My friends, Drinking Around the World - or DATW, as my friends and I affectionately call it - is a staple of every trip I take to Walt Disney World. My trip in March of this year marked my seventeenth full completion of DATW, so yes, I think of myself as something of an expert on the subject.
|Round 17 - St Patrick's Day 2013!|
First, the main thing to know is that there are two different ways to DATW - but this entry deals with only one of them, that being your basic/usual DATW trip. The second - DATW during Epcot's Food & Wine Festival - is a completely different experience and needs an entry all its own to describe ;)
Second, yes, there are rules about DATW. Personally, I believe that once someone has fully experienced DATW a couple of times, most of these rules are bendable, but for at least the first time you drink around the world, they must, must, must be followed. Now, these are my rules, based on seventeen successful DATW trips. There are other rules out there, but I can only tell you what has worked for me and the many, many people I have introduced to DATW.
|For example, this DATW trip in July 2006 was a first for many present (but not, of course, for me). To this day it's still my #1 DATW trip of all time.|
I suppose I should at least give a brief description of what Drinking Around the World is. For those of you who don't know, the EPCOT theme park at Walt Disney World has an area called The World Showcase. In The World Showcase are eleven countries - starting on the left (if you are facing the back of the park) and working around clockwise, they are Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, USA, Japan, Morocco, France, Great Britain, and Canada. Yes, there are some very notable world powers missing here, but you might as well push that thought off to the side because the eleven staple countries were "installed", if you will, in 1982 and haven't changed since. There has been a small addition of an African-styled area/corner on the bridge between China and Germany, but there really isn't enough there for it to count as a pavilion - not to mention, they don't carry any drinks or beers native to any African country, so why force yourself to drink another crappy mass-produced American beer? My friends and I simply act as if this little African area doesn't exist, and I suggest you do the same.
As for my rules...
My very first - and to me, the most important - rule is that you must start in Mexico. I have a couple of friends who swear by starting in Canada, but I will never understand why. Mainly because of the old adage, "liquor before beer, you're in the clear; beer before liquor, never been sicker". If you start in Canada, you will start with beer, and probably have beer in Great Britain, and from thence move to wine/champagne in France, a mixed drink in Morocco...and I can't imagine that ending with one of the amazing Mexican Margaritas would be pretty. As I said, I have completed seventeen DATW adventures, and let's just say that I've never gotten sick from DATW. (::knock on wood::)
|I won't name names, but I think it's a few of these folks who believe starting in Canada is a good idea. Tisk tisk, I say!|
The second rule, and what should be the most obvious one, is that you need to have at least one drink in each and every country. I am not so much of a stickler on exactly what you drink (because I understand that some people can't stomach certain things) - as long as it isn't just Bud Light every single time. Personally, my day looks like this:
- Mexico - Margarita (my favorite drink of the day)
- Norway - Beer (nowadays it's Carlsberg, brewed in Denmark--I want to say they used to have a beer that was actually from Norway, but if so it hasn't been around since sometime in 2005 or 2006)
- China - Beer (Tsingtao)
- Germany - White Wine (they used to have a Riesling; the last time I went it was a Gewurztraminer; regardless, they were both amazing)
- Italy - Bellini
- America - Beer (I usually go for a Sam Adams)
- Japan - Beer (Sake is obviously the braver choice, but I don't like the stuff and so I drink Kirin Ichiban)
- Morocco - Tangerine Daquiri (my second favorite drink of the day)
- France - Champagne
- Great Britain - Beer (I used to get Tennant's, brewed in Scotland, but the past few times I've stuck with Stella Artois, brewed in Belgium, simply because I prefer it)
- Canada - Beer (Previously we always had to drink Labatt Blue, but a few years ago they started offering Moosehead, which I was very excited about!)
|August 2010 (this was DATW trip #12 for me)|
My final true rule is that you need to take your time. Although I know people who have started at 5 or 6 PM and rushed their way around, this just leads to messy drunks and/or puking and/or the very good chance that you simply won't have time to make it all the way around the world before they stop serving at 8:40/8:45 PM. I have discovered, through trial and error, that the best time to start is before 3 PM. (Usually 2:30 seems to work for me.) This leaves you time to linger in a few countries (including eating, at some point) and also grab your last drink and a viewing spot for the 9 PM Illuminations - and of course you'll be good and drunk, but not quite to the point of making a fool out of yourself.
The rest of my "rules" are something like the Pirate Code of Parlay - they're more like guidelines - or maybe, more aptly, tips, about how to make your DATW experience more enjoyable.
Tip #1: Eat something. For whatever reasons, many of my friends insist upon the sushi in the Japan pavilion; personally, I feel it's best to get something heavy and/or greasy in your stomach during your trip around the world. A giant pretzel in Germany, a burger and fries in America, or fish and chips in Great Britain are my top picks.
Tip #2: The more people you are with, the better. The absolute best DATW experience I ever had was with a group of 17; however, I've also had amazing times with groups of 8-12. That's not to say that it wasn't fun the few times there were only 4 or 5 of us participating; it's just that in a bigger group, people tend to act sillier. Plus, bigger groups make better pictures, as well ;)
|September 2009 - and of course, the obligatory troll picture!|
Tip #3: Grab a Kidcot mask! This is basically a white mask made of posterboard, attached to a paint mixing stick from Home Depot. You pick it up when you start DATW, in Mexico (make sure to grab a marker as well!) and as you make your way around, you write the silly things your DATW-mates say on it, and hopefully get creative with decorating it as well. Each pavilion has a Kidcot stop, along with a little something that they will add to the mask for free, but we also usually buy a few cheap little souvenirs/trinkets and attach them ourselves. This makes for a great souvenir, although for some reason we are rarely ever able to keep track of who brings the mask home and what happens to it in the future...
Tip #4: Don't bother with cash or a debit/credit card. Grab a gift card at one of the stores in the park, before you start DATW, and load it with at least $80-90. If you only use it for drinks, that amount of money should get you all the way around the world (or perhaps one country shy of doing so - Disney tends to raise their prices a little bit more every time I go back), without having to worry about change, or signing something, or balancing your bank account the next day. My good friend Marty pushed this idea on me a while back, and all I can say is that I'm not sure why I never thought of it - and I definitely owe him one!
|July 2008. Definitely in my list of "top three DATW trips EVER".|
Tip #5: Explore the pavilions. This is another big plus when you take your time - you can ride the Gran Fiesta Tour in Mexico and make fun of it, and ride the
Tip #6: Have a group theme! I've done a lot of holiday DATW trips - mainly on Halloween (in costume of course), and most recently on St Patrick's Day. But we've also done random themes and those are always fun. Sadly not everyone always participates in said themes ( ::cough:: party poopers ::cough:: ) - but they still end up being fun, nonetheless!
|September 2012 - Our Mustachioed DATW Adventure|
Tip #7: Well, it's time that I left you with one last (and what should be obvious) tip: take plenty of pictures! (As you can probably tell, I don't have a problem with adhering to this, err, tip.)
And that's about it! Though of course, when drinking one should always remember the Golden RuleS: Drink Responsibly. Don't Drink and Drive. And just generally Don't Be a Dick. I think that about sums it up, don't you?
Hope to see y'all around the World! (Showcase, that is...)