So your family has dragged you and your girlfriend against your will to Orlando and deep into the heart of the Empire of the Mouse. It’s all singing, dancing, and dreams coming true. And you want to punch a pixie in the throat.
Lucky for you, you’re a short monorail ride away from your salvation. The World Showcase in Epcot is the grownup’s answer to the alcohol-free nightmare zone of screaming children/future Alligator attack victims, electric scooters, and inland Floridian obesity that is the Magic Kingdom. It’s also home to the greatest cultural exchange program on Earth: “Drinking Around The World” (DATW). 11 countries, 11 bars, and a boozy globe-spanning adventure that will knock you on your ass.
Here’s a timeline of my own recent attempt to conquer this beast.
The Prep: (11:00 AM)
We started at Port of Entry and loaded up on water, cash, and a couple of those giant pink donuts they sell at the coffee place there. I was nursing a fierce hangover from Trader Sam’s, the tiki bar in the Grand Polynesian the night before. (Go there. It’s great.) My buddy Dan, another buddy Kyle and his girlfriend Jasmine, and I met up with this guy named Ben who was an ex-Disney employee, and turning 21, and his girlfriend Lexi. For a moment I wondered, “No matter where I technically am, I’m still at a children’s play place. The most legendary and exciting place for kids of all time, in fact. Is it really okay for me to get aggressively, sloppily blacked out here?” Then I remembered we were in Florida, and decided that yes this was fine.
Stop 1: Mexico (11:35 AM)
There are two ways to start the around the world showcase: Canada and Mexico. DATW is actually a kind of surprisingly huge undertaking. You come too hard out of the gate and you might not get there at all. Canada is a soft start, and it’s followed by beer in the UK and wine in France. So, naturally, we go straight to Mexico and suck down the tequila shots and margs like we were in Panama City instead of the Magic Kingdom. Then we threw a couple of giant sombreros from the gift shop into the mix, because our very existence was already so offensive that some light appropriation was going to be the least of anyone’s concerns.
Stop 2: Norway (12:02 PM)
Seriously, it’s all hard stuff on this side. Hold on to your ankles, kids. We pound Aquavit, which is basically Norwegian Everclear. I can’t blame the Norwegians for enjoying this drink, though. I too would want something capable of both burning the taste of pickled fish out of my mouth, and blacking me out hard enough to forget I live North Pole adjacent. Jasmine was already laughing a little too loud and swaying like she just got off the Teacups. 9 to go.
Stop 3: China (12:12 PM)
Pit stop to chill on some Chinese beer. But since Ben was turning 21, we made him and his girlfriend Lexi get Tipsy Ducks in Love, which is coffee and bourbon. Ben asked Lexi if he was going to get ducked tonight and she “spilled” the drink on him.
Stop 4: Germany (12:25 PM)
Dan drains his pint of Octoberfest lager, smashes it on the ground and yells “Back to Back World War Champs!” The Germans who work in this pavilion just roll their eyes and dial something into their phones. There’s no way they aren’t taunted at least 30 times a day about World War II by people whose only knowledge of World War II is old “Call of Duty” games and comparing people they disagree with to Nazis in Facebook comment arguments. But we don’t want to get on their bad side. Many a DATW attempt has been ended early by security. We grab Dan and head quickly to Italy.
Stop 5: Italy (12:29 PM)
According to Ben, the employees have a competitive speed run with “drinking teams.” The current record is 27 minutes, held by an Australian. (Which, Jesus.) The girls get really excited about Italy, and mostly all the Italians. I have to admit I am lagging a bit, and have to lean on some Zinfandel. Dan continues with Merlot.
Stop 6: America (1:09 PM)
We pound a row of Sam Adams. God Bless America.
Stop 7: Japan (1:15 PM)
We do sake shots and Jasmine is done. She blows chunks into the koi pond and, admitting defeat against his will, Kyle takes her back to the hotel.
Stop 8: France (2:12 PM)
Oh shit, I forgot Morocco. Fuck it, there’s nothing there. In France, there’s this guy named Raphael who will give you Grey Goose shots for free if you say you used to work at the Jungle Cruise. This was information no one in our group needed to have.
Stop 9: UK (2:45 PM)
Ben and Dan kick in the door to the pub and order pints for everyone in the bar. Neither of them can afford this, and the bartender knows it, so he brings them four pints. Ben flirts with a barmaid in front of Lexi, but she’s drunk enough to join in.
“Hey! Put down your damn phone and do a fucking car bomb with us!”
I don’t have a choice. We do like four or five in a row on Jasmine’s credit card and go mosh with the 65 year olds at the British Invasion show.
Stop 10: Canada (3:00 PM)
Like the rest of the world, I don’t remember Canada..