World Showcase Update – Italy, United States, and Japan

by josh on July 22, 2013

Continuing from Mexico with reviews of La Hacienda de San Angel/San Angel Inn and China through Germany, we’ll pick things up at Italy. It’s 12:25pm on July 7th and things are not real busy back here.

The first kiosk you’ll see as you approach Italy from Germany is unnamed. You would think they could just make something up that sounds Italian – like Verizziollinizziollinidicciolinni del Ziollini.

Selling mostly gelato and wine, lines can get kind of backed up with only two people working most of the time. We’ll see better wine options shortly at the Enoteca.

The Italian Sangria is made on the fly with cheap wine out of a beverage dispenser and Sprite. The taste is sweet and refreshing, but you’d have a tough time convincing me you’re looking at $15 worth. You’d be better off going into Tutto Gusto and ordering a pitcher.

The Italian Margarita is a tasty frozen drink that’s usually passed over in favor of the France frozen drinks. It’s a shame because the Italy version is a much larger portion and tastes just as good, if not better.

Birra Moretti is more prevalent than you might imagine. Again, I would head into Tutto Gusto for a draft Moretti if that’s the direction you want to go in. Plus, Gusto is air-conditioned.

The Bellini isn’t much to write home about either, particularly at the $10 price point. More peach puree than wine, it has what may be described as an off-putting aftertaste. I’m not sure if others have had better experiences.

The Primavera might be the best thing on the menu – a fruity and refreshing non-alcoholic cocktail that’s easy to drink and will “literally” cool you down 15 degrees.

The wines taste like wine.

Italy is not real sure what to do with one of their carts.

Or maybe the mule has a mind of its own.

It usually sits outside the Pavilion next to the kiosk we first saw. Generally unpopular in plain sight, it must be even less further inside the Pavilion.

I won’t regurgitate past Tutto Italia reviews here. A lunch review is available here about half way down the post and another is available here. I may like Italia more than most people. While most items are a dollar or two over priced, even by Disney standards, almost everything is freshly made and the attention to detail is higher than most restaurants. And where else can you have 15 to 25 Italian people intently watch you eat from the corners of a room?

The current lunch menu with pricing $1 to $3 more expensive than when the restaurant reopened after a lengthy refurbishment last May.

Dinner is similar, though pricing is slightly higher than lunch on items that appear on both menus.

Tutto Gusto is the Pavilion’s relatively new wine bar, opening back in May 2012. Past reviews are available here, here, and here. I won’t reprise them in full. A bit of the current menu:

They also have a few hundred bottles of wine available by the glass and bottle. This is my favorite spot in the World Showcase to stop for a drink because this is the only place in the United States that serve several of the beers on draft. You also don’t need a reservation, it’s air-conditioned, service is excellent, and you can order anything off the Tutto Italia menu in addition to what’s available at Gusto. Pricing is high on the “Gusto Plates,” but you can also order a single item if you prefer.  A case in the front displays the items so you have an idea about what you’re ordering.

This is an excellent stop for a drink and a snack.

Via Napoli is the Pavilion’s best restaurant in my opinion. Current menu:

A full recent review of Via Napoli is available here.

At first glance, pizza pricing in the $30 to $40 range may seem absurd. And it might be. But this is one of the rare Disney phenomenons that lives up to the hype – the pizzas really are that good. And when you consider per-person-pricing, you can often get out of Via Napoli for less than other table service restaurants and for not a whole lot more than it would cost to go to Pizza Planet. For example, this $35 pizza stuffed two very hungry adult males.

Like the wine bar in Germany and the wine bar we’ll see up in France, Italy’s Enoteca is often overlooked, despite sitting in plain sight. You’ll see it inside the building on the right side of the Pavilion. Tutto Italia is the first restaurant you see on the left and then Gusto is a little further in on the left. Napoli is straight ahead.

Wines by the glass available as well as flights.

More wine.


Larger: See the middle of this post for a more robust look at Italy merchandise.

The Enoteca started selling shots of Grappa a couple of months ago for $10/shot.

Moving on to the United States, “Espresso, Coffee, & Pastries” features a similar menu as the other Joffrey’s stands:

With most quick service outlets now serving Joffrey’s, one wonders whether these kiosks will be seeing a future overhaul.

Hopefully Jameson will stay. I just hope I live long enough to see a dive bar go into the U.S. Pavilion somewhere.

Big donuts. Big cookies.

I feel like you’d have to be pretty desperate to order a BBQ Sandwich from Fife & Drum Tavern.

The Phineas & Ferb items are a mainstay here at Fife & Drum too, in addition to the delight that is Sutter Home wine.

Liberty Inn continues offering a 6oz fast food steak.

The one I had was actually pretty good. It’s obviously not the best steak you’re ever going to eat (I would hope), but it’s perfectly serviceable. I mentioned in the original review that the potatoes had been sitting somewhere for a while and it looks like they’ve been replaced with the typical Disney fry. I’ll bring you what I’m sure will be an enthralling review of the Texas Style Chicken soon.

The rest of the menu looks unchanged:

The Grilled Chicken Flatbread and Black Bean Vegetable Burger are actually good, potentially healthy alternatives. And the Chili-Cheese Fries are a hearty use of a snack credit.

The small store in the back of the Pavilion is often overlooked by guests passing by.

American flag items made in China are the star of the show here.

Vaguely patriotic shirts.

Few things are more American than a Bret Michaels hat.

At $24.95, the pillows might be approaching a reasonable price. The tapestries proudly state “made in the USA” on the side.

The popular t-shirt print with illustrated pictures of the food and drink found in the World Showcase has made its way to the Tervis Tumbler.

I bought one.

A heavy does of Ronald Reagan literature.

An exciting construction picture for your enjoyment. About 75 bathrooms are slated to open in about five weeks. Food & Wine fans rejoice.

Double Chocolate Funnel Cakes for summer.

Kabuki Cafe, popular for kaki gori, has added some additional sushi options.

I was after the Combo Sushi, but it was sold out.

So we’ll try the Temari Sushi – Curved “Bite Size” Nigiri topped with Tuna, Salmon, and Shrimp – $4.98.

The three bite size nigiri with ginger and wasabi.

Pricing is in line with what you’d receive up the stairs at Katsura Grill. The nigiri here are merely okay. It’s potentially a quick snack that’s on the healthy side of things, but it isn’t going to sustain most people for very long.

For $9.50, this is the Spicy Roll you’d receive at Katsura Grill. It isn’t much to write home about, but you could probably do worse.

Speaking of Katsura, here’s the current menu:

Some people really like Japan’s quick service. I have never been too impressed – not because I’m a sushi snob. Their food just isn’t very good (in my opinion)!

Teppan Edo’s all-day menu. We took a long look at dinner at Tokyo Dining not too long ago, so I won’t rehash that post. I have not been to Teppan Edo in almost forever…

While Tokyo Dining also offers one menu all day, they have lunch specials as described. Considering the cost at Katsura Grill, popping into Tokyo Dining for a much better, more relaxed meal might be a wise choice if you’re planning to eat in Japan.

The Sake Bar is still offering the same menu:

The Sake Bar cocktails are potentially a good choice if you’re in the market for something that isn’t a beer or a frozen drink with a splash of vodka or rum. The Strawberry Amisake Mist is sweet with very little alcohol taste. And with sake not being particularly alcoholic to start with, you’d fit in just fine with one of these in your hand without much concern over throwing up in the bushes with the 17 year olds by the time you arrive in Morocco.

The Green Tea Sake Cocktail is similar, though much creamier and less sweet.

Always nice to see Miyuki packing them in with her candy artistry.

Not a whole lot of news back here in World Showcase. In the next installment, we’ll finish up with Morocco, France, and the UK.  February 2014′s operating schedule is still unavailable.  Hopefully we’ll see it later today.

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

krikiter July 22, 2013 at 7:42 am

“American flag items made in China are the star of the show here.”

Heh, funny. Also a bit sad.

I don’t know if there’s anywhere I’d rather be in WDW than World Showcase. Thanks for the write-up.


Anonymous July 22, 2013 at 9:17 am

Do we care about the operating schedule for February 2013????? LOL!


KristenF July 22, 2013 at 9:39 am

Any chance that you’ll go to Teppan Edo anytime soon and give us a review? You know, in the name of science….or bloggability….or something.


mamakappy July 22, 2013 at 11:17 am

If your “counter” shows an overly large amount of hits on your website, it’s me checking 15 times a day for February’s park hours! Thanks for all the great updates!


Matt July 22, 2013 at 11:34 am

Disagree with the comments on Via Napoli. It was terrible last time there and others I have spoken with agree. Two years ago it was much better.


Karen July 22, 2013 at 11:51 am

I agree with Matt- plus if you are on the dining plan they pay you very little attention. Last week, we had no bread service and only one drink refill after we hunted the waiter down. Food was all lukewarm as well. It has gone downhill!


Pam H. July 22, 2013 at 11:59 am

Ugh to Sutter Home Wine – particularly the white zinfindel. I’d rather drink no alcohol than drink that stuff. Horrors!


Tracy July 22, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Have you noticed those Tervis tumblers at any of the other gift shops?


Lula July 22, 2013 at 12:16 pm

Why Josh is my favorite Disney blogger, reason #496:

Bret Michaels.


Luciana July 22, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Hi, I would like to know when are you posting the crowd calendar for March 2014!
Thanks :)


Brian July 22, 2013 at 1:11 pm

The pizza at Via Napoli looks good and I’ve heard good reviews about it. However, I had pizza from Naples at DTD Anaheim about 3 years ago and didn’t care for it at all. I am lead to believe they have the same ownership so I’m reluctant to try Via Napoli.

Any insight?


pinochio July 22, 2013 at 1:53 pm

this man does this without getting paid for his work. give him a break im sure he will does february very soon. thanx for all you do josh


Jana July 22, 2013 at 2:25 pm

We actually had a pretty good lunch at Katsura Grill. My daughter liked the chicken teriyaki and since I had the sniffles, the beef udon and iced green tea really hit the spot. Plus, I love the outdoor seating area – a really pretty view!


Vivian Ramos July 22, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Thanks Josh. I really wanted to know a bit more about the Jap food at Epcot. ;-)


Andy July 22, 2013 at 3:56 pm

The only thing more boring than Epcot? Epcot updates. I’ll be glad when you visit another park. Excellent coverage as always, but man Epcot’s dull.


Shannon July 22, 2013 at 4:00 pm

K – I have a question. We’re doing the dining plan in October. Way up there at the top, for example (well, all the menus for that matter) only some items have the DDP icon next to them. Does that mean we can only order something that has the icon next to it? The unnamed kiosk, for example has a ton of things obviously being sold as snacks, but nothing is noted with the icon. Maybe that’s not a good example, as I understand it a snack had to be under $5 or so…………I should really read up on this again since the last time I read it was almost a year ago.


Erika July 22, 2013 at 4:29 pm

Thanks josh! Can’t wait to be there!! Since we will notmbe on DDP this year I am looking forward to snackng in Epcot!


judy July 23, 2013 at 3:00 am

Is Lance Armstrong still the final shot on the American Experience? I saw that in Jan. and thought– ooo, they better change that!


weepstah July 23, 2013 at 4:43 am


They swapped him out and put Ryan Braun in there instead.


Ben July 23, 2013 at 9:38 am

@weepstah–Ouch — is Barry Bonds directing that film?


Christine July 23, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Thanks, Josh. We ate at Via Napoli in May based on your recommendation and it was fantastic. My husband said it was the best pizza he’s ever had. Our waiter was incredibly attentive and sweet.


Lisa July 24, 2013 at 11:12 am

Ate lunch at Via Napoli in April, it was delicious! We still dream about that pizza…


Tony July 24, 2013 at 10:05 pm

What kind of Pizza did you get (toppings), I want that one. The picture alone made me rearrange my trip to get an ADR at Via Napoli? Thanks for the great site!


BoSoxGal July 25, 2013 at 7:33 am

I would go back to Via. We ate there in May and were pretty happy with the food and service. We were on the dining plan. To Josh’s point, it is great for larger groups who can share. It wasn’t the best pizza I’ve had but it was pretty darn good, especially compared to some of the other junky meals I’ve had at the parks.

Note to self… Do not read Josh’s posts on an empty stomach or before work when you know your next opportunity for alcohol is in the evening!


weepstah July 25, 2013 at 9:12 am


Could be Bonds directing. But really, if he was the entire movie would be an homage to “Barry Bonds, the greatest baseball player and most interesting person who ever lived”

I’m thinking of who I would actually want as the inspirational sports hero from current times but that can be dicey. Maybe the US Futbol team can make some noise in the world cup – it’s harder to go wrong with a team.


mike July 25, 2013 at 7:45 pm

sorry but bonds isnt the best player that ever lived. ruth was not only a top 5 all timehitter but also one of the best pítchers of his time. take that bonds


Anonymous July 27, 2013 at 3:20 am

who cares about baseball !!!! bring me some collage football . I wonder if you can still buy slices @ via Napoli kiosk


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