Posts Tagged With: world showcase

The Architecture of EPCOT

Japanese Torii

TEDDY’s RATING: 

For those of you who have been following my blog for the past year, (Wow! A year already. Thank you to everyone!) you know that my favorite Walt Disney World theme park is EPCOT. And my favorite part of EPCOT is World Showcase. I’ve always loved to travel and around World Showcase you can visit 10 foreign countries all in one afternoon.

To pay tribute to those countries around the lagoon and to give you a taste of what those countries are really like, the Disney Imagineers did a beautiful job of recreating the architecture of each country when they designed the different pavilions. I’ve gathered some photos from both EPCOT and the countries to give you a comparison. EPCOT photos on the left, real places on the right.

Canada is patterned after a 19th century French chateau in Quebec City.

Canada Pavilion            Canada Quebec City

The toy store in the United Kingdom pavilion is designed to look like Hampton Court Castle.

UK Toy Store    Hampton Court Castle

And, of course, there’s Paris, France’s iconic Eiffel Tower.

France Pavilion  Eiffel Tower

Morocco features a replica of the Koutoubia Minaret in Marrakesh.

Morocco pavilion            Minaret in Marrakesh

Japan’s pagoda is representative of many pagodas of the Far East.

Japan Pavilion           Pagoda in Japan

The US pavilion’s colonial-style was inspired by Independence Hall, Boston’s Old State House, Jefferson’s Monticello and Colonial Williamsburg.

American Adventure      Independence Hall

Italy looks just like the Doges Palace in St. Mark’s Square in Venice.

Italy Pavilion     Italy Doges Palace

Germany’s architecture pays homage to the German town square, or Platz, from the 16th century.

Germany Pavilion   German village

The centerpiece of China is the Temple of Heaven. The original is in Beijing.

China pavilion            Temple of Heaven Beijing

Norway harkens back to the days of Vikings and includes a Stave Church.

Norway pavilion            Stave Church

And Mexico was designed to look like the Aztec Temple of Quetzalcoatl.

Mexico pavilion            Aztec temple

I’m sure a lot of people don’t really consider the architecture of the theme parks, but when these buildings were designed, as with all the buildings at Walt Disney World, a lot of thought was put into them to make them as realistic as possible, giving park guests a truly immersive experience.

Dates of Visit:  Various

https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/destinations/epcot/

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

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Happy 30th Anniversary, EPCOT

TEDDY’s RATING: 

I’ve posted before that my favorite of the four Walt Disney World theme parks is EPCOT. There are lots of reasons, but mostly because you can travel around the world, visiting 11 countries all in one day. When EPCOT first opened 30 years ago, I never thought I’d still be visiting the park today, having just as much fun there as I did the very first time I went.

Back in 1982, before EPCOT even opened, you could take the monorail from the Magic Kingdom to EPCOT’s construction site to get a sneak peak of what was to come. At that time, it was the largest construction project on the face of the Earth. Back then, the park gave out a full color artist’s rendering book with artwork depicting each pavilion and attraction. I still have that book and have included photos from it here.

        

        

It’s very cool to look at it and see how the park turned out. It’s pretty much as the Imagineers envisioned. Although, some attractions never made it past the “coming soon” stage like World Showcase pavilions for Israel, Africa and Spain. (Africa is represented by a refreshment station, but is of course a huge part of Animal Kingdom now.)

EPCOT is an acronym for “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.” Although it’s not called that anymore, it describes Walt Disney’s original vision for the site that is now the entire Walt Disney World Resort. He envisioned a community of the future, even before the Magic Kingdom was built. But after his death, the company decided to take another direction and give EPCOT a feeling more like a World’s Fair.

So, here we are approaching October 1, 2012, when EPCOT will celebrate its 30th anniversary. I do admit that some of the attractions are a bit outdated, but they are refurbishing and reimagining new attractions all the time and I’m sure will continue to do so.

Card Walker, the CEO of Walt Disney World at the time of EPCOT’s opening, said at the park’s dedication, “May EPCOT Center entertain, inform, inspire and above all, may it instill a new sense of belief and pride in man’s ability to shape a world that offers hope to people everywhere in the world.”

I hope EPCOT has done that at least a little bit. To me, it’s more than a theme park. It’s an opportunity to learn about different cultures through the people, the music, the food; to look at the future and see something positive. Okay, that may sound corny. But for sure, I always have a fun time when I visit EPCOT.

Happy Anniversary!

Dates of Visit:  Various from 1982 until present

http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/epcot/

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

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Bagpipes and Belly Dancing

TEDDY’s RATING: 

If you like world music, take a stroll around EPCOT’s World Showcase and get a taste of tunes from Canada to Mexico, Japan to Morocco.

In my opinion, the musical entertainment at the Walt Disney World theme parks is always first rate. I’ve rarely seen a show that’s not at least very good. And no matter what your taste in music, you can find something worth seeing, and hearing, at EPCOT.

MEXICO: Mariachi Cobre, a 12-piece Mexican Mariachi band, performs at the Mexico Pavilion. Originally formed in 1971, the group has been performing at EPCOT since it opened in 1982. With 3 guitars, 2 trumpets and 7 violins, they bring to life sounds of Mexican folk music.

GERMANY: Oktoberfest Musikanten performs traditional Bavarian music inside the Biergarten restaurant and outside in the courtyard of the Germany Pavilion. This 6-member group, decked out in German lederhosen and playing accordions, tubas and guitars, frolic to the oom-pah sounds of Germany.

UNITED STATES: The United States Pavilion features both the Spirit of America Fife & Drum Corps as well as the Voices of Liberty, inside the rotunda of the American Adventure building. The Fife & Drum Corps is a colonial-era band that plays the spirited patriotic music of early America. The Voices of Liberty is an 8-member a capella group that sings classic American songs like “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” “Ol’ Man River,” and “Amazing Grace.”

JAPAN: Matsuriza performs on the huge Japanese Taiko drums at the Japan Pavilion. This percussion troupe was formed in 1998 and they play traditional works as well as their own compositions. You know when a Matsuriza performance is going on. You can hear it and feel it all the way across the World Showcase Lagoon.

MOROCCO: Mo’Rockin’ is a 6-person group that plays music from the Middle East, Africa, Spain and America. With traditional and modern instruments, they create original high-energy sounds that keep your feet tapping. And if you feel a bit adventurous, join the belly dancer and wiggle your hips to the beat.

UNITED KINGDOM: The newest addition to the EPCOT World Showcase musical groups is the British Revolution. They replaced the British Invasion who performed the music of the Beatles, Herman’s Hermits and the like. The British Revolution performs hits from bands like Led Zepplin, The Clash, The Rolling Stones and the Police.

CANADA: I save the best for last. Off Kilter is a kilt-wearing, bagpipe-playing Celtic rock band. I just love these guys. I have several of their albums. If you never thought a bagpipe could be part of a rock group, think again. These guys put on a kick ass show. They’ve been performing at the Canada Pavilion since 1997.

Next time you’re at EPCOT, why not take in a show or two? You may be surprised at what you hear. And maybe you’ll develop a taste for some new music.

Dates of Visit:  All the time!

http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/epcot/

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other blog:  http://ilovebritishtv.com

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Tops in Topiaries

TEDDY’s RATING: 

Every year I love to go to the EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival. 2012 marks the 19th year of the festival and I think I’ve been going since the beginning. Though there are many facets of the festival that I like, I think the marvelous topiaries are at the top of my list.

This year’s show features over 100 topiaries, 75 of which are Disney characters. This is the largest collection of Disney character topiaries in the world (of course it is, it’s at Walt Disney World) Now, I didn’t count all of them, so we’ll have to take Disney’s word for it. Here are just a few:

                    

                   

                  

There is always a brand new showcase topiary display at the park’s entrance. This year it’s Fantasia. This scene is actually made up of 28 topiaries including three ostriches, two hippos, eight mushrooms and of course Mickey Mouse as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Disney topiary specialists created this display with both new materials and recycled pieces from past years.

                  

The topiaries are made up of many different plant materials including grasses, mosses, lichens, ficus, air plants, palm fibers and various flowers like begonias and impatiens.

                

               

              

The EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival runs March 7th through May 20th and is included in your park admission.

Dates of Visit:  March 2012

http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/epcot/special-events/epcot-international-flower-and-garden-festival/

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It’s Blooming Magical at EPCOT

TEDDY’s RATING: 

Spring has sprung early and it’s already time for the 2012 EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival. It starts today, March 7th!

I can’t remember how many times I’ve been to the festival, but since this is the 19th one, I must have gone 18 times! And I know that I will definitely keep going for years to come. There’s always something new to see. The displays are beautiful and you can’t help but take a million pictures. (Alas, not all million are posted here!)

Every year the entrance to the park and the entrance to World Showcase are redesigned with topiaries that showcase Disney characters or movies. This year will feature Fantasia at the park’s entrance.

In the past, they’ve featured Toy Story characters, Cars characters and our favorite Disney standards. The Disney landscapers and horticulturists always do a fantastic job designing over 100 different topiaries that are featured throughout the park. I’ve just included a few here, but will highlight more in a special story about the festival’s topiaries later this month.

I always take the Rose Walk, which goes between World Showcase and Future World.  If you time it right, there are hundreds of roses in bloom of all different varieties and colors. It may be a cliché, but I do always stop and smell these marvelous roses.

Make sure you take a stroll through the butterfly house which has grown in size over the years. Hundreds of butterflies all flying freely around you. It’s lovely.

HGTV will have their cavalcade of stars at the Designer’s Stage in the Festival Center including Jason Cameron from Desperate Landscapes, Monica Pedersen from Designed to Sell and Carter Oosterhouse from Million Dollar Rooms.

The Flower Power Concert series will feature performances by music legends from the 1960s and 1970s: Jose Feliciano, The Guess Who, The Turtles, The Spinners, Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits and more.

This year we will surely miss the beloved and extremely entertaining Davy Jones of The Monkees, who passed away last month. He usually opened or closed the Flower Power Concert series. He was scheduled to appear May 18 through 20. We love you and miss you Davy!

The festival runs every day at EPCOT from March 7 until May 20, 2012. Flower Power Concerts take place at the America Gardens Theatre at 5:15pm, 6:30pm and 7:45pm each Friday, Saturday and Sunday during the festival.

Dates of Visit:  Yearly

http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/epcot/special-events/epcot-international-flower-and-garden-festival/

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EPCOT-A Journey Around the World and Beyond

Spaceship Earth at Disney's EPCOT

TEDDY’s RATING:

Sometimes I think that EPCOT is probably not the most popular of Walt Disney World’s theme parks.  Even though, based on attendance numbers, it is the fifth most popular theme park in the world.  I think kids prefer the Magic Kingdom.  Other adults may like Disney’s Hollywood Studios because of the rides or the Animal Kingdom for the, well, animals.  But I like EPCOT the best.  Maybe it’s because I love to travel and while at EPCOT I get to travel to 11 different countries, under the sea, into space and back in time in just a few hours.  And maybe it’s because it’s never too crowded.

EPCOT is an acronym for “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.”  Although it’s not called that anymore, it describes Walt Disney’s original vision for the site that is now the entire Walt Disney World Resort.  He envisioned a community of the future, even before the Magic Kingdom was built.  But after his death, the company decided to take another direction and give EPCOT a feeling more like a World’s Fair.

Journey to Imagination at EPCOTAs you probably already know, EPCOT is divided into two distinct sections, Future World and World Showcase.

In World Showcase, the architecture of each pavilion is inspired by real buildings from each country.  They really are quite beautiful. I usually spend most of my time in World Showcase experiencing the sights and sounds and meeting people from around the world.  Most of the cast members in World Showcase are from outside the US.  I do enjoy meeting and talking to them.  They usually have great stories to tell about their countries.

Then there’s the music.  Pretty much any day of the week you can hear music from Morocco, Norway, Germany, Japan, Mexico and Canada.  One of my favorite bands is Off Kilter.  They’re a Celtic Rock band that play in the Canada pavilion. You may not think that a bagpipe can rock out, but it can.  These guys put on a great show.  I have all their CDs.  The British Invasion, in the United Kingdom pavilion, was another favorite.  But sadly, after 15 years, they stopped performing in 2011.  Plans are in the works to get another band to replace them.

Mexico pavilion at EPCOT

And then during the annual Flower and Garden Festival (Spring) and Food and Wine Festival (Autumn) the American Gardens Theater hosts all different kinds of musical groups.  The Flower Festival’s “Flower Power” concert series includes music from the ‘60s and ‘70s like Davy Jones from The Monkees, The Grass Roots, Chubby Checker, and Jose Feliciano.  The Food and Wine Festival’s “Eat to the Beat” concert series includes performers like Taylor Dane, Starship, Jon Secada and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.  All concerts are free with park admission.

And don’t forget the food from around the world. I especially enjoy Les Chef De France which has delicious French onion soup and desserts only the French can make.  I just recently discovered a fabulous alcoholic beverage in Japan called Tokyo Sunset, a blend of coconut rum, peach schnapps, banana liqueur and pineapple juice.  Super yummy.

But when it comes to the food at EPCOT, the best is experienced at the Food and Wine Festival.  You can partake of delectable delicacies from more than 20 countries.  I never miss the Cheddar Cheese Soup and the Maple Fudge in Canada, Belgium’s Belgian waffles, and Sweden’s Swedish meatballs.  All are served tapas style so you can sample up to 75 different dishes during your trip around the world.

Italy at EPCOTOn October 1, 2012, EPCOT will celebrate its 30th anniversary.  Now, some of the attractions are a bit outdated, but they are refurbishing and reimagining new attractions all the time.

On the Future World side, Spaceship Earth has been updated with a new interactive ending.  The old World of Motion attraction was revamped into Test Track.  Horizons became Mission: Space.  The Land pavilion was overhauled to include Soarin’, an attraction that became very popular at Disney’s California Adventure.  The Living Seas became a showcase for the movie “Finding Nemo.”  The Universe of Energy was retooled by adding an amusing introduction, “Ellen’s Energy Adventure” with Ellen DeGeneres.

Around World Showcase, Canada’s Circlevision 360 film “Oh, Canada” has also been revamped and now stars actor Martin Short.  New restaurants have been added to Italy and Mexico.

There are a few things I do miss from the original list of attractions.  The first 3-D movie at EPOCT, called “Magic Journeys,” was amazing.  Maybe it’s because that was the first 3-D movie I had seen that really blew me away.  Kitchen Kabaret in The Land, although pretty silly, was fun.  And the entire Wonders of Life pavilion is no more.  Although I wasn’t a big fan of “Body Wars,” I did like some of the other parts of the Wonders of Life.Norway at EPCOT

Before EPCOT even opened, the park gave out a full color artist’s rendering book with artwork depicting each pavilion and attraction.  I still have that book.  It’s very cool to look at it and see how the park turned out. It’s pretty much as the Imagineers envisioned.  Although, some attractions never made it past the “coming soon” stage like World Showcase pavilions for Israel, Africa and Spain.  Africa is represented by a refreshment station, but is of course a huge part of Animal Kingdom now.

I would have to say that my favorite parts of EPCOT, besides the music and munchies, are Spaceship Earth, the Dinosaur portion of the Universe of Energy, Soarin’ and Mission: Space, but not right after a meal!

Dates of Visit:  Various from 1982 until present

http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/epcot/

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