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MOUSEKECHEERS – Must Drinks at Epcot World Showcase (Part 2)

in Travel by
Sake Server

In round one of our “must drinks” adventure, we traversed roughly half of the World Showcase at Disney’s Epcot theme park. From tequila to beer to wine, the best of the booze was highlighted for each stop along the route. Now it’s time to batten down the hatches and finish the schnockered circle around the world.

United States

While real-life America has much to offer food and drink lovers, it’s all burgers and Bud Light in Disney’s simulacrum. This is shame because the USA has much to offer in terms of craft bourbons and beers. Alas, the only whiskey to be found is mixed into a frozen lemonade. For craft beer lovers, there is the token Sam Adams tap. Here, just split a Bud Light with a friend, tick it off the list, and move on — quickly.

Japan

The best drinking spot is nestled in a back of the Mitsukoshi Department Store.  The small tasting corner bar provides a sampling of Japanese sake. Here, service is elevated to an art form, with everything from paying to pouring to presenting — even carding — given with a flourish. The sake on menu change often, but cover the major variations with aged, dry, sweet, and unfiltered versions. For those unfamiliar with the rice wine, a dry or sweet is the way to go. But with it’s hard not to recommend a flight of three. They go down smooth and will help one forget about the insipid rice-infused Bud Light just downed next-door. The tasty bar is also conveniently located by to the Japanese snack section. Salty dried squid snacks offers a unique experience for those more accustomed to bar nuts or pretzels.

A Japanese cast member displays a bottle of chilled Sake.
A Japanese cast member displays a bottle of chilled sake.

Morocco

The next stop is another lackluster choice. Unlike the USA, it’s hard to blame Disney’s presentation when Morocco doesn’t have a huge drinking culture due to its religious influences. Options at Epcot have improved in recent years with the introduction of the Spiced Road Table, which features full bar service. The import Moroccan beer option is Casa, a standard pale lager reminiscent of Budweiser. On the other hand, Wine production in Morocco has been steadily improving since the 1990’s, which some becoming known outside the country. The must drink here is a Spice Road Signature Sangria, a sweet blend of organic red wine and fresh fruit. It’s available by the glass, for the thirsty, or pitcher, for the thirstier.

Belly Dancer at Morocco
Belly dancer performs at Morocco.

France

It would be easy to keep things traditional with the same old wine or champagne enjoyed by the French children. But “drinking around the world” is an adult’s game and the Wine and Champagne kiosk serves up a delicious slush. Easy junior, this icy-treat is a blurring blend of Grey Goose Citron and a shot of Gran Marnier orange liquor.  It comes supersized and is perfect for kicking back and gazing at the pint-sized Eiffel tower, especially on a sunny day.

United Kingdom

The UK pavilion offers one of the best drinking spots in Epcot at the venerable Rose & Crown. Fashioned after a traditional pub, the service is impeccable, the entertainment jolly, and the booze in abundance. As the night winds down the tables and bar fills up so stake out a place early, especially to catch a raucous piano performance by the Hat Lady. As a full service bar, there is something for everyone. But it’s hard to be at a pub and not have a pint to swing around while singing a traditional Irish bar song. There are several draft beer blends from the familiar “Black & Tan” to the less familiar “Golden” (Half Stella Artois, half Bass Ale). The Rose & Crown must drink is Boddingtons, a classic nitro pub ale. It’s smooth and creamy, as pleasant on the tongue is it is in the belly.

I'm singing in the rain after a couple of pints.
I’m singing in the rain after a couple of pints a the Rose & Crown.

Canada

The choices at the last stop in the tour will make one want to quickly back-track to the UK Rose & Crown or loop around to start over at Mexico’s La Cava del Tequila. But for “drinking around the world” completionists a Canadian beer can be grabbed at an outdoor kiosk. Molson or Labatt? Either will serve the purpose at the end of the drunken expedition, so flip-a-coin. That’s your must drink, winner!

If you survived without passing out and waking up in Disney jail — congratulations you successfully drank yourself around the world! With beer, wine, and cocktail options ever exploding in the theme park, there is much that didn’t get a mention. If you have a favorite “must drink” not on the list, please share it in the comments.

Mousekecheers!

MOUSEKECHEERS – Must Drinks at the Epcot World Showcase (Part 1)

in Travel by
Mousekecheers! Germany

Previously on MOUSEKECHEERS we introduced the sloshed sport of Drinking around the World Showcase at Disney’s Epcot theme park. Today we’ll cover the “must drinks” at each stop on the tipsy tour, starting at the Mexico pavilion and moving counter-clockwise. In this first part we’ll travel from Mexico to Italy, before coming back to finish the trek in the second installment.

MEXICO

If there is one spirit that Mexico is known for it’s tequila. At La Cava del Tequila, the agave distilled liquor flows daily. The “Cave” is nestled off the outskirts of a replica Mexican plaza, set under a perpetually starry sky. It creates the perfect imbibing ambience just as scheduled performances by a mariachi band adds a festive soundtrack. It’s a tough call whether to order a shot of tequila or one of the tasty specialty margaritas. But an epic event like “drinking around the world” deserves a proper kick-off, so the must drink recommendation is the tequila flight. It serves a shot of each tequila style with a Blanco, a Reposado, and an Añejo. Because what’s better than uno tequila, but tres tequilas!

Tequila Flight from La Cava Del Tequila
Tequila Flight from La Cava Del Tequila

NORWAY

The Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe offers a sweet selection of Norway’s national favorites. (School bread!) It also doubles as a watering hole, because what’s a bakery without booze? There are some regional wines and brews on menu, but the Linie Aquavit Glacier Shot is the must drink. Despite the chill name it’s liquid fire. With a licorice taste, some hate it, some love it, but it’s unique and worth a try. And at 80-proof it carries over the Mexico momentum.

Norweigan castmember poses with a bottle of Linie Aquavit
Norweigan cast member poses with a bottle of Linie Aquavit and Glacier Shot.

CHINA

While China has much to offer as far as shopping and child labor acrobats, it falls short on the booze end. Still when drinking around the world, no bottle is left unturned. Here the must drink is the plum wine. A little light and sweet, consider it break after the Mexico-Norway jumpstart.

Chilling with a Chinese plum wine
Chilling with a Chinese plum wine.

GERMANY

It’s all about beer in Germany. And what better place to enjoy a cold, frothy one than at Epcot’s Biergarden restaurant? It’s Oktoberfest year-round at communal tables where the ale flows under the aplomb of an Oompah band. There are lots of good brews to be had along with a buffet spread of German cuisine.  It’s tempting to pair a beer sampler with the sausage fest, but the must drink suggestion is to go big with a 1/2 liter of Altenmünster Oktoberfest. It’s easy drinking and perfect to wash down the schnitzel.

German cast members pour wine by the glass in the wine celalr.
German cast members pour wine by the glass.

ITALY

The Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar is the next stop on the thirsty tour. Per the namesake, wine is the focus in the small intimate space fashioned after an old Italian wine cellar. Grab a table or spot at the bar and peruse the extensive wine list featuring 200 bottles and select pours. With a selection this large, wine drinkers are bound to find something to indulge in, even better when paired with a snack of Italian meets and cheeses. But go for the gusto with a wine flight. The must drink is the classic sampler of three wines, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, and Primitivo, better known to Americans as Zinfandel. For the more adventurous there is a super-sized “Grand Tour”, featuring six pours from sparkling Prosecco to super-sweet Moscato.

Italian cast members pour a sampling of regional wines.
Italian cast members pour a sampling of regional wines.

This brings us near the half-way point in the drinking quest around Epcot World Showcase. Next time, we’ll pick up in America and travel to Canada, was delicious stops in between. Have a favorite “must drink” not on this list? Please share it in the comments. Mousekecheers!

MOUSEKECHEERS! Top 10 Tips for Drinking Around The World of Epcot

in Travel by
mousek

When people think of a trip to Walt Disney World in Florida, they may picture scenes of happy families touring the Magic Kingdom. Junior is carried on Dad’s shoulders, both wearing Mickey Mouse ears. Sis and Cinderella embrace in matching dresses, while Mom snaps a proud picture. Or at least that is what the marketing department would have one believe.

A different scene unfolds daily at next-door Epcot. Instead of skipping from ride-to-ride, guests stagger from drink-to-drink. The past time is unofficially referred to as “drinking around the world” and it involves the liver-killing challenge of downing an alcoholic beverage from each pavilion along the World Showcase. Themed after different places around the globe, each stop offers a taste of the national booze of choice — from beer to wine to sake to tequila and beyond.

Team "Get Pooh-Faced" Drinking Around the World T-Shirt.
Team “Let’s Get Pooh-Faced” Custom T-Shirt.

What started out as an underground challenge for alcoholic, Disney-fanatics has caught on in popularity. For some it’s a group effort, complete with official team t-shirts. The logistics are dizzying. There are eleven stops on the tour. The booze starts flowing at noon and ends at park closing at 9 p.m. That’s just over a drink an hour, which leaves little time for sobering up, or even stopping to rest.

For the uninitiated and un-inebriated, here are some tips for accomplishing the challenge. Next week, I’ll be back with a list of top picks at each stop.

TOP 10 TIPS FOR DRINKING AROUND THE WORLD

1. Epcot is divided into two distinct areas. Future World opens in the morning, allowing guests the opportunity to check out themed-pavilions with attractions that mix education with some light thrills. Notorious is Mission Space, a simulator that places guests in a NASA style centrifuge to simulate space travel g-forces. It’s reputation for turning even the most hardened stomachs lead to a toned-down version. Experience it before drinking — if nothing else but to grab one of the complimentary barf bags for later use on the tipsy tour.

2. The World Showcase portion of Epcot opens at 11:00 a.m., with the restaurants and refreshment kiosks starting service at noon. It’s best to get an early start to stay ahead of the crowds and maximize drinking time.  The Showcase makes a giant loop around a large central lagoon. There are two options for touring, either starting at Mexico and traveling clockwise, or Canada, and working counter-clockwise.

3. Start in Mexico. The La Cava del Tequila is a dimly-lit, watering-hole located within a replica of an Aztec temple. Upon opening, the lines quickly build to Space Mountain proportions. Thirsty guests wait for a chance to sample the long tequila list or drink one of the creative margaritas. If you’re going to shoot tequila, it’s a bit easier at the start of nine hour drinking-spree, then at the tail end.

La Cava del Tequila is a crowd favorite with tequilia flights and margaritas.
La Cava del Tequila is a crowd favorite with tequilia flights and margaritas.

4. Know where the restrooms are. Generally there are large restrooms that are easy to find at every other pavilion in order to drain a busting bladder or sloshed stomach. In an emergency though, the counter-service eateries will usually have a smaller restroom available tucked away inside.

5. If you missed grabbing a souvenir barf bag from Mission Space, consider a viking helmet from Norway. It’s true they are inauthentic as a talking mouse, but they’re fun and can hold a belly-full if you can’t make it to a restroom. For drinkers who can hold their booze and want something to take home, there are plenty of choices. Beer steins can be found in Germany, wine glasses in Italy, and pint glasses in the UK, among other choices.

A selection of German wines available by the pour.
A selection of German wines available by the pour.

6. Know your limits. This isn’t amateur hour. If you’re a New Year’s Eve only drinker, consider a modified tour that won’t leave you puking in a fountain and being escorted to Disney jail. There are pavilions that are easily missed. Morocco doesn’t have a huge drinking culture, and the options aren’t that great. If you aren’t a wine drinker, consider skipping either Italy or France. Dedicated beer drinkers may find little exciting about the offerings at the American and Canadian pavilions. Even Disney magic can’t make a Bud Light or a Molson drinkable.

7. Speaking of skippable, the Outpost doesn’t count. Disney’s original concept for the World Showcase included a pavilion themed after Equatorial Africa. While the plans were shelved, there is a small nod to Africa located between Germany and China called the Refreshment Outpost. It’s not an official pavilion, and while it does include alcoholic beverages, they are a only a random mix of Bud Light, Yuengling, and a house brew called Safari Amber.

8. End at the Rose & Crown Pub in England. On a clockwise loop, Canada is the actual last stop, but the evening entertainment at the Rose & Crown is not to be beat. On most nights, the Hat Lady hammers on an old bar piano cranking out rollicking traditional pub tunes and the occasional drunken-version of Do-Re-Mi. After nine-hours of drinking it’s the perfect atmosphere. Grab a pint of Boddington’s Pub Ale and sing (or slur) along.

Don't forget your ID when ordering sake at the Mitsukoshi Department Store in the Japan pavilion.
Don’t forget your ID when ordering sake at the Mitsukoshi Department Store in the Japan pavilion.

9. Travel off-season. The challenge is easier to accomplish when temperatures and crowds are lower. The fall leading up to Thanksgiving, and between New Year’s and Spring Break, are excellent touring times. During the summer, the beaming Florida sun can be brutal on a beer-filled stomach. Off-season also offers some rate reductions on the Disney resort hotels.

10. Stay on-site at Disney. Epcot is sprawling, and even without drinking, it earns its reputation as standing for Every Person Comes Out Tired. Drinking around the World, can render the most bar-hardened, shaky in the legs. A drunk driving accident doesn’t make for a magical vacation. For resort guests, Disney reports provides free transportation to and from Epcot. Plus, departing on a gentle boat ride or an expedient monorail is a lot more fun than a dingy taxi from your local dive bar.

HARDCORE MODE! If you’re booze-hardened barfly that easily drinks around the world without so much as a belch, there is a pro-track. The fall brings the Epcot Food & Wine festival and the drinking options quadruple. Small kiosks and beer tents featuring regional foods and beverages from a multitude of other nations are temporarily erected around World Showcase lagoon. Hitting them all is a Mount Everest effort, which few have the guts (and tolerance) for.

Have a tip of your own? Share it in the comments. Tune in next time as we go in depth, highlighting the “must drinks” at each stop on the tipsy tour. Mousekecheers!

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