A couple of weeks ago, my friends and I decided to go to Florida for spring break–except we wanted to spice it up a little. Enjoying the beach in Fort Lauderdale or partying in Miami seemed too basic. Why not go to Disney? Disney seems to be a dream come true when you are eight, but would it still be a dream at 21?
To say that we had fun is an understatement– Disney had a lot more to offer than I could ever conceptualize at eight years old. Initially meant to be an experimental prototype community of “Tomorrow”, Epcot has now become a theme park that celebrates human achievement and culture. Epcot’s celebration is centered around a World Showcase with 11 countries represented as 11 pavilions. The pavilions portray not only traditional music and architecture from each country, but also serve delicious food. Whether you want to experience fast food or a sit-down restaurant, the pavilions come with all the options you could ever dream of. From Mexico to Norway and even Morocco, Epcot is a dream-like experience.
Intending to try as much food as possible from as many pavilions as possible, we started our trip around the world in the Mexican pavilion. As a Mexican student, I must say I had incredibly low expectations for the Mexican pavilion. Really, there are not a lot of Mexican restaurants in the U.S. that can accurately emulate the Mexican flavors. However, trying food and drinks from the margarita stand was simply ambrosial. The tacos were made with hand-made corn tortillas with the earthy and scrumptious textures of Mexico–only topped by a perfectly balanced passion fruit margarita.
Delighted by some Mexican appetizers, we moved on to Norway. Impressed by the Viking-like architecture, I could hardly wait to try Norwegian traditional food. Offering traditional pastries like kringla pretzel-shaped cookies, sweet lefse flatbread, and the famous school bread. The Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe was cozy and delectable.
The Chinese pavilion offered a wide variety of dining options, from an elegant restaurant to a small stand that sold the tastiest hand-made crab rangoons I have ever tried. Followed by Germany’s pretzels and assortment of beers, Italy’s pavilion lured us in with some traditional songs, water fountains and limoncello margaritas. The U.S. pavilion immediately transported me to the 4th of July, with fireworks, live concerts, and huge,savory turkey legs. In my opinion, France might have been the grandest pavilion, representing movies like Beauty and the Beast and Ratatouille. The delicate array of food options included crepes, French pastries, the famous macarons and fancy French restaurants.
Perhaps my favorite pavilion was the Moroccan one. Morocco encapsulated originality and a sort of grandeur only found in a desert. With an amazing representation of the Koutoubia Minaret in Marrakesh, the intricate towers show a side of Islam that is not often represented in the Western world. Terracotta buildings and bazaars invited everyone to come in. As a fan of kebabs, just thinking about the pavilion’s chicken kebabs makes me drool. The perfectly cooked soft, juicy chicken melted in my mouth in perfect balance. It was simply marvelous!
The cherry on top of the Epcot experience was the magnificent water and firework show at 9 p.m. Overjoyed by a succulent plate of poutine and a lavender-infused drink from the Canadian pavilion, the visual and auditory experiences of the show were moving. Representing movies like the Lion King and Coco, the show was vibrant and celebratory. Immersed in this deep emotional joy I realized that I felt like I was eight again. Disney is truly where the impossible becomes possible.
Cover photo courtesy of Disney Tourist Blog