“Knock, knock!” “Who’s there?” “Drunk, unruly EPCOT guests drinking around the World Showcase again!”
Walt Disney World is a place where our favorite Disney stories come to life in the most magical ways. It’s full of excitement, joy, and wonder. However, there’s a dark side to Disney World that only adults know about, and few dare discuss it out loud. Its name is the World Showcase at EPCOT.
Despite being home to immaculate, highly themed parks like Magic Kingdom or Hollywood Studios, where our favorite Disney characters call home, Disney World’s EPCOT promotes a separate culture compared to its kid-friendly siblings.
Alcohol Culture at EPCOT
Although guests to EPCOT can find unique foods around the park, especially in the World Showcase, classic Disney-style rides like the Gran Fiesta Tour, and even state-of-the-art attractions like Remy Ratatouille Adventure or Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, you’ll also find a lot of drunk EPCOTians roaming the park.
Unlike the culture surrounding other parks at Disney World, like Animal Kingdom, EPCOT is all about two things: eating food and drinking alcohol. Combined with quarterly festivals that promote high volumes of alcoholic beverages, if there’s a situation that gets out of control, it’s usually at EPCOT.
The theme park is home to several different countries, Japan, China, and Italy, to name a few, and although you’ll find vast cultural differences in each pavilion, they all have one thing in common: alcohol! Countries like Canada, Germany, and Mexico pride themselves on their unique drinks in each pavilion, but some feel the adult beverages only take away from the magic of Walt Disney World.
The World Showcase Runs Freely with Adult Beverages
Although there’s actually a lot to do at EPCOT, many only visit the park for the World Showcase. Despite being able to meet Figment, enjoy Spaceship Earth, or hang out in the second-largest aquarium in the United States, many forgo these attractions for the free-flowing rivers of booze in each country around the World Showcase lagoon.
The pressure to partake in alcohol consumption around the World Showcase has become an unacknowledged part of Disney World culture, with adults flocking to the park once the sun starts to set, ready to hit up Garden House in the Japan Pavilion or grab a beer in the United Kingdom or Germany Pavilions.
Although Disney doesn’t promote the concept of “drinking around the world” out loud, they don’t do much to ensure some guests aren’t over-served. They seem to encourage it as they host specific annual events that center around heavy consumption of alcoholic beverages like the International Food and Wine Festival.
Alcohol is one of the most popular buys in EPCOT, specifically in the World Showcase. La Cava de Tequila in Mexico, Les Vins des Chefs de France in the France Pavilion, and many others heavily push boozy beverages onto adults, who don’t always consume and act accordingly or reponsibly.
Past Issues at the World Showcase in EPCOT
The problem of belligerent drunk people at EPCOT isn’t a new one. In fact, it’s been an issue many have talked about for a long time. As culturally, most view EPCOT as an adult-type park, it isn’t uncommon to find someone who’s had one too many losing their Norway pavilion school bread in the bathroom sink.
As each pavilion from Mexico to Canada serves a vast, mind-boggling array of alcohol, fights, vomiting, and even death-defying stunts have become common around the World Showcase. In recent years, we’ve seen guests climb the pyramid in Mexico, take baths in fountains outside of the France Pavilion, fight in Morocco, and there have even been some who’ve tried to make their way down into World Showcase lagoon.
I can’t tell you how often I’ve witnessed guests completely ignoring park rules while obviously intoxicated. Last spring, I caught a group of four fist-fighting in the Japan Pavilion while one was vomiting. Their kids were standing there clueless about what to do. The behavior is gross and unbecoming of what Disney World is supposed to be. Worse, because we view EPCOT as a drink-friendly park, adults often forget that it’s Walt Disney World and kids are present.
The Latest Incident at EPCOT
The drinking culture at EPCOT has manifested into what we see in City Walk on a Friday night at Universal Studios Orlando. Sometimes, it’s quickly becoming an unsafe environment for families and children. That may sound like an overreaction, but consider what Reddit user u/Tight_Data_9939 had to say about their most recent trip to the World Showcase.
“During food and wine, a group of drunk college guys actually got screaming angry at my FOUR year old child who had one of those Mickey light up wand/swords,” the guest recalled. “Was my child hitting them or in their space? No. My child had his wand on… that’s it.”
“One guy said he was too wasted for the lights and threw his beer at my child and yelled at him,” they continued. “Now bc he was so wasted he missed by a mile… but seriously?!? You are 20 HE WAS FOUR!!! And he was being a good boy too, just playing with his wand minding his own business to the side.”
“We turned right around,” the guest wrote. “Told a nearby cast member and just left the park. We were near the international entrance and just left out there as we felt it was time to get our child out of there. We have never taken any of our children to food and wine nights since—daytime yes.”
Inside the Magic, who originally posted the story, went on to explain that others in the comment section were quick to voice their displeasure and condemn the unruly, and illegal reported behavior.
ITM also pointed out that the poster, who claims that a drunk guest hurled a beer at their child, went on to suggest that Walt Disney World should seriously consider limiting alcohol consumption around Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and especially EPCOT.
“Generally speaking, the worst behaviour I see is typically by people who are wasted in the parks,” they argued. “I am so tired of this. I wish Disney would ban alcohol or at least limit it with some sort of counting connection to your ticket (of course they won’t bc it’s a major revenue stream).”
“Drinking Around the World”
Although this is alleged behavior, it isn’t surprising if it did happen. EPCOT’s culture, especially surrounding “Drinking around the world,” has become a problem for many guests visiting Walt Disney World.
Each of the eleven pavilions within the World Showcase seems to offer a slew of alcoholic beverages. The goal of the trend, to literally drink around the world, means that guests would consume an alcoholic beverage from all eleven World Showcase countries: Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, the American Adventure, Japan, Morocco, France, the United Kingdom, and Canada. That’s a lot of alcohol.
Matters are made worse when events like Food and Wine or the International Flower and Garden Festival heavily promote exclusive, specialty drinks that people feel they must enjoy before they’re gone. Disney’s perceived promotion or denial of over-indulgence by guests to the World Showcase at EPCOT directly correlates with increases in poor guest behavior, leading many to call for an end to alcohol sales at Disney World.
It’s a sad notion as the pavilions around the World Showcase have so much more to offer than alcohol. The American Adventure has great barbeque and education regarding America’s history. The Norway Pavilion offers interesting facts regarding Viking culture. The Morocco Pavilion even has an incredible market complete with amazing foreign fare at Spice Road Table. There’s so much to see and do; it’s difficult to understand why anyone would want to spend their time in the World Showcase under the influence, much less assault a child.