I used to live in Paris, within walking distance of the famed Avenue des Champs-Élysées, so when I say I know my international shopping, you know I mean it. That’s why I’m so happy to have Epcot and its many offerings just thirty minutes away from my house. Imagine saving the time and expense of an overseas trip and having the world at your fingertips in a beautiful shopping locale. Sure, when you think of Epcot, you perhaps think of theme park rides and attractions. But the World Showcase area of the park is essentially a dream shopping destination (with a few rides and a plethora of great restaurants and shows thrown in). From an almost endless supply of trinkets, clothing, and decorative pieces in the China pavilion to a darling tea shop and British Invasion-themed shop in the UK pavilion, you can shop the world without leaving home. Here are some of my favorite picks.
Okay, I admit it. I’m a sucker for anything French. And here in Epcot’s France, themed to look like a series of winding streets and alleys in beautiful Paris, I can practically convince myself that I’m back across the Atlantic in the land of berets and baguettes. Shop for French perfume or cosmetics, or saunter across the courtyard to a fabulous wine and cookery shop. Don’t miss the bakery in the back of the pavilion.
Epcot’s Japan pavilion is essentially one big Japanese department store, featuring everything from Sanrio items to jewelry to toys to a wide selection of sake—and a sake bar—in the back. A stroll through the store is a great way to escape the heat or the rain for a bit. You can even buy an oyster, which specially trained cast members open at the counter to reveal a pearl inside.
My favorite thing about the shops of the Mexico pavilion is simply being there. Step into the soaring pyramid through an exhibit of Mexican art and artifacts, and you’ll find yourself in what appears to be an outdoor market at twilight. Find everything from craft tequila to silver jewelry to giant sombreros at this atmospheric spot. Make sure to stop at the tequila bar for an out-of-this-world creamy avocado margarita.
The shops that surround the beautiful central plaza of the German pavilion are very evocative of Germany itself, which in my book is a very good thing. The caramel shop is incredible, and you’ll also find a Christmas shop and a German wine shop here. In the assorted stores, look for unique German beer steins, stuffed animals, cuckoo clocks, German candy, German jewelry, and much more.
This stop is the perfect place for last-minute souvenirs on the way out of the park. My aunt comes down to visit twice a year, and this is where she always chooses to do the bulk of her souvenir shopping, because the selection is vast, and the location is convenient. Find everything from vintage-style Disney T-shirts to Mickey Mouse cookware to plush characters galore.