Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Mouse Is In The Details: The Nooks Of World Showcase

So many times at Walt Disney World we're running. Running from one attraction to another. Running to an ADR. Running to catch Wishes. Running to get in line at the Character Spot. Running to get the best seat possible at Fantasmic. Running to the bathroom.

And while it is necessary to boogie sometimes, at times it's just better to...chill. Relax. Take in the little things that separate The Mouse from most all other forms of entertainment. One of the great things about the product Walt Disney World provides is their attention to detail; it is the single most important factor in their theming.

This is why I love World Showcase at Epcot so much. Sure, is has great restaurants (Les Chefs de France, Biergarten, San Angel Inn, etc.). It has great live entertainment (Voices of Liberty, Off Kilter, Dragon Acrobats, etc.). And it has great shows (Illuminations, American Adventure). They even have a great, old-school, classic EPCOT Center attraction (Maelstrom).

But more than anything, World Showcase is wonderful for its detail. The little things that are hidden away that aren't immediately apparent. They may take a little digging and exploring to find...but when you find them, it helps you to appreciate just how special and unique a place this is. And these are some of the best places in Walt Disney World to take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy.

These nooks and crannies of World Showcase are too many to count. So we'll start with just a few of our favorites:

Canadian Rockies Waterfalls & Bridge, Canada Pavilion

This is an easy one to miss. Most everyone can see the Canadian Rockies jutting up high at the back of the Canada pavilion. But not everyone has taken the bridge path at the base of these mountains where beautiful waterfalls rain down in mesmerizing fashion into the stream that leads out toward the Queen Victoria Gardens. It's also easy to skip if you take the left down the stairs at the top of the pavilion on your way to the O, Canada! 360 degree movie. The movie empties out into the far end of the bridge and leads out past Le Cellier. But if you decide that at the top of the pavilion to take the right down the stairs toward the mountain waterfalls, you can find this gem.

Mask Shop, Italy Pavilion

This is artistry at an incredibly high level. The Venetian masks sold at this little shop which is tucked away inside the Italy pavilion can be mind-blowing and breathtaking. Even if you don't lay down a pretty penny to take one home, just admiring the incredible detail and beauty of these masks is a wonderful, and hidden, experience.

Tomb Warriors Exhibit, China Pavilion

Just to the left of the massive Temple Of Heaven in the China pavilion is a large room hosting an amazing exhibit: Tomb Warriors, Guardian Spirits Of Ancient China. This can't miss attraction is actually easy to miss, so don't overlook it. I love the sense of authentic ancient history this exhibit exudes. This is what the plaque reads describing the warriors:

"Tomb Warriors - Qin Dynasty (221 - 210 B.C.). These tomb warriors were intended to be the protectors of the emperor beyond the grave. Because nearly all the faces of the tomb warriors are unique, some archaeologists believe that the figures were modeled after real soldiers. Many other emperors followed Qin's example and created their own special armes. One tomb even provided a mess hall for the convenience of the terracotta statues."

Other ancient artifacts spanning China's history line the walls of the exhibit room. This place is amazing. Don't forget to stop and smell this incredible rose.

Japanese Garden, Japan Pavilion

I've mention this place before in previous articles - the Japanese garden that resides behind the massive temple in the Japan pavilion is one of the most serene, beautiful and peaceful spots in all of Walt Disney World. And because it's hidden behind that huge temple, it's easy to overlook. Stroll the garden over little bridges, admire the koi fish pond, take in the gentle sounds of the bamboo trees creaking as it compliments the low bubble of the small waterfalls found throughout this lush and hidden garden. Beautiful.

Marketplace of Morocco, Morocco Pavilion

Talk about a feeling of authenticity. The Morocco pavilion is not only one of the most beautiful of the 11 that surround World Showcase Lagoon, but it is perhaps the pavilion that enables you to feel most like you are literally in that country. You can get lost in the marketplace and winding paths that create this phenomenal pavilion. Everything from the cross-hatched roofs (as shown above), which create beautiful light and shadow, to the architecture of the front entrance of Restaurant Marrakesh, the subtle detail of this pavilion is almost unmatched in Walt Disney World. Get lost in here and enjoy.

There are many more spots like these dotted throughout World Showcase. And whether you're strolling the Showcase under beautiful, bright sunlight or during the more romantic glow of the evening, there are plenty of incredible little places to find and explore.


  1. I had never truly experienced the China pavilion until last January. Ironically, it was Kim Possible that made us stop and enjoy it! We ended up doing to KP missions in China and each mission was slightly different.

    On our July trip, we explored Morocco and it really does seem authentic! It was so quiet in the back of the 'pavilion' even though the park was packed.

    We'll have to check out the Japanese garden in November - thanks!

  2. You're welcome! And isn't KP fun? I was pleasantly surprised by the whole thing. I thought China was a best country, by the way - the kids loved it because of the fortune cookie. ;)