Disney Monorail at Epcot © WDW
Epcot’s Soarin’, a hang-glider simulator ride over breathtaking California, is the most popular attraction in Walt Disney World. Make it your first stop in the Future World when the gates open or get a Fastpass from the machines adjacent to the entrance as wait times can be as long as 90 minutes. (A Fastpass ticket allows you to return at a designated window of time and skip the line.) A must for “Finding Nemo” fans is The Seas with Nemo & Friends, where a ride in a clamobile takes you underwater to see the clownfish, Crush, Mr. Ray and Squirt frolicking among corals and anemones. Next door is Turtle Talk with Crush, where the surfer dude sea turtle appears on a screen and conducts a real Q&A with the audience—guaranteed to make you laugh. In the World Showcase, you can learn about the featured countries as each pavilion has a small attraction. Circle-Vision films show off the geographic beauty of China and Canada; boat rides in Mexico and Norway take you on a cultural trip with music and storytelling.
In the World Showcase every pavilion has stores stocked with authentic merchandise from the designated country. Top picks include Japan’s Mitsukoshi Department Store, where you’ll find Hello Kitty accessories, sake sets, kimonos, pearls, Japanese art and more; and Germany’s Der Teddybar, home to a collection of Teddy bears and Rapunzel and Snow White dolls. Other boutiques sell cuckoo clocks, beer steins and hand-painted Christmas ornaments.
Canada’s Le Cellier Steakhouse is the top-rated, sit-down restaurant. In a dimly lit cellar atmosphere, enjoy the cheddar cheese soup made with applewood-smoked bacon and Moosehead beer, followed by the mushroom filet mignon—and don’t forget a side of poutine fries. If buffet is more your style, Germany’s Biergarten Restaurant has pretzel bread, sauerbraten, roast pork, spatzle, apple strudel and other German favorites, plus a great beer selection and a show with an oompah band. To mingle with a friendly drinking crowd visit the United Kingdom’s Rose & Crown Pub where Boddingtons is always on tap and you can sing along with the Hat Lady at the piano. For something sweet France’s Les Halles Boulangerie & Patisserie has fruit tarts and éclairs.
Book a room at Disney’s Yacht Club, BoardWalk Inn or Beach Club Resort. All three properties are located on Disney’s BoardWalk, a quarter-mile promenade for shopping, dining and nightlife that connects to Epcot’s back entrance. You can also take the boat from the BoardWalk to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.