The Gentleman's Guide to Drinking Around the World

by Roan Poulter, contributing writer
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People of all ages delight in finding the secret, hidden items within Disney Parks. From Mickey Mouse's hidden shape to the stealthy buzzer for Club 33, experiences off the radar continue to fascinate many of us. Hidden from the Epcot park maps and attraction guides lies one of the most enjoyable, abused, misunderstood, under appreciated, beloved, reviled, and unofficial activities in all of Disneydom—the ultimate pub crawl. Drinking around the world can be a transcendent experience; it can also lead to decisions that earn lifetime Disney bans. Look only at foolish mortals who have tried to climb the Mexico Pavilion, have fistfights in lines, or other silliness and you will see that this challenge is not without peril. Hence, this guide will show you the proper way to have a magical day without having to be carried out of the park by security.

Plan early

Drinking around the world is not an activity one just stumbles upon. There are many weeks of preparation that go into a successful crawl. These are the items you will need to amass for your journey:

  • A group of friends – No one wants to drink by themselves; bringing your friends along for the ride ensures that many eyes can watch those few souls who will potentially be an issue later. It also drastically reduces your chances of being selected as the designated driver (DD).


A group of adventurers enjoys the Craft Beer Pavilion at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Photo by Roan Poulter.

  • A Designated Driver – The official listing for drinking around the world is thus: Canada, UK, France, Morocco, Japan, America, Italy, Germany, Norway, and Mexico. That's ten countries, so unless you're only planning on sipping a drink from each, someone else will need to drive you home. This selection is best done before arriving at Epcot, though drawing lots onsite can work in a pinch. A group-wide acknowledgement that when the designated driver says stop, everyone stops. When the DD says time to leave, everyone shambles to the exit. His or her rule is law, agreed and sanctified by the group of drinkers who will be relying on that ride home.


This courteous viking serves as a designated driver for a girls' night out. Photo by Roan Poulter.

  • Dress code – Two ways to go here, either dress to impress or team up. I'm a team up guy and have designed my own unique logos for t-shirts I had made for the occasion. This can also be a cherished souvenir if one buys fabric markers to check off the boxes and request cast members in various lands to scribe unique phrases on the shirt. Cast members are happy to help, if you're polite and not obviously inebriated. Alternatively, you can dress to impress, but remember that Disney does not allow adults to wear costumes, especially if they're Disney in nature.


Matching shirts and festive hats are one way to dress for the occasion. Photo by Roan Poulter.

  • The date – More critical than one might first portend. Most groups do this on Saturday nights—which doesn't mean you can't do it on a Tuesday—but if you want to bump into other merrymakers then Saturday is the target. However, if your chosen date falls within the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, you should avoid Saturday; the crowds are just too large and the lines too long on a weekend during that time.
  • Decorations – Optional but highly recommended by discriminating drinkers are fun hats. Viking helmets, berets, cowboy hats, or "Where's Waldo" beanies are some of the unique choices that help to keep an eye on the group.

Pub Crawl Day

On the day of the crawl, remember that eleven drinks is a lot of alcohol. You may want to find a drinking buddy to split drinks; five and a half full beers or mixed drinks is still plenty to have a good time. You need to start early. The amount of alcohol you will be ingesting is best spread out over the greatest possible time. I like an hour a drink, but that may not be feasible on a given day, as World Showcase doesn't open until 11 a.m. and often closes at 9 p.m.

The rule of the day is the more time you give your body to metabolize, the less likely you will be paying for it tomorrow. Our rule is a bottle of water at every other drink stop.

Here is a list of the countries in the order that I visit and some notes on possible drink choices. Note this works on a general counter-clockwise visitation rotation, which is the way to go, trust me:

UK – Every good drink around the world expedition starts at the Rose and Crown. A beautiful gem of a bar with knowledgeable staff and some of the best beer combinations in the park. A Black and Tan (stout and lager) or a Snake Bite (lager and hard cider) gets things properly started.


The best way to start a Round the World challenge is at the Rose and Crown. Photo by Roan Poulter.

Canada – We're already backtracking, but not much. Canada is a little lackluster in its drinking facilities, but a nice Moosehead lager will keep you occupied on your way across the bridge to France.


The author checks off the list of a fellow adventurer. Photo by Roan Poulter.

France – Time to get a bite to eat. There's a wonderful little bakery in the back of the gift shop where the Impressions de France film exits. If it's hot, go for the Grand Marnier Orange Slush, otherwise a nice French red wine.


A man balances empty wine glasses from the group. Photo by Roan Poulter.

Morocco – Get a drink and walk through the markets. It's a wonderfully immersive labyrinth that makes you forget you're in a Disney park. Sangria is my choice from the cart, but an infused coffee from the dessert bar in the Tangierine Café is nice if you need perking up.

Japan – I don't like sake or Japanese beers, which makes this pavilion a tough place for me. My best option is to go into the far corner of the gift shop by the candy and buy a sake and a plum wine. I mix them together and split it with someone else to create what I call a Purple Haze. Get some Japanese candy while you're there; it's delicious and highly portable.

If you're ready for lunch, the Katsura Grill is very affordable. I suggest the udon noodles. Find a nice table outside to enjoy your purple haze and udon.

America – What used to be an abysmal showing of American brewing has upped their game. Check the two different beer stands to see what seasonal beers they have, then investigate the American Gardens Theatre for performances. You are allowed to enjoy your frosty beverage while enjoying the music. The best seats in the house are the concrete flower beds on the right side aisle, and you can stand up to dance without being reprimanded by a cast member.


The group enjoys a concert during Epcot's Food and Wine Festival. Photo by Roan Poulter.

Italy – This is a nice spot to stop for dinner, with several good options to help carb load and power through to the end of the crawl. Italian beer or wine are both great with multiple selections of each depending on your mood.


Gelato and wine make a fine pairing. Photo by Roan Poulter.

Germany – Great beers, but if you find the kiosk line to be inordinately long, check the line at Sommerfest at the back of the pavilion. I prefer the Warsteiner Dunke, a dark pilsner that only comes in a bottle. A beautiful stein from the gift shop might even make that pilsner taste better. Beware the delicious aromas wafting from the Karamell-Küche that have waylaid many a hungry world traveler.


A goblet from Germany is a great present for a beer enthusiast. Photo by Roan Poulter.

Mexico – This stout bit of walking takes you past the other two countries, but it's all part of the plan. There are drink carts outside, but I suggest skipping them. Instead make your way inside the temple and down to La Cava del Tequila, where you can have an authentic tequila experience. Be careful, your wallet and sobriety are in jeopardy as flights of tequila skitter to and fro. I recommend the avocado and cucumber margaritas, or splitting a flight of tequila with friends.


The avcocado margarita from La Cava del Tequila comes with hibiscus salt on its rim. Photo by Roan Poulter.

China – China may be my least favorite country to drink in. Most selections are over-sugared blender drinks and the beers are only marginal. Good luck and don't be afraid to share a drink or skip this one.

Norway – The end of the line. Take a moment to congratulate yourself if you've made it this far. Hopefully you've been drinking water as we recommended. The final stop offers two delicious favorites of mine, the Carlsberg beer and Viking Coffee, infused with Kamora coffee liquor and Bailey's Irish Cream. For me, nothing finishes off the night like a Viking Coffee.

Now that your adventure is complete, it's time to hydrate and make your way out of the park in a respectful manner. Cast members may have endured a long day of insufferable drunks, so this is a good time to try for best behaviors. If anyone is struggling to make it to the car, Disney has wheelchairs available from the exit turnstiles to your vehicle.

If you did it right, the next morning should be relatively pain free and reinforce that a gentlemanly and lady-like stroll around the world is a wonderful choice for social drinkers. If not, try the smothered hash browns at the local Waffle House.

 

Comments

  1. By petesimac

    I have to tell you that while I love a good lager every now and again, and while I do believe that people are entitled to enjoy their lives in whatever way they see fit, going to Epcot with the express purpose of drinking around the world is one of the things I like least about Epcot. One shouldn't be drunk while at one of Disney's theme parks (that's what Disney Springs is for); I think there are few people who could drink that much, regardless of the span of time, and not become inebriated, and it has no place at Disney. Having a few drinks is a great way to make your Disney vacation that much nicer, but to get drunk threatens to steal the enjoyment of the park from others who have also paid their money to be there. For some it may be their only chance to visit to the park, and they might have to contend with a gaggle of drunken partygoers. There are so many other places where you can get your drink on. Do you really have to do it at Epcot? This practice won't end, I know; people love drinking too much, and apparently they must be drunk when they drink (obviously not all); but I'm surprised to find it sanctioned on Mousepad with a feature article. For the first time as a member here, I am disappointed.

  2. By jms1969

    Quote Originally Posted by petesimac View Post
    I have to tell you that while I love a good lager every now and again, and while I do believe that people are entitled to enjoy their lives in whatever way they see fit, going to Epcot with the express purpose of drinking around the world is one of the things I like least about Epcot. One shouldn't be drunk while at one of Disney's theme parks (that's what Disney Springs is for); I think there are few people who could drink that much, regardless of the span of time, and not become inebriated, and it has no place at Disney. Having a few drinks is a great way to make your Disney vacation that much nicer, but to get drunk threatens to steal the enjoyment of the park from others who have also paid their money to be there. For some it may be their only chance to visit to the park, and they might have to contend with a gaggle of drunken partygoers. There are so many other places where you can get your drink on. Do you really have to do it at Epcot? This practice won't end, I know; people love drinking too much, and apparently they must be drunk when they drink (obviously not all); but I'm surprised to find it sanctioned on Mousepad with a feature article. For the first time as a member here, I am disappointed.

    I was about to make almost the exact same comment, so I won't repeat it. Just take a look at this paragraph again from the article:

    Now that your adventure is complete, it's time to hydrate and make your way out of the park in a respectful manner. Cast members may have endured a long day of insufferable drunks, so this is a good time to try for best behaviors. If anyone is struggling to make it to the car, Disney has wheelchairs available from the exit turnstiles to your vehicle.

    Yep...that's what I want to deal with at Disney, and what we want kids to see..."insufferable drunks" and people "struggling to make it to the car" who need wheelchairs to get there. Thanks for giving your readers instructions on how to join this group.

  3. By Roan Poulter

    Wow, as the author it certainly wasn't my intention to offend anyone, certainly not to make anyone angry at MousePlanet. I could not agree more with your points about drunk guests taking away from the enjoyment of others, which is why as I'm sure you noted, I spent a great portion of the article warning would be adventurers of those exact pitfalls. Now in my defense, Disney could at any time make Epcot a dry park as they have with Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom. I don't know that it is fair to blame people for taking advantage of the most visibly sold item within the World Showcase. This guide was my truest endeavor at getting people to maintain decorum and decency as they made their way round the Showcase, certainly not the opposite. And alerting potential guests to the offering of parking lot wheelchairs is hardly paramount to suggesting they get smashed as you have insinuated. I knew this would be a divisive article, but I had hoped it would serve as much a cautionary tale as a guide to fun.

  4. By danyoung

    While I support my good friend petesimac's right to voice an opinion, I couldn't disagree more. Sure, there are people who can't handle a drink, who get loud and raucous and are just generally not fun to be around. But it's been my experience that the vast majority of drinkers at Epcot are only there to have fun, and not to impinge on the vibe of others. I've never felt the need to do the "drink around the World", preferring to do my drinking at the Rose & Crown. But a lot of people really do enjoy a trip around the World Showcase, and look at it as a high point of their WDW visit. As long as they're not getting sloppy, I'm all for a group having a good time. I think the article did a great job at emphasizing that people need to be careful not to drink too much, to be respectful to CMs and to other guests, and not to be a drunken pain. It seems that a lot of non-drinkers think that someone who drinks is automatically going to get loud and irritating, and that's just not the case. Don't let a few bad apples spoil the fun of the masses.

  5. By DwarfPlanet

    What Dan said!

    I thought this was a well thought out article with clear understanding of how not be a drunken pain and with the DD saying enuff is a enuff, and everyone leaves whether you finished the tour or not as a safety valve. Since we are going in October this year my wife and think this would be rather fun, but we will split drinks so we are not consuming as much alcohol.

  6. By oregontraveler

    I have been to EPCOT, and aware of the many different libations there. My observations here on the west coast tend to be more reserved due to the cost of booze involved. Yes, I could get bombed at the Cove Bar on some stiff drinks then hurl my guts out on California Screamin' But I don't see the need to buy more than 1 beer because the price is as much as a 6 pack.

  7. By DaLoon

    During Food & Wine last October in the evening, I followed 3 college age locals. One said to the others that Canada has a nice steak with mushrooms at the kiosk (which was nearby). The 2nd guy said "who cares - we are not here to eat, but to drink." The third guy agreed the point was to drink. They did not stop at a food kiosk during the time I followed them, but they did go to UK to drink. The locals go to Food & Wine on Friday nights and Saturdays. The author mentioned Saturday, but Friday night is often just as bad or often worse as there is a shorter time after work and arrival. Experienced F&W visitors go to EPCOT during the weekdays. (I was walking thru from Future World after having supper, to exit the International Gate to walk to my hotel.)

  8. By jms1969

    Quote Originally Posted by Roan Poulter View Post
    Wow, as the author it certainly wasn't my intention to offend anyone, certainly not to make anyone angry at MousePlanet. I could not agree more with your points about drunk guests taking away from the enjoyment of others, which is why as I'm sure you noted, I spent a great portion of the article warning would be adventurers of those exact pitfalls. Now in my defense, Disney could at any time make Epcot a dry park as they have with Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom. I don't know that it is fair to blame people for taking advantage of the most visibly sold item within the World Showcase. This guide was my truest endeavor at getting people to maintain decorum and decency as they made their way round the Showcase, certainly not the opposite. And alerting potential guests to the offering of parking lot wheelchairs is hardly paramount to suggesting they get smashed as you have insinuated. I knew this would be a divisive article, but I had hoped it would serve as much a cautionary tale as a guide to fun.

    Drinking responsibly at Disney is not the issue, drinking irresponsibly is. While my personal preference would be that alcohol be much more limited in EPCOT, I'm realistic enough to realize that is a big money-maker for Disney, and also that the vast majority of people drinking alcohol on-site do so responsibly. However, I don't think I can say the same thing for those who come to the park with the express purpose of "drinking around the world". I think it's an obvious fact that there is a MUCH higher percentage of these individuals who will exhibit obvious signs of drunkenness in a supposed "family friendly" environment where this should NEVER occur.

    My point on the wheelchairs insinuated exactly the point you took. While this probably would be considered responsible behavior in a bar district, or similar environment, it's far from the type of behavior most families want to see in Disney parks. I have a very simple point of view here - there's nothing wrong with drinking in WDW and even in the parks, but there is NO excuse for being drunk/intoxicated in the parks. A drunk person, even on "good behavior", is still drunk, and has no place in this type of family environment.

  9. By DwarfPlanet

    Well the articles author to me is specifically writing about drinking responsibly, not the drunken binge that most are objecting to.

    The author talks about:
    One Drink an hour
    Hydrating
    Eating
    Taking time to enjoy the area

    He did not write an article that discusses how many countries and drinks you can get down in a day and how inebriated the group could get.

  10. By petesimac

    Good points, all. Note that the drinkers are a bit more tolerant than the light drinkers or non-drinkers, but that is to be expected. Enjoy, embibe, celebrate, but to intentionally inebriate is selfish, and in the words of Sam the Esgle, distinctly un-American (except that it is not, sadly). We are meant to share the park.

  11. By Mickey021

    Have to do one about eating around the world now:-)

  12. By bluebayou

    As someone who visits quite often (we live in Orlando) and Epcot is my favorite park, I have to say I HATE the whole drinking around the world thing. Maybe I just run into more idiots than most but I have had quite a few times that those groups were swearing, rude, loud and completely obnoxious. Completely ridiculous. If you want to go pretend you are back in your fraternity and college days, go to a bar not a family theme park.

  13. By MadasaHatter

    Fantastic article. This was indeed one of my favorite things about DisneyWorld having the whole lands experience. I would have to break my tour up into two parts but you have laid out a fantastic critique of all of the lands and I really like your focus on being responsible. Disney has great security so folks don't need to worry about people getting too drunk in these parks. Couldn't think of a better place to be as far as policing those crazy frat boys. Look forward to more critiques.

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