From the moment you stroll into the plaza at the Germany pavilion in Epcot, listening to the lively music, glancing up at the castle walls, and smelling delectable flavors, you slightly start to feel like you’re no longer in Florida and instead attending Oktoberfest in a German village. You wind your way past quaint tables, a delectable caramel bakery, and intriguing shops to the Biergarten restaurant. The Disney Dining Plan and Tables in Wonderland are both accepted here. Reservations are recommended. This place is always on my dining list every trip regardless of what season we are visiting, and for good reasons.
As your host or hostess dressed in a traditional German costume leads you through the interior of the restaurant, it’s impossible not to gaze in awe at the impressive surroundings. The setting is a town square during an evening Oktoberfest celebration with cozy-looking Bavarian style buildings, cheerful lights, and festive flags and decorations, even though you are really dining inside. This restaurant is actually intended to be a re-creation of a 16th century German town. (Oktoberfest initially got its start when Crown Prince Ludwig, later to become King Ludwig I, was married to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen, and the citizens of Munich were invited to celebrate the happy royal event.) There are shady trees, a working water wheel, and a full moon to complete the picture.
4. Meeting new friends
The seating at the Biergarten is at long communal tables, so you are seated with one or two other parties. (If you’re a shy person, this might not be the best place for you). I’ve had the pleasure of meeting nice people from several other countries and other states while dining here and had many interesting conversations enjoying our dinners together. It’s hard not to be friendly listening to the music and enjoying good food on vacation. I always want to linger over my meal and keep on chatting with my new friends, even though there is still so much fun to be had in Epcot.
3. Mouthwatering food
I’m not the most adventurous eater, but everything looks good on the buffet here. There are two entrée serving lines where you can find traditional Oktoberfest dishes including sausages, roasted chicken, pork, spaetzle, sauerkraut, and other delicious fare. There’s also carving stations and an area with cold salads and meats. Another section of the buffet offers soups and warm pretzel bread. The dessert station is phenomenal, and includes delectable choices like pudding, strudel, Black Forest cake, berry cobbler, and Bavarian cheesecake (my personal favorite). There are also options for children, including macaroni and cheese.
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If you happen to have room left after your meal here, the Karamell-Küche store, at the Germany pavilion’s entrance, is hard to pass up for treats drizzled with caramel.
If you don’t have time for the complete Biergarten experience or can’t get a reservation, but still want to enjoy some of the wonderful food, Sommerfest is located next door and functions as the Quick-Service dining alternative. Some of the choices available at the Biergarten are offered here as well, and guests can sit at café tables outside.
2. The music
A German band, complete with lederhosen and lots of enthusiasm, takes the stage several times during the afternoon and evening and provides folk music entertainment while you enjoy your meal. The band plays all kinds of instruments, including the accordion, hand bells, cowbells, and alpine horns. The band members start several fun German toasts during the meal using your beverage of choice. They also eagerly invite the audience to dance on floor in front of the stage or even just sway with the music at your seat. I have great memories of my son dancing to a polka when he was two years old during a meal here.
1. The beer!
No trip to the Biergarten is complete for the adults in our family without trying a large German beer with our meal. The server will help you choose a beer if you’re not familiar with them, and they come in half-liter and liter sizes. Other alcoholic options include wine flights. My husband always recommends the liter size-we’re on vacation, of course!