Ah, Frankenmuth, Michigan. Our very own Little Bavaria!
When I was a kiddo I absolutely loved going to Frankenmuth for the weekend. To me it felt like a far off land even though it was only about an hour from my house. I loved feeling like I had stepped into a small town in Germany. I pretended I was in a far off land, taking in all the sites and sounds that the city had to offer. …or I just liked eating fudge and ice cream while pretending I was in Germany.
As an adult, I still like visiting Frankenmuth. Sharing the little town with my kiddos is special as it brings back memories of my childhood.
Somehow, we always seem to head to Frankenmuth during the winter months. This means we end up doing many of the indoor activities. Many which center around eating. If you don’t know Frankenmuth you might not realize one of the main attractions is the family style chicken dinners. As a family who has transitioned into eating primarily plant-based in the last half decade, this option made Frankenmuth a little less tempting.
As a matter of fact, we’ve taken Frankenmuth off the radar in recent years due to this fact. Driving an hour or more north just wasn’t as enticing when we were met with food we didn’t want to eat. However, to my delight, at an extended family gathering, we discovered a very nice surprise! Bavarian Inn Restaurant now offers a vegan and vegetarian menu! We now had a ton of options when it comes to dinning. Plus they were delicious. Which is always a plus.
Food is central to a lot of our travel decision-making and one of the reasons we love Walt Disney World, as it has a variety of vegan and vegetarian options throughout the parks. Realizing that the Bavarian Inn had a vegan menu made me think of Walt Disney World. I started realizing many of the similarities that the Bavarian Inn had in comparison to little parts of Walt Dinsey World. Take a look below for a few findings of Disney magic in Frankenmuth:
Epcot has a Germany pavilion. Walking into the German area and you feel as though you’ve been transported into a little German town. The decor, food and atmosphere is all quintessentially German.
Well, Germany pavilion in Epcot, meet Frankenmuth. Frankenmuth is Michigan’s answer to the Germany pavilion in Epcot. It’s a little Bavaria of its own! Okay, okay, maybe it isn’t an answer to the Germany pavilion in Epcot. It’s probably more of a tribute to the country of Germany itself, but when you have a one track Disney brain, that is what you first think of! Either way, both the Germany pavilion and Frankenmuth make you feel as though you’ve stepped foot into Germany.
Bavarian Inn Pool
If you’ve had a chance to visit Walt Disney World you know that all Disney resort hotels feature beautiful pools. The Bavarian Inn also has some great pools! At the Bavarian Inn and Lodge there are three main pools all with different water features. The first main pool has squirter guns (this is what my son calls them, so the name has stuck) and a waterfall. Both are perfect for entertaining my four-year-old.
The next main pool was the hotel’s original pool and is located right next to the hot tub. This pool doesn’t have a specific water feature, but is very nostalgic for those of us who have been going to Frankenmuth since we were youngins’.
The third pool is a kiddie pool with a zero entry and floor squirters (the water jets that come up from the floor like little fountains. Again, my son’s name for them. It stuck again.). My youngest, the 1-year-old, is a fan of these. All pools seem to remind me of Walt Disney World, so being able to see these pools and watch my kiddos play in them reminds me about the pools in Walt Disney World and the different water features those pools all have.
Disney Springs, or the area that was formally known as Downtown Disney in Walt Disney World, is Disney’s shopping district. In recent years the whole area has been beautifully reimagined. It now features top-end stores, fun Disney stores, delicious eateries and so many other things. Riverside Shops is an outdoor shopping area located in Frankenmuth. The shops featured are mostly cute boutique shops, but also include a winery. There is also a large open area where patrons are able to play games or even catch some annual festival or show happenings. During the summer the area is festive and cute, providing casual outdoor entertainment and shopping. Much like Disney Springs in Walt Disney World.
Bavarian Inn Restaurant
The German restaurant I was referencing above is noted to be the Bavarian Inn Restaurant. It is a family style restaurant that features traditional German fare, along side of fried chicken and vegan (yay!) options. The restaurant is full of German culture and folklore.
In the Germany pavilion in Epcot, there is a restaurant called the Biergarten Restaurant. It features a German feast served as a buffet to its patrons. Much like the Bavarian Inn, there are tons of German tchotchkes, helping you to feel as though you are in Germany. Both restaurants feature live German music. Biergarten features live German bands, while accordionist serenade you at the Bavarian Inn. It’s enough to make you say, Hurra!
There ya have it! If you’re close to Frankenmuth in Michigan, stop on by. You’ll get a chance to dine on fine German foods and feel like you’re at Epcot! I mean, Germany!
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