The Epcot Morocco Pavilion is one of eleven pavilions at Epcot’s World Showcase that celebrate cultures around the globe. There are countries from four different continents at the World Showcase, but Morocco is the lone representative from the continent of Africa. Located in Northern Africa with Atlantic coastline that reaches up to the mouth of the Mediterranean Sea, Morocco has been nicknamed “the jewel of North Africa”. It has a diverse and fascinating culture that combines elements of Mediterranean Europe with influences from the heart of the African continent.
Created in the image of a Moroccan city, Morocco Pavilion has two distinct sections: the Ville Nouvelle, or new city, and the Medina, or old city. The highlight of the Medina is the teeming bazaar, while the Ville Nouvelle is home to the Moroccan tourist Office and the Royal Gallery.
Towering at the rear of Morocco Pavilion you will find a recreation of the minaret at the Koutoubia Mosque, the largest mosque in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh. A minaret is a distinctive tower from which many mosques issue the call to prayer, and the Koutoubia Mosque minaret was completed in the twelfth century AD. It is widely considered to be one of the world’s most impressive, and the Epcot reproduction is a sight to behold.
Red terra cotta buildings surround the courtyard at the entrance to Morocco Pavilion, and a golden fountain with an eight-pointed star at the base – inspired by the Nejjarine fountain – sits in the center of the plaza. This courtyard is home to the Gallery of Arts and History and the Tangierine Café.
Fez is not just a style of hat – it is also a city in Morocco for which the hat was named. One of the most famous features of the city of Fez is the Bab Boujeloud Gate, which marks the entrance to the Medina of Fez. To mark the entrance to its own Medina, Morocco Pavilion has a recreation of the Bab Boujeloud Gate, with a beautiful mosaic wall and three gateways that resemble old-fashioned key holes.
At the edge of the World Showcase Lagoon visitors can find a small market, but a larger bazaar with many more items for sale can be found hidden back inside the winding passageways and narrow streets of the Medina. As visitors poke their heads around corners and venture down alleys they will find more doorways and windows with items on display. Though it covers a relatively small area, Morocco Pavilion does a great job of recreating the haphazard and mysterious feel of a true Moroccan Medina.
The archicicture and landscaping will transport you to North Africa.
Eating at Morocco Pavilion
The signature restaurant at Morocco Pavilion is Restaurant Marrakesh. This restaurant is tucked away at the far end of the pavilion, and it features a variety of North African dishes. The interior and exterior of the restaurant was inspired by a sultan’s palace, and from the terra cotta towers to the vaulted ceiling of the dining room, it certainly has a regal feel.
Restaurant Marrakesh serves lunch and dinner, complete with appetizers, desserts, and a separate child’s menu for those who prefer it. Traditional appetizers include various meats wrapped in thin pastry or salads with olives and a balsamic vinegar dressing. On a cooler day, a traditional Harira soup made with lentils, tomatoes, and lamb could hit the spot. Lunch and dinner entrees often feature roasted or braised meats with coucous or other sides. Pastries, ice cream, and fresh fruit highlight the dessert menu.
While diners enjoy their meal, belly dancers often perform a demonstration between the tables to the sounds of Moroccan music. Adults may also enjoy a variety of specialty cocktails such as the Casablanca Sunset or the Marrakesh Express.
Visitors looking for a quick meal may also make a quick stop at the Tangierine Café (a play on the Moroccan city of Tangier), or the Moorish Café and Pastry Shop. The Tangierine Café is a counter service restaurant serving dishes such as wraps and sandwiches alongside couscous, tabouleh, or other sides. The Moorish Café serves primarily pastries along with mint tea and coffee.
The Tangierine Cafe is a great option for people looking for unique food choices.
For folks who don’t care for the standard hamburgers and chicken nuggets that define many other theme parks, the exciting and unique food offerings at these two Morocco restaurants are sure to please.
There are a variety of shops in Morocco Pavilion at the main bazaar and beyond. Located on the shore of the World Showcase Lagoon is a store called Souk-Al-Magreb. This area sells Fez hats, Henna Lamps, belly dancing instructional videos, couscous pots, and more.
Inside the pavilion, visitors will find the Tangier Traders, Medina Arts, the Brass Bazaar, and Casablanca Carpets. The goods offered at these shops include handmade items such as daggers and basket, woven goods including Rabat carpets, shoes and clothing items, accessories such as fez hats, and a wide variety of decorative items such as wall sconces, fountains, and plates. Other assorted goods include musical instruments, jewelry, and ceramics.
Apart from simply exploring the beautiful grounds, there are other ways for visitors to entertain themselves at Morocco Pavilion. Mo’Rockin’ is a six-person musical group that plays a 20-minute world music set several times throughout the day, featuring traditional modern instruments and sounds inspired by Africa and the Mediterranean. In addition to the music, Mo’Rockin’ features a belly dancer to help entertain the crowd as the band performs.
Mo’ Rockin’ is a popular live act in Morocco.
The Gallery of Art and History features an exhibit on traditional Moroccan dress entitled Moroccan Style: The Art of Personal Adornment. For more insight into Moroccan culture, visit the Fez House to see an example of a traditional Moroccan home. The tourist office plays a slideshow on the landscapes of Morocco. Finally, guests who want to know still more about this fascinating country can participate in a guided tour of Morocco Pavilion called “The Treasures of Morocco”.
The Morocco Pavilion provides great opportunities to explore
the architecture, food, and culture of a very interesting and far-away place.
If younger visitors aren’t thrilled by the shopping, dining, and architecture of Morocco Pavilion, they may want to stick around for the opportunity to meet a pair of favorite Disney characters. Aladdin and Princess Jasmine from the Disney animated classic Aladdin make periodic appearances around Morocco Pavilion to interact with visitors and sign autographs.