Park guests at Epcot’s World Showcase can experience the richness of cultures from around the globe, since the theme park serves as Walt Disney World’s permanent “World’s Fair.” Strolling along the promenade that skirts World Showcase Lagoon, visitors encounter the art, cuisine, architecture, and entertainment of each represented nation. With a multitude of opportunities to interact with the people and culture of each pavilion, it’s no wonder that many guests aren’t aware of all that the World Showcase has to offer.
Nestled between Norway and Germany in the back of the park, the China Pavilion continues to be a favorite for many guests. With its ornate architecture and exotic décor, the pavilion truly transports its guests to East Asia. Disney Imagineers have created a space that nurtures the imagination of visitors, and the cast members from China strive to share their culture in a welcoming fashion. World Showcase travelers will find many reasons to love Epcot’s China Pavilion, but here are seven that top the list:
7. Peaceful Atmosphere
Walking beneath the arched gate, you’ll immediately enter a place of hushed serenity. Soothing Chinese music trickles throughout the pavilion, and the gardens relax you from the hurried pace of the theme park. On your right, a tall, circular building modeled after the Temple of Heaven in Beijing conveys a sense of peace that even soothes children…well, most of them. The cast members’ demeanor, welcoming attitude, and softly spoken words add to the tranquility that seems to touch everything here. Though not a sanctuary of perfect peace, the China Pavilion certainly contrasts the bustling activity of some pavilions.
6. Reflections of China
You can find Reflections of China by entering the Temple of Heaven, which serves as its waiting room. When the theatre is ready, the host invites park guests inside to view a Circle-Vision 360 movie with stunning cinematography completely surrounding the audience. Li Bai, an ancient Chinese poet, leads guests on a tour of China’s beautiful landscape, national treasures, and multi-cultural inhabitants. From the Great Wall in the west to the lively city of Hong Kong, Li Bai presents the wonders of China in poetic form. The images feature a high level of detail, and it’s easy to miss something since viewers don’t have eyes on the back of their heads. Luckily, this theatre is standing room only, so there’s plenty of space to spin around to take it all in.
5. Terracotta Army
Located in the House of Whispering Willows, the Terracotta Army is a replica of the life-size clay cavalry soldiers sculpted to be protection for China’s first emperor in the spirit world. The detail of these replicas serves as a reminder of the great skill ancient artisans employed to make each of the 197 warriors unique. The clay army rests in a marvelous art gallery featuring a variety of works from Chinese artists that enhance the historical and cultural experience.
4. House of Good Fortune
If shopping is your passion, then you’ll love House of Good Fortune. The store offers a wide variety of quality products at reasonable prices for your shopping pleasure. From t-shirts, silk robes, sandals, hats, and the like to swords, Buddha figurines, chopsticks, incense, tea sets, and so on, the vast selection this emporium contains certainly warrants a purchase. Taking home a decorative collectible for your home, an outfit reflecting Chinese fashion, or whatever suits your tastes will give you a sense that you’re taking home a part of China. Also, the assortment of plush toys (most notably pandas) will serve as beloved keepsakes for the children in your life.
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Lovers of Chinese cuisine will enjoy dinner at Nine Dragons Restaurant. First of all, the ambience of the restaurant, with its dragonesque decor and Chinese lamps, draws diners into the magic of Disney fine dining. Don’t expect a meal reminiscent of local Chinese take-outs, because the entrees at this restaurant are designed to immerse you in authentic pan-Chinese cuisine and are prepared with the highest quality in mind. The Kung Pao Chicken is popular with many guests, but the kitchen offers a variety of beef, pork, and seafood entrees cooked and served with Chinese flair, not to mention a tasty vegetable and tofu stir-fry for vegans and meat eaters alike. Surely, those who dine at Nine Dragons Restaurant will not leave without satisfying their appetites while also ingesting a bit of Chinese culture.
2. Meeting Mulan
Spending time with the Disney character that broke with Chinese tradition to follow her heart can only prove to be a memorable experience. Who wouldn’t want to meet the young woman who stood against the horde of raiding Huns and defeated them? This encounter occurs throughout the day near the Temple of Heaven. Meet with Mulan to shoot the breeze, take a photo, and get an autograph while you’re enjoying all that the China Pavilion has to offer; just check the posted meet-and-greet times using your My Disney Experience app. Oh, and don’t invite any Huns to the meeting.
1. Jeweled Dragon Acrobats
The performers who make up the Jeweled Dragon Acrobats display some of the finest talent at the World Showcase. They flip, jump, dance, twirl flags, juggle, and build human towers and pyramids to start. Then they manipulate objects and perform feats that appear impossible with pizzazz and perfect showmanship. Truly, this is an act that captures the imagination of the young and old alike and reflects how seriously and professionally the performers take their art. Missing the acrobats means missing one of the best things that you will love about Epcot’s China Pavilion in Walt Disney World.