Welcome back, Disney Fanatics! We’ve finally reached the midway point on our journey around the World Showcase Lagoon, as we shift our focus to the beautiful American Pavilion. Commonly known as “The American Adventure,” this pavilion, in my opinion, is one of the most overlooked and underappreciated areas in Epcot, which is unfortunate, because it has so many wonderful, exciting, and downright practical amenities and attractions to offer! Step back in time with me to Colonial America, and learn about five of the hidden gems waiting for you at our host pavilion.
1. Voices of Liberty
Considering all of the talent that abounds in the Disney parks, I’m aware that I’m about to make a pretty bold statement. I’d like to go on the record and confidently and unapologetically declare that, in my opinion, Voices of Liberty may be the most entertainingly and impressively talented musical act in all of Disney World. This dynamic, energetic 8 person acapella choral group specializes in Americana, folk, and patriotic music, featuring harmonies so complex and, frankly, perfect, that they will melt your face and make your brain hurt (in the best possible way), as you try to wrap your feeble mind around the fact that so few people can create such a gigantic and beautiful sound. They perform several times a day in the pavilion rotunda- get there a couple of minutes early and grab a seat on a bench or the floor if you can. In related news, if you haven’t heard their arrangement of “Let it Go,” you haven’t really lived. Drop whatever you’re doing and go find it on YouTube. You can thank me later.
2. American Adventure Show
Equally impressive in a completely different way is the American Pavilion’s main attraction, a 30 minute audio-animatronic trip through American History. Set in a gigantic, elegant theatre, the American Adventure unfolds onstage as guests watch over 30 animatronic figures set against 10 different backdrops reenact and comment on some of the most pivotal and iconic moments in our country’s story so far. Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain serve as tour guides on this rousing journey through song, storytelling, projected images, and more. The theatre itself comfortably holds over 1,000 people, making this a can’t-beat option for cooling off and relaxing on the hottest of summer days.
3. Turkey Legs from the Fife and Drum
Disney has become known as much for some of its incredible food choices as for its world-renowned attractions, in recent years. While the American Pavilion is the only country not offering a table service dining option, it is, quite appropriately, home to one of the most iconic snacks to ever grace the taste buds of Disney guests. Right up there with Dole Whip, and Mickey shaped, well, everything; the Disney Turkey Leg is the stuff of legends. Head to the Fife and Drum to purchase a turkey leg that is so huge it can easily serve as a meal, and grab a seat at the ample outdoor dining area in front of the pavilion to people watch and enjoy the view, or take it with you on your travels. For my vegetarian friends out there, never fear. Bypass the turkey leg and treat yourself to a funnel cake instead- they’re a deliciously guilty pleasure.
4. American Gardens Theater
Located across the walkway from the main pavilion building, the American Gardens theatre is an amazing, spacious and covered outdoor concert venue that is home to a huge variety of musical acts throughout the year. Of particular interest is the “Eat to the Beat” series, during the annual Food and Wine Festival, which features some big name artists performing well known fan favorites and hit songs. The best part is that all concerts are free with your park admission. Be sure to check the performance schedule when you’re there- you never know who you may get a chance to see!
5. “Hidden Bathrooms”
Okay, these aren’t actually “secret” restrooms in the technical term. They’re pretty well marked if you know where to look for them, but most people don’t, and so they’re never crowded, which is kind of amazing, in a very practical way. When you’re facing the pavilion building, the restrooms are located along the left side of the building, all the way toward the back. They’re always spotless, always empty, and, in my experience, there’s never a line to get in. This may not seem like a list-worthy perk, but trust me, until you’ve been at Epcot during the Food and Wine Festival in 90+ degree heat with 50% humidity, a full bladder (or a toddler about to have a potty crisis), and a line out the door at every single restroom, you can’t appreciate the full holy-grail-like magic of finding a bathroom you can get in and out of in 5 minutes flat. Also, for my 21 and over friends who may enjoy partaking in an, ahem, shall we say “liquid tour” around the world, this is a perfect halfway point to stop, relax, use the restroom, and regroup before continuing on your noble, libation-fueled pilgrimage.
In the veritable sea of exotic food, goods, and entertainment offered by the enchanting pavilions of far-away lands, it is easy to overlook our own American Pavilion, and all of the wonderfully unique things it has to offer. On your next trip, make a point to stop by and pay our host pavilion a visit! That said, it’s time to say “See ya!” to the United States, and get ready to give a rousing “Buongiorno!” to the next stop on our trip- Italy! In the meantime, browse the links below to catch up on the first half of our World Showcase Tour Series. See you soon, Disney Fanatics!
Photo courtesy of Disney Photo Snapper