When you think of Canada, maybe you think of hockey, cold weather, maple syrup or maple leaves. It is possible that you remember that most people in Canada are bilingual and speak at least some French, with their primary language being English or vice versa. At the very least you’ve purchased a Canadian product with everything written in English and French rather than English and Spanish like an American product might offer, and possibly considered that a minor point of interest. You are probably the most familiar with Canada as the butt of a lot of jokes. What you will find when you visit Epcot Canada Pavilion at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, is that Canada is treated like a rich and diverse culture, rather than a punch line.
It is distinctly possible that you would learn more about Canadian culture from its pavilion in Disney’s Epcot Theme Park than you would by visiting the country itself. Disney’s World Showcase Area hosts pavilions from 11 different countries, including Japan, Italy, France, Morocco, Canada, of course, and others. These pavilions are designed to act as concentrated culture centers, with a thorough sampling of each country’s best and most interesting offerings for you: food, traditions, entertainment and so much more. So, if you find yourself desiring a walking tour of the world, without the desire to rely on flights, boats, planes and trains between countries, then a Disney vacation, with an extensive visit to their Epcot Theme Park World Showcase Area, might be just what you need.
How Will You Know Which One is Canada?
When you visit a place like Epcot’s World Showcase, you realize just how little you know about some of the world’s countries. For example, the Japan’s area has a Torii Gate, Germany gets its own plaza with a giant Oktoberfest Banner, and the pavilion for the U.S. has a sort of Colonial House centerpiece with a Banner promising its visitors “An American Adventure.” However what does Canada look like? How about Morocco for that matter? It is fascinating to learn how little you know – and how easy it is to correct that error as you tour the World Showcase.
Majestic buildings in the Canada Pavilion include this regal hotel – Hotel Du Canada.
Canada’s pavilion has sprawling gardens, a fur trading post, a regal hotel structure called Hotel Du Canada and a Canadian Indian lodge of sorts, with totem poles out in front. To mimic Canada’s mountains, there is a 30-foot waterfall and a deep canyon that evoke beautiful mountain scenery. Each formidable totem pole has authentic craftsmanship and accurate carvings influenced by the Northern Indians.
What Else is There To Do?
In addition to the pavilion’s architecture, which provides a more historical picture of Canada, there is a 360° movie of Canada’s cities and unsettled lands called “O Canada!” “O Canada” was shot and is presented using a revolutionary technique called CircleVision. You’ll have to see it to believe it! It is just a bit too visual an experience to spoil by trying to explain it with words. To give you an idea, although it’s not entirely accurate, it is similar to watching a movie in 3-D or in IMAX to someone who has only ever seen a movie on a television or a traditional movie theatre screen. This film presentation will provide an undeniable thorough answer to the question, “What does Canada actually look like?” Unlike what most Americans would believe, it doesn’t look like, “us, but snowier.” Did we mention that “O Canada” is narrated by Martin Short? How fun is that?
O Canada is a visual tour of Canada.
Another high point of Epcot’s Canada Pavilion is Off Kilter, the Celtic rock band. This 5-man band performs each and every show in kilts. Their band is a constant and compelling balancing act, finding the right blend of classical and new age instruments, as well as a unique combination of humor and musical talent that makes them a joy to watch. With their blend of traditional and original songs, they will have you tapping your feet and wanting to imagine a Canadian Jig you can dance along to their music with.
One of the finest things about Walt Disney World Resort is, of course, Walt Disney World restaurants. So what would this attraction be, if it didn’t allow you to sample some fine Canadian Cuisine? There’s no dining like Disney Dining, and that couldn’t be illustrated any more clearly, than by the signature dining experience provided by Le Cellier Steakhouse – the restaurant of the Canada Pavilion.
Le Cellier Steakhouse
Like all Disney World restaurants, Le Cellier is artistically crafted around a theme. Le Cellier’s theme evokes the feeling of Canada’s chateau- style hotels, Fairmont Château Laurier and Le Château Frontenac. The catch of course, is that the restaurant was inspired not by the hotels themselves, but their wine cellars – hence the name Le Cellier. For all you Americans squirming in your seat trying to read all of these flowery French words, don’t panic – the restaurant still serves beer, and has an extensive menu to suit the tastes of even the pickiest little kids. And, this restaurant is well known is Disney circles for an incredible cheese soup that people look forward to enjoying on their vacations.
The open spaces and beautiful flowers of Canada make an impression.
The Canada Pavilion of course also has places to shop, indoor, outdoor culture viewing, sight-seeing and much more to offer, but by now you’re sold. You want to visit this pavilion and see what our neighbors “up ‘dere in da’ Nort” are all about, ey? Now you are more interested in knowing whether or not this “mini world tour” that you can take in Epcot can be included in your Disney vacation package.
The answer? Why, of course! The Magic Your Way Package and Disney’s other vacation packages wouldn’t dream of depriving you of visiting one of their four amazing theme parks. Epcot is just as groovy as the Magic Kingdom, the Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, even though it is often under-appreciated in the press, visits and so on. Epcot’s World Showcase, not only its Canada Pavilion, but all of its Pavilions, deserve your time and attention. It may be the closest thing to touring the world you will ever get to do – so take advantage of the opportunity and really take time to enjoy it – and before you ask, yes, your Disney Dining Plan can be customized to include a trip to Le Cellier Steakhouse!