First things first….
Safe D begins with me!
There are a couple of safety tips you should follow to make the most of drinking around the world while not overdoing it or making yourself sick:
1. Start early, and spend the majority of your day in World Showcase
One easy way to make drinking around the world go very poorly, is to try to do it in a short amount of time, and trust me, I know from experience. Case in point, St. Patrick’s Day 2015:
If you’re planning on park hopping, drinking in each country within three hours before you head over to the Magic Kingdom is not the best idea, don’t do it. I did, because when I lived in Orlando I thought it would be an excellent idea to run errands all day, and still have time to drink in Epcot before dinner reservations at ‘Ohana. On that St. Patrick’s Day I had to pretty much carry my boyfriend at the time up the monorail ramp to leave the park, and…let’s just say that’s something I’d rather not have to do ever again.
2. Speaking of monorails, don’t drive!
If you’re local to Walt Disney World, driving might be tempting because driving to Epcot is so easy, however I’d suggest parking somewhere else and using Disney transportation just to be safe. And by doing this, you won’t have to worry about having one person be the designated driver. We purposely made dinner reservations at ‘Ohana on St. Patrick’s Day, so we would have plenty of time to spend at the Polynesian to eat and sober up before we got behind the wheel. We parked at the Transportation and Ticket Center in the morning, and used Disney transportation for the entire day until we got back to the car that night. You can also take an Uber or Lyft to/from Epcot if that’s easier.
3. Drink water!
To safely drink around the world, you should be drinking at least as much water as you are alcohol, and perhaps even more so if you’re visiting during the summer months when staying hydrated is even more important. You can get free water at any Disney quick service restaurant, so I offset drinks by stopping at the nearest quick service spot for water while wandering through World Showcase.
4. Don’t forget to eat
It’s always good to eat while you’re drinking, and thankfully Epcot makes eating while you drink around the world easy– especially if you’re drinking during Food and Wine or Flower and Garden Festival. I tend to snack while we’re drinking around the world, or at the very least have a decent quick service meal before I start, because we all know that drinking on an empty stomach is an equally terrible idea. Last time I drank around the world I got a pretzel in Germany and saved most of it in my backpack (because they’re huge!) so I could eat it on the go should I feel the need to start sobering up.
5. Bring friends/watch your friends
Bringing friends anytime you drink is always a good idea. Even though you probably feel safe at Disney, the safer thing to do is still to avoid being drunk in a public place alone. The other reason why it is important to bring friends is because it is a family park after all, and if one member of your group ends up having a few too many, have some friends to keep that person in line is a good idea.
How much does drinking around the world cost?
Assume drinking around the world is going to cost about $12 per drink. I always get a drink at the Outpost, although it is not technically a country of World Showcase. (If you’re going all out, I suggest getting a drink there because you can get the Safari Amber, a beer that is only available at Walt Disney World, or whatever mixed/frozen drink they’re offering at the time that is unique to the Outpost). Including the Outpost and the rest of the countries, you’re going to have twelve drinks. $12/drink x 12 drinks = $144/person.
I would say $144 per person is an over-estimation for drinks alone, because unless you’re serious about having one drink per person in every single country, you’ll probably end up skipping a country here and there. The important part of the budget is to make sure you factor in money for food. You don’t want to get to Epcot and forgo eating because you’ve already spent $100 on drinks and you don’t feel like spending more that day. To be safe, plan on spending $200 per person for drinking around the world. More than likely you’ll end up spending far less than that, but over-estimating and spending less than you expected is always better than under-estimating. Depending on where you’re drinking you’ll also need to set aside some money for tips, but tips included, you should not be going over $200 per person.
How much you spend also varies wildly depending on preferences for what you like to drink. As in any situation, beer is going to be cheaper than a mixed drink (note: cheaper, not cheap. Beer in Walt Disney World is certainly not considered cheap). Even within the same type of drink there are still differences– For instance, the margaritas in La Cava del Tequila in the Mexico pavilion are pricier than the ones outside at Mexico’s quick service restaurant. The ones outside are premixed, the ones in La Cava are not and they are so much better for it. To some that doesn’t make a difference and cheaper margs makes the most sense, but if you’re looing for quality you’re going to spend more.
How to get started
The main decision you need to make when drinking around the world is which side of World Showcase you’re going to start on. In Mexico you’re going to have tequila unless you’re only drinking beer, so the question is really do you want to start with tequila or end with tequila? I’ve done it both ways, and I think it depends on if you’re going to have tequila shots or order margaritas. While the margaritas from La Cava del Tequila are definitely strong, I’ve had no problems starting in Mexico with margaritas. If you’re going straight for tequila shots however, start on the other side of World Showcase and end in Mexico. This might just be my personal preference, but tequila shots seem to make more sense at the end to me.
I know everyone says you shouldn’t mix liquor and beer, but when I drink around the world I do at least a little bit and it’s always fine. Again, this is probably personal preference, but I wouldn’t stress over sticking to one or the other unless you know from experience that it’s a bad idea, or you haven’t eaten in which case you probably shouldn’t be drinking at all.
What to order!
The short answer is whatever you want, the long answer is, keep reading for my picks:
GO INSIDE THE MEXICO PAVILION TO LA CAVA DEL TEQUILA. You can get margaritas outside the pyramid in the quick service restaurant as well as the margarita stand, but La Cava del Tequila is definitely worth the money, so DO NOT skip it. Some of my suggestions here include:
Horchata: Tequila, Horchata cream Rum (dairy), Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey, agua de Horchata, topped with cinnamon powder
Coffee Mezcal Margarita: a blended mix of Mezcal Zignum blanco and coffee ice cream
Pineapple Margarita: Tequila blanco, ginger liqueur, caramelized pineapple nectar, fresh lime juice, agave nectar, served on the rocks with a Tajín chili powder rim
The margaritas at La Cava are going to run you about $16.00 each, but they are likely the most expensive drink you’ll have in World Showcase, and are much better than the alternatives you can find outside the pyramid.
I usually go with a Carlsberg beer in Norway. I have also tried the Linie Aquavit shot, however if I do have shots at all we usually save that for limoncello in Italy (I know limoncello isn’t supposed to be a shot but…let me live my life, ok?). The shot is good if that’s what you feel like having, but Carlsberg is my go-to drink here. It should also be noted that unless you have a meal at Akershus, which you almost always need reservations for, the drink options in Norway are pretty limited to the bakery and beer cart.
China is kind of hit or miss for drinks with us. Chaz almost always gets a Tsing Tao, which is mild, not so hoppy and an average kind of beer that I would expect most beer drinkers to enjoy. It’s not all that exciting because your local liquor store probably sells it. I’ve tried the plum wine, which you can get from the Joy of Tea stand or inside the Lotus Blossom Cafe, however it is much too sweet for my liking. If you like sweet drinks however you’ll probably enjoy it. The other non-table service drinks can be found at the Joy of Tea cart, unless you’re visiting during Food and Wine or Flower and Garden Festival when there are more drinks available outside. If you desperately want a mixed drink from China without dining at Nine Dragons, try the Peach Snap! from the Joy of Tea cart. It’s your typical peach schnapps and vodka combo, but it is pretty tasty and on par price-wise with the rest of World Showcase. For something more unique, you’ll want to dine inside Nine Dragons and order a specialty cocktail.
The Outpost, aka the African pavilion that never was, then kind of sort of was, then never will be because Animal Kingdom’s Africa opened, is still African inspired and therefore serves the Safari Amber, a brew made specifically for Walt Disney World, and a couple of fruity drinks, usually in a soft serve form, that change throughout the year. I always skip the fruity drink because whatever it is will be similar to what’s at the Refreshment Port on the other side of World Showcase, and you can only get the Safari Amber at the Outpost, Animal Kingdom, and Animal Kingdom Lodge, so might as well get it while you’re there. The Outpost also has the Mango Starr Smoothie, which is mango puree and African Starr rum, and they usually have some variation of a frozen rum and coke. For whatever reason, we prefer having similar drinks while were in Animal Kingdom, so this never sways our decision at the Outpost.
The Safari Amber is a darker beer, and has a bit of a hoppy aftertaste. I’ve read in a couple of different places that the average person probably won’t be crazy about it, but I’d personally disagree since I’m not a huge beer drinker and I love the Safari Amber. In any case, I’d give it a try just because you’ll never be able to find it at home.
What we drink in Germany is really dependent upon whether or not we’re dining at Biergarten. If we dine at Biergarten, I usually order the Dr. Loosen Riesling, and Chaz orders the Spaten Oktoberfest, both of which I would highly recommend while visiting Germany
For something a little bit quicker to drink without eating at Biergarten, we suggest the Schofferhofer Grapefruit Beer. It doesn’t really taste like beer at all, in that no matter what your drink preference is you’ll probably enjoy this drink. It’s cool and refreshing, with just the right amount of sweetness.
Schofferhofer Grapefruit Beer:
For us, Italy means limoncello from the cart outside the gift shop. Other than limoncello we’ve had wine, but we usually save wine for when we eat at Via Napoli rather than for drinking around the world. Other standouts in Italy are the margaritas, the Italian Margarita, which they always have (basically a margarita with limoncello as the alcohol) and the different varieties they have during Food and Wine and Flower and Garden Festival.
Frozen Italian Primavera: assorted fruit slush, limoncello, vodka (Flower and Garden Festival)
The drinks in the USA are going to be made up of primarily Sam Adams, Bud Light, and your basic selection of wines unless you go during Flower and Garden or Food and Wine Festival. Since I’m not going to bore you with my thoughts on Bud Light, let’s talk about something interesting instead… like Maple Bacon Stout.
Maple Bacon Stout: (Flower and Garden Festival)
I don’t like stouts, so it shouldn’t be surprising that this is not my favorite drink. If given the choice of beer in the America pavilion, I would gladly go with Sam Adams over this one. Don’t let my opinion discourage you though, Chaz (who usually likes stouts) really enjoyed it. The flavor was there, it was just too there, in my opinion. It tasted so much like maple and bacon, that having that sort of flavor in liquid form was strange to me. BUT a lot of people love this drink, so I’d still give it a shot if you’re around during Flower and Garden Festival.
For a more permanent non-beer drink, try the whiskey lemonade. The whiskey featured in it changes occasionally, but that is usually my go-to beer alternative in the USA.
Japan is all about sake or Sapporo, unless we have a table service reservation in which case I’d order some kind of specialty drink in the restaurant. To be perfectly honest we know almost nothing about sake, and we usually go to the sake bar inside the gift shop and go with whatever the bartender suggests.
Morocco’s drinks are best enjoyed while sitting at a table by the water at Spice Road Table. Don’t worry if you don’t feel like sitting down in a restaurant though, you can still order drinks from the walk up bar outside the hostess stand. My favorites include:
Sultan’s Colada: rum, pineapple and coconut juice and almond liqueur
Marbella Summer: frozen Torres Brandy, Grand Gala liqueur, strawberry puree
Andalusian Nights: apricot Brandy, Myers’s Dark rum, orange juice mixed with pina colada mix
No explanation needed here, the Grey Goose slush is the drink to get in France. I prefer the lemon one, however the orange flavor is offered year round, as well as a couple of other flavors during the festival seasons.
Grey Goose Citron Lemonade Slush:
The United Kingdom:
Beer and cider are the go-to drinks here, unless you want to venture away from the norm and try a mixed drink from the Rose and Crown, in which case I’d recommend the Welsh Dragon. Otherwise go with a beer flight, or a single beer or cider from the cart out front
Welsh Dragon: peach schnapps, melon liqueur, creme de menthe, orange and pineapple juice
Imperial Sampler: Bass, Harp, Strongbow, Boddingtons, and Guiness
(Yes I know I’m wearing the same shirt, at the same place, at least two years apart. For shame…)
For us, Canada = Moosehead, it’s the only one we’ve tried, and we’ve stuck with it because it’s good. If you’re looking for something more interesting in Canada, try the only mixed cocktail available at the beer stand:
Torontopolitan: Iceberg Vodka, Creme de Cassis, triple sec & cranberry juice
Other Epcot drink spots:
If you’ve had a drink in the majority of the countries in World Showcase, we would say you’ve been successful at drinking around the world. If for whatever reason, you’re still looking for more drinks you do have a couple of other options in the park. Pretty much everywhere in Future World, with the exception of the table service restaurants are going to sell your standard Sam Adams, Bud Light, and Yuengling, however there is one more place that serves up some unique alcoholic beverages: Joffrey’s.
The Joffrey’s coffee stands might be an unexpected choice for a drink, but they actually have a couple of unique options and they change frequently with the seasons and festival events going on in Epcot. One standard drink they usually have that is a good option if you want a drink aside from what’s in the countries is the Tea Breeze, a basic mix of iced tea, lemonade, and vodka. You can also ask for it with a double shot of vodka, and even have it for breakfast on your 21st birthday like someone I know…
– Share drinks.
Sharing drinks saves you some money, and lets you try more things while still being able to walk to the next country.
– Try things that are likely limited time offerings.
If you’re there during a festival, try something from the kiosks. The more permanent carts and bars don’t change things so frequently that whatever you’d like will probably be there the next time you visit. Festival drinks will only be there again if you visit during another festival, so best to try some of those while you can.
– Do not drink if you’re under 21.
The set up of World Showcase makes it fairly easy to drink if you’re under 21, but it’s honestly not worth it, especially if you’re in Disney on the college program where getting caught could result in termination from the program.
– Avoid holidays
Unless you’re local and can go to the parks all the time, I would avoid the stereotypical drinking holidays, like St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco de Mayo. (Cinco de Mayo can be fun because sometimes the Three Caballeros are all out together for meet and greets, but anytime it’s extra crowed in World Showcase I’d avoid drinking around the world).
Drinking around the world is a fun way to experience the different cultures in World Showcase, and something you should try at least once. It can be pricey, and take up some time during a Disney vacation, but it’s a fun, unique experience that’s become a bit of an adults-only trip to Epcot tradition that’s always a good time!