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Walt Disney World Resort - Epcot, Part 6

World Showcase, Part 3


American Adventure

American Adventure
The American Adventure Pavilion
Epcot Map Imagineering once modeled the U.S.A. pavilion at the front of World Showcase. It was to be an elevated structure which the guests went under before being welcomed to all the other nations around World Showcase. It was Dick Nunis who pointed out that the "castle" of World Showcase should be at the back of the lagoon, so someone would actually want to go there. That's the purpose of a Wienie. (While Dick's name might have been Dick for a reason, he wasn't a stupid guy. But there are some great stories about him...)

And American Adventure did indeed become the "Castle" of World Showcase, the centerpiece at the South end of the Park. Not only is it visible from almost any point around the lagoon, but it's the largest building in World Showcase.

While all the other pavilions use forced perspective and false facades to make them appear three stories tall (most are only two), American Adventure is actually five stories tall, and is scaled to make it look like three. If you actually look at it from the other side of the lagoon the size difference becomes apparent even with the American Gardens Theater helping to mask it's true size.

There's a quintet that appears outside the pavilion, The Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corp. Two fifers (flutists?), two drummers, and the flag bearer / singer. It must be brutal having to perform on a hot, humid, sunny summer afternoon in those outfits.

American Adventure
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The American Gardens Theater

Across the "street" from the pavilion, is The American Gardens Theater. It's a relatively large outdoor theater, and generally holds three events over the course of a year.

During the Spring Flower and Garden Festival, the theater hosts the Flower Power concert series, featuring rock bands from the 60's. (Flower Power... get it?) Unfortunately, the 60's is now 50 years ago, and many of the perennial performers such as Davy Jones (The Monkees, not the Pirates character) and Rob Grill (The Grass Roots), have passed on.

During the Fall Food and Wine Festival, they used to do a similar concert series, but I believe they've switched to doing cover bands of older groups.

The theater is also host to the yearly Christmastime presentation, the Candlelight Processional. While only held four times on two days at Disneyland, it is held here at the American Gardens Theater three times a day, from Thanksgiving to the end of December, narrated by a dozen different celebrities. I got a history lesson on the Processional at D23's 2011 Magic and Merriment event the morning before the show I attended. I don't thing I've ever passed a showing where it wasn't standing room only. The reserved line (before guests are allowed into the theater, or waiting for the previous show to end and the theater emptied) goes to Japan, and the standby line extends into Italy. For each show. (Pictures are in the Christmas section. The link above will take you there.)

American Adventure - Interior Attractions

The Voices of Liberty

Just inside in the foyer, a cappella group known as the Voices of Liberty perform. They are undoubtedly the premier live act in all of Epcot. The acoustics help, but these cast members can *sing*. This group is one of my most highly recommended, must-see shows in all of Walt Disney World.

The American Adventure

The main attraction here is called, oddly enough, The American Adventure. Imagine, if you will, a conversation between Ben Franklin and Sam Clemens (coincidentally, two of my favorite Americans) discussing America's history. If you thought my history of Disney World was brutally short and left out some important details... Well, let's just say we're condensing 250 years into 30 minutes.

It's an amazing achievement of both movie and Animatronics, it's the only complete fully animatronic stage show Disney has, changing both characters and sets over a dozen times. Each set is on a trundle (I believe that's the word) and is shuffled on and off stage as the show progresses. I understand it's fascinating to watch, but will squish you like a bug, should you be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Now, don't get me wrong. The show is very moving and enjoyable, but it's in a dark, air-conditioned theater with comfy seats (just over a thousand of them), and after you've seen the show two or three times... Just try not to drool when you nod off. It'll be less humiliating when you show up on Facebook.

Here's an interesting note. Muller's Landing in the Civil War scene in the film, is actually part of the railroad at Disneyland, tightly cropped so you can't see the rest of the park. Disney wanted an imaginary place, and they already had one. If the frame extended just a few feet to one side, you'd see Haunted Mansion...

American Adventure (interior)
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American Adventure - Presidential Suite

One of the perks of attending D23's 2012 Sip and Scream, was access to the Presidential Suite in American Adventure. It's located above the lobby where Voices of Liberty perform. (If you look at a picture, it is those sets of windows just above the front facade, below the roofline.)

Unlike the Norway Hospitality Suite, the Presidential Suite is themed exactly the way you'd expect a suite in The American Adventure to be themed.

American Adventure Presidential Suite
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Italy Pavilion
The Italy Pavilion
Epcot Map Ah, Italy. It looks pretty, and hold a couple of food venues, and of course, gift shops. They also have a juggling mime there that I would pay money to see swallow and choke on that damn whistle.

But I digress...

Italy used to have one of my favorite live acts in World Showcase, Nova Era. I've got video of one of their shows on my Video Page.

The newest part of Italy is the pizza place in the back. It's authentic in that the water used has the same mineral content as that of Naples, but it actually comes from Pennsylvania. Still, they truck it in from Pennsylvania...

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Germany has a really cool train set, rethemed for Christmas, The Flower and Garden Show and The Food and Wine Show.
Epcot Map I don't think there's a piece of architecture in Germany younger than the 18th century, but all the merchandise they sell is. It's also another pavilion that only holds shops and food venues. However, if you stick around, the glockenspiel has three hours of original music.

Also of note, it's always Oktoberfest in the Bier Garden, down to the trees having fall leaves...

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Germany's Train Set

The one thing Germany does have, is a cool train set. The towns get decorated for the holidays and events at Epcot, and the countryside gets a regular makeover... (You can see how they decorated for the Flower and Garden Show here.

Germany's Train Set...
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As far as I can tell, the end of the rainbow is in... Downtown Disney.
Epcot Map Once Upon A Time, an equatorial Africa pavilion was considered for the space here. The plans fell through, though I suppose some of the themeing ideas survived. On the other hand, a once considered Movie pavilion became a theme park, and the Equatorial Africa idea became an entire land in Animal Kingdom. What remains is a sort-of-a African themed area complete with drums kids can bang on.

It's known as the Outpost, but it's clearly the place a new pavilion would go.

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End Epcot - Part 6.

Jump to: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9

  • 05/09/2010 - Page Updated, pictures re-imaged, pictures added
  • 07/12/2012 - Complete replacement
  • 12/31/2012 - Update to v3.1
  • 09/01/2014 - Update to v3.2
  • 06/21/2015 - Rewrite and update