Photo by World Photo Collection / Alamy Stock Photo. Design by Erik Mace for Yahoo Travel.
Exactly 10 years ago, I participated in a time-honored tradition popular among spring breakers whose parents’ refuse to fund them tickets to Miami.
I drank around the world at Epcot.
To be specific, I boozed it up at Disney’s beloved 33-year-old World Showcase, which features 11 countries via a whole lot of help from their respective bureaus of tourism.
Each of the destinations also features homegrown libations, making the tour even more fun. (I vaguely recall almost getting kicked out of several countries in one night, which has to be some sort of Guinness world record….or just the result of too much Guinness.)
A decade later — and thanks to a family trip to Orlando — I decided to throw my mouse-eared hat back into the ring to see if I could better hack it at the *gulp* midlife crisis birthday of 40, than I did in 2005.
As it turns out, “The Happiest Place On Earth” is also the tappiest! As in it has a lot of international kegs you can tap into.
Standing in front of the Canada Pavilion at Epcot. (Photo: Bill Schulz)
Like most people, I started in Mexico during my last sojourn into the lands of sans sobriety. So I made the counterclockwise move, and decided to begin with a more tame country. In fact, if you really want to start off slow, you can order a alcoholic beer at the Canada pavilion.
Our northern neighbor’s comedian exports prove it can take a joke. There’s Jim Carey, Seth Rogan, Mike Meyers, Norm MacDonald, and the always-delightful Martin Short, who was edited into Epcot’s 360-degree screen film, O Canada! I sipped on a pint of Moosehead, which was much like the country itself: nice, slightly bland, and harmless.
The Rose and Crown Pub at Epcot. (Photo: Beau/Flickr)
Blimey! My fellow tourists and I were hit by torrential rainfall immediately after my Moosehead guzzling and Martin giggling. Luckily, I was next door to the country of precipitation and pubs, so I avoided the former by ducking into the latter. The Rose & Crown has the widest array of homegrown hooch in all of Epcot. In 2005, I opted for a yard glass full of Bass ale. Happily that item is no longer on the menu, so I settled for a sensible pint of Harp.
After a drink, watch the 18-minute film on France at the “Impressions de France” (Photo: Disney)
Presented onto five adjacent screens, Impressions de France is set against a soaring Camille Saint-Saëns soundtrack and, what appears to be, the clothing era of 1974. It’s as stunning as when I first saw it as a kid, and clearly it hasn’t been updated since then. After a little French cinema, I went in search of the other thing Paris is known for, so I grabbed an $8 Bordeaux.
Sip on a Casa Beer to get a taste of Morocco. (Photo: Rob Treynor/Flickr)
My next stop was belly dancers at Restaurant Marrakesh because…Morocco! Henna tattoos at various shops because…Morocco! Disney cast-member pictures with Aladdin and Princess Jasmine because…Morocco! While said cartoon actually takes place in Iraq, (or is it future Iraq), Casa beer does indeed hail from the land of Casablanca in Western Morocco.
A wind up toy from the Tin Toy Master. (Photo: Dan Catchpole/Flickr)
The last time I was in fake Japan I was still sober enough to thoroughly enjoy the charming little museum that showcases Tin Toy Master (apparently that’s an actual title), Teruhisa Kitahara’s world famous collection of the little wind ’em up wonders from the 50s and 60s. Pixar chief, John Lasseter, credits his obsession with these colorful little fellows for inspiring the look of the Toy Story movies. This time I just grabbed a quick Kirin at the Yakitori House. The bad news is I’d forgotten that Kirin kind of tastes like a watered down Yuenling. Oh well. *Bonsai!
*Pretty sure that’s Japanese for “chug”.
Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson draft an American document. (Photo: Disney)
What a waste of Showcase real estate since we’re all already in said country. Regardless, The American Adventure is just as charming as I remember. Animatronic Ben Franklin takes a surprising amount of guff from animatronic Thomas Jefferson. Even more surprising? Lance Armstrong hasn’t been edited out of a mélange of American heroes towards the end of the performance. Admittedly my $10 giant turkey leg, while a delicious dinner, was probably as inadvisable as my Sam Adams ale was just okay.
After a few drinks you’ll want to pose in front of one of these statues too! (Photo: Loren Javier/Flirckr)
As I strolled into Italy, I proceeded to ask tentative tourists to take my picture as I posed provocatively near the replicas of some of Florence’s most famous statues. I casually took in the plastic reproductions of some of the more amazing things Italy has contributed to world culture, while sipping on my $10 flute full of sparkling wine that would’ve probably tasted a lot better in France.
Beer steins in Weinkeller at the Germany Pavilion at Epcot. (Photo: Loren Javier/Flickr)
The bier? Gute. The attractions? None to really speak of apart from Epcot’s most in-demand eatery. The two-floored, buffet-styled Biergarten Restaurant boasts Schöfferhofer Hefeweizen, Warsteiner Dunkel, Schöfferhofer Hefeweizen, Altenmünster Oktoberfest, and a bunch of other super-un-pronounceable drafts within liter-sized steins. Sticking to the theme, all beers are served by dirndl-clad St. Pauli’s Girl look-a-likes that dance with the customers. I bypassed the Munich-big mugs — a cautionary move I wish I’d made during my last journey (I used to be able to put ’em down) — and settled on a $9 pint of Altemunster.
A green tea plum wine cooler from Epcot. (Photo: Disney Food Blog)
During my last trip to the almost orient, I enjoyed a delicious Tsingtao lager at 9 Dragons restaurant. This time I decided to go even more local and purchased a traditional plum wine. It was way too sweet, and my half-hammered reaction was very sour — but at $5.32 a pop, this alcohol represents the cheapest booze beverage within the whole park. Did I mention that the food is reminiscent of your favorite greasy takeout joint?
Get a little caffeine courage at this Scandinavian themed cafe. (Photo: Disney)
Disney purists have been up in arms ever since it was announced that Norway’s popular Maelstrom (an odd ride full of oil rigs, backwards drops down waterfalls, and trolls of the non-internet variety) was replaced with a Frozen-themed attraction. Since both amusements were in the middle of being dismantled/constructed, I stumbled on over to Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe and ordered a Viking Coffee which entails Kamora coffee liqueur, Baileys Irish cream, and a false feeling of awake-ness that dangerously distracted from my actual level of inebriation.
Celebrating my final stop with some maracas. (Photo: Bill Schulz)
¡Estoy hígado lo siento, pero lo hice! That was an apology to my liver in Spanish. I think I just spent $15.45 on a margarita! The sweet drinks come in mango, strawberry, and lime, and offer instant refreshment from the stifling Florida heat. La Cava del Tequila also offers more than 100 types of tequilas and mezcal, so if Margaritas aren’t your thing, you can always do shots!
So what was the main difference between my previous visit and my current broke down, closer-to-death version? At 40, I missed half a day drinking when I otherwise could’ve been in Future World with my two nephews. I also learned that my tolerance for 11 alcoholic beverages of various lineage, and proof, has gone waaay down in the past decade. In old man summation: nephews over booze.
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