My picture threads consist of images I have taken that focus on the architecture, landscape architecture, planning, design, and theming of the facilities highlighted. They may also contain short descriptions and commentary, but will not focus on construction progress or special events or memorabilia or food selections or my traveling companions. Hopefully these threads are a good introduction for those who have not seen these places yet. All killer, no filler!
Canada, United Kingdom, France, and Morocco photographed in February 2008 and January 2010:
I have artificially subdivided the 11 pavilions of World Showcase at EPCOT into three threads because this land is too large to cover thoroughly with one and eleven separate threads would be too many. This thread focuses on the four adjacent pavilions on the West side of the land. EPCOT is divided into two lands, Future World and World Showcase, the latter being a collection of 11 pavilions that each focus on one country. They are each composed of a unique layout of shops and restaurants housed in one or more buildings that represent their homelands' heritage architectural styles and landmarks; in addition, some of them feature attractions like rides or theater shows or art/craft galleries. They form a complete circle around a large central lake, each oriented toward the lake, where a nightly show of fireworks and lights called IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth is showcased. All are wonderfully detailed areas that are a joy to explore.
The first pavilion on the West side of the lake, it is dominated by a central castle-like structure that is similar to several of the grand Canadian Pacific Railroad hotels of the early 20th century. Inside is Le Cellier Steakhouse, a dark cellar that turns inward rather than enjoying the surrounding pavilion's pleasant landscape. Part of that landscape is Victoria Gardens, an undulating ornamental flower garden inspired by Butchart Gardens near Victoria; also inspired by the same region is an entry area of Pacific Northwest native carvings and buildings that house the Northwest Mercantile shop. The back part of the pavilion is a rocky waterfall-and-stream sunken outdoor passageway celebrating the Rockies; a mine shaft entrance leads indoors to a large circular stand-up theater that shows a 360-degree film, 'O Canada!' Unfortunately the face of the simulated rockwork that faces Victoria Gardens is one of the least convincing in the parks, especially for this area which has a serious realistic tone.
Primarily focused on Great Britain, this pavilion has no attractions but is a nice collection of shops in highly detailed buildings of similar scale that form a sort of city street. The dining building is the entry area, composed of the adjacent Rose and Crown Pub and Dining Room and the Yorkshire County Fish Shop, and it is one of the few pavilions where a sizeable building is located on the lake between the main walkway and waterway. Three garden areas surround the shops, including a formal square in the back that has a small performance gazebo on one side; a misstep in the design here is the lack of any facades on the far end of the square to complete the enclosure.
This is not a pavilion. It is simply a second smaller entrance to the park, the main one being located in the park's other land, Future World. This entrance is located on the bank of a waterway that connects to the central lake between United Kingdom and France. Just outside the park, several Disney resorts are located near this entrance and link by 'Friendship' boats to a dock here. The entrance building with its guest services is close to the next pavilion, France, and successfully takes its simplified 19th century style from that nearby visual landmark. Once inside the park, a nice formal terrace steps down to the lake nearby.
Decidedly Parisian and backed by an Eiffel Tower replica, this pavilion has a gracious charm. The two-story elegant dining facility of Chefs de France and Bistro de Paris front the scene, with a twisting street of adjoining buildings leading into the heart of the pavilion where shops and a casual bakery called Boulangerie Patisserie are found. Two of the shops have outstanding interiors; one is Plume et Palette with a delightful Art Nouveau style and the other is Souvenirs de France inside a recreation of an early Industrial Age train shed. The pavilion's attraction is Impressions de France, a wonderful widescreen film tour of the country housed inside the formal facade of the Palais du Cinema.
It is interesting that this pavilion is next to France, since this country was once a protectorate of that country. Exotic North African details abound here in the many courtyards and towers and interiors that compose this delightful scene, and the scale of the towers in the back of the pavilion is especially effective in enlarging the feeling of the pavilion. The lakefront has a small stage and a formal garden seemingly watered by a traditional waterwheel. Across the walkway from this, the main part of the pavilion is an immersive exploration of small twisting streets and features an open-air sheltered souq, shops, the large and highly detailed Restaurant Marrakesh, a craft gallery with a sumptuous Moorish interior, and Tangierine Cafe for light fare. The Islamic tile work is especially worthy of praise throughout.