It’s easy to be intimidated by the business of Disney World or Disneyland. There are gobs of people everywhere and a simple walk around the parks can turn into a game of ‘Human Bumper-Cars’. We’re starting a series for people who want to find places away from all of the crowds. Places to relax, take in the scenery and soak in the Disney details are a must for me while I’m at a Park. We’re looking forward to sharing some of those places with you.
World Showcase in Epcot is one of my favorite places in all of the Disney Parks. Changes have come and continue to come to the countries (I’m looking at you Norway), but the general feel of World Showcase remains. There is an amazing amount of detail, small hidden paths, and culture in that area that spans a little over a mile long. Oh, and food. Lots of food. With all that being said, that place is hot and crowded. If you catch World Showcase during the Food & Wine Festival, you’ll be ready for a break from the drunk frat-boys (no offense, fraternity brothers) and screaming children before you reach your second country. So, we’ll take a trip over to the Japan Pavilion to try to break free from the crowds.
As you reach the Japan Pavilion, you are met by the bright red torii gate that rests on the shore of the lagoon. Take in the views of the lagoon, Spaceship Earth, and the other pavilions and then head back into the pavilion.
Now, Japan’s Pavilion itself is pretty crowded. There is the Mitsukoshi Department Store on the right. This is one of the biggest stores in Epcot and it is usually crowded. Instead of heading there, we’ll head up to the left past the blue roof pagoda. Here is where we meet our calm away from the busy walkways.
After you pass the pagoda, you run into several paths that wander up a few stairs and pass some beautiful ponds and gardens. As you can see, there are koi fish in one of the biggest ponds there. There’s flowers, lanterns, rustic bridges and rocks.
This is known as a hill garden, as there are several different levels (almost like terraces). As you reach the summit of this little hill, on your right is the Katsura Grill. If it were me, I would go inside and order some teriyaki. I love food. Melissa and I ate at this place last time we were at Epcot and we really enjoyed it. Anyway, once you grab your food (or don’t) go back outside and eat as you watch and listen to the little waterfall and streams slowly move down the hill. There’s a great sitting area outside of the restaurant and it isn’t often busy. To me, sitting out at this location was one the most peaceful moment of our latest vacation.
There are a few roaming paths in this area. I recommend walking through all of them. It hardly takes any time at all, but soak in the detail. In Japanese culture, gardening is a precise art. Every item in the garden has an exact placement that symbolizes a certain meaning. It’s this precision that gives off the peaceful feeling from the garden.
After the teriyaki or sushi has been finished and the breath has been caught, head back down the wandering paths. Refreshed, you should be able to make it the rest of World Showcase. Or maybe you should just make it to the next country where you stop for Baklava (Morocco) or Funnel Cake (America)