Epcot is a park in transition as Future World continues to be reimagined. What remains a lighthouse for the park is the back half, World Showcase. Made up of 11 pavilions that represent countries from around the world, this area is Walt Disney World’s most adult aspect of a theme park. There’s food and drinks, shows, shops, exhibits, and attractions sprinkled throughout the pavilions. In this post, we’re going to rank the 11 pavilions from worst to first, discussing why each country falls where it does.
This is a website on the internet so we love ranking things even when there’s no reason to. While you could certainly use this as a guide on which pavilion to spend the most time in, we’d still recommend spending time in each pavilion. while you may take it as overly positive, there truly isn’t a pavilion that I dislike. Instead it’s just pavilions I like more than others.
Obviously, the rankings are subjective as I likely have different architectural, dining and entertainment tastes than you. I do try to see past that and look into the quality over personal preference but there’s only so much one can do. At the very least, we can all agree that the Three Caballeros are a worldwide treasure, right? Right?!!? Anyway, if you disagree with the rankings or, better yet, if you think they are perfect, then please let me know in the comments!
Before diving into the rankings, I should say that little areas like International Gateway or The Outpost aren’t included in the rankings. They would end up last due to not having much at all in them. The Outpost does have some cool items though! Let’s get to the rankings, going from 11 down to 1.
Germany is a small pavilion although it has plenty of charm, with a beautiful clock tower and interesting paintings on the different buildings. On top of that, Biergarten and Karamell-Kuche have strong followings. While the sausages, caramels and pretzels are delicious, Germany suffers for a lack of depth. There are no streets to wander in the pavilion because it’s so small. The shops aren’t particularly interesting, at least to me, either. If you include the miniature train station beside it as a part of the pavilion then I might move it up a spot or two.
Canada does have a table-service restaurant, decent movie and some absolutely gorgeous architecture. The castle along with the beautiful waterfall in the back and the Victoria Gardens replica in the front make for one of the prettier pavilions. That’s all despite it being a straight walk through. Although it’s overpriced, we do like Le Cellier and Canada Far and Wide is a decent World Showcase movie, although I like others more. The Canada Pavilion could really use a counter-service restaurant and a little more character to it.
9. The American Adventure
The American Adventure is far different from the other pavilions because it’s essentially based on an attraction. That’s why the pavilion has a different name than the others. The attraction is spectacular even 40 years later, with amazing animatronics and an engineering system that is still impressive. Building a Better Mouse is a great book to read to learn more about it! Regal Eagle Smokehouse is a big improvement on the previous counter-service restaurant, offering good barbecue. That’s about all the pavilion offers though and the architecture is maybe the least interesting of all the pavilions.
Italy is an impressive pavilion architecturally, looking massive and beautiful. Unlike a few other pavilions, the Italy Pavilion isn’t symmetrical with the giant tower and different building heights. Once inside the pavilion, the ‘wow’ factor kind of wears off. Outside of some stunning art pieces and restaurants, there’s nothing of substance in the pavilion. Of course, no one’s complaining about Italian food. Via Napoli is a solid restaurant and there’s some great wine spots. But adding an attraction or something immersive inside of the pavilion would do wonders. One of my favorite parts of Italy in Epcot is the bridge across the promenade that offers stunning views of both the pavilion and Spaceship Earth.
7. United Kingdom
If these rankings were broken down into tiers, UK is a jump up from the bottom 4 and in the second tier. This is one of the most imaginative pavilions architecturally as the buildings reflect how the UK has changed over the years. It’s very pretty and wandering that street is a treat, especially at night. I like the maze and gardens in the back of the pavilion, as well. The tea shop is a unique addition and Rose & Crown is one of World Showcase’s better table-service restaurants. Negatives here include the pavilion not having an attraction and the counter-service spot, Yorkshire County Fish Shop, although others like it more than I do. In all, the UK pavilion has more depth than any pavilion we’ve talked about so far.
Character abounds in Norway, as the pavilion feels scaled back yet unique. The Stave Church building is absolutely beautiful and the exhibit inside is usually pretty interesting, as it rotates seasonally. Both the table-service and counter-service restaurant are decent, although there are better places to eat in World Showcase. Frozen Ever After is fairly divisive but it is an attraction at least. The building facades and waterfall are gorgeous and, despite a lack of walking room, the pavilion thrives because of that.
China’s replica of the Temple of Heaven is one of my favorite buildings in World Showcase, with gardens and ponds lining the walkway to it. Once inside, there’s exhibits and Reflections of China, a beautiful short film. The Dragon Legend Acrobats typically perform at the pavilion and are one of the best shows in the park. Unfortunately, the dining here is lackluster but the rest of the pavilion excels.
We’ve reached the top tier and I think you could make a case for 2-4 to be in any order. Mexico is a stunning pavilion which is mostly inside, save for a couple of restaurants on the other side of the promenade. The rest of the pavilion resides in a pyramid, starting with a rotating exhibit before moving into a marketplace. There’s a wonderful tequila bar and interesting shops inside of the stunning market. There’s also a good table-service restaurant in San Angel Inn and an underrated ride featuring the Three Caballeros. Whether drinking a margarita or shopping for trinkets, the Mexico Pavilion is a wonderful place to hang out.
While not featuring an attraction, the Japan Pavilion has plenty to do. With a giant torii gate in the water outside of the pavilion, the architecture and meticulous gardens make Japan especially unique. The Massive Pagoda where Matsuriza (drummers) perform is an exciting entrance to the open pavilion. That’s followed up by a koi pond and winding gardens, which is one of my favorite places to sit and relax in Disney World. There are several restaurants, including Tokyo Dining and the counter-service restaurant, Katsura Grill. Spending some time in the Bijutsu-kan Gallery, enjoying the exhibit, and Mitsukoshi Department Store are also must-do’s.
Of all the pavilions, Morocco has the most depth as the streets wind back into small shops and stunning art. When built, the King of Morocco commissioned this project and there are more stories about the pavilion then we can tell in this little blurb. The brickwork is gorgeous and I love the fountain in the pavilion’s courtyard. There are several places to eat here and a little exhibit. Where Morocco really excels though is the winding streets and unique shops. Don’t take the pavilion at face value, keep exploring!
At this point, it isn’t really fair that the France Pavilion just keeps adding more. The new Ratatouille and Creperie addition are slightly more whimsical than the rest of the pavilion, although the romantic feeling of Paris abounds throughout. Impressions de France, although only shown at night, remains my favorite attraction in World Showcase. Winding back into the original France Pavilion leads to an outstanding ice cream shop and bakery. There are several shops to explore. Chefs de France has a lot of character and beauty to it, along with good food. There’s also a signature dining spot, as well as some interesting art pieces throughout. On quantity alone, France is easily the best pavilion. Thankfully, much of that quantity is also full of quality as the pavilion has excellent restaurants and the two best attractions in World Showcase. There’s also beautiful design and architecture to consume. It’s a perfect place to end an evening at Epcot!
What are your favorite pavilions in World Showcase? Let us know, along with any questions you might have, in the comments! If you are planning a trip to Disney World, then check out our planning guide. If you enjoy what you are reading here on Wandering in Disney please share this post with your friends, as well as like our social media pages. You can also subscribe to the blog via WordPress or email. You can do all of that on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!
Categories: Top 10 Lists