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Walt Disney World Resort - Epcot, Part 7

World Showcase, Part 4



The China Pavilion
Epcot Map China has one of the two Circlevision 360 movies left at Disney World (Canada has the other), hosted by a long dead poet named Li Bai, who apparently lived some 1300 years ago. It also has a couple of food venues, and some really great themeing. Imagineering seemed especially proud that it features stairways that don't go anywhere.

It is also home to one of the more profound signs on property, "Hearing something 100 times is not as good as seeing it once." Of course it means seeing it in person. Do you think photography was around when the proverb was written? (It might have been. I can't seem to find a reference. Some say it's Chinese, some say it's Japanese, no one will commit to a date or era...) But in any event, it is certainly true.

The Pavilion is exquisitely themed, from the entry arch to the gardens to the detail on the buildings...

China Pavilion
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The pre-internet troll.
Epcot Map "It all started with a bathroom..."

No, I'm not trolling you. Before there was a Norway Pavilion, there was a bathroom. When Disney finally got a sponsor and the Norway Pavilion was built, it was built around the bathroom.

The Pavilion itself was built directly attached to the bathroom, with a Viking ship next to it. (The ship has since closed, due to stupid guests who thought it was a playground, and several injuries occurred.)

Norway was the last addition to World Showcase, opening in 1988. I've never eaten here, and now that they've turned the main table service restaurant into a Princess meal, I probably won't. (Unless the dirty old man in me wants to see young things in skin tight outfits. But I digress...)

They have some interesting stuff in the gift shops, though. Check the price on the sweaters.

Norway Pavilion
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Norway - Maelstrom

Norway actually has a boat ride, Maelstrom. It's a back and forth, which means at times you'll be riding backwards. And you'll meet some trolls. And I don't mean Internet forum sock-puppets.

There's a movie at the end of it. If you've never seen it, it's worth a watch, and you'll understand why so many guests head from the boat ride exit to the movie exit without stopping. Be forewarned, though, I believe the chairs in the movie are famous for catching and holding onto long hair...

(Also be aware, that they've rethemed Maelstrom to a Frozen theme. You know, the movie?)

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Norway - Hospitality Suite

Jenny and I attended D23's Magic and Merriment in 2012, and had access to the hospitality suite on the second floor above the Maelstrom queue. In contrast to the detailed themeing of the public parts of the pavilion, the hospitality suite was an ultra-modern sectional space big enough for dinners and gatherings from small to large...

Out of the far North window, you could see you're right next to the waterfall where the boats in Maelstrom reverses and descends back to ground level.

Norway Hospitality Suite
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Yes, Mexico has a step pyramid and a volcano that regularly erupts inside, but none of the diners seem to mind, or even notice...
Epcot Map One of the fun things about Mexico, is you walk through a plaza into the stylized step pyramid (which you can't climb), and once you enter the show building, you're outside again in a plaza at dusk with a step pyramid in the distance (yes, a pyramid inside of the pyramid) and a volcano that occasionally erupts. (It's sad to the ambivalence of the guests to an erupting volcano, but I digress.) Let me add this is another pavilion where you have to climb stairs to enter the pavilion, only to have to descend stairs to enter the main part of the building...

The plaza itself has a fountain and all sorts of trinkets for sale. There is a store on one side that sell more upscale merchandise, and an upscale tequila bar on the other. (Which might be another fun thing about Mexico.)

In the back is an okay table service restaurant, the San Angel Inn. It's always crowded, whether there are a lot of guests there or not. The only way they could fit more tables in, would be to stack them on top of one another.

Mexico also has a boat ride, one of the two rides in World Showcase. It was updated a few years ago to the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros, (who are Jose Carioca, Panchito, and the lovable speech impaired, short tempered, pantless, Donald Duck.) While it stars The Three Caballeros, it's still known as "it's a small mexico". It does have some cool fake fireworks, though.

Now, not to be picky, but The Three Caballeros were born out of Walt's goodwill tour of South America in 1941, and didn't even visit Mexico. But considering the countries around World Showcase, it's probably close enough.

Mexico Pavilion
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Mexico - La Hacienda de San Angel

To ease the congestion at the San Angel Inn, the same people that operate San Angel Inn opened another table service restaurant across the street next to the lagoon. It's only open for dinner, and during the day it's mostly a counter service operation.

A group of us ate dinner there the year it opened. It was okay. It wasn't the Americanized Mexican cuisine you'll mostly find at San Angel, but more authentic South-Of-The-Border dishes. My palette says there are better options available around the World, your mileage may vary...

La Hacienda de San Angel
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End Epcot - Part 7.

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