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A Walking Tour of Epcot's Mexico Pavilion

Today we're going to take a walk South of the boarder to Mexico. Now before we start our walk, it's interesting to note that as you enter the World Showcase and look across the World Showcase lagoon at the American Adventure, Mexico is the first country to what I believe is on the South side of the lagoon and Canada is the first country on the North side of the lagoon. I'm sure that is not a coincidence and that the Disney Imaginears planned it that way. (Note: It has been correctly pointed out by a number of readers that Mexico is on the East side and Canada is on the West side of the World Showcase Lagoon. I stand corrected.)

In any event, the Mexico pavilion is always a favorite place to stop and visit. My wife loves the Gran Fiesta boat ride and I love the idea that most of the pavilion is indoors and air conditioned. It's a great place to spend some time cooling off.

Today we will be walking in from the Future World side of Epcot.

Walking into Mexico

Looking into the World Showcase lagoon

Sign in front of the pavilion

As we enter the pavilion we can't miss the beautiful pyramid that shoots up into the sky. It looks like a stairway to heaven. The pyramid is modeled after an Aztec Temple of Quetzalcoatl (the god of life) at Teotihuacan. Along what I called the "stairway to heaven" are a number of serpent heads that represent Quetzalcoatl. Also, take a minute and look at the artwork at the base of the pyramid and on the two structures on either side. Most people just walk by and pay no notice. Before we go inside I want to mention one more thing. Some of you will remember that the pyramid use to have plants/flowers on three of it levels. Personally I like the pyramid without the plants. It seems more natural; what do you think?

The pyramid

The artwork on front of the pyramid

The artwork on front of the pyramid

Before we go inside I want to mention that the handicap entrance is to the right of the pyramid.

Handicap access sign

OK, let's go inside. The first thing we see is all those brightly colored wood carvings. They are the Animales Fantasticos - The Spirits in Wood. Also, the Kidcot location is in the same area.

Animales Fantasticos sign

Kidcot location

Animales Fantasticos banner

Wood carvings

Then we move along into the Plaza De Los Amigos. As you look down into what looks like a Mexican village you see carts with bright colored merchandise, shops, a restaurant and a Mayan pyramid in the distance. What a beautiful sight!

Plaza De Los Amigos

Overlooking the Plaza

There is some great shopping here for those so inclined. The carts are loaded with traditional Mexican ware and the shops have some really terrific items. If you're lucky you can catch the glass blower in action in the La Prircesa de Cristal shop. You'll find fine jewelry and accessories in La Tienda Encantada.

Merchandise cart

La Tienda Encantada Shop

Inside the shop

La Prircesa de Cristal Shop

Inside the shop

Inside the shop

New to the Plasa De Los Amigos is the Gava Tequila bar. A great place to stop, have a drink and relax.

Gava Tequila bar

Inside the bar

Inside the bar

The San Angel Inn restaurant has a great menu and a beautiful setting. As you eat you have the Mayan pyramid and an erupting volcano in the background. Very, very pretty!

San Angel Inn entrance

Inside the restaurant

The Gran Fiesta Tour is a relaxing ride that's been updated with the Three Amigos. The ride is a mixture of video and small world like characters on as they try to find Donald Duck. A thrill ride it's not, but it is entertaining and worth doing.

Gran Fiesta Tour entrance

Ride queue

Mayan pyramid from ride

On the boat ride

On the boat ride

On the boat ride

As we leave the Aztec Temple you'll notice the quick service restaurant right across from the steps. The Cantina de San Angel has some of the best, out of the way tables to eat at. You may not have noticed by the tables go all the way around the restaurant. Great place to grab a quick bite to eat and get out of the sun.

Cantina de San Angel entrance

Cantina counter

Cantina seating

Cantina seating

There's and outdoor shopping kiosk right next door where you can try on one of those big Mexican hats and have a ring carved.

Shopping kiosk

Some of the merchandise for sale

Ring Carvers shop

Most days you'll find Donald Duck there to greet you. What a rascal he is! Also, a couple days a week the Mariachi Cobre band perform. I really enjoy listening to them!

Character/Entertainment sign

Donald Duck in person

Mariachi Cobre performing

And before we leave Mexico, we must stop and have one of those really tasty Margaritas.

Margaritas kiosk

And on to our next walking tour!

Leaving Mexico and on to Norway

Whew, I don't know about you, but that walk really wore me out! As usual it was great having you walk with me. We're going to Norway next, so rest up and get yourself ready.

Please leave me a comment and tell me what you like about the Mexico pavilion or what your memories are of previous visits. I love to get comments.

Finally, be one of the first people to hear when my newest blogs go live on AllEars.net by joining "DisneyMike's World" Facebook group.

Well, that’s all for now. As my good friend says “see ya real soon”….DizneyMike

The previous post in this blog was Eat to the Beat Concerts: Kool & The Gang.

The next post in this blog is Eat to the Beat Concerts: Taylor Dayne.

Comments (41)

Well done Mike, yet another great, insightful article. It is always great to read about the parks from people who truly love going to them.

Thanks!

DizneyMike replies: Thanks Adam! I hope all is going well with you. Hope to see you again soon....Mike

Phil Hatton:

Thanks for the trip Mike. As many times as I have been in the Mexican Pavilion, you have pointed out some details that I have missed. We have never eaten here and now maybe it time to check it out. Thanks again for the insight.

DizneyMike replies: Glad you enjoyed the trip! Hopefully these walking tours of mine will help visitors understand and appreciate these pavilions more. Like most people, many times I just wandered about each pavilion never really paying any attention to all the details...Mike

Molly:

Mike,
Thanks for another great post; it was a nice mental break from another rainy Saturday up in Boston. My family has always been a big fan of the Cantina de San Angel; we always get some nachos and sit by the water to watch Illuminations.

Thanks again!

DizneyMike replies: Molly, thanks for the very nice comments. I know about the weather up there as both our children live there. I won't tell you how nice it is here. -:)

Connie La Tempa:

I have been reading your walking tours to prepare for my upcoming trip to the World. I am looking forward to enjoying the updated ride. I had dinner at San Angel back in 2000 & it was very good. I remember wanting what I usually ate at my local mexican restaurant. However since this is more "authentic" nothing looked familiar on the menu. I remember having one of the best steaks I ever tasted there. The scenery is amazing too. I hope to catch your next walking tour before my upcoming trip the end of November.

DizneyMike replies: Connie, Norway is next up and it should be ready before you leave. The end of November is a great time to visit....Mike

Lynn Johnson:

Mike -
YEA!!! Another Walking Tour!! I just LOVE these. You always provide such interesting details. Now that my husband and I are able to travel without little children (grown and on their own), we make sure to stop and observe more of the details we missed when the kids were young. The San Angel Inn is one of our favorite spots - so romantic! We have never stopped to look at the "Spirits In Wood" Looks very interesting. Thanks for the tip! Also, I noticed in your 1st photo a wall up on the left along the International Gateway. Do you know why? Thanks again for your wonderful blog! I'm looking forward to Norway - my favorite pavilion!

DizneyMike replies: Lynn, thanks for the great comments. The wall you see in that photo is part of the Food and Wine preparations. I took that photo just as they were starting to construct some of the F&W kiosks. Yes, Norway is next. We can't walk by Norway without my wife stopping to get a waffle there...Mike

fred:

Mike..Well done..as we have come to expect. I think it is time for Disney to erect a large board at the entrance to The worlds called Mikes blog Board. This way all those entering will have the benefit of the knowledge you pass along. What do the rest of your fans think about this idea?

DizneyMike replies: Just so anyone reading this knows, Fred is my neighbor. I want you to know that I didn't pay him to say that....Mike

Jeanie:

Thanks again, Mike! Nice tour of Mexico! Great as usual!

DizneyMike replies: Jeanie, thanks for the comment! I hope things are looking up for you....Mike

Scott Ernest:

About 1+ years ago, the rumor was that Cantina de San Angel (the outside quick-service restaurant) was going to expand its seating area out into the water. Any updates on this rumor?

Also, San Angel Inn (the inside restaurant) is great! Some people say the food leaves something to be desired, but the atmosphere certainly makes up for it! I love Mexico!

DizneyMike replies: Scott, I don't know about any plans to expand the Cantina de San Angel seating, however, I do know that there is some great seating in the back that overlooks the water....Mike

Anna Mae Trievel:

We love Mexico and the boat ride. However, we do have one complaint about the pavilion. It is a mostly indoor pavilion with NO bathrooms (I am guessing that San Angel Inn has one for customers). We asked and were sent to Norway. We were at the Kidcot stop and my potty-training 3 yo asked to go for the first time ever. She couldn't make it all the way to Norway (she did have on a pull-up).

DizneyMike replies: Anna, I agree with you about the restrooms. That's one thing that could be done to improve the pavilion....Mike

Stacey:

I just love your Walks. And Mexico is one of our family's favorite stops. From the shopping to the Margarita's! and coming up the handicap entrance on a sunny day provides lots of shade, as well as the orchids that usually grow there are pretty to look at along the way.

Thanks for your details and time and can't wait to walk Norway!

DizneyMike replies: Stacey, thanks for the great tips and comments....Mike

Jud:

Nice photo coverage of Mexico!

Ileana:

Great review, I like the mexico pavilion (and mexican food too) The piramid is so beautiful in the sunlight ai it is in the night. My family love the boat ride and in our last trip (the first for my son) our first character picture was with the mexican donald!!
Looking forward for your Norway blog, see you soon!!

A. D. Johnson:

Hello Mike,

One of my fondest Disney memories is of Mexico. The year was 1985, I was 13 years old, I had recently been to central Mexico for a vacation, and now Dad and I were at Epcot for the first time ever. We walked into the Mexico pavilion, we stood at the edge of Plaza De Los Amigos... my jaw just fell to the floor. I was totally taken in by the experience. The re-created atmosphere was painfully perfect.

People seem to either love or hate San Angel Inn, but I'm one of those who love it. The food is a bit unusual, but that does not make it bad, and they cater wonderfully to my dairy allergy. Moreover, the place feels so much like a little restaurant I dined at in Cuernevaca, Mexico all those years ago, on a summer evening under the stars! I swear the imagineers who designed the Mexico pavilion must have gone there to eat during their research!

Isn't it incredible how going to WDW, especially Epcot, can trigger the sweetest memories you have from other vacations, other (very different) experiences, and even your job? Maybe that's why I go back again and again. It lets me relive great moments in my life, while creating more great moments.

5 weeks and 1 day until I'm in WDW again!!

A.D. Johnson
Littleton, CO

DizneyMike replies: A.D., thanks for sharing those memories with us. I agree completely about the restaurant and the look and feel of the pavilion. During one of our visits my wife and I were leaving the pavilion and a young couple with a small child were in front of us. As we walked outside the boy said to his mother "look Mom, we're back in Disney World". That boy believed he just left Mexico. Pure Disney magic! Enjoy that upcoming trip....Mike

Laura:

I love your walking tours! I would love to live closer to Orlando so we could visit more often, but your tours help! I remember all the anoles (little lizards) at the Mexican pavillion. I hate snakes, but the lizards are kind of cute! We actually saw them a lot while in Orlando ... they aren't something we see in NE Montana so they were fun.

DizneyMike replies: Laura, thanks for the wonderful comments. I have to tell you that I love living in Florida and so close to WDW. I know you would love it also!. Also, I'm with you; I don't like snakes....Mike

Ashley:

I love these walking tours! Mexico always makes me feel relaxed when I'm inside the pyramid. The atmosphere is just wonderful and romantic. And I love the Three Amigos! They bring back childhood memories! I was just wondering if you were planning on doing a special holiday edition of these?

DizneyMike replies: Ashley, thanks for the great comments. I haven't given much thought about a holiday edition, but that's a GREAT idea....Mike

Julia:

Mike,

I have enjoyed your walking tours. Like others have said, you have pointed out some details that I have missed over the years. Thank you for that!

Also, I thought that the International Gateway only referred to the entrance located between the U.K. and France pavilions that is used mostly by resort guests from the Swan, Dolphin, Boardwalk, Beach & Yacht Club resorts.

Do you know the menu of the new tequila bar? Specifically, do they only serve shots of tequila, or do they also serve mixed drinks and other beverages (e.g., wine, beer, non-alcoholic drinks)?

Thanks again for an enjoyable trip back to Epcot. I'm visiting this December and cannot wait!

DizneyMike replies: Julia, thanks for the great comments. I stand corrected regarding the International Gateway. That is the locations between France and the United Kingdom. Here's a link with information regarding the tequila bar:

http://land.allears.net/blogs/dnews/2009/08/new_la_cava_del_tequila_serves.html

December is a great time to visit, it's my favorite time...Mike

Brett Cutler:

Hello from Boston! I really enjoy your articles!

DizneyMike replies: Brett, glad you like them....Mike

Mary Duplin:

Thanks Mike, I always like reading about your walking tours! My family and I have been enjoying trips to WDW since the early 1980s and always look forward to a visit to the Mexico pavillion. No matter how often we've visited, we take a minute to stand on the balcony overlooking the Plaza de Los Amigos and are visually transported. We imagine ourselves in a small Mexican village square. It's wonderful! We have enjoyed many meals at San Angel Inn and follow the meal with a relaxing ride on the Gran Fiesta Tour. I must admit that we prefer the older version without the Three Amigos but would not dream of not taking the tour! Our kids are all grown now and starting families of their own. We are continuing the Mexico tradition with our grandchildren. May we never get tired of the experience!

DizneyMike replies: Mary, thank you for sharing that with us. I love hearing the memories others have of these wonderful Epcot pavilions. Thanks again for sharing....Mike

Sabrina:

"Hola mis amigos... da da da da da..." I love this pavilion!!!

BethiePooh:

I really loved the Mexico Pavillion from the very first visit in 1990. When my son was 2 1/2, we went during a slow season in January. this was the one ride he rode on time and again, much to the delight of the people who saw his smiling face. We were able to get out of the boat, go around and get right back in!

Fast forward to this past May, 2009. I was in WDW for a conference. My BFF and roomie had never been to any of the theme parks. We took the afternoon and went to EPCOT, playing hookey from one of the sessions. Mexico was a great introduction for her. It was pouring as well so being able to duck indoors was wonderful!

DizneyMike replies: Yup, no better place to get in from the rain than Mexico. Thanks for the comments....Mike

Adam August:

Thanks for a thorough article. I note that they used to change the Mexican art exhibits at the entrance fairly regularly, but the "Animales Fantasticos" have been there more than 5 years. We're ready for something new.

Michelle B.:

Thanks for another great walking tour! My husband now swears that Cava Tequila has the best margaritas he's ever had. He also enjoyed the tequila flight. In answer to a previous poster's question there are some tapas on a menu for food, I don't remember seeing wine or other beverages though. But I didn't look hard.
Also, we did a Kim Possible adventure on this past trip and were assigned Mexico on our Kimmunicator. I have to say I was really impressed on how we could use the cell phone to activate the animatronics and noticed lots of other things in the pavillon I wouldn't have otherwise, like the Muertos de los Dias skeleton. I highly encourage everyone to try out the Kim Possible adventures, it's not just for kids!
I look forward to Norway!

DizneyMike replies: Great tip about Kim Possible. The Kim Possible adventures in the other countries are equally good and worth doing....Mike

Amy S:

I just LOVE your walking tours! Mexico has always been one of my favorite pavilions. its just so beautiful! I ate at San angel inn this past July and it was soooo good. quick service, good food, and my waiter (Ramon) was awesome! another great blog!

DizneyMike replies: Amy, thanks for the great comments. I love doing the walking tour blogs! It's fun being able to bring a little bit of WDW to Disney fans....Mike

barbara:

great blog, love your walk abouts. when we were in mexico about a week ago, we wanted to buy nacho chips and salsa for a snack and eat it later in our room. we bought them there (yea, they're tostillos brand, i think, not really from mexico) and had them delivered to the room for next day's snacking. didn't need to carry them thru epcot and got them from package pick up the next day..ole!!

Hank:

Another great walk-through.

I think lots of folks bring a bit of a stereotyped image of Mexico when they visit; it's one of the strengths of this Pavilion that those who linger gain a new understanding of this complex nation.

San Angel Inn is one of the most underrated restaurants at WDW. Their steaks are quite good, and the ceviche I had last year was to die for - one of the best things I ate during that trip. I'm afraid most folks go in expecting nachos and burritos and are disappointed. They shouldn't be.

Also, the Mariachi Cobre are seriously talented musicians. They're not just another Mariachi band!

I'm looking forward to your tour of Norway (and that pastry shop!).

DizneyMike replies: Hank, I agree with you about the food and the Mariachi Cobre. I realize that all things Disney are not perfect, however, most of the dining options and entertainment are outstanding....Mike

Fred Thomas:

Nicely done, Mike... Thanks for the tour. My wife and I always enjoy visiting Epcot's Mexico as well, and San Angel Inn is on our must-do list every year.

DizneyMike replies: Thanks for the comment! Hopefully you've got a visit planned soon....Mike

Abby:

One of the things I love about the Mexico Pavilion is that it's mostly INSIDE IN THE AC!

John:

My wife loves the margaritas! Great tacos in the outdoor pavilion too! I also agree, that the blast of cool air is always welcome at the pavilion.

Favorite part though, is definitely the boat ride. Not usually a line, and it's very relaxing. Best part is when you're floating past the volcano and the restaurant. So relaxing. I do miss the old video footage though. I resist Disney change! The Three-Amigos is great though, kids love it.

Thanks for the tour!

DizneyMike replies: John, you're not the only one who doesn't like change at Walt Disney World. There are so many great memories tied to everything in WDW it's upsetting when they change things....Mike

Marianela:

Great walk Mike!!

This time I don't feel bad!! I really know this pavillion like my hand!! jeje
Even I have drinked a margarita in my last visit....and my favorite restaurante in Epcot is La Cantina de San Angel (I love tacos!!)

The CM in this pavillion (as all the CM in WDW) are really nice, and I had great talks (in Spanish of course! :P) with them.

I look forward to your next blog.

DizneyMike replies: Marianela, I have to agree that some of the friendliest CM's are at the Mexico pavilion....Mike

Lindsey:

Thanks for the article. The Mexico Pavilion is one of my favorites. I think the volcano in the background makes San Angel Inn one of the most romantic restaurants on property.

Tere G:

Thanks Mike - love the walks! I send links to all of my friends planning their WDW vacations. This is my absolute favorite pavilion. When planning my "Mexican inspired" wedding last year I took along a picture similar to your 2nd Plaza De Los Amigos picture so my planner and vendors knew what my "perfect Mexico" was like.

It is not a stretch to say that my favorite souvenir from Disney (and the actual country of Mexico) is the vanilla.

DizneyMike replies: Tere, congrats on the wedding! Hopefully you'll be back in the World soon to celebrate with Mickey....Mike

Suzie:

Thanks for the walking tours. It's almost like being there myself! What is being constructed on the left side (by the old restaurant) as you walk up toward the Mexican pavilion?

DizneyMike replies: Suzie, when I took that picture they were beginning to set up for the Food and Wine Festival. So that wall was hiding the construction of one of the food kiosks....Mike

Sarah:

Thank you for the walking tour! Mexico has always been one of my favorite countries to visit at Epcot. I can hardly wait to go back on my honeymoon next year!

Since you mentioned the first two countries that you come to when entering the World Showcase are Mexico and Canada, and you wondered if this was a coincidence, I wanted to share what I had heard. As I understand it, America was originally the entrance to the World Showcase. Instead of seeing it directly across the lagoon, you would go through it to reach the other countries. Since Mexico and Canada are our closest neighbors, they were naturally positioned where they are now. I can't remember the reason for the change of plans for our country, but I thought you would enjoy this tidbit.

Thanks again for holding me over until I am actually on my own walking tour of Mexico!

DizneyMike replies: Sarah, thanks for the information. Do you remember where you heard that? Also, congratulations on the upcoming marriage...Mike

Tere G:

Mike, re: Sarah's post, I think I read it in "The Imagineering Field Guide to EPCOT at Walt Disney World". I do know the book has some early concept art with the American Pavilion at the entrance to the World Showcase.

Btw - thanks, we honeymooned at the world last fall. We make it a point to vacation there several times a year - it truly is the best vacation. I'll be back in Jan for marathon weekend. Cannot wait!

DizneyMike replies: Tere, thanks for looking that up and passing the information along! Good luck with the marathon in January....Mike

PENNY:

I went to Disney last March with family members from California. Most of them have never been to Disney World but are big fans of Disneyland. They were in awe of how big Disney World was compaired to their park. We stopped at the Cantina de San Angel for drinks and their fabulous natchos. It was great to get out of the sun and my California cousins were mighty impressed! It was a great start to a week of family fun.

DizneyMike replies: Penny, that must have been lots of fun showing them around WDW....Mike

Stacy Reed:

Great Blog Mike, My husband and I just love Mexico and eating inside. The atmosphere is outstanding as is the food, We also enjoy taking a relaxing boat ride after dinner. I'm looking forward to your blog on Norway. Keep up the excellent work Mike.

DizneyMike replies: Stacy, thank you for the very nice comment....Mike

Miguel Gonzalez:

Mike:

For me, Mexico is the best Pavilion. I used to be a cast member from Oct 02-03 in the WDW International Program

Best place at Epcot.

I used to sing the Epcot passports saying: "Hola, bienvenido a Mexico el país de las piñatas" (Hello, Welcome to Mexico the country of piñatas)

Have a Magical Day!

DizneyMike replies: Miguel, I'm sure you're time in the International Program is filled with great memories. Thanks for the comment...Mike

Jen M.:

Wonderful! This is my favorite pavilion! We are going in August 2010 and your wonderful tour got me excited to see it again and new things to look for! Keep them coming!

DizneyMike replies; Jen, glad you liked the tour. Enjoy that upcoming trip; I'm sure it will be wonderful...Mike

Sarah:

Hey Mike!

Sorry for the delay on getting back to you...this is regarding the original placement of the American Pavilion. I racked my brain and I really can't remember where I heard that. At first I thought maybe I had read it at AllEars. I was also a college cast member in the fall of 1999, so it could have been one of the many tidbits my roommate brought home (I worked at Pinocchio's Village Haus so most of my tidbits were about the Magic Kingdom). I'm sorry I can't give you a definitive answer on this but if I remember I will let you know and I will pass on any information that I find!

DizneyMike replies: Sarah, I really appreciate you spending all that time trying to get that information. Another person who read your post suggested that it may be in the book :"The Imagineering Field Guide to EPCOT at Walt Disney World". Anyways, thanks again for checking....Mike

Laurie:

Once again...great walking tour!

My family has great memories attached to the Mexico pavillon. On our first trip to WDW, my husband tried to "eat less" so we could save money. Hence, every night he was really hungry. We ate every evening meal in one of the countries in Epcot. On the night, we ate at San Angel Inn, I took the kids on the boat ride while we waited for our food. There was no one waiting to ride the boat so they let us ride it as many times as we wanted. The kids were 4 and 1 at the time so riding the boat sure beat sitting still at the table waiting on the food. We left my husband at the table. Each time we came around we would try to wave at him and each time we came around he was eating the "free chips and salsa" as fast as he could! He never did see us! We tease him every time we go to WDW about how hungry he was and how good those "free chips and salsa" tasted!

Keep up the walking tours! I just love them! They bring a smile to my face each time I read them! Thanks!

DizneyMike replies: Laurie, what a great story! I love it! I can see where that would be a great memory for the family. Also, thanks for the very nice comments....Mike

Ashley:

I love just sitting on the fountain inside & enjoying the atmosphere & people-watching.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 24, 2009 5:00 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Eat to the Beat Concerts: Kool & The Gang.

The next post in this blog is Eat to the Beat Concerts: Taylor Dayne.

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