There’s more to discover in Walt Disney World’s Epcot than you could do in one vacation. We love returning over and over again to find new secrets and try new experiences. And one of the dining experiences we enjoyed discovering is Nine Dragons Restaurant, located in the stunning Chinese pavilion in the World Showcase. If you haven’t tried this restaurant, here are some reasons we think you should!
We love heading to Nine Dragons as part of an afternoon spent at the Chinese pavilion, which is a wonderful place to explore in Epcot! You can wander its nooks and crannies, admiring the beautiful, brightly colored architecture. You can discover its smaller version of the Temple of Heaven, built to about ½ scale, and check out an exhibit that shows you what Shanghai Disneyland looks like. You can browse for unique merchandise in one of the shops, or just spend some down time at the lotus pond. There’s no shortage of things to see and do at this beautiful pavilion!
2. Dragon Lore
Few guests are aware of this, but Nine Dragons Restaurant at Walt Disney World’s Epcot is named for the Nine-Dragon Wall at one of Beijing’s most famous tourist attractions: The Forbidden City. And the dragon icon definitely a hidden theme of this restaurant! You can search for the resident dragon all over Nine Dragons, and find him in murals, glass, and even on the ceiling and roof.
3. Authentic Chinese Food
Because this restaurant is located in the Chinese pavilion at the World Showcase, you’ll expect the Chinese food to be out of this world. And you won’t be disappointed! We love that along with authentic Chinese dishes, the food at Nine Dragons often comes with an unexpected – and delicious – twist. We’ve enjoyed the fun Shrimp and Taro Lollipops, and guests can also try Spring Rolls with chicken or veggies, or go for some Spinach Noodles complete with spicy garlic dressing.
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We’re big fans of dessert at Walt Disney World, and Epcot’s World Showcase is one of our favorite stops for yummy treats. So it’s not surprising that we are big fans of the desserts at Nine Dragons! There’s the Coconut Rice Pudding, a fun twist on the hearty classic, made with sticky red rice and coconut milk. Or you can choose between Strawberry-Red Bean Ice Cream and Caramel-Ginger Ice Cream; there’s no wrong choice here!
Of course, there’s more to a great dining experience than excellent food – and luckily, Nine Dragons has a wonderful atmosphere that’s largely created by its traditional Chinese decor. Dark, lacquered wood is heavily featured, and it makes for a cosy and upscale effect. There are intricately carved wood screens, and lots of colorful lanterns overhead. Traditional Chinese guardian lions stand watch over guests as they eat, and etched glasswork features creatures from Chinese mythology. You’ll feel like you’ve travelled across the world to Eastern Asia!
Once you’ve finished admiring the gorgeous views inside Nine Dragons, make sure you turn your attention to the restaurant’s oversized windows. Here, you’ll be able to enjoy a view that’s just as stunning, since the windows overlook the World Showcase Lagoon Promenade! If you time your meal just right, you may even catch a glimpse of evening fireworks.
7. Practice Chinese Calligraphy
Chinese calligraphy is world-renowned for its beauty and artistry. If you’ve ever admired this art, or wanted to learn Chinese yourself, you’ve come to the right place! While you’re waiting for you food to arrive at Nine Dragons, you’ll be able to practice Chinese calligraphy using the easy lesson printed on your placemat. We bet this is a skill you never thought you’d learn at Walt Disney World!
8. Smart Pick
Nine Dragons is, in our opinion, one of the most underrated restaurants in Walt Disney World’s Epcot. It tends to fly under the radar, and it never sees crowds like certain other World Showcase restaurants see (Le Cellier, I’m looking at you!). This means that it’s often much easier to make reservations for Nine Dragons than many other Epcot restaurants, and the atmosphere is less crowded and more relaxing as a result. Plus, we’ve found the value of the food here to be excellent, perfect for those who are travelling on a budget!