Mitsukoshi Department Store

The Japan Pavilion at Epcot has something for everyone, from great food to art to peaceful gardens. And, of course, shopping. The Mitsukoshi department store has famously been in existence since 1673, when it was a door-to-door operation selling kimonos. But this isn’t just a shopper’s paradise. You can actually learn some interesting things about Japanese culture here.

IMG_4202The shop has two entrances and spans several rooms. One room showcases (and sells) those famous kimonos. Another displays authentic Japanese snacks and beverages. The brave can purchase and try freeze-dried squid or fish crackers. Yet another section of the store has bonsai trees and books about their care and significance, authentic music, art, and calligraphy.

IMG_4206 IMG_4207 IMG_4209

Japan is a country steeped in spiritualism. As you peruse Mitsukoshi, you’ll see this in the number of lucky charms and talismans available. One of the more interesting designs is the Daruma doll. A display of them explains that these dolls originated out of Zen culture and are used to focus wishes.

IMG_4204Guests can also visit the pearl counter near the east entrance to learn how oysters form pearls. You can choose an oyster and see it shucked to find out if you’ve chosen a pearl. The cast members make a bit of a show out of it, so it’s fun if you happen to catch them at work.

You never know what new things you’ll encounter in the huge Mitsukoshi store. Next time you wander through, keep an eye out for a chance to learn something new!

FL Sunshine State Social Studies Standards:
SS.912.H.1.2, SS.912.H.1.3, SS.912.H.1.4

Serka Zong Bazaar

We continue our Bookstore Series, pointing out where to buy books, both educational and for leisure, around Walt Disney World.

The Serka Zong Bazaar is located just outside of Expedition Everest. If you dare to take the train ride up Mount Everest, you conveniently end up exiting right into the Bazaar. This is actually a great gift shop. Of course you can find all manner of fun yeti plush and Disney-themed merchandise. But you can also purchase unique handcrafted gifts and accessories from Nepal that helps support local artisans there.

Serka Zong1Be sure to check out the corner that is dedicated to books. You’ll find good reads, both fiction and nonfiction, for adults and children. Adult books include some fascinating and inspirational first-hand accounts from Everest climbers. Kids’ books include terrific National Geographic picture books, titles about saving snow leopards, and even a classic Choose Your Own Adventure!

Serka Zong2 Serka Zong3

The collection here is definitely one you won’t find in other parks, so check it out.

Flights of Wonder

Most guests are sure to make a stop in Asia during their visit to Animal Kingdom. Many of them head straight to Expedition Everest, definitely a worthwhile attraction, but some folks may not know there is a stellar live animal show to take in as well.

Toward the entrance to Asia you’ll find the Caravan Stage. This venue is home to the Flights of Wonder bird show. The story goes that this location was once where the maharajas kept their exotic birds. Now these ruins are a conservatory and research center. The hosts of the show are trainers who will introduce you to several species, giving facts about what endangers the birds in the wild and what conservation efforts are being made today. A tour guide character, who happens to be afraid of birds, provides some comic relief, too.


FOW3This show is interactive, and lucky audience members may be chosen to participate on stage as the hosts help to show off some of the birds’ fascinating natural behaviors. They pack in a lot of neat facts and there are countless photo opportunities from any seat in the audience.


Flights of Wonder is a great show for all ages. The antics of the tour guide are funny for kids, but the birds themselves are amazing for everyone. The Caravan Stage is open air and well shaded so it makes for a nice break during the day. Of course that means the show is also subject to weather, so be prepared. Some of the birds take flight in the amphitheater and they come quite close, so if you have a fear of birds, this may not be the show for you. The hosts will stay after the show with some of the birds for more pictures or to answer questions. It’s a cool experience for any animal lover.


FL Next Gen Sunshine State Science Standards:
SC.K.L.14.3, SC.1.L.17.1, SC.2.L.17.1, SC.4.L.16.3, SC.4.L.17.4, SC.7.L.17.3