Monday, July 4, 2011

A Walk Around The World With Ridge--More America….American Adventure

       In this three hour tribute to all Nations but Mostly America, I will take just a few minutes to talk about American Adventure in Walt Disney’s EPCOT in World Showcase. The American Pavilion is located directly to the rear of the park between Japan and Italy.

Let’s look at the building, shall we? The building’s architecture is modeled after the Georgian style buildings found in Colonial America and is covered in 110,000 Georgian clay bricks. Beautiful columns stand before the entry to the rotunda queuing area of the American Adventure. Outside is a large fountain and to the left of the entrance is the Liberty Inn, where the typical fare is hamburgers, hotdogs and cold Sam Adams, let’s drink to Patriotism! Across from the American Adventure is the American Gardens Theatre where, at various times of year i.e. Flower and Garden Festival or Food and Wine Festival, musical acts liven the festivities. There is a shop to the right side of the entrance, which I am ashamed to say I have never been in…I pledge now that I will go into this shop on my next trip in 5 months and buy something with an American flag on it…although seeing as I am going back for Food and “Beer” Festival someone may have to remind me because the Sam Adams beer seminar is always right there and I forget, but I digress.

The pavilion has two different groups that perform daily: The Spirit of America Drum and Fife Corps and the Voices of Liberty. Both of these are wonderful experiences. The drum and fife corps plays outside a couple times a day between the American Adventure and the American Gardens Theatre. It is about a 10 minute performance that has Cast Members in Revolutionary period uniforms playing traditional marches. In the period they represent, the fife and drum were used to signal the army of the orders that were given such as march, halt, ready weapons, etc. because battle field communication was a bit frantic and signals were sometimes hard to relay by voice. Instruments have been used for thousands of years to aid commanders in giving orders that everyone should be able to hear. See what we learn from a tangent?…ok back to topic. The group Voices of Liberty is an acappella group that performs approximately a 15 minute show in the rotunda just prior to the crowd being allowed upstairs to enter the theatre. Usually they are dressed in a period costume; I personally have only seen them dressed in the fashions that would have been popular in the 1800s but I understand they have other costumes.

Take a few moments and peruse the rotunda. It displays a number of paintings by famous American artists depicting moments from US history. One of my favorites can be found to your left as you enter the building. It is a painting depicting the assembly of a B 17. If you look down at the floor, it is real marble and inlayed with copper. On the right side of the room is the American Heritage Gallery housing pieces such as a cast of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s hand, chairs that belonged to George Washington and Benjamin Franklin and Edison’s phonograph. Once it is show time, you are taken upstairs by an escalator, stairs or elevator. If using the escalator and stairs it is via the Hall of Flags. There are flags from other countries that have had claim over the lands of United States. In total there are 44; however, I have never seen the Confederate flag in the Hall. I guess we are just forgetting the struggle to hold a nation together?

Once inside the theatre, you will notice there are statues along the wings of the stage. These are to represent the spirits of America: Adventure, Compassion, Discovery, Freedom, Heritage, Knowledge, Independence, Individualism, Innovation, Pioneering, Self-Reliance and Tomorrow. When you are seated in the 1000+ seat theatre, don’t worry about your position. Personally I like to sit down front because I am in awe over how real the animatronics figures are but with a stage so big I think this is truly an attraction where the theatre was designed to have no bad seats. Your hosts of the American Adventure are two of my favorite Americans, Benjamin Franklin and Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain). Both were extremely influential men of their own times as well as our own. I could ramble on about Dr. Franklin but I will spare you all the nap that would surely ensue.

Our illustrious hosts take us on a journey through the building of America. Now something I have failed to mention to this point is that this attraction uses sets and animatronics figures that rise up from out of the floor and descend from the ceiling. The show is as technically complicated as you can imagine; however, when you are watching the show your belief is completely suspended and these are not just animatronics they are real living, breathing and, in Mark Twain’s case smoking, people. As we stroll with our hosts through our country’s history starting with the Pre-Revolutionary war and ending with the “Golden Dreams” montage (believe me, it is a catchy tune and you will be humming it as you walk out at the end,) we are introduced to figures such as Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Fredrick Douglas, Susan B. Anthony, F.D.R., Will Rogers (who twirls a lasso!) and Chief Joseph just to name a few. The movie that plays at the end of the show called the “Golden Dreams” montage has been updated in the last few years to include 45 new seconds of footage some of our most recent American tragedies and triumphs and I dare anyone to make it through without being just a little misty eyed. As the show comes to an end Dr. Franklin and Mr. Twain discuss the past and future quoting John Steinbeck and Thomas Wolfe and their influential thoughts on America. Again I will not take your time and tell you what is said; instead I invite you to make your way to the attraction and see it for yourselves and experience our American Adventure.

originally appeared 7/9/10


  1. Thank you for the transportative experience. I felt, while reading your description, that I was standing in that spot. I could taste the Sam Adams and crab cake. Wonderfully evocative writing.

  2. I love it, thanks for these great posts.


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