World Showcase Update – China, Norway, “Africa,” and Germany

by josh on July 15, 2013

Moving on, we now find ourselves in Norway, which looks a bit more crooked than the last time we visited.

The good news is that the waterfall is again out from behind walls. The bad news is that it isn’t a waterfall right now.  Supposedly Disney has been trying to install an Agent P Adventure effect or something, which obviously takes six months and multiple attempts.

Also good news on the Maelstrom front. An old effect has been turned on again. You’ll see it between the 3:10 and 3:20 mark as the waves crash up against the oil rig after the “big drop.” Some other subtle effects have also been touched up and mood lighting is improved.

Helly Hansen merchandise takes the place of the hand-knit sweaters closest to the ride’s exit.

Said sweaters, most of them $300+, have moved into the next room. I would guess selling $500 sweaters in Orlando in July is even more difficult than selling DVC at Saratoga Springs, and that’s saying a lot.

Viking steins next to liters of Vikingfjord vodka, which is coincidentally my favorite brand of vodka.

$21.95 for a liter is a reasonable price too.

Also, their commercials make me feel like I might have a future in Norwegian film.

Not much else going on in Norway as we take a look at the current Kringla Bakeri og Kafe menu.  There has been some past confusion over whether the pretzels here are snack credits, but the menu now makes it clear that they are.

Although I don’t see any mention of the old combo that included a sandwich and a side salad or fruit cup. That was nice on the Dining Plan because you could get a sandwich, salad, dessert, and drink for a quick service credit.

I have a review of each of the sandwiches and a few of the pastries here.  Actually, this website has a pretty handy look at all the quick service locations at the theme parks including menus, food reviews, seating areas, advantages/disadvantages etc: Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom.  Expect a major update at the end of next month when Disney updates the menus.

More case:

Those omg-too-cute-stop Viking Chocolate Mousses were added back in March. Word is they’re super rich with a thin chocolate exterior hiding dense, dark chocolate mousse inside.  If you’re looking for something that isn’t super sweet, I love the Lefse.  But of course, like all Disney lifestyle bloggers, my favorite item is the School Bread.

Poor Norway gets the short end of the stick on the alcohol front.  Obviously none of the three toilet wines served here are anywhere close to Norwegian.  Heck, Tehran is half as far away from Oslo as Napa Valley.  I would literally die if they sold Nøgne or Dansk Mjød.  Imagine ordering a shot of Viking Blod instead of a 4-ounce plastic cup of Century Cellars.

Here are your choices.  Aquavit is neat in that the oak casks that carry the alcohol are loaded onto a ship that sails around for four and a half months.  I wish they would stop at my house.  Bottles are sold in the store for $39.99 or $29.99 from Total Wine.

The safe money is on the $8 Carlsberg drafts, even if it’s a Danish beer.  One protip while we’re here: I do not recommend the Carlsberg Elephant should you run into it.

Akershus menus:

You can check out my most recent dinner review of Akershus.  For a more robust look at Norway, including a lot more merchandise, check out this post with a link to Part 1 of that series.

In the Magic Kingdom post, I mentioned that Epcot was not going to look like July when we visited on the same date.  This is July 7th at 11:30am and it highlights why the website’s advice is to head up through World Showcase as close to 11am as possible.  I rode Maelstrom with no wait and nobody in front of me twice beginning around 11:15am.  The first time I tried to take a video, a family of six behind me from New Jersey, all with lisps, narrated the entire ride.  The second time some genius with a handheld camera decided it would be a good idea to take one-handed flash pictures every 15 seconds.  Anyway, on to China, where even less has changed.

Well okay, the price of Tsingtao went up 50 cents.  More on Joy of Tea including drink reviews and the Lucky Combo, which I don’t recommend.  The Lucky Combo looks like a good deal at first glance, but it only includes one of each of the snacks.  Note that each of the items as listed on the menu is plural – you get two for that price.  This is one of the few places where you can grab a can of Coke though.

The Tipsy Ducks is still available – excellent if you like bourbon, chocolate, and coffee.

Lotus Cafe menu:

It’s the same as the last time we checked in to try the Hong Kong Chicken.

Nine Dragons:

This is one of the only restaurants the website does not have a recent review of – probably because it’s considered to be one of the worst restaurants on property.  But I’ll see about heading out there this week.

Seems popular though.

Feels crowded.

These unadvertised bathrooms at Lotus Blossom Cafe are usually a good choice if you’ve passed Norway and don’t want to walk all the way to Germany.  They’re not listed on the map – that’s the Lotus Blossom ordering area on the right and the restrooms are located right through that door.

There’s always one family looking at the map.

Seems like Disney’s strategy of not building any rides or attractions back here is helping push people to the back of World Showcase early.

The Refreshment Coolpost is boring even for Disney standards.

The Phineas and Ferb items are a “permanent” mainstay on the menu.  Lines are usually nonexistent here so it is a convenient spot to grab a bottle of water or something.

They were advertising “Craft Beer.”  I asked the cast member at the register and she pointed to the usual suspects on draft – Bud Light, Yuengling, Safari Amber, and Landshark.  She was either confused or they don’t actually have a limited engagement offering.

Bead Outpost is back here:

Most people walk right by it, but it’s actually a neat cause.

They’re really pretty.

Pricing isn’t outrageous.

And the neighbors might compliment you for wearing something that “isn’t Disney.”  And you can just smile.

Face painting.  This section is one of about nine expansion pads – or areas where there is room for another World Showcase Pavilion if Disney elected to build one.  Norway is the “newest” Pavilion and when did it open?  1988.

Village Traders also sits back here.  It’s more of the same for the most part, with some merchandise you’ll find at Animal Kingdom, in addition to stuffed animals, fans, and the like.

But there are some unexpectedly cute items too.

Dresses, shirts, mugs, flamingos, etc.

And the World Showcase Pavilion shirts are still widely available.

Something like 99.9% of the people walk right past Mdundo Kibanda, present company included most of the time.  But you’ll find some unique hand carved wood art as well as a very friendly cast member that is happy to explain to you what he’s up to back there.

This area is taken by Food/Wine/Flower/Garden/Alcohol booths about five months out of the year now.  Over the summer, it’s a completely uncovered, blisteringly hot “rest area.”  Otherwise comfortable though.

Our first stop in Germany is Karamell-Kuche – Handcrafted Caramel Treats.  I would zoom in on the sign advertising Werther’s Original, but everyone knows corporate sponsorship doesn’t exist outside of Main Street Bakery.

Carmael Apples are priced similarly to the other Disney outlets.


Larger:  Both sides are the same, but the smudges may or may not be in different places.

In very Costco-esque fashion, Kuche offered samples of their caramel corn.  The kernels that don’t get stuck in between your teeth are okay…I think it tastes kind of stale right off the bat.  It may depend on how fresh your batch is.  It gets kind of addictive after a few bites.

Packaged Werther’s candy is available.  Those bags of caramel corn run $8.95.

Werther’s is another option for those of you on the Dining Plan that decide to pay cash for less expensive snacks to “maximize value,” only to end your trip with 77.6 snacks in the bank.

Otherwise, making a purchase at your local grocery store would probably be financially wise.

The Bier stand is located on the right side of the Pavilion.  It isn’t always operating.

The addition of the Schofferhofer Grapefruit Beer is relatively new.

Berentzen Apple is an interesting liqueur that most people have probably not tried.  At 20% alcohol, it’s on the low end of the spectrum.  Jagermeister is 35% and the Aquavit is 41.5%.  “ApfelKorn” as it’s called in Germany, is produced by blending neutral wheat spirit with apple juice.  The result is a sweet liqueur that tastes like a boozy apple juice.  The alcohol flavor is most apparent up front, but quickly subsides as the sugar from the apples reaches the tongue.  If you take the shot quickly, particularly if you’ve been drinking, you probably won’t notice the alcohol.  If you’re Drinking Around the World and find yourself too full of beer, this is a nice, “light” alternative both in alcohol content and liquid volume.

Jagermeister is much more prevalent and most drinkers will have experienced it at some point, even if it was 20 years ago in college.  One of Germany’s best known exports, Jager tastes a lot like black licorice.  The complex flavor comes from the 56 different herbs, fruits, roots, and spices blended together.  Jager definitely isn’t for everybody.  My brother makes fun of me because I sip it over ice.  Also, whatever you eat immediately after taking a shot of Jager probably won’t taste very good.

But if you’re skipping beer in one country, Germany shouldn’t be it.  The Altenmunster Oktoberfest on draft is one of the best beers available at the outdoor kiosks and one of the only beers you won’t find in the fridge at 7-11.  Oktoberfest has a sweet, light caramel flavor up front with decent carbonation and a clean finish.  It’s refreshing and should please beer snobs and the Bud Light crowd alike.

Germany is one of the more straightforward Pavilions.  Sommerfest is the quick service arm, serving up a limited menu with limited seating and two cashiers.

The German Potato Salad is new since our last visit.

It comes in a relatively small, pre-packaged container.

It tasted pretty pedestrian – heavy on the mayo with red potatoes and chopped green onion.  I’m not sure there’s anything particularly German about it.  Anyway, it would be a decent side if you’re looking for something to add to the Bratwurst/Frankfurter, but it’s far from anything special.  At least it’s not french fries.

The popular Grapefruit Beer, first available at the 2012 Food and Wine Festival, returns in bottle form at Sommerfest.  At around 2.5% alcohol, it’s unlikely to create much of a buzz.  But it’s also refreshing here in the hot summer months.  It doesn’t really taste like beer at all – more like a grapefruit soda.

I like the Brats and Prezels at Sommerfest, but I’m not sure it would be my one stop for lunch in World Showcase.  They’re here and relatively inexpensive though.

I was at first taken back a bit by the cost of Biergarten, which seemed to be an increase up to $36.99 for dinner.  But it’s apparently the same price as it was when I reviewed it last year.  I like Biergarten a lot for the filling, authentic food and fun atmosphere inside the restaurant.

And the liters of beer of course.  A liter is 33.814 ounces or about twice as much as you’ll get for $8 outside.


Germany is home to a lot of fun merchandise, mostly having to do with drinking beer and eating pretzels:

There were a few comments in the Le Cellier review about the Canada Pavilion not being portrayed accurately.  I am hopeful that the Germany Pavilion is accurately represented.  Hopefully all they do is eat pretzels and drink beer while wearing lederhosen and shows with a buckle.

Two pretzels for stamina.

The same style as we saw in Norway.

The German Periodic Table of the Elements.

Yes, I can approve the beer mug hat.

Tucked into the back right side of the Pavilion, nearest Sommerfest, sits this often overlooked wine bar.

There is nowhere to sit, but it’s a much larger selection of wine should you be drinking wine around the world.

Bottles are also available:




Trock-en-bearen-ouse-lay-zeh.  That was my second guess.

Okay I can approve these glasses.

A few more items:

Wild hog hats because Germany.

{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

snickers July 15, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Your WDW updates help to fill the daily void that is my life between trips. Thanks!!!
Thought that was you in the vodka video until i realized he wasn’t wearing a polo. :)


pfalcioni July 15, 2013 at 3:17 pm

Those German/Norwegian horn steins (or whatever they call a beer mug in Norway) look like they could be used as weapons if the need arose.

And yes, being of German ancestry, I think they’ve definitely nailed the “real Germany” with the souvenir options and tee-shirt humor, at least as described to me by my dad who was stationed there while in the army. Because, you know, twenty-something guys living away from their midwest home for the first time in their lives are great observers of lifestyle. And beer. Well, pretty much just the beer.


marshallj July 15, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Quality. Would recommend reading.


Safroim July 15, 2013 at 4:19 pm

Germany has some of the best merchandise. The grapefruit beer sounds interesting. I love a hoppy IPA that has a strong grapefruity taste. I had wanted to try Aquavit for the longest time, but never got around to it. Finally had the chance this past January. I love my alcohol, but BLECH!!! Much more excited to try the Tipsy Duck in Love. The School Bread is on my can’t-miss-no-matter-what for next trip. That Rhino shirt is flipping adorable.


websteroni July 15, 2013 at 4:25 pm

Ugh! Why didn’t I know the grapefruit beer was available outside of the F&W festival!!! That’s the only beer I like; probably because as Josh noted it doesn’t taste like beer!

You’re on a roll with the updates! Thanks!


Christie July 15, 2013 at 4:37 pm

“These unadvertised bathrooms at Lotus Blossom Cafe are usually a good choice if you’ve passed Norway and don’t want to walk all the way to Germany. They’re not listed on the map – that’s the Lotus Blossom ordering area on the right and the restrooms are located right through that door.”

My pregnant a$$ would have loved this information back in May.


ddavis July 15, 2013 at 4:39 pm

I have never stopped by the bead place in the outpost but I will on my next visit in December.


Tara July 15, 2013 at 5:09 pm

Great update. I love Biergarten! I can’t wait to go back and I agree with the 1st comment…your updates help me get through. Thank you.


Schmoodle July 15, 2013 at 5:18 pm

I had started to hyperventilate over the Joy of Tea menu until I scrolled down and saw the Tipsy Ducks in Love is still available. I would pick this over any other treat in World Showcase and plan to be having one exactly one month from now. Chocolate, coffee, and bourbon are some of my favorite things! The grapefruit beer is intriguing – is it similar to a panaché or shandy? Seems like it would be very refreshing. We often finish off a hot summer day with a panaché on the porch here at my house.


Dan Young July 15, 2013 at 5:32 pm

It’s just amazing to me how you can know so much about the World and then learn something completely new. I never knew about the Lotus Blossom restrooms – gotta try ‘em out next trip!


Phyllis July 15, 2013 at 5:49 pm

Josh, after you have visited the scheduled park and have taken the pictures, how long does it take you to write up an average post? I think that we take for granted that your job is all fun (visiting the parks) and no work, but I think there is a lot of work that goes into these blogs.


Patricia July 15, 2013 at 6:12 pm

this is an amazing blog that i look forward to all the time


Peter H July 15, 2013 at 6:22 pm

We ate in akershus today, and apart from the fact it’s extortion (especially the minimalist kids meals) I really enjoyed it. The ‘burger’ was excellent and our waiter was the best we have had in this trip so far. He basically forced us to take another desert plate at the end.

I nnoticed that effect on Maelstrom too, although surprised would be a better description.

And I told my wife the next toilets where in Germany whilst we were in China, so she went on ahead :-)


6Js July 15, 2013 at 6:29 pm

@Phyllis: my last trip in Nov 2012 with extended family I tried to blog the trip with as much detail as Josh goes into (and without nearly as much talent) and it is a TON of wor even to do the small amount that I do. Granted I was toting 12 ppl around the World all week but I gained a healthy respect for the amount of time and effort Josh puts in to this site and his posts.


Steph July 15, 2013 at 7:10 pm

Am I the only one who noticed that the German glass boot has a Made in Poland sticker on it above the price tag? I would be p*ssed if I had bought a Germany souvenir and saw that it was made in Poland. That’s as bad as buying a US flag that’s made in China. Can’t beat Altenmunster, though. My favorite beer and I can only get it there.

On another note, love all of your posts and can’t wait to read them!!


Shannon July 15, 2013 at 8:04 pm

The ham and apple sandwich in Norway was one my favorite things last trip. It was our last nite there and I thought “What the heck?” VERY pleasantly surprised.


Ken July 15, 2013 at 8:31 pm

Lederhosen…nothing says “party” like a pair of leather shorts.


Jill Marie July 15, 2013 at 10:06 pm

I finally discovered the bead outpost on our last trip. LOVE the beads. I also love that they have different color schemes to represent different Disney characters. It’s just something they say…but it’s still kind of fun. The red/white/black one I bought is for Cruella Deville, apparently. I just liked the colors. And the multicolored ones are for “all characters.” I bought one of those as well. I kind of wish I’d bought a few more. I love them. I probably spent way too much time looking at the bracelets trying to pick the exact ones I wanted.


KB July 16, 2013 at 12:29 am

Go to Munich during Oktoberfest! That place is ONLY beer and pretzels and lederhosen! And dirndls and cleavage! It’s actually insane. A lot of the beer halls have toilets/urinals and also PLACES TO VOMIT! Just delightful.


Tracy July 16, 2013 at 5:58 am

That commercial. Wow. Just wow.


margie July 16, 2013 at 6:19 am

I read that the necklaces are made from recycled paper from Disney.


Tricia July 16, 2013 at 6:21 am

I got a light blue necklace from the bead outpost and I wear it all the time. I always get compliments on it. May have to buy a few more on my next trip drinking around the world!!


Cindy Kay July 16, 2013 at 6:22 am

The Vikingfjord vodka comercial made me cold. Brrr….


Ivy July 16, 2013 at 6:46 am

German potato salad does NOT have mayo in it! I can’t believe the German cast members allow their nation’s cuisine to be misrepresented like that. Hot cooked potatoes are sliced and dressed with oil or bacon fat, vinegar, sugar, chopped onion, parsley, and crumbled bacon. It should be served warm. That is all.


cupcake July 16, 2013 at 6:52 am

Nine Dragons is FAR from the worst restaurant on property. We actually rate it higher than half the other TS restaurants in WS. And this is coming from someone who hates chinese takeout.


Shinah July 16, 2013 at 6:53 am

I never realized those beads were so reasonably priced. My 6 year old loves those kinds of things but I always just assumed they were an arm and a leg. I think I can spare the 10-20 bucks for her to make a bracelet or necklace next time.


krikiter July 16, 2013 at 7:31 am

I like that commercial more than I probably should. I’ve watched it 4 times. Maybe it’s because we live in a country where every ad for booze is tempered with “Please drink responsibly” and this guy couldn’t be more irresponsible: drinking straight from the bottle while skating on a partially frozen lake and playing with a chainsaw and an ax. Maybe it’s the crazy eyed stare and the Norwegian accented gasp from the guy after he takes a gulp. Or the jazz/bebop soundtrack. The whole thing is just so…Scandinavian.

Whatever, I’m totally picking up a bottle if I can find it at my local hooch store.


Mike July 16, 2013 at 8:44 am

every time I read this blog I want to go get drunk.


Pam H. July 16, 2013 at 8:59 am

We had a really nice talk with the man at Mdundo Kibanda. The wood carvings were beautiful.
We discovered the bathrooms at the Lotus Blossom Cafe, thanks to my obsession with peach oolong ice tea and my family’s obsession of knowing where every bathroom is…


gatorgirl July 16, 2013 at 9:59 am

Literally drooling at the brats & pretzel pic. It’s my go-to meal when I want to eat nothing but beige. And it’s cheap. And it’s near the beer stand.

I’m basically an honorary German at this point.


weepstah July 16, 2013 at 10:09 am

The Saratoga Springs comment made me laugh. No review of the film @Norway? One thing I always wondered about that film – why are the Vikings attacking oil rigs in the North Sea? That’s bad for business.

I was a little bemused with the Rhino T-shirt. It’s cute, but Rhinos can knock over a fully loaded vehicle. Any animal that weighs 3 tons and can run at 30mph stretches my definition of cute.


Carol July 16, 2013 at 10:25 am

I love the bead outpost, although last time I couldn’t really find the colors I wanted. I think the variations must change occasionally. Which makes sense since they’re made from recycled paper.

@Ivy-Totally agree with you on the potato salad. There shouldn’t be any mayo. Travesty!


Tina Q July 16, 2013 at 10:32 am

Happy to say my daughter and I bought bead bracelets last month. Wishing we’d got necklaces too. She was also fascinated by the woodcarver. World Showcase is such a great place to make discoveries!


Valerie July 16, 2013 at 11:36 am

“The German Periodic Table of the Elements.”
Awwww you’re killing me!
GREAT post as always!
3 Cheers for the new server!!!!


tanya July 16, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Indeed, no mayo in German potato salad. It’s like they just picked up a bunch of “whatever” potato salad at Publix and called it a day. Also, those bathrooms at Lotus Blossom are small. Convenient, yes, but small. I often wonder if all the items in the store in the China pavilion are made in China?


RebeccaMcK July 16, 2013 at 1:02 pm

I should spend more time in the Germany pavilion because so far I haven’t spent any except for looking at the trains’ village thing. That “I Know a Little German” t-shirt with Grumpy on it is adorable and I would get it for my dad since he took German in high school and DOES know “a little” German at this point. Today is his 70th birthday – I better call him later. He had never been to Orlando but if he ever goes I know he’ll enjoy the World Showcase at Epcot, even just to shop in Germany and take photos galore everywhere with his huge camera. I need to add the Lotus Blossom restrooms to my ongoing Orlando theme park notes.


neffernie July 16, 2013 at 1:16 pm

I am so glad I read this today. I am currently wearing the beads I picked up at the outpost. The lady said they are Tinkerbell green, though I picked it for the color and not the character it is still a cute idea to have the association.

The rhino shirt is sold at Animal Kingdom too. I snapped a pic last time we were there and it is my current facebook profile pic. :)

Christine: “My pregnant a$$ would have loved this information back in May.”
To second the bathrooms being small comment, your pregnant a$$ would have gotten stuck they are that small.


Alice July 16, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Great… about a month ago, the German showcase made me gain 15 pounds. True story. reading this blog just caused me to gain another five I’m pretty sure.


Bunny July 16, 2013 at 3:33 pm

Gosh – we’re always so rush rush rush to get through World Showcase during Food & Wine **cough…WINEBEERDRINKS…cough** that we never stop to look around the countries. Definitely this trip, we’ll stop and browse. Those beads look really cool.


Nolarookie July 16, 2013 at 8:11 pm

Does anyone else think WS smells like the cheese and perfume that is sold in the Norway pavilion?


Patrick July 17, 2013 at 12:26 am

German potato salad has mayo in it…in the north of Germany! The one without mayo is indeed famous in the southern regions more, but in the north of Germany you will hardly find some without Mayo ^^


Esther July 17, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Very nice pics. I swear you say things on here I’m thinking in my mind. I love that German caramel corn and it has become my Illuminations snack (something to rot my teeth out right before bed.) But my last batch did indeed taste stale. So I came home and learned to make caramel corn myself. Which was a terrible idea as now I can get fat an rot my teeth out all the time.


Mike July 18, 2013 at 2:07 pm

“The first time I tried to take a video, a family of six behind me from New Jersey, all with lisps, narrated the entire ride.”

Thank you Josh,
I needed to laugh today


Michelle July 18, 2013 at 2:35 pm

I was so disappointed with the school bread in June. I love coconut and had read so many positive reviews, but the one I got was dry, dry, dry. My kids on the other hand loved the Refreshment Coolpost…huge waffle cones and slushies plus a free cookie for my birthday girl and the CM there was awesome!


Brandon July 18, 2013 at 9:30 pm

Um.. Isn’t there some irony in the fact that the “recycled” paper for those beads is flown halfway around the world, then back. I mean… Recycling is cool and all, but I’m pretty sure there would have to be a net-negtive impact on the environment. Couldn’t they find some bead makers that wan to come live/work in the US? Just sayin..


Karen July 21, 2013 at 12:51 pm

We were there last week and ate lunch in Norway at the bakery. We had the dining plan and you still do get the sandwich, fruit or salad, drink, and a dessert as a quick service credit. It is not listed on the menu, but the CM asked if we wanted it.


BoSoxGal July 25, 2013 at 5:18 am

Now all I can think about is cheese soup and pretzel bread… Ack!

Biergarten was our fav restaurant on our trip this past May. We aren’t heavy eaters so I was worried the buffet might not be worth it. Pleasantly surprised! That atmosphere is so fun and the food is great. Even my shy DH who grumbled about sharing a table got quite chatty by the end. Maybe it was the beer flight…

I too will be looking for the beads next time. Never noticed them!!


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