Located between Italy and Japan in the World Showcase stands the host pavilion The American Adventure. This is by far (in my opinion) the best pavilion there is. I know some people are like, “But there is no fancy sit down restaurant to eat at here.” I know that and agree 100% with those of you say that and we do pass by the Liberty Inn eatery almost every trip. But between the Voices of Liberty singers, the Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps and The American Adventure show, this pavilion can’t be beat. I guess it’s the sense of American pride instilled in my bones from birth. So keeping with the theme of the World Showcase pavilion histories, sit back and enjoy this months article on The American Adventure.
When you’re approaching the pavilion one of the first things to probably catch your eye is the American Gardens Theatre located next to the World Showcase lagoon. This outdoor amphitheater is used for various events throughout the year. It is there where you’ll be able to see those groovy, peace loving “Flower Power” concerts during the annual International Flower and Garden Festival or the ones who play during the “Eat to the Beat” concerts held during the International Food and Wine Festival. During the Christmas holidays the theatre hosts the Candlelight Processional. This show originated in Disneyland in 1958 and carried over to Florida in 1971 being performed in the Magic Kingdom. In 1994 the show was relocated to EPCOT Center and has been performed there every since. The show entails various celebrities telling the biblical story of Christmas while an orchestra performs the more traditional holiday songs. Behind the amphitheater you’ll also find the ship named the “Golden Dream”. It’s a replica of a Virginia Sloop, which was used for trading.
Directly across from the amphitheater is The American Adventure Pavilion. The building is a 108,000 square foot Georgian styled mansion. Here is a good example of Disney’s use of forced perspective to make building appear larger or smaller than they actually are. The pavilion appears to only be two stories but in reality it’s five. In the time period the building is modeled after there were not five story buildings. Disney also decided to use actual bricks to build the pavilion. It is made up of 110,000 hand made Georgian clay bricks colored and aged to match the time period. Independence Hall, Boston’s Old State House, Monticello, and Colonial Williamsburg inspired elements in the building. Everything in the building evokes patriotism. The outside of the building has the red Georgian clay bricks, the white painted trim and the blue slate roof.
Once inside you’re greeted with the rotunda. Here is where you’ll find the Voices of Liberty who perform Americana, Folk and Patriotic songs. They are a world famous a cappella group who usually performs pre-show under the rotunda and are not to be missed. Located on the right hand side of the pavilion is the American Heritage Gallery presented by the Kinsey Collection. The exhibit opened in 2007 and features exhibits on loan from philanthropists Bernard and Shirley Kinsey. Their private collection has also been displayed throughout the U.S. including the Smithsonian of American History. Approximately 40 pieces are displayed throughout the exhibit and rotated periodically. After you have listened to the Voices of Liberty take a little time to stroll around the attractions building. You’ll find many paintings and quotations lining the walls.
Leaving the lobby area and walking to the main theatre you’ll see what’s called the Hall of Flags. Here you’ll see a collection of flags that have flown in the U.S. including Revolutionary War flags and Colonial flags. In total there are 44 flags in all. Now it is time to enter the American Adventure theatre. The theatre seats a little over 1,000 guests and there’s not a bad seat in the house. The show is a mixture of film, audio-animatronics, and music and last 28 minutes in length. The two guides that takes you through the journey of America is no other than Ben Franklin and Mark Twain. Scenes include everything from the pilgrims coming to America to present time. And I think that given such a relatively short time to give a history lesson, Imagineers did a pretty good job touching on important parts of the past. There are a total of 35 audio-animatronics used during the show. The show also focuses on the Declaration, slavery and the Civil War, and the founding of Yosemite and other National Parks. The show closes with the “Golden Dreams” film montage.
Lining the walls in the theatre you’ll notice 12 statues called the Spirit of America. These statues do not represent anyone in particular but they do represent the Spirit of Freedom, Heritage, Pioneering, Knowledge, Self-Reliance, Adventure, Individualism, Innovation, Tomorrow, Independence, Compassion, and Discovery.
The technical aspect of the show is just as impressive as the show itself. Backstage the mammoth device used to rotate the scenes measures 65 by 35 by 14 feet and weighs a measly 175 tons. It’s a computer controlled device that’s nicknamed “The War Machine”.
Just a few facts about the attraction include:
-The audio-animatronics wigs are made from real human hair
-The screen is 28 feet high and 155 feet long
-During the “Brother Can You Spare a Dime” portion you’ll see a sign for American Express and Coca-Cola. If I knew any better I would say that these two are sponsors for the pavilion
-Some of the furniture and set pieces used throughout the show are not replicas. They are antique pieces from those time periods.
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