Epcot's World Showcase: Pavilions vs. The "Real" World - PassPorter.com
PassPorter.com
Award-winning travel guidebooks
Home Florida - Walt Disney World Caribbean - Disney Cruise Line California - Disneyland Resort Anywhere and Everywhere! Travelers Store Message Boards PassPorter's Club Help!
  About Us  |  Customs Office   |   Register Your Book   |   Book Updates   |  Newsletter  |  Articles  |  Photos  |   Follow Us on
       LINKS
       ARTICLES
WDW Planning Articles

WDW Traveling Articles

WDW Lodging Articles

WDW Touring Articles
2011 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
A Journey Into The Past
Agent P's World Showcase Adventure
Around the World on a Segway
Beach Club
Becoming Disney Parents
Blizzard Beach Water Park
Boats at Walt Disney World
Boats at Walt Disney World - Part 2
Bringing Along Baby
Characters in Flight
Comparing Cars Land and New Fantasyland
Confessions of a Recovering Park Commando
Coping with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Disappointing Disney
Disney Admission Options for Military Families
Disney Alone Time
Disney's Single Rider Lines
Doing Disney Without Ever Riding a Ride!
Don't Let it Rain on Your Parade
Enjoying the Japan Pavilion at Epcot
Enjoying Walt Disney World Without Thrill Rides
Enjoying While Expecting
Epcot - Not Just for Grown Ups
Epcot's 30th Anniversary
Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival
Epcot's Mission Possible
Epcot's World Showcase
Exploring Morocco in Florida
Extra Magic Hours - Yes or No?
Finding Your Favorite Characters
First Time Parents in the Magic Kingdom
Four Generations, Four Parks, One World
From Commando-Touring to Crawling
I Can Dig It: Dinoland, U.S.A.
Jedi Training Academy
Keeping Toddlers Entertained at Walt Disney World
Lessons Learned Part 1
Lights, Cameras, Education!
Lions and Tigers and Learning, Oh My!
Making the Most of Disney's Animal Kingdom
Mini-Golf at Walt Disney World
My Disney Mistakes - Part 1
My Disney Mistakes - Part 2
My Experience with Disney's Disability Access Card
Nature-Inspired Design Segway Tour
New Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom
Our Experience With My Disney Experience
Overlooked Attractions at Animal Kingdom
Overlooked Attractions at Disney's Hollywood Studios
Overlooked Attractions at Epcot
Overlooked Attractions at the Magic Kingdom
Planning a Girls-Only Vacation
Planning Your Disney Vacation with FASTPASS +
Pleasure Island Today
Rafiki's Planet Watch
Ride or Drive
Scooting Around the World
SeaWorld Orlando
Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom
Spending Easter at Walt Disney World
The End of the Toontown Era
The Epcot Explorer's Encyclopedia by R.A. Pedersen
The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow
The Parades of the Magic Kingdom
The Seas With Nemo And Friends
The Sum of All Thrills
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal
The World is Your Classroom
There's an App for That - Part 2
Tips For Traveling With Your Bestie
Tom Sawyer Island
Tomorrowland Terrace Dessert Party
Transportation at Walt Disney World (Part 1)
Transportation at Walt Disney World (Part 2)
Typhoon Lagoon
Undiscovered Future World
Using Technology to Plan Your Disney Trips
Walt Disney World for Dudes
Whatever the Weather
Where to Find the Best Views in Walt Disney World - Part 1
Where to Find the Best Views in Walt Disney World - Part 2
Why Epcot Is My Favorite Walt Disney World Theme Park
Wild Africa Trek at Disney's Animal Kingdom

WDW Dining Articles
'Lounge'-ing Around Walt Disney World
'Ohana at Disney's Polynesian Resort
1900 Park Fare Dinner -- The "Other" Cinderella Meal
A New Look at Disney's California Grill
Advanced Dining Reservations
Afternoon Tea at the Garden View Lounge
Be Our Guest in New Fantasyland
Beaches & Cream Soda Shop
Biergarten
Biergarten
Boma at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge
Budget Breakfast
California Grill at Disney's Contemporary Resort
Choosing Your Disney Dining Reservations
Cinderella's Royal Table Breakfast
Coral Reef
Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace
Dine with An Imagineer
Dining at Walt Disney World
Dining Review
Dining Review: Victoria & Albert's
Disney Character Dining Around the Globe
Disney Dining Plan
Disney Dining Plan
Disney Dining Plan
Disney Dining Plan
Epcot's Food & Wine Festival
Flying Fish Cafe
Free Disney Dining Plan Deal
Fulton's Crab House
Fulton's Crab House
Going Deluxe with Your Dining
Grown Up Night Out
Is the Deluxe Dining Plan a Good Value
Kona Cafe
La Hacienda de San Angel
Making the Most of Your Meal
Mama Melrose's at Disney Hollywood Studios
Mission: Burger
Monsieur Paul's Restaurant
Narcoosee's
New Adult Beverage Offerings at Animal Kingdom
New Disney Dining Plan Restaurants for 2012
Not A Chicken Nugget in Sight - Almost
Paradiso 37 - Taste of the Americas
Party For The Senses
Planet Hollywood
Pre-Historic Eats at T-Rex
Raglan Road at Downtown Disney
Rediscovering Nine Dragons
Safari Celebration Dinner
San Angel Inn
Sanaa
Signature Dining at Walt Disney World
Signature Disney Dining
Spoodles
T-Rex Restaurant in Downtown Disney
Tea at the Garden View Lounge at Disney
Teppan Edo
The ESPN Club at Disney's BoardWalk
The Garden Grill
The Hollywood Brown Derby
The Kosher Traveler At Walt Disney World
The Maya Grill at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
The Plaza Restaurant
The Princess Storybook Breakfast at Akershus
The Turf Club at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort
Tokyo Dining
Trail's End at Disney's Fort Wilderness
Tusker House at Disney's Animal Kingdom
Tusker House Character Breakfast
Tutto Italia
Veggie Dining At Disney
Veggie Dining At Disney
Via Napoli
Victoria and Albert's
Wheat-Free Walt Disney World
Yachtsman Steakhouse From a Vegetarian's Point of View
Yak & Yeti
Yak & Yeti at Disney's Animal Kingdom

WDW Making Magic Articles

WDW General Travel Articles

View all PassPorter articles
PassPorter's
Article Tools
Print Article
Download PDF
View Photos
Visit Forum

Epcot's World Showcase: Pavilions vs. The "Real" World

Walt Disney World photo
by Cheryl Pendry, PassPorter Featured Columnist
Last modified 01/29/2009
  

Cool Tip: Click here to get a FREE PDF version of this article, fully formatted to print and put into your PassPorter Deluxe Binder!


Filed in Articles > Walt Disney World > Touring  

We're very fortunate to have traveled to many of the countries that make up Epcot's World Showcase. Out of the eleven, the only ones we've yet to make it to are Japan, Mexico, and Canada, and I'm sure we'll get to all of them one day, especially as we'll knock Japan off that list shortly.


With some countries, the areas we've visited have borne little or no relation to what's represented in World Showcase, and that applies in Morocco, Germany, and China. After all, each country is huge and Epcot can only highlight tiny elements of them. Having said that, from my visits to each, I can instantly see that the architecture is reflective of what you're likely to find in each of those countries, even though I may not have seen the specific buildings in the flesh. Morocco immediately made me think of a family trip to the country almost 20 years earlier and, although my memories of that visit are exceptionally faded, as I walk through the pavilion, images of similar structures that we had seen out there do come back to my mind.

But there are others that we can say we've seen the real thing, as well as the Disney version – so how does Epcot compare? As a generalization, exceptionally well, and that's probably what you'd expect, knowing the Imagineers' reputation for ensuring accuracy in everything they do.

That was definitely the case when we visited Venice. Italy in Epcot is very much based on this romantic city, albeit with a lack of canals, although of course there are some gondolas to be seen nearby on World Showcase Lagoon. As we approached the tourist center of Venice, St. Mark's Square, I couldn't help but exclaim "it's just like Epcot," and foolish although that now sounds, that's exactly how I felt at that moment. You could instantly tell how much detail had gone into recreating the Doge's Palace and the neighboring Campanile and both are stunning recreations, particularly when you consider how much intricate detail there is on these buildings.

We had a very similar experience when we visited Akershus Castle in Oslo, as it has a very famous cousin in Orlando that's home to dining with the princesses. Once again, one look at it and you could see that the Imagineers had recreated it beautifully, although it obviously didn't require the same amount of detail as you can see in Italy.

The same can't necessarily be said of the American Adventure, as the main building there is more of a composite of colonial architecture from the northeast of the country. Having spent some time in Philadelphia and Boston, traces of Independence Hall and the Old State House in Boston can be seen clearly here and it's very easy to be transported back in time a couple of hundred years to the days of the early settlers.



Norway, Playground Remnants photo
Norway, Playground Remnants

My children loved playing on the "Viking Ship" in the Norway Pavilion at EPCOT. They (and I) were devastated to find it is no longer available. This is part of the bow of the ship, now in a heap off to the side of the pavilion. - photo by Teresa

Two other countries that include elements of various buildings from periods of their history are France and the United Kingdom. Obviously, the most well known landmark in France is the Eiffel Tower, although the forced perspective used here has just never worked for me. Having said that, the rest of the pavilion does hark back to some of the grandiose buildings that Paris is so well known for and always remind me of a cruise along the River Seine, where just this type of building can be seen.

Perhaps because of its extensive history, the United Kingdom has perhaps the biggest mixture of architecture of any of the pavilions. The buildings take you through hundreds of years of heritage, with perhaps my favorite being the traditional Shakespearean cottage, complete with thatched roof. However, there is just something about this United Kingdom that doesn't ring quite true. It's too clean and too modern, and we've always said that. More than any other country in the World Showcase, you're representing buildings that are hundreds of years old, and these just don't look it.

Perhaps that's the one criticism of the World Showcase countries. It's Disney, so of course you do get an idealized version of the actual thing. You certainly won't find the graffiti that often greets us in Paris, or the lovely aroma of the canals that is present at some times of the year in Venice, and of course the American Adventure is devoid of traffic rushing past skyscrapers, as you'll find right next to the Boston Old State House. Even in the United Kingdom, the pub should by rights have a banner outside it declaring which football (OK, soccer to the American market) matches are being shown live on TV that night.

In a way, it's a very similar issue to the many restaurants that litter the World Showcase. Just as the pavilions are ideal versions, these are very much tuned to what Disney believes will be its visitors' tastes. We've found on our tours of the real countries that the dishes may be the same, but they taste very different and usually that's because you tend to get a blander, less tasty version served up for you in Epcot.

Tip: Kidcot Not Just For Kids!
Even though Kidcot has the word "Kid" in it, that doesn't mean adults can't join in on the fun as well. On our honeymoon, my husband and I purchased an Epcot "passport" and took it around to all of the Kidcot stations. We had a blast and the Cast Members were very kind and each wrote special greetings to us ("Congratulations", "Happy Honeymoon", etc.) in their native languages. We also took pictures of them sitting at their stations (with their permission, of course). We now have a fun little book full well wishes to look at to remind us of that day. It's one of my favorite souvenirs from our trip!

Save This Tip


One thing has become very apparent from our travels around the real World Showcase countries. They're very appropriately named, because in reality, all that Epcot can do is showcase small elements from each of the eleven destinations around the world. To find out more about these countries, you really do have to visit them for yourself and that's something I'd encourage anyone to do, as I doubt you'll be disappointed by any of them. We certainly haven't been to all, and I look forward to the day that I can happily declare that I've visited the real version of all eleven.


Epcot - Illuminations photo
Epcot - Illuminations

Illuminations fireworks. - photo by home4us123




About the Author:
Cheryl and husband Mark live in England and love to travel, particularly to Disney, and they have made numerous visits to destinations across America and Europe. They recently completed their tour of every Disney theme park around the world, which culminated in their visit to Japan, including the Tokyo Disney Resort. Click here to view more of Cheryl's articles!

Related Links:
Enjoying the Japan Pavilion at Epcot - A World Showcase Favorite last updated 2/24/2011
The Parades of the Magic Kingdom - A Plethora of Processions last updated 01/22/2009
Recent Changes to Disneyland - Part 1 last updated 02/12/2009
The Seas With Nemo And Friends - In Love With The Living Seas last updated 4/23/2009




Reader Comments:


So what do you think? Click here to share your comments, feedback, and experiences on this article and topic!

(Note: You must be a member of our PassPorter Message Board Community to leave comments. Join today for free!)




Updated 01/29/2009 - Article #52 



Read additional articles from PassPorter.com

Subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter, PassPorter News, published for more than 58,000 opt-in subscribers worldwide. As an added bonus for subscribing, you will receive a 20% discount coupon for the PassPorter Store -- no catch!

E-mail Address:

First Name:

E-mail Format:
-Text/Don't Know  

-HTML

 
 

We respect your privacy and never sell or rent our subscriber list. Subscribing will not result in more spam! We guarantee it.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Copyright 1999-2014
by PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.

       SEARCH
       LEARN MORE
Learn More With Our Award-Winning Guidebooks


 

RSS General PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel - Touring the 'World': The Parks at Walt Disney World
PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disn...
Swap the latest tips and information on touring the parks at Walt Disney World.


Railroad refurbishment
by cajunlace
19 Nov 2014 at 7:53pm
Does anyone know how long the railroad will be in refurbishment in MK? Trying to get a daily game plan for our days. Thanks!!
(click title above to view replies)

Epcot World Showcase shows during December
by jeneane
19 Nov 2014 at 6:15am
Throughout the years, we have never made a point of observing the various shows at World Showcase -- only sometimes happening upon them midway. This...
(click title above to view replies)

Animal Kingdom - Christmas activities?
by Beach4-2
15 Nov 2014 at 4:24pm
I am finally going to WDW during the Christmas season (and staying on sight). As I enjoy reading all the wonderful activities throughout WDW, I don't...
(click title above to view replies)

Just a couple of Legos by jessie1117 -- Park Photo of the Day (11-06-2014 08:...
by Jennifer Marx
14 Nov 2014 at 2:25am
Here's the latest photo of a Walt Disney World park from the PassPorter Photo Archive (http://www.passporter.com/photos): *Just a couple of Legos*...
(click title above to view replies)

Free photo extension for Photopass/Memory Maker
by minushka72
12 Nov 2014 at 6:09pm
Good until Nov 16 there is a free extension for MM. Normally $19.95 you can have your photos available 60 days vs 45 days... XTENDGS Just put the...
(click title above to view replies)



Total Visits: 7219


PassPorter ~ 1998-2014 ~ 16 Years of Making Dreams Come True!
Publishers of bestselling travel guidebooks and proud recipients of 13 national book awards
About PassPorter
About Us
Site Map
Press
Privacy Policy
Images & Artwork
Guidebooks
About
Previews
Buy
Reviews
Updates
Features
News & Updates
Articles
Podcasts
Photos
Message Boards
Newsletter
Concierge Desk
Desktop
Trips
Books & E-Books
Tips
Settings
Customs Office
Register Books
Book Updates
Contests
Checklists
Help & Info
Finding Answers to Questions
Help Desk
Using Your PassPorter Forum
Store Customer Service
E-Mail Us
Follow Us
PassPorter.com Front Page (Updated Daily!)
PassPorter Newsletter (weekly and free)
Latest Posts
Facebook
Pinterest
YouTube Channel
Questions? Check our Site Map and visit our Help Desk to learn how to contact us online, by e-mail, and by phone.
Please feel free to link to this page so that other vacationers can find it.