Germany Pavilion – Part One

The Germany and Morocco Pavilions hold an interesting honor among the World Showcase nations. They are the only two that have their own landing for the Friendship Boats that transit guests across the lagoon. Personally, I’ve never had a problem with walking around the promenade, but for those who do, this taxi service is a nice feature and drops guests off at the doorstep of Morocco or Germany.

Germany Friendship Boat Landing

Next to the Germany Friendship Landing is a large kiosk. Beneath its roof is a shop offering an array of glassware. Inexpensive clear-glass steins and souvenir items can be found here.

Germany Kiosk

But in the early years of EPCOT Center, this kiosk served a different purpose.

At the exit of Spaceship Earth in Future World was an area called Earth Station. Located here was a bank of touch-sensitive screens. At these screens guests could speak to a Disney host or hostess via two-way cameras and ask questions about EPCOT Center and make restaurant reservations. In addition, these screens provided a litany of information about all of the pavilions found at this innovative new park. An A to Z index presented data about every restaurant, shop, and attraction found here. All you had to do was touch the desired subject and pictures, film clips, and text was instantly displayed. This was cutting edge technology in its day.

Earth Station

There were also several satellite stations located around World Showcase providing this same service. The kiosk in Germany was one such location. Here you see my friends Donald and Eddie trying out this new tool with great amusement.

Satellite Information Station

Near the kiosk and off of the main promenade is a lovely park-like setting. Here you’ll find a number of tree-shaded benches that look out onto World Showcase Lagoon. This is a wonderful spot to sit and relax for a few minutes when your tired feet can take no more. This area is also a great spot to watch Illuminations. Some of these alcoves are occasionally rented out to private groups to view this nighttime spectacular. However, when this happens they are usually cordoned off well in advance of the show.

Park and Benches

Illuminations Viewing Area

On the other side of this park, along the promenade, is a beer wagon. This is the spot to purchase a cold brew and a pretzel. Soft drinks and bottled water are also sold here.

Beer Wagon

Glasses of Beer

There are many stories as to how and when the looped pretzel originated, but no hard evidence exists to back up these accounts. One tale claims that Italian monks invented the treat as a reward to children who learned their prayers. Another story claims the pretzel was created in a monastery in southern France. But regardless how the pretzel came to be, it has become synonymous with Germany. Pretzels are made from flour, water, and yeast. Before baking, the dough is dipped in a lye solution which gives it its distinctive color and chewiness. After baking, the pretzel is usually sprinkled with coarse salt. Germans call this variety “Laugenbrezel.”


The first annual Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival was held in the spring of 1993. Each year since the festival’s inception, the always beautiful Epcot is transformed into an even more magnificent park with the addition of topiary, displays, and thousands of additional plants and flowers. If you’ve never attended this event, it is worth considering when planning your next trip to Walt Disney World.

One of the early exhibits for this festival was a garden railway built next to the Germany Pavilion. Each year, a miniature town and train was erected for the delight of guests. However, the layout became so popular that it was eventually decided to make it a year-round exhibit. The display features LGB trains and structures.

Garden Railroad

Garden Railroad

Garden Railroad

LGB stands for Lehmann Gross Bahn (Lehmann Big Railway) after the company’s founder, Ernst Paul Lehmann. All locomotives, track, and accessories are built to run in rain and snow – which is why the Epcot train continues operating even during summer downpours. LGB trains are “G” gauge (scale), meaning the track’s rails are 45 mm (1.772 in) apart. During the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, LGB often has a booth in this area selling their wares, along with some specially designed Disney engines and cars.

Next to the garden railway are restrooms. Although all of the World Showcase pavilions have facilities, some are located within restaurants. Only Norway, Germany, The American Adventure, Morocco, and the United Kingdom have easy to access restrooms.


The platz, or plaza, of the Germany Pavilion is like every village in Germany and like none of them. You see, it’s actually a conglomeration of architectural styles that can be found in the Rhine region, Bavaria, and communities in the German north. A collection of buildings from the 12th to the 17th centuries blend together seamlessly. But then, that’s the way of real life, new structures are continually being built next to older ones. The difference here is that modernization stopped long before steel and plastic came onto the scene. The end result is a fairytale village that the Grimm Brothers would be proud to immortalize in one of their stories.


In the center of the platz are a fountain and a statue of Saint George and the Dragon.

Fountain and Statue of Saint George and the Dragon

Fountains like these were common in villages during the Middle Ages. The everyday use of indoor plumbing was still centuries away and a central water source was the spot for townsfolk to fill their pails.


This statue of Saint George slaying the dragon is modeled after a sculpture found in Rothenburg, Germany. The first photo is in Rothenburg, the second in Epcot.

Saint George - Rothenburg, Germany

Saint George - Epcot

Saint George is the patron saint of soldiers and references to him can be found throughout Europe.

According to legend, Saint George was a Roman soldier from Syria Palaestina and a priest in the Guard of Diocletian. The fable of Saint George and the dragon goes something like this. It seems a dragon (or crocodile) made its nest within a city’s water source. In order to draw water from the spring, the dragon needed to be distracted. So each day the citizens brought the creature an offering. At first a sheep was presented, but when none could be found, a maiden was selected. The unlucky girl was chosen by drawing lots. One day, a princess drew the shortest lot and was carried off to the dragon. Her father, the king, begged for her life to be spared, but his pleas fell on deaf ears. Just as the princess was being offered to the dragon, Saint George happened by and slew the beast. This story was a favorite among crusaders who brought the tale home to be retold again and again.

The positioning of Saint George atop the Germany Pavilion’s “water source” is no accident. He is protecting this life-giving fluid for the town’s inhabitants.

I will discuss the various Germany Pavilion shops and restaurants moving clockwise, starting from the Karamell Küche (Caramel Kitchen).

The Karamell Küche shop uses two different styles of architecture. In this next picture you see a structure that would be typical of a craftsman’s workshop. This was appropriate because this building was originally designed to showcase its former sponsor, Goebel, the makers of Hummel figurines.

Karamell Küche Exterior

The second facade is a good example of timber framing or half-timbering (fachwerkhäuser – timber frame house). This method of building uses heavy timbers joined by pegged mortise and tenon joints. Buildings like these can often have a foundation of stone or brick which can rise up a meter or more in height. Steeply pitched roofs are also common to help deflect the snow. This type of construction is common throughout much of southern Germany.

Karamell Küche Exterior

Examples of this type of architecture can also be seen in the Magic Kingdome’s Fantasyland.


The Karamell Küche shop is sponsored by Storck USA, makers of Werther’s Original Caramels. This candy company was founded in Werther, Westphalia, Germany in 1903 by August Storck. This store also has the distinction of being the only freestanding retail location for Werther’s in the world. A close observer might notice that a current TV commercial for Werther’s begins with an exterior shot of their shop here at Epcot.

When entering this shop, there is a definite direction for pedestrian traffic flow. The tour begins with the kitchen on the left side of the store where guests can witness the making of these delicious delights. From there, they pass by a glass case full of irresistible treats. Then it’s onto the cash registers and a dizzying display of prepackaged candies. You’ll find an array of caramel goodies including caramel apples and popcorn, chocolate covered marshmallows, rice krispie treats, cookies, strawberries, and much more.

I know it will be difficult to pry your eyes away from the sugary confections, but try to pay attention to the interior décor while shopping at Karamell Küche. The shop is beautiful and the woodwork exquisite.

Karamell Küche Kitchen

Making Candy

Karamell Küche Display Case

Karamell Küche Registers

Karamell Küche Display Case

Before we continue our tour of the platz, we need to take a side trip to the outside, left-hand side of Karamell Küche. It is here that you’ll find a wishing well and Snow White, eager to meet her fans of all ages.

The story of Snow White is well known in many European countries, but it’s the German version by the Brothers Grimm that is the most familiar to audiences. It was the Grimm version that Walt Disney based his first full-length animated movie on in 1937.

Currently, Snow White is greeting guests at 11:30am, 12:15pm, 1:15pm, 3:10pm, 4:10pm, 4:55pm, and 5:50pm. But it’s always wise to check the signboard in the area for the most current times.

Wishing Well

Snow White

The next stop on our tour takes us to Die Weihnachts Ecke (The Christmas Corner). The exterior tower of this lovely shop was inspired by Hegereiterhaus in Rothenburg.

Die Weihnachts Ecke Exterior

Hegereiterhaus in Rothenburg

Die Weihnachts Ecke Interior

As the name implies, this shop sells Christmas goods. A large selection of inexpensive to high-priced ornaments is available here — including a wide variety of Disney adornments. I especially like this hand-blown Mickey.

Mickey Christmas Ornaments

At one time, this shop carried a large sampling of nutcrackers and smokers, a German holiday tradition. But alas, this selection has been whittled down to just one example of this beautiful art form.


But another German tradition has not been forgotten, the Pickle Ornament. Legend has it that the pickle, a symbol of good luck, was the last ornament placed on the tree (after the children went to bed). The first child to find it on Christmas morning was rewarded with an extra gift from Saint Nicholas. If a family could not afford an extra gift, the lucky finder of the pickle was rewarded by being the first to open a present.

A large selection of these pickle ornaments is available at Die Weihnachts Ecke.

Pickle Ornament

I have read accounts that this tradition has absolutely no roots in German folklore. But even if it is bogus, it is still a fun activity that any family could incorporate into their own family Christmas custom.

Next to Die Weihnachts Ecke is Stein Haus (Stone House). This structure is another fine example of the half-timbering (fachwerkhäuser) style of construction. Notice the rockwork on the first floor.

Stein Haus Exterior

The main commodity sold inside this shop is beer steins and a few t-shirts that fit well with a beer drinking attitude. The word stein is a shortened form of Steinzeugkrug, which is German for stoneware jug or tankard.

Stein Haus Interior

Stein Haus Interior

Stein Haus Interior

The history of the beer stein goes something like this”¦

In the middle ages, sanitation practices were virtually unknown in Europe. Sewage was often disposed of in rivers and streams, making the practice of drinking water a dicey proposition. So folk started drinking beer with an alcoholic content just high enough to kill most bacteria. Even children drank this brew.

In the 14th century, along came the Black Death (bubonic plague) which was killing Europeans by the thousands every day. There were many theories as to how this killer was spread, but hard facts were few. In an effort to stem the disease, a law was passed in Germany stating that all drinking vessels needed to have a lid to keep out diseased flies. Thus, the stein was born. Most steins of the time were made out of stoneware (clay that is fired in a kiln), but as time went on, other materials like pewter and porcelain became common.

Since we’re talking about alcohol, let’s switch from beer to wine. The next shop on our tour is Weinkeller (wine cellar). Low ceilings, dark woods, and oak casks create a cozy atmosphere that almost allows you to make believe you’re actually underground. Approximately 50 varieties of German wine are sold here with around 80% of them being white. Around 20 vintages are available for tasting for a charge of $5-$6 per sample. A number of tables are scattered throughout the room for groups to congregate around.

Weinkeller Exterior

Weinkeller Interior

Weinkeller Interior

Weinkeller Interior

When entering or exiting this shop, be sure to take a look at the decorative light fixture positioned above the door. If you study it carefully, you’ll discover a bunch of grapes hanging from the bird’s beak. Ornamental fixtures like this are a common sight in Germany. Another can be seen by the entrance to our next stop, Kunstarbeit in Kristall.

Ornamental Light Fixture

Ornamental Sign Fixture

Kunstarbeit in Kristall (art work in crystal) is housed in a building inspired by The Römer in Frankfurt. The Römer belonged to the Römer family who used it for their business until they sold it to the city council on March 11, 1405. It was converted for use as the city hall where it has continued in this capacity for over 600 years. On the night of March 22, 1944 The Römer, and much of the city of Frankfurt, was destroyed by an Allied bombing raid during WWII. The Römer was subsequently rebuilt.

Kunstarbeit in Kristall Exterior

The Römer

Back in Epcot, Kunstarbeit in Kristall carries a large selection of stemware, vases, jewelry, bear mugs, and crystal art pieces. While browsing here, be sure to take some time to check out the beauty of the shop itself. Once again, the woodwork is outstanding. This shop is run by Arribas Brothers.

Kunstarbeit in Kristall Interior

Kunstarbeit in Kristall Interior

In the early years of Epcot, this shop sat empty. Original plans called for this area to be a tourist bureau where guests could actually book trips to Germany after touring various displays and viewing virtual tours of the countryside. However, this never materialized.

That’s it for Part One of the Germany Pavilion. Check back tomorrow for Part Two.

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22 Replies to “Germany Pavilion – Part One”

  1. Thank you for these articles. I love all of the background info that you include. Having the background info makes the trip to Disney so much more interesting. I love seeing the pictures of the original buildings and then the Disney recreations.

  2. Great blog entry Jack!
    I used to work at the pavillion from August ’07 – August ’08 and u really make me miss the place!! And besides the Karamell Küche shop I hadn’t realized that the beersteins have been moved to the former candy shop!!! What a shocker!!

    Just wanted to confirm a comment above – there was a Cinderella Castle made out of glass (I think it was Swarowski?). I don’t know exactly how much it was but $37k sounds about right. At the time when I worked there someone bought the castle at an Arribas shop in Tokyo (I think), that was big news.

    So thank you once again for bringing up great memories I had while working there and having the honor to spend a year within the Disney company, it was absolutely the best time I ever had. Unfortunately I haven’t had the chance to go back since but I’m planning a two-week trip to WDW next year.

    And thank you for keepin me up to date 🙂

  3. I have truly enjoyed all of your writings about the Pavillions as well as all other things Disney! You make the time between trips just a little more bearable.

    I have said for weeks that EPCOT is in the Werther’s commercial. I can’t wait to tell my husband I was right!

    Just a tip about the boats. If you are at the World Showcase with small children it is handy to take the trip across the lagoon and work your way towards the front of the park. My children always seem to wear out halfway around the lagoon. This can make for a long trip back to the front.

    Looking toward to the video in part two! Thanks for all of your hard work.

  4. Thank you so much for this article. The World Showcase is by far my favourite thing at WDW and I just love hearing more and more about it. The Germany pavilion is one of the most fascinating. Please hurry with the next in depth look at another pavilion!! Thank you

  5. Thank you Jack! Every time that Werther’s commercial comes on I think…..”Gosh, that looks like the little store in the Germany Pavilion at Epcot”. Now I know that it is! Great post, as always.

  6. As always, a great write-up. I have never spent the time I have wanted at the World Showcase, as my young kids always quickly drug me through the counrties. However, I am contemplating a pre-Christmas visit all alone. If so, I want to devote at least two days solely to Epcot and the World Showcase. There is so much that can be easily missed here.

    P.S. That sure was a much younger Donald! LOL!

  7. We were there a few weeks ago and wanted to stop by to buy a cookie at the bakery. And the bakery is gone. We were so sad as the cookies were a favorite part of eating in Epcot. Even on a diet I would stop in a break my diet to eat one or two.

  8. I laughed when I saw those touchscreens. One of my parents’ favorite stories is about Epcot in the early days. My dad was trying to find out the time of a parade there in Epcot. Already the touchscreens were malfunctioning. It kept going back to the home page of ‘please touch here to begin’. He finally lost his temper and said ‘I’ll touch you, you son of a xxxxx!’ and stalked back out to their car to find a hammer. =)

    This is a lovely blog entry. Germany is where I want to go the most out of all of these so far. I have a feeling Morocco will beat it.

  9. Jack: Another great post as always.

    I have to share a story from my most recent visit to the Germany pavilion, the Kristal shop in particular.

    My girlfriend and I struck up a conversation with the cast member working that day and she mentioned that the most expensive item for sale in the shop was a crystal model of Cinderella Castle with a pricetag of $37,500. However this was not the most expensive item ever sold in the store, a distinction that belongs the enormous chandelier hanging from the ceiling. The chandelier, we were told, was not the one that originally hung in the building. This is because once while visiting Epcot, Michael Jackson bought the original while on a massive spending spree in the store. She was not sure if the chandelier ever actually was installed at Neverland Ranch.

    I have absolutely no clue if this story is true or not…but if anyone would know, you would!

    Keep up the great work!

    Jack’s Comment:

    It could be true — but it could be an urban legend. One thing I’ve learned since I moved to Orlando, cast members often give out false information (unintentionally

  10. I was waiting for this post. I certainly was not disappointed. Great history lesson. We have the pickle and at our house we hang it and then the first child to find it, gets to hang it and let another child find it. This makes a great game on Christmas Eve. Thank you again for your gift of writing and sharing it with us.

  11. The LGB layout was built by the owner of a model train shop in Winter Haven,sadly no longer there. We love they way the village is seasonally decorated in scale — for Flower and Garden, Christmas and other times. The LGB trains will indeed run through rain and snow; fallen leaves and tourist trash, not so much.

  12. Thank you for the wonderful post on Germany in Epcot. This has always been our favorite country to visit. We enjoy a meal here, visit the shops and enjoy the decor. In our opinion it is one of best countries in Epcot. We are heading back in November and can’t wait to visit the new Karamell shop and take our traditional photo in front of the wonderful train disply!

  13. I have always loved the ‘cuckoo clock’ store ever since I was a child. I’m not sure of the name, but I’m sure you will cover it in part 2. Unfortunately when I went this past summer it was closed. 🙁 I’m sure it was probably temporary but with all the changes you never know. Thank you for your interesting and informative blogs once again.

  14. Jack,
    Can you still buy Hummels in the Germany pavilion?
    Thank you,

    Jack’s Answer:

    Sorry, but Hummels are no longer sold at the Germany Pavilion. Werther’s completely took over this shop.

  15. Hi Jack, another great post!

    I’ve been looking forward to your Germany entry, because of all the interesting history. I thought I knew alot about the history of the Germany pavillion, but after reading this it turns out I only knew about half! And this is only part One!

    I just love relaxing on one of the benches while enjoying a pretzen. In fact…that’s probably where you’ll find me around mid-afternoon on wednesday the 19th.

  16. Hi Jack! I loved your blog. To me, Germany is one of the most visably stunning pavillions of all the countries. The attention to detail is amazing. The end result is a fairy tale land.

    I love The Christmas Corner shop the most. I find it more appealing than the Chrstmas shop in Downtown Disney. It just has a special charm about it (and it’s a lot less crowded).

    And, you can’t beat the food here. Yummy! Give me a brat, pretzel and beer anytime. 🙂

  17. Hi Jack,
    Another wonderful blog. I love reading all of the history and interesting facts that you bring out in your blogs. When I visit again I’m going to be looking more carefully at signs and woodwork that’s for sure!

    I have one of those pickles and last Christmas my grandson had a hard time finding it hidden in the tree and I thought I put it in an easy place for him to find! We had to give him clues so he could spot it.

    Germany is one of my favorite places and like the above poster wrote about the Der Teddy Bar
    Shop this was one of my favorites too since I had a doll collection when I was a child. The
    dolls were elegant .

  18. hey jack
    always love learning about new things with the countries in Epcot. The shops are always really cool and the Karamell Küche is always a popular stop. can’t wait for part 2 tomorrow and as always keep up the great work.

  19. Love the blog Jack. Germany is one of my favorite pavilions. I think you left out one shop though — Der Teddy Bar. Up until a few years ago, this was my favorite shops in all of Disney World. Helmet Engel of Engel Puppen would make dolls according to your specifications (hair color/style, eye color, face, outfit) while you watched. It was a tradition of mine to have a doll made every time I visited the World. I chose Disney themed outfits so over the years I accumulated a collection of beautiful princess dolls.

    My mother, who was born in Sweden, once told Mr. Engel of a doll she had as a child, but unfortunately had been damaged and needed new legs and arms and clothing. Mr. Engel offered to bring the doll back with him to his factory in Germany next time he went home to repair her. When we returned home, my mother shipped the doll to Florida and a few months later, she was returned, repaired, and wearing a new dress.

    A few years ago Mr. Engel passed away, and the last doll I bought at Der Teddy Bar, unfortunately is not signed by him. I was saddened that eventually the area where he sold his dolls has become a Kidcot station.

    Jack’s Comment:

    I didn’t forget Der Teddy Bar. It’s covered in Part Two.

    It is a shame that the “create your own doll” was discontinued. This was one of those many details that is being lost to commercialization in the Disney parks.

  20. I love Christmas and have many traditions we follow each year. I love the idea of the pickle ornament hidden on the tree! Love it! I’m now down to 4 days and a wake up for Disney World!! Can’t wait!

  21. Fascinating as always Jack. We only seem to visit the Biergarten here for dinner as Germany is easy to visit from UK (also I did my degree in Germany and lived there for a year) so it was very interesting to discover more about the pavilion at Epcot. I always love your well-researched and easy to read articles. Looking forward to part two!

  22. Two of my grandchildren are taking German as a requirement of 1st year of middle school. You have alot of great information to share. I love the stories and the pictures. They had to bring in a dish to share with their classmates and I made warm German potato salad, which wasn’t a big hit at all, but I sure enjoyed eating it all 5 lbs of it. I miss not having it at the Plaza Restaurant in MK. I thought this was a nice change from chips or french fries. Anyway, I can’t wait until tomorrow to see the video. PS I do enjoy the folk lore. Thanks for another great blog and I hope you had a fantastic cruise and a great vacation. Welcome back!!