Blogorail Green Loop. Today we are taking you on a virtual tour of Epcot’s World Showcase.
The Germany Pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase is a delightful walk through a storybook. From delicious treats and dining, to shops and artisans and a miniature train village nodding to Germany’s famed Romantic Road, there is a little something for the whole family in Germany. So willkommen to Epcot’s Germany!
Architecture & Design
A high school choir trip back in 1998 had me falling in love with Germany, the real Germany, quickly. The architecture of the country is fascinating; a combination of Bavarian villages straight out of storybooks, and modern towns with an almost futuristic feel. The villages and countryside where we did so much touring simply had stories desperate to be told, and a charm that is so uncommon here in the states. These storybook villages are where the Disney Imagineers first looked in the initial development of the Germany Pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase.
With its arches, turrets, and balconies, Germany seems to be a fairy tale come to life. In fact, the architecture is a realistic blend of cities and towns throughout Germany. Equally accurate is the bustling outdoor beer garden, modeled after the site of Munich’s legendary Oktoberfest.
~Around the World with Disney by Kevin Markey
The architecture of the Germany Pavilion is layed out in a platz, or plaza style, with a central fountain topped by a statue of St. George. While modeled after several German areas, it is heavily inspired by Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a medieval city located in the Bavarian region of Germany. The buildings draw direct influence from those of the city gates and square, including the statue of St. George atop his horse slaying a dragon. Other areas of inspiration are that of Eltz Castle, as depicted in the castle wall architecture at the rear of the pavilion housing the Biergarten and Weinkeller, and Kaufhaus in Freiburg, Germany, as depicted by the lefthand builiding, Gild Hall, which houses Der Teddybar and Volkskunst shops. The entire Germany Pavilion is quaint and lovely. You truly feel that you are stepping directly into a story, and the atmosphere created by the outdoor tables, shopping and artisans has a true festival feel.
You can clearly see the influence of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, pictured below in images from Germany Insider Facts.
The Germany Pavilion is home to some unique shops, as are all the pavilions of the World Showcase. Der Teddybar is an adorable toy store featuring genuine Steif Teddy Bears, Madame Alexander dolls (including Disney character dolls and Disney character clothing), a handful of German action figures and Disney items featuring a plethora of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs goods. The Epcot KidCot Station is also located in Der Teddybar. Der Teddybar opens into Volkskunst, which sells beer steins, genuine Cuckoo Clocks, shot glasses (or in Disney speak, toothpick holders), Oktoberfest merchandise and World Showcase merchandise, some featuring Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Across the plaza you will find shops featuring specialized holiday decor, food, drink and spirits. Weinkeller features German wine and the samplings are a lot of fun; I highly recommend the Ice Wine! Die Weihnachts Ecke has blown glass Christmas ornaments, advent calendars and other holiday decor. The Kunstarbeit In Kristall sells gorgeous Swarovski Crystal items including tiaras, cups, frames and more, as well as other fine crystal pieces. There is also an outdoor store, Glaskunst, near the boat dock selling the personalized blown glass items from Kunstarbeit In Kristall. Finally to round out the shopping is my personal favorite, Karamelle-Kuche. Just thinking about this Werther sponsored candy store makes me hungry. The caramel corn is amazing, the chocolate and caramel dipped pineapple is to die for. Seriously.
The Biergarten is the big draw in the Germany Pavilion. This Oktoberfest-styled restaurant features family style dining and traditional German food and drink. The Biergarten is open for lunch and dinner, and showcases an all-you-can-eat buffet with entrees such as sausage, wine kraut, sauerbrauten and apple streusal. Live entertainment takes the stage, and you are encouraged to get up and dance. It is truly a fan favorite.
Or, if you are in a hurry but want to sample some German cuisine, you can stop by Sommerfest for beer and a pretzel, sandwich, strudel or other snack.
You will find Snow White greeting guests near her Wishing Well in the Germany Pavilion, and it is one of the most charming meet and greets in World Showcase. The wishing well against the architecture creates a nicely themed backdrop for meeting Disney’s original princess.
Probably my son’s favorite thing in the entire World Showcase is the miniature train set. The train set is modeled off of an actual train route through the Rhine valley known as The Romantic Road, and was originally installed for the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival. It was such a crowd favorite that it was never dismanteled, though it does go through periodic refurbisments to maintain working order, and trains seem to be replaced often. Our family loves to grab a snack at Karamell-Kuche and let Connor chase the trains over the bridge for quite a while before moving on to our next stop. It also allows me to do a little shopping without little hands.
Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure also has a presence in the Germany Pavilion, and is one of our favorite adventure stops. I encourage you to try this one out if you have kids! The way it is incorporated is nicely done and not obstrusive.
History and Fun Facts
Originally the Germany Pavilion was supposed to be home to a riverboat ride, similar to the old El Rio del Tiempo in the Mexico Pavilion (now Gran Fiesta Tour featuring the Three Caballeros). In this planned attraction, guests would board boats for a sight-seeing tour down Rhine and other German rivers showcasing past and present bits of German history, but budget cuts and lack of sponsorship caused the attraction to be cut from the paviliion plans. The attraction building was constructed, and the beautiful double-wooden doors would have been the entrance to the queue line.
The Gild Hall features three of the four original Hapsburg rulers; Philip I, Charles V and Ferdinand I. Maximilian I was cut from the architectural influence of Kaufhaus in order for the architecture to maintain the scale of the original. There is a Hidden Mickey located on the crown of the prince closest to the back of the pavilion.
St. George is the patron saint of soldiers, and German legend holds that he once slayed a dragon with a magical sword. Almost all German villages feature a statue of St. George as a symbol of protection.
Enough sausage is sold every 60 days to run the lenght of a marathon course at 26.2 miles.
When the Germany Pavilion was designed Germany itself was still divided from World War II. In order to promote a feeling of friendliness the Imagineers focused on Southern Germany and the Black Forest region, highlighting architecture and styles from the 12th to 17th centuries, which included the more storybook-esque areas of the country still in existence.
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!
Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Green | Tour of Epcot’s World Showcase Loop:
- 1st Stop – Superheroes and Teacups | 3 Reasons to Love Epcot’s United Kingdom Pavilion
- 2nd Stop – The Disney Chef | Why You Need to Say Kon’nichiwa to Epcot’s Japan Pavilion
- 3rd Stop – Magical Memories with the Mouse | My Favorite Epcot World Showcase Pavilion – Morocco
- 4th Stop – DISTherapy | Italy Pavilion
- 5th Stop – Dad for Disney | O Canada!
- 6th Stop – Rolling with the Magic | Fall in Love with France in Epcot’s World Showcase
- 7th Stop – My Dreams of Disney | Mexico Pavilion
- 8th Stop – The Delightful Life | Epcot’s Norway Pavilion: the Past, Present, and Future
- 9th Stop – Bibbidi Bobbidi Booze | Come To Visit Mulan And Stay To Get Canto-Loopy: A Guide To EPCOT’S China Pavillion
- 10th Stop – Disney Mamas | Epcot Spotlight – Germany Pavilion
- 11th Stop – What’s the Point? | The American Adventure