When is the last time you visited 11 countries in just one day? At Walt Disney World’s Epcot, it’s easy to do just that. Epcot’s World Showcase is one of our favorite places on Disney property, and we never tire of travelling the world without leaving Orlando. Today’s featured pavilion is the China pavilion, where you can enjoy your favorite Chinese foods, shop for merchandise from Asia, and even relax in a reproduction of one of Beijing’s most historic buildings.
Epcot’s China pavilion is one of the most visually breath-taking of all the pavilions, with its picturesque ponds, ornate footbridges, lush gardens and stunningly intricate architecture. It’s worth wandering around the pavilion’s outdoor area to soak it all in (you’re bound to discover more than one perfect selfie spot!). Centre stage in the pavilion is the ½ scale replica of Beijing’s gorgeous Temple of Heaven; step inside to enjoy the amazing acoustics, which amplify even a whisper.
As far as quick-service options go, you can find yummy Chinese favorites like Pot Stickers, Orange Chicken and Caramel-Ginger Ice Cream at the Lotus Blossom Café. Plus, the view looking out onto the Temple of Heaven is, well, heavenly! There’s also a small quick-service kiosk called Joy of Tea that serves snacks and beverages, if you want something fast on your way in or out of the China pavilion. But the main dining attraction here is the Nine Dragons table service restaurant. Featuring Pan-Chinese cuisine from various areas of China, from the spicy dumplings from Sichuan to savory Cantonese favorites, Nine Dragons is rarely crowded. In fact, you can often walk in without a reservation, which is pretty rare in Walt Disney World. We love the rich wood carvings and festive lanterns here – plus the fact that you can learn some beginner Chinese on your placemat!
Several times a day, the Jeweled Dragon Acrobats perform to always-enthusiastic crowds. The troupe performs the ancient art of Chinese acrobatics, which translates into some pretty mesmerizing flips, twists, leaps and tumbles. The acrobats also incorporate props, seesaws and springboards into the act. This is street performing taken to an entirely new level. Fans of the animated film Mulan will want to be present for the various Mulan and Mushu meet and greets each day.
4. Artisanal Cotton Candy
If you visited the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival in 2019, you’ll remember the stunning artisanal layered cotton candy that was a hit at the China pavilion’s Lotus House Outdoor Kitchen. But even if your visit doesn’t coincide with the Flower and Garden Festival, you might still be able to enjoy this super-artistic cotton candy by visiting the House of Good Fortune, where a Cotton Candy Artisan whips up gorgeous layered, multi-coloured creations in various beautiful shapes. We’re not sure how this gem will be available, and it may or may not be open when you visit (days/hours are posted on site) so take advantage of it if you see it!
5. Shanghai Disneyland Display
If you’re a Disney fan, chances are you’re fascinated by Disney parks as interpreted by other countries. If so, you’ll want to set aside some time to check out the Shanghai Disneyland exhibit in the China pavilion. From maps of the vast theme park to cast member costumes, concept art and models of the park’s state-of-the-art attractions, this eye-opening display is perfect for both the globe trotters and Disney fans in your party.
6. Wondrous China / Reflections of China
One of the staple attractions of the China pavilion is the 360º Circle-Vision film Reflections of China, which acts as an introduction to the country’s rich natural beauty, culture and people. It’s shown in the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest, across nine different screens that surround the audience, for a wonderfully immersive effect. The captivating footage of the Forbidden City, the Yangtze River, the Gobi Desert and the awe-inspiring Great Wall will have you planning a dream trip to China. And the film’s about to get even better! Reflections of China will receive an update when it’s replaced by the new 15-minute film Wondrous China, also in Circle-Vision 360° but this time completely seamless, sometime in 2020.
Epcot’s China pavilion is one of our favorite places in Walt Disney World to go shopping! Stepping inside House of Good Fortune, you’ll feel like the proverbial kid in a candy store. There are few shopping locations on property that compare with this one in size and sheer variety of merchandise. You’ll find some expected items, like Chinese teapots and teacups with intricate designs, jade carvings, silk clothes, lanterns, and panda souvenirs of every shape and size. But keep wandering, and you’ll find some unexpected items too, such as authentically Chinese sweets, massive decorative vases that look like they belong in a museum, and even various items from Shanghai Disneyland, including souvenirs from the park’s grand opening. There are also plenty of fun souvenirs to look at outside House of Good Fortune, and they’re set up like a small outdoor market, so they’re easy to peruse. We highly recommend the whimsical puppets with actual strings, and the animal umbrellas (our dragon umbrella is a hit no matter where we go!).