• Welcome to the WDWMAGIC.COM Forums!
    Please take a look around, and feel free to sign up and join the community.You can use your Twitter or Facebook account to sign up, or register directly.

How does WDW stack up against exotic international vacations?


Original Poster
Hello everyone, quick question for those of you who have traveled abroad.

One of my favorite areas of WDW is World Showcase, and I am concerned that after traveling to Europe next year, Epcot may lose it's appeal to me. Has anyone experienced this after seeing the actual countries represented in WS? Would exploring the real Venice or Paris make going back to Epcot seem like a waste of time and money? I know there are other great things to do at WDW, but the main draw for me is Epcot and the surrounding resorts, and I'd hate to go back after an international vacation and feel totally underwhelmed. Anyone have thoughts or experiences to share? Thanks.


Well-Known Member
EPCOT is our favorite park, absolutely love it.

And for us it's a short trip to the park so we use our passes on a regular basis.

That being said it can't compare to the real thing, and it's not really fair to expect it to.

Enjoy your trip to Europe, then come home and enjoy EPCOT for what it is.


Well-Known Member
I've been to Italy, Mexico, France, Germany and England and I still love World Showcase. I actually think the countries in World Showcase are pretty dead on with the actual countries in Europe. I mean, obviously the real countries are better but where else would you be able to walk from Mexico to Japan? Plus, you can get similar gifts from the countries in World Showcase without having to pay for it in Euros.


Well-Known Member
From my limited personal experience, world travel might might enhance the World Showcase experience, if you're already a Disney fan.

I have not traveled the world extensively, but we did adopt a child from China. We spent time at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. I was blown away by how accurately the scaled down Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests in the World Showcase represents the real thing. If you look closely, the pavement in the China section of the World Showcase also mimics the merdian line that runs through Beijing to the main gate of the Forbidden City.

Having seen the "real thing," I have a greater appreciation for the effort Disney put into creating authentic representations in the World Showcase.


Well-Known Member
I've been to Mexico, Germany, France, Canada, the UK, China and Japan in real life.
It made me appreciate the WS more. I can speak to the CMs about their homeland. I can now speak a few words in their native tongue. I can recognize some foods and souvenirs that I blew past before. (like digestives in the UK). I can stand in the WS and feel like I am back in that country and reminisce on those great vacations.


Well-Known Member
I have been to Germany, France, and Mexico. The WS representations of these countries serve to remind me of certain things, but the beauty of EPCOT is in no way diminished by my experiences in traveling.


What I found is it brought back the good memories of the time I had in Europe. The world showcase is nothing like actually being their of course but it was a great reminder of having traveled to the real thing.


Well-Known Member
You may appreciate it even more


I have been fortunate enough to have been able to do a lot of travelling in my life, including many, many trips to Europe, South and Central America, all over Canada, South Africa, etc.. Just a few months ago I spent a few fantastic weeks in France (my third trip to France) and guess what? I can't wait to get back to EPCOT and World Showcase!

First, you will appreciate more than ever how easy it is to go to EPCOT - your trip from Michigan is nothing like dealing with international flights, customs and border control, etc. - and jet lag. Second, EPCOT may seem a real bargain to you after dealing with not just the cost of travel to Europe, but the tough exchange rate with the Euro, the generally high prices there (particularly for food and accommodation), etc..

Next, while learning about Europe, travel and getting around is part of the adventure, it is not as relaxing as being in EPCOT, that's for sure! I almost always feel like I need a vacation after a foreign trip - not just the jet-lag, but all that is involved in the travel - while I feel totally relaxed and at home at Disney. When you've spent all that money to get to Europe, you feel obligated to make the most of the trip - while as an Annual Passholder at Disney World, I really just do whatever I want to do - even if that means doing nothing more than sitting on a bench looking soaking in the atmosphere.

Let me be clear - I am not trying to discourage anyone from the 'real deal' foreign travel - as should be obvious, since I keep doing it - the tiny bits of exposure you get from World Showcase are idealized, Utopian slices of just a fraction of the country that each is meant to resemble - and no substitute for the real thing - but don't worry about it 'spoiling' it for you - my experience is just the opposite.

Enjoy your trip!


Well-Known Member
Now been to 8 of the countries represented in World Showcases (still missing Morocco, China, and Morocco)... hasn't ruined the experience for me at all. In some ways, the travel might actually enhance the experience, because what you learn in your travels helps you recognize details and references found in pavilions at Epcot. I'd never heard of the actual Akershus, but now that I've walked around the real one I realized that the exterior of the restaurant in Epcot is actually a really good reproduction. Another example, I learned at the Stave Church in Oslo that there's a tiny patio/hallway that circles the interior of the church, but not until I went back to Epcot after the fact did I realize that Imagineering replicated that feature exactly in their recreation of the same building. I wonder how many people have ever even used that hallway since it was built.


Well-Known Member
I've been to more countries than I've been to states (> 20) and I feel like WDW compares favorably to other destinations (hence why it's so popular .. duh) but IMO you really need a combination of both in order to fully appreciate WDW.

There are the general things about a vacation that are easier (to me) at Disney .. you don't need to plan quite as much (if you don't want to - i know at least some planning is required) and everything is really at your fingertips - more specifically, you don't have to plan out every little excursion, it's more "all-inclusive" if you will.

However, if you never go anywhere else other than Disney you'll probably not appreciate the culture, cuisine, etc of other destinations represented in WS, or at least not to their fullest extent - there are some things that pictures and books can not convey and that's the emotional reaction you get when seeing, hearing and/or experiencing things in real life can give you. I've been to the top of the Eiffel tower, for example, but when I go to France in WS I don't feel like I'm missing anything when I see the mini Eiffel Tower .. lol.

So i guess what I'm saying is, try to do both :) If you go to WDW (Epcot, in particular) and use that as your sole experience for judging another country, well, you will probably be missing out. But if you visit WS and consider it to initiate, enhance or continue your experience, then you'll likely be very impressed no matter how many times you visit the real country.

JillC LI

Well-Known Member
It would be like comparing apples and oranges. They are two entirely different things. Foreign travel gives you a real feel for other parts of the world, its people and culture. EPCOT does a wonderful job of capturing little bits and pieces and highlights of those foreign places. But you're at Disney World, not in a foreign country. Enjoy EPCOT for what it is, and definitely don't let your love of EPCOT deter you from seeing the real world. I've travelled fairly extensively, but I still appreciate EPCOT.


Active Member
My feelings are along the same lines as some of the previous posts. DW and I have been to Mexico, Spain, France, Hawaii (Yes, I know it's part of the U.S.) and throughout the Caribbean.

Disney definitely sparked our curiosity to travel and experience some of the cultures, food and architecture it represented. We found that when we were in Europe, we were constantly comparing things and being reminded of Epcot and PoTC. Travel has in no way diminished our love of WDW and Epcot, but made us appreciate it even more.

"An Adventurer's life is best!"


Active Member
Haha, I never thought of it - but, I did go to Japan a couple years ago, and the next year went to WDW...and in all honesty I felt i was MORE interested in the Japan Pavilion because it reminded me of my trip a little bit! I'm from NY, so the food there was never the bees knees for me, but the whole atmosphere, the CMs, etc...definitely just brought a little memory back. Of course its NOTHING comparable to it, but it didnt make me lose interest - quite the opposite! :)

Register on WDWMAGIC. This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.

Top Bottom