The Epcot American Adventure Pavilion is the first thing you see, directly across the lagoon and as you walk up the pathway from Future World and the entrance of Epcot. It’s in the World Showcase area of Epcot and is flanked by Japan on one side and Italy on the other. Within the colonial style building, guests may enjoy celebrating American history and culture from the very beginning of independence, through to the present.
Inspiration & The American Gardens Theatre
“America” draws its architectural inspiration from Monticello, Boston’s Old State House, Independence Hall, and colonial Williamsburg. Directly across from the pavilion and on the edge of the lagoon, is a wonderful outdoor theatre known as The American Gardens Theatre, with columns flanking either side and rich, red velvet draperies. This is used for many events throughout the year and really shines at Christmas, where the “Candlelight Processional” runs for several weeks and tells the story of Christmas. Many celebrities host the event and narrate the story of Christmas, done in a non-denominational way. Past celebrity readers have included Susan Lucci, Whoopi Goldberg, and Neil Patrick Harris. Large choirs perform from across the country and you can purchase dinner and show packages. If there are any seats left, you may get in for free, but the lines for this are usually long.
Outside of the American pavilion there is plenty of space for seasonal craft displays and other events. As you enter the building you’ll see a rotunda styled after the Capitol Dome building in DC. Numerous paintings and quotes depicting and from very well-known Americans such as Herman Melville, Charles Lindbergh, Ayn Rand, Thomas Wolfe and of course, Walt Disney — are hung and painted on the walls. This area is a waiting zone for a multi media show called The American Adventure.
As you head up escalators to enter the theater for the main performance, you can also see an informative display of different US flags from the years since independence.
Display of American Flags as you ascend the escalators to the theater.
The huge, main theater is where the main event takes place – The American Adventure show. This show uses all of the audio-animatronics, music and film available to the genius engineers and designers who work at Disney. Guests sit in a large theatre and enjoy the likes of Mark Twain, Benjamin Franklin, and various past presidents talking about the rich history of the United States.
Entertainment is available outside of the main show, also, with scheduled performances by The Voices of Liberty — a group of ten singers doing it a cappella. They will entertain with their amazing voices and their repertoire of folk and patriotic songs. Listening to their songs can make even the most tired or jaded tourist proud to be an American.
During daylight hours, a group of fife and drum players perform periodically as they march up and down outside of the American Pavilion.
The only thing which may distract you from these live performances is the smell from the Funnel Cakes. These are delicious fried cakes with powdered sugar on them – the smell is divine.
Food & Gifts
Are you in the mood for some good eats, or a snack, or a few great educational games and toys? How about some Americana memorabilia or other patriotic gifts? The Liberty Inn Restaurant offers tasty American fare like cheeseburgers and BBQ and other classic American food.
Attached to the pavilion, Heritage Manor Gifts has a wide assortment of presidential memorabilia, from Washington to President Obama. Replicas of the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence are suitable for framing and easy to take home with you. There are Voices of Liberty CDs and handmade goods such as teddy bears and dolls. For the person who loves T-shirts and other casual items, they have those, as well as hats and all kinds of toys and tapestry blankets and throws.
Some Tips For The American Adventure
The American Pavilion is in the World Showcase section of Epcot. World Showcase typically opens a little later than the rest of Epcot.
The American Adventure Pavilion is wheelchair accessible, as are most rides and attractions at Disney World.
You can get to the American Adventure Pavilion quickly if you enter Epcot via the International Gateway Entrance to the park. This entrance is different from the main entrance and is often used by people staying at the Dolphin or Swan Resort Hotels. After entering the International Gateway Entrance, turn right over the bridge to France, then walk past Morocco and Japan before you reach America.
If you enter Epcot from the main entrance and go straight ahead, you will reach the lagoon and see the American Adventure Lagoon on the other side. You will also see one of the several boat docks Disney has around the lagoon. Launches can take tired guests back and forth across the lagoon to a few different countries. The launches usually stop at nightfall so pyrotechnicians can get the Illuminations fireworks, music, and laser light show prepped up.
During the evening spectacular called “Illuminations: Reflections Of Earth”, each country is lit by various lights flashing on and off and the American Adventure Pavilion is, naturally, done in red, white and blue. During the show a rotating globe in the center of the lagoon showcases various countries with laser lights, film and other effects.
Scene discussing the invention of the telephone.
Some Tips For Epcot
Save the big geodesic dome at the entrance — a ride called Spaceship Earth, until later in the day so it’s less busy.
Disney is known the world over for their food and chef’s creations. Disney staff is incredibly amenable to special needs and diets, so just tell your server if you have concerns. Sit down restaurants at Epcot may require reservations but there are plenty of great, quick spots for ethnic food and snacks, like burritos, Moroccan delicacies, and delicious Mickey Mouse ice cream bars made with vanilla ice cream and a dark chocolate coating.
If you’ve found some attractions and rides you’d really like to see, then go to that area and insert your park pass into the Fast Pass kiosks outside of these major attractions. There are several info boards kept up to date with wait times listed, etc. You’ll get a pass that will show you when to reappear at that attraction and then you can enter at any time within the period listed. It’s usually about an hour and a half. Major rides and attractions are mostly around the Future World which is the first thing you see as you enter Epcot.
A few rides and attractions worth running for a FastPass, are: Test Track, Soarin‘ (in The Land), the boat ride through The Land’s greenhouses, Ellen’s Energy Adventure, and anything else that strikes your fancy.
Must see eateries are: The Coral Reef (at The Living Seas), the Rose & Crown Pub (at England — see if Chef Tony is there), The Garden Grille (in The Land — it rotates and uses food grown in the Epcot greenhouses below) and the hard to get into Le Cellier (Canada). There is high quality fast food, including some incredible desserts (at the end of the different cafes there) showcased on the lower level of The Land. You can choose from whomever you lik, because you pay at one location for your choices.