Hidden Details of the World Showcase

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France Epcot facts

The World Showcase at Epcot is one of the best themed lands in all the parks. Years of planning and design went into creating the replicas of the countries. Below we share the best hidden details of the World Showcase!

Mexico

  1. Mexico’s pavilion is almost entirely inside and set to look like night. This is because in Mexico night is the time for friends and family to gather in local plazas for socializing. Mexico’s plaza is known as the Plaza de Los Amigos.

  2. As you enter the pyramid before the Plaza, take note of the big round stone tablet in the middle of the lobby. It’s a replica of the Aztec calendar that can be found in the National Museum in Mexico City.

  3. One of the hidden gems of this pavilion is La Cava del Tequila. It’s inspired by the cellars of Mexican haciendas. Inside you’ll see decor and artwork inspired by Mexico’s history of tequila making.

  4. At the top of the pyramid outside of Mexico, there is a small glass window. This is where IllumiNations technical office was located.

Epcot Mexico Pavilion Pyramid at Sunset

Norway

  1. There is a grass roof on the Kringla Bakery. This represents actual grass roofs found in Norway that animals would graze on. They were very common in the Viking and Middle Ages when the majority of most structures had sod roofs. They offered homes advantages such as providing insulation and durability. Cast members go up to cut it when it starts to get too long.

  2. You can actually go inside the Stave Church. Inside there is a small gallery showcasing artifacts from Norway.

  3. There are two Malestrom tributes inside the Anna and Elsa meet and greet. As you walk through the queue you will see a painting that depicts a trio of trolls on the top and a large waterfall on the bottom with another troll. There is also a rock outside the Meet and Greet area that has a tribute to the Maelstrom boats chiseled into it.

  4. There is another Maelstrom tribute in the queue for Frozen Ever After. Look for a sign that says “Maelstrom sighting southeast bay of Arendelle”.

  5. Akershus Royal Banquet Hall is based on a real Norwegian fortress. You can see gun turrets on the stone walls.

  6. There is a statue of Grete Waitz near the bakery seating area. She was a Norwegian marathon runner who won nine New York City Marathons between 1978 and 1988: more than any other runner in history.

  7. There are rune stones near the Royal Sommerhus area that pay homage to Maelstrom. A rune stone is a raised stone with a runic inscription, dating back to the 4th century and commonly used by Vikings in Scandinavia.

  8. Between the Stave Church and the bakery is a replica of the Kuli stone. It is significant in Norwegian history because it is the oldest written record of the recognition of Norway as a country.

Stave Church Norway Epcot

China

  1. There is a figure of a man sitting on a bird on the roof of the Nine Dragons Restaurant. This is a common effigy on buildings in the Forbidden City. The man is named Prince Min: a cruel ancient who was killed by his people. The bird he is sitting on is a chicken, which can’t fly away from the rest of the animals attacking him. This is a warning to other leaders to be kind and just.

  2. The large rocks found in the front of the pavilion represent an ancient Chinese belief that contemplation of unusual rock forms brings inner peace and serenity.

  3. Stand in the middle of the Temple of Heaven. If you speak, you’ll hear your voice echo back to you – the temple is acoustically perfect.

  4. There is a little-used pathway on the far side of the garden that has a peaceful babbling brook.

  5. The main thoroughfare is called Street of Good Fortune. Imagineers intentionally designed this area to be narrower than other walkways to help guests experience the crowded conditions that the Chinese experience every day.

  6. At the end of the Street of Good Fortune is a biān zhōng bell. This instrument was played during rituals and ceremonies and dates back 2,000 to 3,500 years.

Dragon in China Epcot

Germany

  1. In the back of the courtyard there’s a clock. At the top of the hour, a wooden boy and girl emerge from the clock and twirl around and a rooster appears at the top.

  2. On the right side of the pavilion, walk to the back of the quick service sitting area. You’ll find a wall with a big mural on it. Knock on the wall. What do you hear? It’s hollow! This wall was originally planned to be the entrance of the Rhine River Cruise, a boat attraction that would have taken guests through a tour of Germany’s beauty.

Germany Epcot at night

Italy

  1. The pillars that surround one of the buildings are decorated with kings. One of the kings is holding a bowling ball and the holes are shaped like Mickey. The Imagineers are able to incorporate something about “themselves” in their designs, and one was a bowler.

  2. The representation of Doge’s Palace (left building in photo) has a face carving at far end. In ancient times, these faces could be found in Venice. People could anonymously drop slips of paper into the mouths to report neighbors of wrongdoings, financial crimes, or voice complaints about the government.

  3. Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar is another hidden gem of this pavilion. It’s a rustic, comfy setting with dark woods, couches, and a fireplace. There is a lighting feature made from recycled wine bottles.

Epcot Italy
Courtesy of Disney

The American Adventure

  1. The main building in this pavilion is intended to be a “people’s mansion”. It takes design cues from the classic Georgian style of the late 1700s, Colonial Williamsburg, Independence Hall, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and the Old State House in Boston.
  2. The building uses forced perspective – it’s a five story building, but looks to be only 2.5 stories tall.
  3. As you walk into the American Adventure show, you’ll pass a series of flags overhead. The exhibit is called the “Hall of Flags” and displays different flags throughout U.S. history.
  4.  In the theater, there are 12 statues, six on each side of the theater, that are spirits of American values personified.
    • Adventure – Seaman
    • Compassion – Female Doctor
    • Discovery – Mountain Man
    • Freedom – Pilgrim
    • Heritage – Native American Woman (Sacagawea)
    • Independence – American Revolutionary Soldier
    • Individualism – Cowboy
    • Innovation – African-American Scientist (George Washington Carver)
    • Knowledge – School Teacher
    • Pioneering – Early Aviation Pilot (Charles Lindbergh)
    • Self-Reliance – Farmer
    • Tomorrow – Mother and Child
Epcot American Adventure
Courtesy of Disney

Japan

      1. Walk into the back of the pavilion by crossing the moat and end up in Japan’s castle. This was modeled after the Himeji Castle, a fortresses of early Japan. There are different exhibits showcased in the castle. Be sure to check out the statues of the samurai soldiers in front of it protecting the fortress.

      2. Check out the rock garden in the front of the pavilion. Raking stones are a Zen Buddhist ritual. It inspires mediation and pleasure in its beauty.

      3. The Tori gate in the water has barnacles at the base to make it seem like it’s been around for centuries.

      4. Explore the paths leading up to the Katsura Grill at the top of the hill. There are waterfalls, a babbling brook, gardens, and koi fish. It’s gorgeous.

      5. The stone lanterns in the garden represent the ones that tea masters would use to guide guests to tea ceremonies.

      6. The big stone lantern in the front of the Mitsukoshi department store was a gift to Roy Disney from the emperor of Japan when Disney World opened.

      7. The pagoda has 5 stories each representing one of the elements that Buddhists believe make up the universe: earth, water, fire, wind, sky.

Japan Epcot facts

Morocco

      1. The Fez House, located in the courtyard, is a representation of a Moroccan home. If you approach the fountain you can hear children playing upstairs.

      2. There is a reproduction of an ancient water clock at the back of the pavilion. The real clock can be found in Fez. A water clock measures the passage of time by the regulated flow of a liquid either into or out of a vessel, which is then measured.

      3. There is a museum across from Tangerine Café featuring the history of Moroccan arts.

      4. The mosaics featured in the pavilion feature at least one flawed tile in it. This is because the local beliefs dictate only Allah can create something perfect.

      5. If you are standing near the Mexico pavilion and look across the lake towards Morocco, you can see the Tower of Terror. Imagineers didn’t want to spoil the sightlines, so they gave the top of the tower exotic flourishes and painted it a color similar to Morocco to help it blend in seamlessly.

      6. Part of the walkway is darker between Morocco and France. This special stretch represents the Strait of Gibraltar: the body of water which connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean and separates Europe from Africa.

Morocco Epcot facts

France

      1. The green metal boxes lining the walls of the pavilion on the edge of the World Showcase Lagoon represent similar boxes found in Paris that contain artwork, books, and other souvenirs that are sold on the streets.

      2. The kiosks covered with ads, newspapers, and artwork are also a common sight on Paris streets.

      3. There is a bridge between the UK pavilion and France. The water under the bridge represents the English Channel. As you walk towards the UK, check out the painting on the easel. It is a painting of the International Gateway across the river.

      4. The Eiffel Tower appears larger from a technique called forced perspective. If a bird was to land on the top, it would throw off the scale, So, Imagineers put up a bird deterrent on top.

France Epcot facts

United Kingdom

      1. Take a look at the ornate chimneys on the buildings. They were painted with blackened soot to give the impression that they are still working.

      2. Go to the back of the Toy Soldiers shop and you’ll find a door that says Cast Members Only. If you look inside you’ll noticed it’s fully themed to Winnie the Pooh. This used to be a meet and greet for those characters, and was themed to be Christopher Robin’s bedroom. Even though the Meet and Greet closed, they kept the room themed. During busy times at the park, the room is occasionally open.

      3. Imagineers named the Rose and Crown Pub. They took the two most commonly used words for English pubs and combined them.

United Kingdom Epcot facts

Canada

    1. The pavilion has three Native American totem poles. The two on the right are made of fiberglass. The one on the left is carved from wood and weighs over 700 pounds. The wooden totem pole depicts three stories of the “Raven” tricking the “Sky Chief” into the release of sun, moon and stars from a chest.

    2. The Hotel du Canada is only 3 stories tall. To make it look larger, Imagineers added 5 stories of windows.

Canada Epcot facts

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