Off Kilter began rocking the Canadian pavilion with their Celtic melodies in 1997, and I happened to be in College Program during that year. You can read more (and catch a few videos) about these masters of bagpipes and kilts here. Disney is bringing in a lumberjack act to Canada. I'll grab a Stella and give it a chance but it will never replace Off Kilter in my Disney nerd heart.
Today I want to share a special memory about another group who will soon say goodbye. The Spirit of America Fife & Drum Corps is just what it sounds like. This group of musicians plays traditional American tunes while wearing costumes inspired by colonial times. I think the live performances are what really makes Epcot special and I always encourage people to slow down and take in the acts. In November 2013, we did just that and caught a very special ceremony. The leader of the group called the children up to the front of the pavilion and after a bit of marching, the children were all given copies of the Declaration of Independence and announced as Sons and Daughters of Liberty. My girls were 2 and 4 at the time so they just liked their 'scrolls' but it was a really nice moment.
This is just one of the small things that keeps us going back to Walt Disney World. I don't think the big ticket items are really the draw. Yes, the roller coasters are great fun but the true Disney magic is when guests and Cast Members slow down and interact. And you have to love it when you actually learn something while being entertained!
I wish a fond farewell to the groups who are soon ending their time at Epcot and look forward to checking out the new acts on my next visit. To those who will be replacing Off Kilter and Spirit of America, you have some mighty big Doc Martens and buckled shoes to fill. Best wishes!
If you are lucky enough to be at Epcot in the next month, please catch a performance or two from Off Kilter and Spirit of America for me!