true for food as well.  Some call this Snacking Around the World or Eating Around the World.  Others love combining the two.  This is often called Sipping and Snacking Around the World.  As you can see there are many ways to experience the atmosphere, food, and drink around World Showcase. 

Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to participate in several Drink Around the World events.  This includes large and small groups of friends.  Even my wife and I have spent an afternoon strolling around the World Showcase promenade sampling different alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.  Truth be told drinking around the world is a very flexible activity.  In other words, you can make this experience as detailed or loose as you would like.  For most of the DATW events I’ve attended we’ve started in Canada or Mexico and our larger group seemed to break up into smaller sub-groups.  Some of the sub-groups moved faster through the countries while others moved slower, but we all ended up in the same place at the end of our event.  In most cases our DATW events ended with our larger group enjoying EPCOT’s fireworks extravaganza Illuminations:  Reflections of Earth.  As you could imagine watching Illuminations after a DATW event can be somewhat emotional and the end to a very magical evening. 

What are some of the advantages of DATW with a group of friends?  Well, besides the company you can learn a thing or two.  I’ve been introduced to some drinks I never knew existed inside World Showcase.  This includes a shot of Limoncello in the Italy pavilion.  Even better, you can share your opinions about specific drinks with each other.  This will give you ideas what to try during your next visit to World Showcase. 

As far as planning your DATW event make sure to keep a few things in mind.  It’s better to start at one end of World Showcase and work your way around to the other end.  Ideally, you’ll want to start in the Canada or Mexico pavilions.  Make sure to pick and communicate your specific meeting location.  Another good planning tip is to think about the timing of your event.  World Showcase tends to be the busiest in the evening; however the best time for a DATW event is late afternoon into the evening.  EPCOT usually closes after Illuminations around 9:00PM.  Make sure you plan the start of your DATW event early enough so your group can get through all of the pavilions before the park closes.  You may want to consider having your DATW experience when EPCOT has evening Extra Magic Hours.  It will give you 3 more hours after the regular park closing to get through World Showcase.  Also, consider purchasing a Disney gift card before starting your Drink Around the World adventures.  It’s much quicker to use a Disney gift card and you won’t have to fumble through money to pay for drinks as you move from pavilion to pavilion.  Disney gift cards are also more convenient during the EPCOT Food & Wine festival. 

There are several different drinks for you to enjoy as you stroll through World Showcase.  Here are some good recommendations I’ve discovered or some friends have shared with me that I found to be great!  Most of these drinks range in price from $8 to $11. 

CanadaPavilion – Labatt’s Blue on tap 

United Kingdom Black & Tan inside the Rose & Crown Pub

France Grand Marnier Orange Slush (of course)

Japan Sake

America Sam Adams Seasonal on tap

Italy Limoncello

Germany German beer flight with a soft pretzel 

Mexico Classic Margarita with salt inside La Cava del Tequila

Now that we’ve covered the highlights of drinking around the world let’s briefly discuss responsible drinking.  With so many pavilions to visit and so many drinks to choose from it can be easy to get carried away.  Remember, there are other guests with different agendas walking through World Showcase.  They are trying to enjoy their evening just like you.  You don’t want to be the one garnering everyone’s attention and spoiling an evening for someone else.  Make sure you incorporate responsible drinking habits as you trek through World Showcase.  Know your limits, especially if your travels back home or to your resort hotel include driving a car.  Drinking Around the World is a fun activity, but it can quickly become disappointing if you are not careful or responsible as you consume alcohol.  If you are in a group make sure each of you are watching out for one another.  Don’t be afraid to be a designated driver or remind someone of their drinking responsibilities.  It could make the difference between an enjoyable evening versus a disappointing evening. 

EPCOT is full of fun experiences and certainly one of the most unique activities is drinking and eating around World Showcase, especially during the Food & Wine festival that takes place each October.  It’s a great activity with friends, families, and couples.  You’ll find it’s a bonding experience as you share spirits from around the globe.  The next time you find yourself planning a day in EPCOT make sure to consider planning an evening strolling the World Showcase promenade with friends.  It’s a great way to make memories and share time together without a whole lot of stress.  Cheers! 

Next Up:   There’s never enough time in the day at Walt Disney World. 

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About this column

Aaron DelPrince looks at the various activities you and your family can experience at Walt Disney World


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