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September 3, 2011

Epcot's France Pavilion - Part One

I would never say that one World Showcase pavilion is more beautiful than another. Each is picturesque and captivating in its own way. But I would certainly be willing to use different adjectives to describe each pavilion. For example, I would call Morocco mysterious. Serene would work well to describe Japan. And one might use rugged to express feelings about the Canada Pavilion. But when it comes to the France Pavilion, enchanting is the word that comes to mind for me.

Visiting the France Pavilion is like taking a step back in time. The years between the Franco-Prussian War and World War I (1871-1914) were characterized by unusual political and financial stability in western and central Europe. Modern inventions like the motor-car, railroad, aeroplane, cinema, gramophone, and telephone began to emerge and become common place. Art Nouveau was in fashion and impressionist such as Renoir and Matisse were making names for themselves. During this time, the designs of Baron Georges Eugène-Haussman to modernize Paris, came to fruition. Boulevards were widened and a seven story height limit on buildings was adopted. This era would later become to be known as the Belle Epoque (beautiful age). It's this time period in French history that the Disney Imagineers chose to recreate in World Showcase.

The waterway running next to the France Pavilion represents the Seine as it flows through Paris. In the years before International Gateway, it had a far more peaceful appearance than it does today.


Seine River (old picture)

Seine River (new picture)


Guests touring World Showcase counterclockwise enter the France Pavilion via a pedestrian bridge. This overpass recalls the old Pont des Arts, the first metal bridge in Paris.


Pont des Arts Bridge (Epcot)

Pont des Arts Bridge (Paris)


If you arrive at the France Pavilion at opening (11am), you might be greeted by French cast members proudly displaying Drapeau Tricolore (Tricolor Flag) or singing and waving joyously to welcome you to their Epcot country.


France Pavilion Cast Members

France Pavilion Cast Members


When crossing the "Pont des Arts" bridge that leads to the France Pavilion, be sure to look down on the banks of the Seine. Here you can see an easel and painting. If you study it carefully, you'll notice a budding artist is painting an impressionistic interpretation of International Gateway across the river. Once across the bridge, you can find another artist has also been struck by the beauty of the area.


Banks of the Seine

Oil Painting

International Gateway

Oil Painting

Pont des Arts Bridge


Just like in the real Paris, tourists can't help but notice the Eiffel Tower looming in the distance. Built at approximately 1/10 scale of the original, this 69 foot recreation (sitting atop a 34 foot high building) uses forced perspective to make it appear larger than it actually is. The Imagineers used blueprints from Gustave Eiffel's 1889 original to design their model. So detailed is this recreation that a close observer might notice tiny elevators and turn-of-the century beacon lights.


Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower


Before I continue, I would like to answer a question that I am frequently asked. "Why aren't there any people in your pictures? Do you have special access to the parks?"

I have no special privileges. As far as Disney is concerned, I'm just an average guest (unless I've been invited to a press event.) I do nothing that any of you can't do - if you're willing to take the time and expend the energy.

In the case of the France Pavilion, I arrived at International Gateway ten minutes before World Showcase officially opened. Once the rope was dropped, granting me access to the countries, I was at the front of the pack. I walked quickly and safely toward the pavilion, snapping pictures all the way. Since I knew that the vast majority of my fellow early-birds were heading for Boulangerie Patisserie to secure a delicious pastry, I needed to shoot the outside courtyard and seating area for this eatery before they could make their purchases and settle in. After that, I dashed from building to building, and interior to interior, taking pictures as fast as I could. I knew that I had about 20-30 minutes of people-free opportunities to get the shots I wanted.

Like I said, you could do this too - if you wanted to give up some of your valuable touring time for the sake of people-less pictures. But is that what you really want to do on your vacation? Probably not.

When you first set eyes on the France Pavilion, it's difficult to decide what to discover first. The rich architecture, the manicured landscaping, the multitude of colors, and the layers of texture are mind boggling. The foot of the "Pont des Arts" bridge is a wonderful spot to stop and take it all in.


France Pavilion


The city of Paris is represented by the main thoroughfare of the pavilion (as seen in the above picture). The small towns and provinces of France can be discovered on Le Petite Rue, a small street found in the back of the pavilion.


Le Petite Rue

Le Petite Rue


Some of you might have noticed the ugly green metal boxes lining the wall that separates the pavilion from World Showcase Lagoon. In Paris, boxes similar to these line the embankments of the Seine. Containing rare books, artwork, and modern-day souvenirs, bouquinistes (secondhand booksellers) hawk their wares from these boxes, just like their ancestors have been doing since the 1500's. Note, nothing is sold from these boxes at the France Pavilion.


Green Merchant Boxes - Closed

Green Merchant Box - Open


More street vendors can be found in this same vicinity. For a few francs (okay, for a few dollars), artists will draw your caricature or personalize a parasol. And if your gastronomical pallet needs to be satisfied, you can sample a glass of French wine or indulge in a crépe, espresso, or cappuccino at a nearby booth.


Merchant Stall

Cast Member and Parasol

Merchant Booth


Kiosks, like the ones seen in these next two pictures, are a prominent sight along Parisian streets. They serve as information boards, advertisements, and newspaper stands. The ones seen in the France Pavilion are plastered with the works of French artists, many promoting upcoming exhibits.


Kiosk

Kiosk


There is a lovely park-like setting bordering the "Seine." Although not accessible to the public, this area of the France Pavilion was inspired by the famous painting "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte" by pointillist artist Georges Seurat. In reality, this was better illustrated before International Gateway was build and the embankment installed.


Banks of the Seine

A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte


It was the Imagineers' desire to create an urban ambiance in the France Pavilion that reflects perpetual springtime in Paris. To achieve this, landscaping plays a vital role. Flowers, blossoming trees, and colorful plants can be seen everywhere. With this foliage, it was hoped that an atmosphere, capable of inspiring an impressionist artist, would be achieved.


Flower Pots

Flower Bed

Flowering Trees and Fountain

Flowering Trees and Kiosk

Hanging Flower Baskets


Jardin à la française (French formal garden) is a style of landscaping based on balance and symmetry. The idea is to impose "order" into nature. This style of gardening reached its apex in the 17th century when landscape architect André Le Nôtre used his talents at Versailles. In the decades that followed, this style was widely copied by other courts of Europe. A recreation of this gardening technique can be seen in the France Pavilion.


French formal garden


Four Disney characters are on hand at the France Pavilion to pose for pictures. Marie from the "The Aristocats" and Aurora from "Sleeping Beauty" meet guests near the kiosk at the foot of the "Pont des Arts" bridge. Belle and Beast from "Beauty and the Beast" greet guests at a location between the France and Morocco Pavilions. A sign board in these areas list the times.


Marie

Belle


That's it for Part One of my France Pavilion review. Check back tomorrow for Part Two and my video.



September 4, 2011

Epcot's France Pavilion - Part Two

Yesterday I posted Part One of my review of the France Pavilion. Today I'll continue the story.

Knowing that France is famous for its outstanding cuisine, the Imagineers knew that fine dining needed to be a part of the France Pavilion. In the early years, there were three table service restaurants here, Les Chefs de France, Bistro de Paris, and Au Petit Café. Au Petit Café was a sidewalk cafe situated adjacent to Les Chefs de France. This canopy covered eatery featured small round tables and offered light meals and snacks. Reservations were not accepted. This was a charming spot to grab a bite and watch people stroll the promenade. However, it was eventually decided to enclose (and air condition) this eatery and merge it with Les Chefs de France. Au Petit Café closed on June 9, 1997. Here is a picture of this area I took in October, 1983.


Au Petit Café


Disney sought out and engaged three of France's most highly acclaimed chefs to operate Les Chefs de France and Bistro de Paris. Paul Bocuse, Roger Vergé, and Gaston Lenôtre design menus around Florida foodstuffs so that only the freshest ingredients could be used and the menu updated often. And although pastry chef Gaston Lenôtre has passed on, his skills are still evident here.


Paul Bocuse, Roger Vergé, and Gaston Lenôtre

Chefs' Name Plates


When facing the France Pavilion from the "Pont des Arts" bridge, Les Chefs de France is located on the ground floor of the large building to the left. The menu here is inspired by nouvelle cuisine. This is a method of preparing food using lighter and more delicate fare and an increased emphasis on presentation. Whenever I eat here, I usually order Bisque de Homard (lobster bisque) for an appetizer and Profiteroles au Chocolat (Puff choux with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce) for dessert. I'm in heaven.

The décor of Les Chefs de France is elegant. Large windows allow sunlight to bathe the restaurant in soft light and offer wonderful views of the pedestrian traffic outside. The mosaic tile floor is a work of art and the ceiling is equally stylish. The tables and chairs are stained dark red and are set simply with a placemat, bread-and-butter plate, and a crisp, white napkin. This is a beautiful restaurant in which to break bread. Les Chefs de France also features a smaller dining room which faces out onto the pavilion's courtyard and fountain. This glass enclosed room has the feel of a solarium or greenhouse.


Les Chefs de France Building

Les Chefs de France Entrance

Les Chefs de France Interior

Les Chefs de France Solarium

Les Chefs de France Solarium Interior


The three founding chefs of this establishment were recently joined by a fourth epicurean prodigy. Chef Remy (from the Disney-Pixar film "Ratatouille") now helps out in the kitchen six days a week. He can often be coaxed out of the kitchen four times a day to mingle with the patrons. He is accompanied by one of the restaurant employees who helps translate his squeaky voice. And just for the record, he's more than happy to say "cheese" when posing for a photograph.


Remy Poster

Remy at a Table


Les Chefs de France is open for lunch and dinner. Reservations are strongly recommended, but if you arrive at opening (currently noon), you can often secure a lunchtime table.

The second table service restaurant at the France Pavilion is Bistro de Paris. Its entrance is located off of a courtyard behind Les Chefs de France. This eatery is on the second floor of this same building and offers outstanding views of World Showcase.


Bistro de Paris Entrance

Bistro de Paris Staircase


Bistro de Paris is elegantly decorated without being pretentious. Its style captures the sophistication and romance of turn-of-the-20th century Paris. Cream colored walls and maroon upholstery are accented by mirrors, brass sconces, and milk-glass chandeliers. And unlike its downstairs counterpart, Les Chefs de France, the tables at the Bistro de Paris are spaciously arranged allowing diners a more intimate atmosphere.


Bistro de Paris Dining Room

Bistro de Paris Dining Room


Bistro de Paris offers À la Carte and Prix Fixe dining. If you opt for the Prix Fixe option, you'll be served four courses with or without wine pairing. Bistro de Paris boasts a magnificent wine list that features French wines from the famed regions of Alsace, Loire Valley, Southern France, Bourgogne and Bordeaux. Please note, although children are welcome to dine here, no children's menus are available.

In my opinion, Bistro de Paris is the finest "theme park" restaurant at Walt Disney World. It is comparable in every way to Flying Fish, Citricos, and California Grill. Not only is the food and wine outstanding, so is the service. This is not an establishment you want to "get in and get out" of. You want, no, you need to savor every minute you spend here. Plan on at least an hour and a half. Reservations are strongly recommended.


Bistro de Paris Wait Staff

Bistro de Paris Wait Staff

Bistro de Paris Wait Staff


The last eatery in the France Pavilion is possibly the most popular of the three. Boulangerie Patisserie is the spot to satisfy your sweet tooth with artistic culinary delights. Pastries, fruit tarts, puddings, cakes, cookies, éclairs, and cream puffs beckon. What better place is there to indulge in such decadence? After you've made up your mind, all you have to do is point and a charming French cast member will be happy to place your selection on a paper plate and tray. The Napoleon is my favorite, but I always get powdered sugar all over myself. And if you're in the mood for something a little more substantial, cheese plates and sandwiches are also on hand.

Be forewarned, this eatery becomes busy early in the day and remains so until closing. Either arrive at opening, or be prepared to wait in line.


Boulangerie Patisserie Entrance

Boulangerie Patisserie Interior

Boulangerie Patisserie Pastries

Boulangerie Patisserie Pastries


There are numerous tables right outside the Boulangerie Patisserie. On a pleasant day, it doesn't take too much imagination to make believe you're actually in Paris enjoying your taste treat on a quiet street. However, these tables fill up quickly and sometimes it's difficult to secure one. If you discover that all of them are occupied, don't despair, more are available just inside the Souvenirs de France shop. Actually, on a hot day, these inside tables are a better choice than their outside counterparts as you'll find air conditioning waiting for you here.


Boulangerie Patisserie Seating

Boulangerie Patisserie Seating


I have to believe that 95% of you have already experienced Boulangerie Patisserie and these pictures are nothing more than a pleasant reminder of a lovely spot. But for that other 5%, this needs to be a "must see" on your next visit to Epcot. I can pretty much guarantee that once you try it, you'll become a regular customer.

There are several shopping options in the France Pavilion. Three stores line the right side of the pavilion near the Seine. First is Plume et Palette (Feather and Pallet). This Art Nouveau shop sells French fragrances, soaps, and a small selection of handbags.


Plume et Palette Exterior

Plume et Palette Interior

Plume et Palette Interior


In the early years, the second floor of this lovely shop was open to the public. Guests could wander this area, viewing works of art and browse through prints by French impressionists which were for sale. In addition, wonderful views were afforded from here. Unfortunately, this area is no longer open to guests.


Plume et Palette Upstairs

Plume et Palette Upstairs


The entranceway to the Arcade is styled to look like an entry to the Paris Metro. Through this gateway, are more shops.


Arcase Entrance

Metro Entrance


The newest mercantile to open in the France Pavilion is Givenchy. This 400 square foot shop offers the entire line of Givenchy fragrances, cosmetics and skincare products including a specially created fragrance exclusive to Epcot, eaudemoiselle de Givenchy.


Givenchy Entrance

eaudemoiselle de Givenchy


Another feature of Epcot's Givenchy shop is a complete makeup counter, complete with experts to help you select and apply the appropriate product. As a learning tool, the associate will be happy to apply the makeup to only half of your face then allow you to take over under his or her guidance for the second half. If you decide to purchase their products, you will be provided with a complete, step-by-step chart so you'll know exactly what to do once you return home.


Givenchy Makeover


La Signature shop features Guerlain products. In 2007, this shop was remodeled as a Haute Perfumery patterned after the original La Maison Guerlain flagship boutique on the Champs-Elysees in Paris. La Signature carries exclusive and limited-edition specialty fragrances for men and women.


La Signature Entrance

La Signature Interior

La Signature Interior


Les Vins de France offers a selection of French wines. Beginner connoisseurs can find relatively inexpensive selections and experts will be delighted with rare vintages. Wine tasting is also offered in this shop. Prices range from about $5 per tasting to $12.


Les Vins de France Exterior

Les Vins de France Wine Room

Les Vins de France Wine Tasting


Adjacent to Les Vins de France is L'Esprit de Provence. This wonderful emporium sells kitchen accessories, dinnerware, some foodstuffs, and Disney cookbooks.


L'Esprit de Provence Exterior

L'Esprit de Provence Interior


The last shop found in the France Pavilion is Souvenirs de France. As the name implies, this is the place to pick up the stereotypical remembrance to take back home from your trip abroad. Models of the Eiffel Tower, guide books, berets, posters, mugs, and other Parisian memorabilia are available here. This is also the spot to pick up a Remy plush. And if you're looking to get your Epcot passport stamped, a Kidcot Fun Spot can be found in this shop.


Souvenirs de France Exterior

Souvenirs de France Interior

Plush Remy


When the France Pavilion first opened, Souvenirs de France was called Galerie des Halles. This emporium was modeled after Les Halles, which was the predominant marketplace of Paris for centuries. In the 1850's, architect Victor Baltard designed an elegant iron and glass structure to protect the merchants from the elements. Les Halles became known as the "belly of Paris." Unfortunately, changing economics and age would bring an end to this marketplace and it was dismantled in 1971.


Souvenirs de France / Galerie des Halles


Les Halles


Perhaps the biggest draw at the France Pavilion is the movie, Impressions de France. This 18 minute travelogue is breathtaking. Outstanding cinematography is expertly blended with the classical music of French composers and takes viewers from one end of France to the other. Famous landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe are shown as well as lesser known locales in the countryside. The movie is projected onto five screens, each measuring 21 feet high and 27½ feet in width for a total of 200 degrees. And unlike the CircleVision films shown in the Canada and China Pavilions, this theatre provides seating for the audience -- a welcome respite when touring World Showcase. I'm sure I've seen this film at least 50 times and I could easily see it that many times again. This film is usually shown on the hour and on the half-hour.

Impressions de France is shown in the Palais du Cinema. The exterior of this building was inspired by a theatre in Fontainebleau. When waiting for the next presentation to begin, be sure to take a look at the gargoyle in the lobby. Known as the Spitting Gargoyle, this is the most famous of the hideous creatures that guard the Cathedral of Notre Dame and is the most photographed. The reproduction was made from a direct casting of the original.


Palais du Cinema

Theatre in Fontainebleau

Spitting Gargoyle


For those of you curious as to what locations you're seeing in Impressions de France, here is a complete listing in order of appearance. It's interesting to note, the film editor wheedled the movie down to 46 locations out of the 140 originally shot.

1. Cliffs at Étretat in Normandy
2. Marais Poitvin, a swamp near La Rochelle
3. Château Chenonceau, shot from the Loire Valley and the gardens
4. Horsemen and hunting dogs in the Cheverny Forest, with Château Cheverny in the background
5. Chambord in the Loire Valley
6. Vézelay Village and church interior
7. Horsecart riding through Riquewihr Village in Alsace
8. Marketplace in Bouvron in Normandy
9. Wine harvest at Monbazillac Vineyard
10. Cognac cave near city of Cognac
11. Fountain of Apollo, gardens, west face and Hall of Mirrors at Versailles
12. Castle Beynac in Dordogne Valley
13. Forest near Château Montpoupon
14. Bicyclists at La Rogue-Gaceac in Dordogne Valley
15. Bicyclists at Château Montpoupon
16. Bugatti race cars in Cannes
17. Hot air balloons near Chaumont Castle on the Loire River and in cliff city of Rocamadour
18. French Alps in spring
19. Mont Blanc in winter
20. Skiers on rocky peaks in the French Alps at Chamonix
21. La Rochelle harbor
22. Brittany fishing boat at sea
23. Rocky beach in Normandy
24. Mont St.-Michel
25. Small church in Brittany
26. Wedding reception at a Brittany farmyard
27. Cliffs at Normandy in Étretat
28. Cliff city of Bonifacio in Corsica
29. Villefranche near Nice
30. Cove at Calanque Cliffs near Cassis
31. Pier in front of Carlton Hotel in Cannes
32. Rooftop restaurant overlooking Cannes harbor at night
33. Railway tracks in hills of Chaporoux
34. Gare du Nord rail station in Paris
35. Champs-Élysées and Arc de Triomphe
36. Boat on Seine River in Paris, under the Pont Neuf
37. Balloon release at Notre-Dame Cathedral
38. Garde Republicaine rides through the archways at the Louvre
39. La Concierge in Paris
40. Garde Republicaine Stables in Paris
41. Eiffel Tower
42. Étretat Cliffs
43. Alps near Chamonix
44. Château Chambord
45. French Alps near Mont Blanc
46. Eiffel Tower

As with the other World Showcase nations, street entertainers are a part of the experience at the France Pavilion. All too often we only see these "impromptu" shows if we happen to be in the area when they begin. But the times of these presentations are listed in the Times Guide and some attention should be paid. These performances are a lot of fun and often good for a laugh.

Currently, "Serveur Amusant!" (which translates to Amusing Waiter) is playing at the France Pavilion five times a week. These acrobats/comedians use wine bottles and a table and chairs to amuse and delight as they build a tower that teeters over the onlookers below.


Serveur Amusant


That's it for the France Pavilion. As I always tell you, slow down and notice the details. Each of the World Showcase countries was designed and created from painstaking research and work. Nothing happened here by accident. Every color, texture, plant, and element was selected for a reason.

I'll end this blog with my now traditional video. It's approximately 9 minutes in length. Enjoy.


September 16, 2011

Quiz - Who Sponsors Disney - Questions

When Walt was planning Disneyland, he knew he couldn't afford to build his magnificent park without outside financial help. So he and his brother Roy engaged the assistance of other companies to help pay the bills. In exchange for their money, these companies would be allowed to sell their products in Disneyland shops and restaurants and display their logos on rides and attractions. Both sides knew that being associated with the name "Disney" was a definite plus. In exchange for this privilege, the companies would be required to sign multiyear contracts. A good example of this can be seen with the steam trains that circle Disneyland. For many years, Santa Fe paid for the privilege to have their name displayed on the trains.

Little has changed over the years. Disney still looks to other companies to help defer the costs of building, running, and maintaining their shops, eateries, and attractions. However, with the recent economy, these sponsors are far more difficult to secure and keep. Today's quiz will test to see just how well these companies' advertising dollars are being spent at Disney World. Your quest, name the current sponsor.

This quiz is strictly for fun. There are no prizes to win or announcements of scores. Enjoy.

1. What company sponsors the PeopleMover at the Magic Kingdom?

a. Alamo
b. Hertz
c. Avis
d. Budget
e. None of the above


PeopleMover


2. What company sponsors DinoLand U.S.A. at the Animal Kingdom?

a. McDonalds
b. Burger King
c. Wendy's
d. Dairy Queen
e. None of the above


DinoLand U.S.A.


3. What company sponsors Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show at Disney's Hollywood Studios?

a. Opal
b. Goodyear
c. General Motors
d. Brawny
e. None of the above


Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show


4. What company sponsors Mission Space at Epcot?

a. Lockheed Martin
b. Hewlett Packard
c. Compaq
d. Dell
e. None of the above


Mission Space


5. What company sponsors Space Mountain in the Magic Kingdom?

a. RCA
b. NASA
c. FedEx
d. United Technologies
e. None of the above


Space Mountain


6. Disney offers their own line of candy and it is sold property wide - usually under the "Goofy's Candy Company" brand name. What other company also sells their confectionary delights at the parks and hotels?

a. Hershey
b. Whitman's
c. Mars
d. Brach's
e. None of the above


Confectionary Shop on Main Street


7. We periodically see plywood walls surrounding new construction or maintenance projects. Who sponsors the "Sorry for the inconvenience-type" signs placed on these walls?

a. Georgia-Pacific
b. Lowes
c. Home Depot
d. Stanley
e. None of the above


Construction Wall


8. What is the official brand of coffee served at Walt Disney World?

a. Folgers
b. Hills Brothers
c. Nescafé
d. Starbucks
e. None of the above


Beverage Station


9. What company sponsors The Land Pavilion at Epcot?

a. Kraft
b. Nestlé
c. Caterpillar
d. AGCO
e. None of the above


The Land Pavilion


10. What brand of ice cream is served at the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom?

a. Edy's
b. Baskin Robbins
c. Carnation
d. Sealtest
e. None of the above.


Plaza Ice Cream Parlor


11. What company sponsors Muppet*Vision 3D at Disney's Hollywood Studios?

a. The Disney Channel
b. Kodak
c. Hasbro
d. Mattel
e. None of the Above


Muppet*Vision 3D


12. What company sponsors Mickey's PhilharMagic at the Magic Kingdom?

a. The Disney Channel
b. Kodak
c. Hasbro
d. Mattel
e. None of the Above


Mickey's PhilharMagic


13. What Company sponsors Rock 'N' Roller Coaster at Disney's Hollywood Studios?

a. MTV
b. VH1
c. Gibson Guitars
d. Hanes
e. None of the above


Rock 'N' Roller Coaster


14. What company sponsors Spaceship Earth at Epcot?

a. The Bell System
b. AT&T
c. Siemens
d. Verizon
e. None of the above


Spaceship Earth


15. What company sponsors Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin in the Magic Kingdom?

a. Energizer Batteries
b. Eveready Batteries
c. Rayovac Batteries
d. Duracell Batteries
e. None of the above.


Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin


16. What company sponsors the restrooms at Walt Disney World?

a. Brawny
b. Sparkle
c. Bounty
d. Cottonelle
e. None of the above.


Restroom


17. What company sponsors the Yankee Traders shop in Liberty Square of the Magic Kingdom?

a. Smuckers
b. Kraft
c. Anchor Hocking
d. John Hancock Insurance
e. None of the above


Yankee Traders


18. What company sponsors the Enchanted Grove beverage station in the Magic Kingdom?

a. Tropicana
b. Dole
c. Coca-Cola
d. Minute Maid
e. None of the above


Enchanted Grove


19. What company sponsors the Prime Time Café at Disney's Hollywood Studios?

a. Swanson
b. Nabisco
c. Green Giant
d. Coca-Cola
e. None of the above


Prime Time Café


20. What company sponsors the Liberty Tree Tavern at the Magic Kingdom?

a. Dole Apple Butter
b. Butterball Turkey
c. Ocean Spray Craisins
d. Oscar Mayer
e. None of the above


Liberty Tree Tavern


Check back tomorrow for the answers.



September 17, 2011

Quiz - Who Sponsors Disney - Answers

Yesterday, I briefly discussed the importance of corporate sponsors in connection with Disney shops, restaurants, and attractions. Then I presented you with 20 questions to see if you could remember what company is connected with a given location. Here are the answers. It will be interesting to see just how well these companies' advertising dollars are being spent.

This quiz is strictly for fun. There are no prizes to win or announcements of scores. Enjoy.

1. What company sponsors the PeopleMover at the Magic Kingdom?

a. Alamo
b. Hertz
c. Avis
d. Budget
e. None of the above

Disney has always tried to select sponsors that have a reasonable tie-in to the attraction. This helps maintain continuity and theming. In the case of the PeopleMover, Alamo is the current sponsor. The tie-in here is "transportation."


PeopleMover


2. What company sponsors DinoLand U.S.A. at the Animal Kingdom?

a. McDonalds
b. Burger King
c. Wendy's
d. Dairy Queen
e. None of the above

If you selected McDonalds, you're two years too late. McDonald's ten year contract ran out in 2009 and they chose not to renew. Currently, DinoLand has no sponsor. When McDonalds left, so did their French Fries stations at the Magic Kingdom and Epcot.


Dinoland U.S.A.


3. What company sponsors Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show at Disney's Hollywood Studios?

a. Opal
b. Goodyear
c. General Motors
d. Brawny
e. None of the above

This is a case where the sponsorship really doesn't have anything to do with the attraction. Brawny sponsors Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show.


Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show


4. What company sponsors Mission Space at Epcot?

a. Lockheed Martin
b. Hewlett Packard
c. Compaq
d. Dell
e. None of the above

Compaq was the announced sponsor for Mission Space. However, HP bought Compaq during the attraction's construction and HP took over sponsorship.


Mission Space


5. What company sponsors Space Mountain in the Magic Kingdom?

a. RCA
b. NASA
c. FedEx
d. United Technologies
e. None of the above

RCA sponsored this attraction from 1975 to 1993. FedEx sponsored the attraction from 1994 to 2004. Currently, Space Mountain has no corporate champion.


Space Mountain


6. Disney offers their own line of candy and it is sold property wide - usually under the "Goofy's Candy Company" brand name. What other company also sells their confectionary delights at the parks and hotels?

a. Hershey
b. Whitman's
c. Mars
d. Brach's
e. None of the above

Mars make Snickers, Milky Way, 3 Musketeers, M&M's and a number of other goodies. These products can be found all over Disney World.


M&M's


7. We periodically see plywood walls surrounding new construction or maintenance projects. Who sponsors the "Sorry for the inconvenience-type" signs placed on these walls?

a. Georgia-Pacific
b. Lowes
c. Home Depot
d. Stanley
e. None of the above

Stanley Works of Connecticut is one of the newer companies to join the Disney Family. Not only do they sponsor construction wall signs, but their tools can be seen in the Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show garage and in the Test Track queue.


Construction Wall Plaque


8. What is the official brand of coffee served at Walt Disney World?

a. Folgers
b. Hills Brothers
c. Nescafé
d. Starbucks
e. None of the above

I'm not a coffee drinker, but my friends that imbibe tell me they wish Nescafé wasn't the coffee of choice at Disney World, but it is.


Nescafé Billboard


9. What company sponsors The Land Pavilion at Epcot?

a. Kraft
b. Nestlé
c. Caterpillar
d. AGCO
e. None of the above

Kraft sponsored The Land Pavilion from October 1, 1982 to September 26, 1993 and Nestlé from September 27, 1993 to early 2009. Currently, no company is sponsoring this pavilion.


The Land Pavilion


10. What brand of ice cream is served at the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom?

a. Edy's
b. Baskin Robbins
c. Carnation
d. Sealtest
e. None of the above.

Hand-scooped cones and sundaes feature Edy's Ice Cream at the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor. Edy's is a Nestlé product. The ice cream vendor carts in the Magic Kingdom are also sponsored by Nestlé.


Edy's Ice Cream

Nestlé Treats


11. What company sponsors Muppet*Vision 3D at Disney's Hollywood Studios?

a. The Disney Channel
b. Kodak
c. Hasbro
d. Mattel
e. None of the Above

Kodak brings audiences the zany antics of Kermit, Miss Piggy, and Gonzo to Disney's Hollywood Studios. Kodak also sponsors the guide maps given out at all of the parks.


Muppet*Vision 3D


12. What company sponsors Mickey's PhilharMagic at the Magic Kingdom?

a. The Disney Channel
b. Kodak
c. Hasbro
d. Mattel
e. None of the Above

Mickey's PhilharMagic is also sponsored by Kodak. In the past, this theater has housed Mickey Mouse Review, Magic Journeys, and Legend of the Lion King.


Mickey's PhilharMagic


13. What Company sponsors Rock 'N' Roller Coaster at Disney's Hollywood Studios?

a. MTV
b. VH1
c. Gibson Guitars
d. Hanes
e. None of the above

I'm not sure what the tie-in is here, but Hanes sponsors Rock 'N' Roller Coaster. Hanes also presents the Design A Tee shop at Downtown Disney.


Rock 'N' Roller Coaster


14. What company sponsors Spaceship Earth at Epcot?

a. The Bell System
b. AT&T
c. Siemens
d. Verizon
e. None of the above

The Bell System sponsored Spaceship Earth from 1982 to 1984 and AT&T presented this attraction from 1984 to 2004. Siemens currently presents this attraction.


Spaceship Earth


15. What company sponsors Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin at the Magic Kingdom?

a. Energizer Batteries
b. Eveready Batteries
c. Rayovac Batteries
d. Duracell Batteries
e. None of the above.

Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin currently has no sponsor at the Magic Kingdom. Variations of this attraction can be found at Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland, Hong Kong Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris, but this was the original.


Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin


16. What company sponsors the restrooms at Walt Disney World?

a. Brawny
b. Sparkle
c. Bounty
d. Cottonelle
e. None of the above.

The names Brawny and Sparkle can be seen on plaques in the restrooms with hand-washing instructions. Brawny and Sparkle are Georgia-Pacific companies. Other Georgia-Pacific paper brands include Dixie, Mardi Gras, Ultra, and Vanity Fair.


Brawny and Sparkle Plaque


17. What company sponsors the Yankee Traders shop in Liberty Square of the Magic Kingdom?

a. Smuckers
b. Kraft
c. Anchor Hocking
d. John Hancock Insurance
e. None of the above

Smuckers sponsors the Yankee Traders shop. You can also see their products displayed in several Main Street Windows.


Yankee Traders


18. What company sponsors the Enchanted Grove beverage station in the Magic Kingdom?

a. Tropicana
b. Dole
c. Coca-Cola
d. Minute Maid
e. None of the above

Minute Maid sponsors the Enchanted Grove in Fantasyland. This is a great place to get a slushy drink on those hot Florida days.


Enchanted Grove


19. What company sponsors the Prime Time Café at Disney's Hollywood Studios?

a. Swanson
b. Nabisco
c. Green Giant
d. Coca-Cola
e. None of the above

Coca Cola sponsors Prime Time Café at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Coca-Cola beverages are served at all restaurants at Walt Disney World.


Prime Time Café


20. What company sponsors the Liberty Tree Tavern at the Magic Kingdom?

a. Dole Apple Butter
b. Butterball Turkey
c. Ocean Spray Craisins
d. Oscar Mayer
e. None of the above

Ocean Spray Craisins sponsors Liberty Tree Tavern. For those of you who don't know, a craisin is Ocean Spray's answer to the raisin. It's a dried cranberry.


Liberty Tree Tavern



September 25, 2011

The United Kingdom Pavilion - Part One

The United Kingdom Pavilion


When the Imagineers set out to design World Showcase, it wasn't their intent to recreate a particular time and place within a country. But rather design a space that represents the memories one might bring back with them after a visit to that nation. And so it is with the United Kingdom Pavilion. The buildings here offer a stroll through time. Each structure represents a different era in British history, but the facades are so skillfully crafted that the transition from one to another is seamless. As with all of the World Showcase pavilions, the detail here is exquisite. When visiting, spend some time examining the finer points. But before we start with the architecture, let's begin with the United Kingdom Pavilion's town center, Britannia Square.

Town squares can be found in settlements and cities around the world. They are usually located in the center of the community and were used as a gathering spot for the citizens. Typically the ground was packed hard or paved to support merchant's carts, musical concerts, and political rallies. These squares were often surrounded by meat and cheese markets, bakeries, and clothing stores. Usually, some sort of structure marked the center of the square. In earlier centuries, this was often a well. In time, fountains, monuments, and statues replaced the well as the square's centerpiece. When Britannia Square was being designed, a statue was originally proposed to anchor this gathering place. Several kings and queens were considered as well as Lord Nelson, Lord Byron, Robert Burns, and William Shakespeare. But in the end, a sundial was selected as it made no political or social statement. For those of you who never realized this was a sundial, I have included a close-up of its face.


Britannia Square

Sundial

Sundial


The United Kingdom Pavilion doesn't have a ride or a movie like some of the other World Showcase nations. But it has something equally entertaining - a pub. There are many places to imbibe along the promenade, but none beats the Rose & Crown. This is the quintessential spot to whet your whistle.

As with cultures around the world, the people of Great Britain have been brewing and drinking alcohol for centuries. When the Romans arrived at the British Isles, their network of roads gave birth to the Inn. It was here that a traveler could obtain lodging and refreshments. After the Romans, the Anglo-Saxons established alehouses. These were private residences that opened a room of their home for the selling of ale. In time, these homes became meeting places for the locals to discuss politics, gossip, and arrange communal help for their villages. The word "pub" comes from the shortening of "public house." Pubs required a license from the local magistrate which regulated gaming, drunkenness, undesirable conduct, and other directives. Pubs often had frosted or distorted glass to shield customers from the street traffic outside. Pubs were also often owned by breweries, making ale and beer a better value than wine and hard liquor. Many of these traits can be seen at the Rose & Crown.


Bass

Fully Licensed

Distored Glass


The Rose & Crown incorporates four different pub styles prevalent in the United Kingdom into one structure. The establishment's main entrance represents a street pub from the Victorian era of the 1890's. This architecture features brick and wood paneling.


Victorian Pub


Country or "provincial" pubs of the 17th and 18th century featured slate roofs and plaster exterior walls with stone-quoined corners.


Country or


The Dickensian-style pub includes half-timbered walls, a flagstone terrace, and slate roof.


Dickensian-style Pub


And finally, the waterfront or river pub is characterized by stone exterior walls, a clay roof, and decorative doorway.


Waterfront Pub


Outside the River Pub section of the Rose & Crown is a recreation of a lock found on the Grand Union Canal. The Grand Union Canal stretches 137 miles from London to Birmingham with branches that reach Leicester, Slough, Aylesbury, Wendover and Northampton. Along its route are 166 locks. This canal was used for the transport of goods (primarily coal and building materials) between communities.


Rose & Crown Lock

Grand Union Canal Plaque


It's interesting that the Imagineers chose to honor Thomas Dudley as the lockkeeper at the Rose & Crown Lock. Although Thomas Dudley was born in Yardley Hastings, a village near Northampton, England, his real claim to fame took place in the American Colonies. It was here that he served several terms as governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and was the chief founder of Newtowne, later Cambridge, Massachusetts.

In the early years of Epcot, the Rose & Crown Lock contained gates (as can be seen in the above picture), but these have since been removed. Why? I don't know.


Rose & Crown Lock

Rose & Crown Lock


The Rose & Crown has two sections, the pub and the restaurant. In the early years, everyone entered through the front door of the brick structure. This can be seen in an older picture advertising both establishments. In later years, the entrance to the restaurant was moved to the side of the building and guests now enter the eatery through the Dickensian-style façade.


Pub and Dining Room Entrance

Pub Entrance

Restaurant Entrance


Inside the restaurant you'll find three dining rooms, each with a decor to match its exterior. Although subtle, there are distinct differences. The first picture corresponds to the Victorian era, the second to the Dickensian-style, and the third to the River or Waterfront design.


Victorian Dining Room

Dickensian-style Dining Room

River or Waterfront Dining Room


The Rose & Crown Restaurant also offers outside seating. Those tables that sit waterside offer outstanding views of World Showcase Lagoon. This is the perfect spot to enjoy a late night supper and watch Illuminations. Note, these tables can be requested, but not guaranteed.


Outside Seating

Outside Seating


Unfortunately, Americans often poke fun at English cuisine. Please do not let these jabs deter you from trying this great restaurant. Some of my best Epcot meals have been had here. I especially like their Sticky Toffee Pudding for dessert. It's scrumptious!

Like all Disney World restaurants, the Rose & Crown menu is continually changing. To see their current selection, click here. Reservations are suggested, but lunchtime meals can often be secured at a podium out front at the last minute.


Reservation Podium


Anyone who has toured Epcot between May and October knows that it can be hot and exhausting. During these months, the Rose & Crown Pub is just what the doctor ordered. Folks can stop in for a cold brew and relax and reflect upon their day. The atmosphere is congenial and the air-conditioning welcoming. And for those of you searching for something less intoxicating, a number of soft drinks are available.


Rose & Crown Pub

Rose & Crown Pub


One of the highlights of the Rose & Crown Pub is the Hat Lady. This eccentric American has made the United Kingdom and hats her passion. Her collection of headwear is extensive and each has a tale. During her performance, she will select a hat then regale the audience as to how it came to be in her possession and sing an appropriate melody. She also knows a long list of the best loved pub songs and encourages the bar patrons to sing along. The Hat Lady is extremely popular. Be sure to check the Times Guide for her schedule and arrive early.


Hat Lady


The pub can get crowded so an auxiliary bar has been set up outside and dispenses a variety of brews. Nearby, a number of shaded tables offer a wonderful atmosphere to sit and unwind. But don't for a minute believe you're having an original idea when you say to your drinking companion that this would be the perfect spot to watch Illuminations. Almost everyone already knows this and these tables are occupied well over an hour before the show.


Outdoor Bar

Outdoor Seating


The Rose and Crown bears the Latin motto 'Otium Cum Dignitate' ('Leisure with dignity').


Otium Cum Dignitate


My favorite Epcot people-watching spot is located in this same area. Four benches line the promenade and offer outstanding vistas of people as they run, walk, skip, limp, and trudge by. It's also in this spot that the World Showcase Players set up an impromptu stage and select guests to help tell a lighthearted story of King Arthur and the Holy Grail. If you like puns and groaners, you'll love this show. Once again, check your Times Guide for performance days and hours.


Park Benches

World Showcase Players


On the south side of the Rose & Crown is Yorkshire County Fish Shop. As you might guess, this is the spot to order that English gastronomic tradition, fish and chips. The menu is quite limited at this counter service restaurant; besides fish and chips, the only other food offerings are a side of chips and short bread. Soft drinks and ale are also available. By the way, for those Americans that don't know, chips are what we call French fries. A limited number of tables and chairs are located nearby.


Yorkshire County Fish Shop

Yorkshire County Fish Shop Seating


Across the street from the pub is The Tea Caddy. This structure was inspired by the childhood home of Anne Hathaway, the wife of William Shakespeare. This style of architecture was common in the 1500's and featured half-timbered walls and a thatched roof. Due to fire regulations, the roofing material here is actually plastic rather than straw or rushes. Larger homes of this era often had multiple fireplaces to help distribute the heat evenly. The largest of these hearths was used for cooking. This can be seen within the interior of The Tea Caddy.


The Tea Caddy

Anne Hathaway House

Fireplace


The Tea Caddy is sponsored by Twinings. This purveyor of teas, coffees, and hot chocolates was founded in 1706 by Thomas Twining. It is generally accepted that Twinings was the first to blend Earl Grey tea. The firm's logo was created in 1787 and is one of the world's oldest in continuous use. Besides a large assortment of teas, The Tea Caddy also sells brewing paraphernalia and a collection of shortbreads, shortcakes, biscuits, and other munchies to complement this steaming brew.


Twinings Tea

Tea Paraphernalia

Shortbreads, Shortcakes, and Biscuits

Twinings Logo


The Queen's Table is housed within buildings representing Elizabethan architecture prevalent in the 1600's. This architectural style was named for Queen Elizabeth I and is noted for having gable barge boards, diamond-shaped wooden moldings, trefoils, clovers, and chevrons. To add authenticity, the Imagineers designed the building on the left to lean ever so slightly. A close observer will notice crests in the leaded-glass window of the two-story structure. These are those of the four major United Kingdom schools, Oxford, Cambridge, Eton, and Edinburgh.


The Queen's Table

School Crests


The Queens Table sells Heirloom-brand bone china tea services. (Royal Doulton is no longer available here.) In addition, Alice in Wonderland tea sets and other table accessories can be found in this lovely shop.


The Queens Table Merchandise

The Queens Table Merchandise

The Queens Table Merchandise


Behind The Tea Caddy and The Queens Table is a wonderful example of an English cottage garden. In days of old, homeowners would work small patches of their land and grow food items to help supplement their diet. A variety of fruits and vegetables were often planted. Herbs were also found in these gardens, but they were usually planted for medicinal purposes rather than as a seasoning. As the country became more prosperous and fruits and vegetables easier to obtain, flowers began to find their way into these plots. Today, cottage gardens overflow with greenery and color.

The "homes" that face onto the cottage garden were taken from set drawings from the Mary Poppins movie.


Entrance to the Cottage Garden

Cottage Garden Homes

Cottage Garden Homes

Cottage Garden

Cottage Garden


Alice and Mary Poppins frequently show up near the entrance of the cottage garden to pose with guests.


Mary Poppins


That's it for Part One of the United Kingdom Pavilion. Check back tomorrow for Part Two.



September 26, 2011

Magic Kingdom Parking Lot

The next time you park your car at the Magic Kingdom, you might notice a few differences - not physical differences, but naming conventions and tram operations.

First, the parking lot has been divided into two sections. The western half (formerly containing lots named for Minnie, Chip & Dale, Pluto, Goofy, Daisy, and Donald) has been designated as the "Heroes" section. The eastern half of the parking lot (formerly containing lots named after six of the Seven Dwarfs) has been designated as the "Villains" section.

Within the Heroes half of the lot you'll find new section names. Peter Pan, Rapunzel, Aladdin, Woody, Mulan, and Simba now designate the various sections.


Hero Names


The Villains half contains the Cruella, Ursula, Jafar, Hook, Zurg, and Scar sections.


Villain Names


At the TTC, guests will now board a designated tram when returning to their cars (either Heroes or Villains). No longer will you have to travel through the western portion of the lot before doubling back to find your car in the eastern half. This will ease crowding on the trams and be far more convenient.


Heroed Loading Area

Villains Loading Area


As the tram spieler said on my visit yesterday, at least now if you forget where you park, you've narrowed the possibilities in half if you can just remember Heroes or Villains. LOL

As always, it's important to remember where you park. Write it down. Commit it to memory. If you have a phone with a camera, take a picture of the row number. There are 11,000 spaces in this lot.


September 27, 2011

The United Kingdom Pavilion - Part Two

Yesterday I presented Part One of my tour of the United Kingdom Pavilion. Today I'll finish the journey.

At the back of the United Kingdom Pavilion you'll find 1800's England and the residential section of town. On Tudor Lane we discover a stately home. Within this structure is the Lords and Ladies shop. This boutique sells fine apparel and fragrances for men and women. Be sure to take a look at the ceiling in this shop. It's exquisite.


Lords and Ladies Shop

Lords and Ladies Shop Interior


On Upper Regency Street we find Late Georgian row houses. These were inspired by the homes of Belgrave and Bedford Squares in London. Row houses originated in Great Britain in the late 17th century. This medium-density housing concept placed identical or mirror-image houses side-by-side with a shared wall between them. The first and last of these units were called an "end terrace" and were often larger than their interior counterparts.


Row Houses


Inside this building is a Kidcot Fun Spot. This is the place for little ones to engage in some age appropriate activities while their parents enjoy the more adult offerings of this pavilion. This is also the place to get your Epcot Passport signed and stamped. Winnie the Pooh can often be found in a back corner of this room.


Kidcot Station

Epcot Passport


Details are everywhere if you take the time to look. Above the Kidcot station is a tribute to Charles Darwin and his "On the Origin of Species."


On the Origin of Species


The row houses face out onto Disney's version of Hyde Park. Anyone familiar with the real Hyde Park knows that this replica has been scaled down considerably. This area is one of the most peaceful in World Showcase. There are a number of park benches throughout the square and this is a wonderful spot to just sit, relax, and soak in the ambiance.


Hyde Park

Hyde Park


The park also includes a gazebo perfect for afternoon performances. Currently, a group called British Revolution performs mini-rock concerts several times each afternoon/evening. Numbers include hits from British groups Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Sting, The Who, and the Beatles. Check your Times Guide for days and times.


British Revolution


Surrounding the gazebo is a hedge-maze fashioned after the Somerleyton Hall Maze created in 1846. Note, the bushes are about 2½ feet tall so only the youngest of children would find this puzzle challenging. However, it's very common to see adults maneuvering through this classic English maze.


Hedge Maze


The first British pillar post boxes were erected on the island of Jersey, a British Crown Dependency off the coast of France in 1852. This was necessitated due to the irregular sailing times of the Royal Mail packet boats serving the island. Someplace was needed where the inhabitants of Jersey could safely leave their letters for later pickup. The first pillar boxes were made of cast iron, octagonal in shape, and about 1½ meters high. These boxes were an instant success and quickly spread across Great Britain. A typical pillar post box of today is on hand for the residence of Upper Regency Street and Tudor Lane.


British Post Box


During the Middle Ages, many cities were surrounded by a protective wall to keep invaders out and its inhabitants safe. City gates were built into these walls to provide a controlled access to those wishing to enter or leave the city. In addition, the city gate became a hub of public information such as announcements, tax and toll schedules, and standards of local measures. One of the best preserved walls in England can be found in York. The United Kingdom Pavilion's city gate is inspired by this example.


UK Pavilion City Gate

York City Gate


Within the city gate guests can gain access to The Toy Soldier shop. Besides an array of English toys, a large collection of Beatles merchandise is on hand. In addition, Paddington Bears can be found here.

Paddington Bear is a classic character from English children's literature written by Michael Bond and first illustrated by Peggy Fortnum. Paddington is an immigrant from Deepest, Darkest Peru and is perpetually polite to everyone. He always addresses people by "Mr.", "Mrs." and "Miss" and very rarely uses their first names. But despite his respectful demeanor, Paddington always finds his way into predicaments. Paddington books have been translated into thirty languages and the more than seventy titles have sold 30 million copies worldwide.


Paddington Bear

Beatles Merchandise


Next to the City Gate we find the Crown and Crest shop. Notice how the second story overhangs the first floor. In the 1600's, taxes were based on ground-floor square footage. So the resourceful folk of the time built larger upper floors to increase living space without increasing taxes. In addition, this overhang allowed residents to throw wastewater from the upper floors onto the street without soiling their own windows and doors. This cantilever architecture can also be seen in The Queen's Table building across the street. This section of the Crown and Crest sells "pop" British items like mugs, t-shirts, and handbags.


Crown and Crest Shop

The Tea Caddy

Crown and Crest Interior


The Crown and Crest shop spills over into the large stone structure next door. This building was modeled after Sir Walter Scott's Abbotsford Manor. The name Abbotsford came from a spot on the River Tweed where Melrose Abbey abbots forded the stream each day. The castle design is Scots Baronial which is part of the Gothic Revival style of architecture. Be sure to notice the decorative drainage spouts just below the roof.


Crown and Crest Shop

Abbotsford Manor

Downspot


The interior of this castle is equally impressive. A massive fireplace, heavy wood furnishings, a vaulted ceiling, and medieval weaponry combine to create an imposing statement.


Crown and Crest Shop Interior

Crown and Crest Shop Interior

Crown and Crest Shop Interior


The Crown and Crest shop sells one of the most unique items to be found anywhere around World Showcase. Here you can look up your last name via a large book or computer and view your coat of arms.

Historically, coats of arms were first used by knights and feudal lords in the mid-12th century during battle as a way to identify friend from foe. As time progressed, non-military persons began to adopt their own coat of arms. Quite often, those closely associated with knights and lords "borrowed" their design and made it their own. Eventually the clergy, common folk, towns, and cities were sporting their own heraldic insignia. In some areas, the acquisition of a coat of arms was regulated, but most of Europe let their citizens freely choose their armorial bearings.

In addition to finding your coat of arms, a history of your last name is also available at the Crown and Crest. If you like what you see, there are several ways to take your birthright home with you. One of the most popular is to have your coat of arms and name history beautifully framed.


Coat of Arms Framed


The last building I'm going to discuss was modeled after Hampton Court Palace located at Richmond upon Thames, Greater London. This imposing brick structure features Tudor architecture which was the final phase of medieval architecture.


Hampton Court Palace Disney Style

Hampton Court Palace


When visiting here, be sure to check out some of the windows. In the upper left-hand window are the crosses of St. Andrew (the patron saint of Scotland), St. George (the patron saint of England), and St. Patrick (the patron saint of Northern Ireland). If you overlay these three crosses, they create the Union Jack.


UK Saint Crosses

UK Saint Crosses


The coat of arms above the door was inspired by the one representing Hampton Court Palace.


Hampton Court Palace Coat of Arms

Hampton Court Palace Coat of Arms

Hampton Court Palace Coat of Arms


While you're still outside, be sure to check out the chimneys. It would be difficult to find any more ornate. Also notice that the Imagineers tinted the tops with soot-coloring to make it appear as if they are actually in use.


Chimneys


As you enter the building, take a moment to admire the model of a medieval banquet hall. This delightful vignette features royalty, nobles, musicians, jesters, and a host of service people enjoying a sumptuous feast.


Royal Banquet

Royal Banquet

Royal Banquet


The Sportsman's Shoppe is housed within this Hampton Court inspired building. Inside you'll find British sports related t-shirts, logo-emblazoned equipment, and some drinking paraphernalia. Be sure to take a look at the woodworking and ceiling in this store. It's remarkable.


Sportsman's Shoppe Interior

Sportsman's Shoppe Ceiling


The United Kingdom Pavilion also offers convenient restrooms. It's probably no accident that they're located directly across the street from the pub. Also in this area are a typical English Renaissance garden and a fountain. I was caught in a summer downpour once while using these restrooms. Even though I had a poncho, it was raining hard enough to keep me in place for about 15 minutes. I only ventured out long enough for this picture.


UK Restrooms

UK Fountain

Jack in the Rain

English Renaissance Garden


The first standard telephone booth in the UK was introduced in 1920 and did not look like the classic red kiosk we know today. In 1923, a competition was held for a new design, but the results were disappointing. So the contest organizers invited three respected architects along with designers from the Post Office and The Birmingham Civic Society to submit entries. When the judging was complete in 1924, a design submitted by Giles Gilbert Scott was selected. Although minor changes have occurred over the years, this basic look remains the same today. However, just like in the States, cell phones have greatly decreased their numbers.

The United Kingdom Pavilion boasts three of these classic red phone kiosks. Two near the restrooms and one outside the pub. It's a common sight to see guests cramming as many people as possible into one of these booths. These phone booths also make fantastic photo opportunities.


Phone Booth

Phone Booth


To help set a mood, each World Showcase pavilion plays music appropriate to that nation. When walking through the United Kingdom Pavilion, you'll hear selections from Gilbert and Sullivan, Greensleeves, and other familiar British tunes. You'll also hear the haunting "Stranger on the Shore." Believing this was an American song, I've always wondered what this melody has to do with Great Britain. So I did a little research.

I discovered that "Stranger on the Shore" was written by Acker Bilk, an English clarinetist known for his trademark goatee, bowler hat, striped waistcoat and his distinctive clarinet style. Acker wrote the song for his daughter Jenny and it was later used as the theme song for a BBC TV drama series that was also called "Stranger on the Shore."

The song was released in England as a single in 1961and was an instant success. The song spent a year on the Record Retailer Top 50. It was the United Kingdom's bestselling single of 1962 and the UK's bestselling instrumental single of all time. On May 26, 1962, "Stranger on the Shore" became the first British recording to reach number one in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.

No wonder I thought it was an American song. I was only ten when I first heard it and no one told me otherwise. Silly me.


Acker Bilk


That's it for the United Kingdom Pavilion. As always, I have a video that captures what still pictures cannot. Enjoy.




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About September 2011

This page contains all entries posted to The “World” According to Jack in September 2011. They are listed from oldest to newest.

August 2011 is the previous archive.

October 2011 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.