Saturday, 21 May 2016

The EPCOT World Showcase, Part One

Friday 22 April 2016. It's pretty much a free day as we have nothing booked. The EGGs are heading for a water park and we have a leisurely morning and head back to EPCOT around lunchtime as I wanted to go round the World Showcase half of the park without having to rush to find something interesting for Grace.

As it happened, we were so leisurely about getting up and in particular about lazing at an outdoor table with a large mug of coffee after breakfast that we will have to rush round it anyway... Not to worry, we'll come back again.

The World Showcase comprises 12 pavilions each based on a country from around the world. None of them look particularly real - you don't get a castle next door to a half-timbered house on any high street in England for instance, but they do give a little flavour of each country. This is the gateway to the China Pavilion.

Looking across the lagoon from China we see Italy with the Doges' Palace and St Mark's bell tower with a typical Italian large house or hotel. We spent some time in Italy watching an acrobat/juggler who was very funny in his interactions with the watching crowd.

From left to right, we see the edge of America, the gateway to Japan, Disney's Swan Hotel, actually outside the park but I was using a telephoto lens for this shot. On the right is a sanitised version of Morocco. You have to walk into the shops - they don't come and grab your arm and pull you inside... Missing a trick there...

The United Kingdom is hidden behind the tree on the left and the building in the centre is the Canada Pavilion. The two low buildings towards the right flank the path back to the Golf Ball and the Future Worlds of EPCOT.

Looking back over where we have come from, still from China, we see the wooden building of Norway. The last time we were here in 1993 there was a ride here where the car you were riding in seemed about to go over a waterfall precipice, but that has gone and a new attraction based around the popular Frozen film is being built. EPCOT is by now getting quite busy!

We came to the America Pavilion and it was here we bought the ham and cheese sandwich that I mentioned in a previous article. We shared it but even so we had to take out literally two thirds of the filling before we could face it. Before we could squeeze it small enough to get in our mouths, come to think of it...

We were sitting on some benches in front of a stage. In England you might get a pigeon or some sparrows walking round your feet looking for crumbs. Here it was a dirty great stork...

...and this long-billed whatever. Suddenly there was movement on the stage. A group was coming on. However it turned out to be an acapella group of the "our voices are our instruments" type. Anyone who says that is just admitting they are either too lazy or too unskilled to learn to play an instrument in my opinion and this lot certainly needed some instrumentation, because all five of them had their own individual idea of where middle C should be... They were awful and we left hurriedly. The UK made up for it because a rock band from England were playing in a bandstand in a little area like a park at the back of the UK Pavilion and they were really good.

Morocco - having been to the real place and having found it quite stressful this was much better. No strangers approached to tell us facts we already knew or didn't want to know and then immediately demanded payment for acting as a guide for instance...

Canada. The building is modelled on Fairmont Ch√Ęteau Laurier, a hotel in Ottawa. The EPCOT version is actually only a three-storey building. Those windows are very small!

We leave the lagoon and the World Showcase and head back towards the sphere of Spaceship Earth. This large fountain has several jets and they are co-ordinated with a music soundtrack that plays at regular intervals. If your feet are not shouting at the top of their voices, it is very impressive. If they are, you couldn't care less...

Miss Franny decided she was in need of something to eat. We were due to meet the EGGs later on to eat at Disney Springs, a sort of extended outdoor mall with shops, eateries and some other bits and pieces. We'll see it in the next article. But for now, we share a portion of fries. Fries... ask for "chips" and you'll get crisps.

Disney Springs can only be reached by bus from a Disney Resort. We asked which was the nearest and caught a totally empty bus to Disney's Saratoga Springs. I remembered James Bond visiting the horse racing at the real Saratoga Springs in the book Diamonds Are Forever and resolved not to stay for a mud bath...

We got off the bus and the next one right behind was for Disney Springs. The placing of seating along the side cuts down the number of available seats but makes it possible for guests on mobility scooters to pass along the aisle. The grey seats fold up to provide space for them with anchorage points.

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