« Flower Power Concert: Jose Feliciano | Main | Walking Tours of the World Showcase Pavilions »

A Walking Tour of Epcot's American Adventure Pavilion

Today our walking tour of World Showcase pavilions brings us to the American Adventure. My favorite pavilion for so many wonderful reasons! I know, other pavilions have better eating choices, better shopping opportunities and more interesting architecture than what you'll find here. But what the Disney Imagineers did with this pavilion was create a beautifully told history of the United States of America aptly called the "American Adventure".

No other pavilion in Epcot keeps bringing me back time and time again like this pavilion does. It's not only the Voices of Liberty, the Spirit of America Fife and Drum or the American Adventure show but also all the Flower Power concerts, Eat to the Beat concerts, Sounds Like Summer concerts and the Candlelight Processional that are held at the America Garden Theater. These concerts and shows are part of the rich history of this country.

Now I do wish that the food choices were better. I understand the need for a large quick service food location in the World Showcase area, but the addition of a higher end, sit down, American style restaurant would be great. Maybe a seafood restaurant of some kind; what do you think?

Anyway, let me point out some interesting facts about this pavilion. The building has architectural elements of such historic buildings as Independence Hall, Boston's Old State House, Monticello, and Colonial Williamsburg. It was made with 110,000 handmade, Georgian clay bricks. The bricks were colored and aged to look authentic. It has a slate roof with a widows walk, clock and bell tower. Inside you will find a beautiful rotunda, with marble floors and a dome ceiling.

What do you say we start the walk and we'll talk some more along the way.

We'll begin our walk as we leave the beautiful Italy pavilion.

Leaving Italy

If you look to the right you'll notice a ship docked in back of the America Gardens Theater. I can't find any information about that vessel. Do you know what is it or represents? In my mind I believed it to be a replica of the Mayflower. Since Ben Franklin, in the American Adventure show, states that the American Adventure actually started with the Pilgrims and the Mayflower it all made sense in my mind; but that just my guess.

Mayflower ship

Here we are actually entering the pavilion.

Entering the pavilion

The American Adventure sign, with a golden eagle that's in the center of the pavilion.

American Adventure sign

Here is a great look at front of the pavilion. Did you know that this building is actually five stories? I understand that traditional buildings of that era were three stories but that size building was too small to be seen across the World Showcase Lagoon. So, using forced perspective they made the building bigger but still look appropriate for it period.

American Adventure front

Close up look at the main entrance to the pavilion.

Main entrance

In front of the pavilion, on both side of the main entrance, are these signs with the show times.

Show times sign

As you look up you can see the clock and bell tower and the widows walk. Also, notice that the for four o'clock the Roman Numeral IIII is used instead of IV. I guess the Imagineers figured that the IV might create too much confusion when viewed from a distance.

Clock tower

Here's a view with our backs to the pavilion looking out towards the lagoon.

Looking towards the lagoon

As you walk into the pavilion have you ever noticed the beautiful entryway that you pass through? Again, another example of the level of detail put into these pavilions.

Entryway

I just love the look and feel of this rotunda! The marble and gold floor, the tall columns, the domed ceiling and the beautiful art and famous quotes on the walls make this room very special.

Rotunad

Here's looking up at the acoustically perfect ceiling. When listening to the Voices of Liberty you want to make sure you are under this ceiling.

Ceiling

If you have listened to the Voices of Liberty before you will know they come from a room in the back. Here's a look at where they come from. Notice the beautiful brass wall panels. You'll see them throughout this pavilion.

Side room

All around this room are beautiful paintings depicting various historic events in our countries growth. What I find fascinating about this art is that each and every one of these beautiful pieces of art were painted by Disney Imagineers. The names of each artist can be seen on the plaque that's attached to the painting. So, take a few minutes and enjoy.

Painting

Painting

Painting

Painting

Painting

Painting

Also on the walls are quotes from some very famous Americans. My favorite? Walt's quote, of course!

Quote

Quote

Quote

Quote

Quote

Quote

On the right hand side of the rotunda is the American Heritage Gallery and that's where you will find the National Treasures exhibit. This exhibit contains over 40 historic items on loan to Disney. History buff or not, you should make a point of viewing this exhibit. Very worthwhile!

National Treasures exhibit

National Treasures exhibit

National Treasures exhibit

National Treasures exhibit

National Treasures exhibit

National Treasures exhibit

National Treasures exhibit

National Treasures exhibit

National Treasures exhibit

National Treasures exhibit

National Treasures exhibit

Here you see a large painting showing the credits for the American Adventure show.

Large painting

This is the entrance to the American Adventure show.

American Adventure entrance

As we enter, look right. There's another of those brass wall panels.

Brass wall panels

The entrance to the American Adventure first leads us to the Hall of Flags. There are 44 flags here in the hall and they represent Revolutionary War flags, Colonial flags, and foreign flags that once had claim to the land. And the hall brings us up to the second floor of the pavilion. Note: the second floor is handicap accessible via an elevator.

Hall of Flags

Hall of Flags

The second floor has the same look and feel as the first floor. More painting and more quotes. And I should mention that all the furniture throughout the pavilion are antiques.

Second Floor

This is looking down into the first floor of the rotunda from the second floor.

Looking down

And now looking up at the ceiling from this level.

Looking up

The walkway leading into the theater.

Walkway

The theater seats just over 1,000 guests and all the seats give a great view of the show. The show itself is about 28 minutes in length and includes a mix of audio-animatronic figures, film, and music. (Note: the length of this show may be a bit much if you are traveling with very little children. So, you may want to do a switch off is that's possible.) Benjamin Franklin along with Mark Twain are our guides as we travel through American history from the Pilgrims to present time. This show is NOT to be missed! In my opinion it's one of the best things Disney has done. The last segment "Golden Dream" gets me every time! I always walk out of the theater "proud to be an American". Just a fantastic show!

Inside the theater

On each side of the theater are six (twelve in total) life sized statues that represent the "Spirit of America". This is a picture of the six on the right hand side and these six represent: Freedom, Heritage, Pioneering, Knowledge, Self-Reliance and Adventure

Spirit of America

On the left hand side of the theater the six statues represent: Individualism, Innovation, Tomorrow, Independence, Compassion and Discovery.

Spirit of America

The exit to the theater leads you back outside. On your way out, however, be sure to look up. You'll see the words from "Golden Dream" on the beams as you walk down; America, Spread Your Golden Wings, Sail on Freedom's Wind, Across The Sea". I just love it!

Exiting the theater

The Kidcot Fun Stop location is just to the right of the store.

Kidcot Fun Stop sign

Kidcot Fun Stop location

Also, did you know that there is a beautiful garden just to the right of the building?

Garden

Garden

I mentioned before that this pavilion only has a quick service restaurant. At the Liberty Inn you can find hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, and the like. It has a large indoor eating area and an outdoor eating area.

Liberty Inn sign

Liberty Inn entrance

Lined up to order

Inside seating

Outside seating

Out by the main sidewalk is the Fife & Drum Tavern. One of my favorite places because this is where I can purchase an ice cold Samuel Adams beer. In addition, they sell such things as Turkey Legs, soft serve ice cream and popcorn.

Fife & Drum Tavern sign

Fife & Drum Tavern

Also on the main sidewalk, as you head towards Italy, is an Espresso and Coffee kiosk.

Espresso kiosk

And don't forget those ever tempting funnel cakes. The smell of them just draws you in!

Funnel Cake kiosk

Heritage Manor Gifts is located on the right hand side of the main building. It's quite small and the items are limited. Of all the World Showcase shopping opportunities this one gets the lowest rating in my book. But go ahead in and look around.

Heritage Manor Gifts entrance

Inside the shop

Inside the shop

Inside the shop

In addition to the shop this is a kiosk and a number of carts where you can purchase pins and other merchandise.

Merchandise kiosk

Merchandise carts

The entertainment at the American Adventure consists of the Voices of Liberty and The Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps.

Entertainment sign

I have to admit that I love the entertainment that's all around World Showcase. It's really very, very good. However, the best of them all, in my opinion, are the Voices of Liberty. What incredible voices! I've seen them bring adults to tears, overwhelmed by their voices. Never, ever miss an opportunity to listen to them perform.

Voices of Liberty perform

Voices of Liberty perform

The Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps perform outside on the sidewalk a various times throughout the day.

Spirit of America

Spirit of America

The America Gardens Theater By the Shore is located in front of this pavilion and is the place where all the Flower Power concerts, Eat to the Beat concerts, Sounds Like Summer concerts and where the Candlelight Processional concerts are performed. My only wish is that Disney would cover the entire seating area and remove the trees.

America Gardens sign

The theater

As we leave, let's take one last look at that mysterious (to me) ship.

Leaving

I sure hope that you enjoyed this walk as much as I did! I hope you agree that the American Adventure is a fantastic pavilion filled with loads of history and great entertainment.

Well, that concludes the walking tours of the World Showcase pavilions. I hope you've had an opportunity to read them all and that they've either provided you with a little fix in between visits or helped you plan you trip to this wondrous land. Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts.

Thanks for coming along with me!

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

Hey, see this little green button? Well, it allows you to share this blog with your family and friends quite easily. Give it a try; it's pretty neat!

The previous post in this blog was Flower Power Concert: Jose Feliciano.

The next post in this blog is Walking Tours of the World Showcase Pavilions.

Comments (26)

Rhonda:

As an American living in South America, I love visiting the American Adventure. I am so proud to be an American! Most people are proud of their heritage, but ours is unique. A blending of cultures and ideas, religious freedom and unending opportunity for all.

I wonder if people from other lands who visit their pavillions tear up and weep as much as we do at ours?

DizneyMike replies: Rhonda, I'm not sure how people visiting other lands react, I'm sure they also are very proud. But Disney hit a home run with the American Adventure; it's very special. Thanks for taking the time to comment....Mike

Scott:

I believe either Anita Answer or Jack wrote a detailed article on the ship docked behind the theatre. It was probably well over a year ago that I remember reading it.

Also, my parents had an old clock with the Roman Numeral IIII (rather than IV). IV was not used in days of old, because in Roman times, IV stood for the God Jupiter. The tradition just carried on until more modern times, when IV starting being used.

DizneyMike replies: Scott, thanks for the additional information, as always, it's much appreciated....Mike

Karrie:

I always thought a diner would be a good sit down restaurant for this pavilion. Besides fast food, no place to eat is more American than a diner.

DizneyMike replies: Karrie, that could work....Mike

Cindy :

Thanks so much for the great review. I am another one of "those" who leave the theater in tears when listening to Voices of Liberty. I think I really embarrass my kids. I agree with you. This is my favorite place in EPCOT!

DizneyMike replies: Cindy, rest assured you're not the only one! Thanks for sharing with us....Mike

Thank you for writing this! I agree that this is a sentimental favorite for me in World Showcase. I remember being amazed by the show when I visited Epcot as a child shortly after it opened - I thought those characters were real! - and I still love the show. It's also such a great break from the heat. Sitting on that cold marble floor listening to the Voices of Liberty is a great memory!

I would love to learn more about the singers, including their training, background, years at Disney, etc.,

Keep the blogs coming :)

DizneyMike replies: Tracy, the VOL certainly are very talented individuals. I'm sure they had to undergo a rigorous audition process before they were selected. Thanks for taking the time to comment...Mike

Darrell Shortt:

Great job Mike! (as always)
I thoughtht that I remembered Anita Answer explaining about the boat once so I searched (for about 45 minutes) and finally found her answer on AllEarsNet. Here is the link:

http://allears.net/aa/aa121508.htm

Though she is no longer here, Anita is still "answering"! Hope it helps.

DizneyMike replies: Darrell, thank you very much for doing that research about the boat. Great info! I should have known that the answer was something here on AllEars....Mike

Jose:

Hey Mike!!! LOVED your Walking Tours!!! One quick question, is the American Adventure show wheelchair accesible?? Those escalators to the Hall of Flags make it impossible for me to get to the second floor. Thanks!!!

DizneyMike replies: Jose, yes the show is wheelchair accessible. There's an elevator to that will take you up to the second floor. Thanks for asking that question as I will go back and mention that in the blog; important point....Mike

Tracy:

Mike,
This was a great blog! I really felt that I was right there with you. Thank you for all the details and photographs. I have loved all your walking tours!
Tracy

DizneyMike replies: Tracy, I was glad to have you come along with me! Thanks for the very nice comment....Mike

Heather Young:

Fantastic, detailed and informative blog! In response to Rhonda, I am English and I get very emotional when I watch the show in American Adventure. The Flag Retreat in MK has the same effect. I just wish people here had the same passion for their homelands too.

DizneyMike replies: Heather, we're glad to share our passion with you! Thanks for commenting...Mike

Emma:

Really enjoyed this & all the other Walking Tours Mike :)

I really enjoy the American Adventure - the song 'Golden Dream' at the end is beautiful, it always makes me get a lump in my throat.. even though I'm English! ;)

I think a table-service seafood restaurant would work well in the pavilion. When I last visited WDW last December, we liked the life-size gingerbread house located in the Liberty Inn - similar to that at the Grand Floridian resort.

Emma :)

DizneyMike replies: Emma, the gingerbread house was a nice addition to the Liberty Inn. Hopefully it will become an annual happening. Thanks for commenting...Mike

amy wolter:

mike,
i have greatly enjoyed your walking tour! i read every single one of them, and have learned a lot! what's up next??

DizneyMike replies: Amy, glad you enjoyed reading the blogs! Flower Power concert blogs and some Flower and Garden stuff, then who knows? Thanks for the comment...Mike

Dan:

Thanks so much for the tour, Mike.

When we were at Epcot in '07 we skipped "The American Adventure" (we were very pressed for time). I really wish we hadn't now.

But why would you want the trees cut down in the concert space? If my memory serves me there were precious few trees in the american area of Epcot.

Thanks again for the great blog!

DizneyMike replies: Dan, I would only want the trees cut down if Disney was to cover the rest of the America Garden Theater. Strictly from a concert viewing perspective, a roof and no trees would be a big improvement. Thanks for commenting....Mike

Peg:

Mike-
Thank you so much for your walking tour series, I enjoyed it immensely.
The first time my husband and I saw the American Adventure was about a week after 9/11. Being a New Yorker and having been in Manhattan that day, seeing the Towers fall and the horror of that day, well, you can only imagine the emotion that welled up in me during the show.
We finally had the pleasure of catching the Voices of Liberty during our last trip and all I can say is WOW!
Again thank you very much for your series. I look forward to more of your blogs.

DizneyMike replies: Peg, thank you for sharing those memories with us. Adding the 9/11 photos to Golden Dreams only made that film more emotional. Thanks for the comment...Mike

melissa tabone:

I totally agree, They need another steak and seafood house, maybe it would take some of the pressure off of Canada. Live Maine lobsters! lol thanks again for your blog always a pleasure

DizneyMike replies: Melissa, I'm all for a restaurant with New England seafood but thinks that seafood like Maryland crabcakes, Northwest Salmon and Louisiana crawfish should be on the menu as well. Yummy! Thanks....Mike

Deb Ragno:

I've been to American Adventure twice, missed the "treasures" display, the gift shop, and the garden. But I did use the elevator, didn't miss that. If there was one change I would suggest for the pavilion, it would be that when the Fife and Drum Corps are performing, the area would be blocked off so the pedestrian traffic would not be walking through. They could easily be detoured through the American Garden Theater. I thought it was very disrespectful the way some people nearly collided with the Fife and Drummers in their hurry to get somewhere else.

DizneyMike replies: Deb, I agree with you. I know they perform out on the sidewalk so as to get everyone's attention, however, they could easily divert people through the America Gardens Theater while the perform. Thanks for the comment...Mike

Betty:

Hi Mike,
Once again, great blog,
Here is some info on the clock,
The clocks around the time of King Louie XIV were changed from IV to IIII b/c he liked the way it visually looks. I believe at the time, The US and Ben Franklin were trying to get on France's good graces for money to fund the war. Maybe an homage to the King or France!

Betty

DizneyMike replies: Betty, thanks for the additional information regarding the clock....Mike

lestroismartins:

I have walked by the American Adventure a number of times, never going in because I'm an American and I'd more appropriately spend time learning about other cultures. I had no idea that the AA was so neat. Thanks for this tour. I'm definitely spending time in America this trip to Disney!!

DizneyMike replies: I'm sure you'll be glad you stopped in the next time you visit; hopefully that will be soon....Mike

Dan:

Wow, great tour. Hey Mike, do you have any idea who the twelve Spirits of America are? I haven't been able to determine who each of them are (and what ideal they represent), but I'd sure love to know. They're my favorite part of the entire pavilion!

Thanks again. Amazing!

DizneyMike replies: Dan, as you know, each of the statues are inscribed as to what "spirit" they represent. I don't have any factual information about the statues but here's what I think they are:

Innovation: Scientist/Inventor
Tomorrow: Mother holding a child
Self-Reliance: Farmer
Heritage: Indian woman
Independence: Revolutionary soldier
Freedom: Pilgrim
Discovery: Pioneer
Compassion: Doctor
Pioneering: Early Pilot
Adventure: Sailor/Fisherman
Knowledge: School teacher
Individualism: Cowboy

As usual, if anyone has any additional or more accurate information I'd love to hear it. Thanks...Mike

Tina Dotson:

Thanks for the lovely tour.

I, too, love the Voices of Liberty and American Adventure show and always leave with a tear in my eye and very proud to be an American!

I would love to see a character dinner similar to what used to be available at the Liberty Tree Tavern in the MK. Epcot needs another character dinner and the colonial characters at LTT were great!

DizneyMike replies: Tina, a character dinner would fit nicely here. Good thought! Thanks for the comment...Mike

Jason:

Mike,

I found this online inregards to IIII.
"There is a story that a famous clockmaker had constructed a clock for Louis XIV, king of France. The clockmaker had naturally used IV for four. When the clock was shown to the king, he remarked that IIII should have been used instead of IV. When it was explained to him that IV was correct, he still insisted, so that there was nothing to do but change the clock dial. This introduced the custom of using IIII for four. This is probably only a story, however, as IIII occurs long before the time of Louis XIV. And this same story is also told in connection with other monarchs. There is one reason why IIII is preferable to IV, and it may have caused the change. On the other side of the clock dial the VIII is the heaviest number, consisting of four heavy strokes and one light one, as it is usually made. It would destroy the symmetry to have the IV with only two heavy strokes on the other side. Thus IIII with four heavy strokes is much to be preferred. The change may therefore have been made for reasons of symmetry."

DizneyMike replies; Jason, thanks for doing that research for us. I really appreciate the additional info on the clock....Mike

Kathleen:

Definitely not the Mayflower. The Mayflower looked like this (this is the Mayflower II, which is an exact replica of the original Mayflower):
http://danielfabricant.com/pictures/mayflower_2.jpg

DizneyMike replies: Kathleen, thanks for taking the time to research this. I'm told that the ship is called "Golden Dream" after the song in the American Adventure....Mike

Trisha:

Mike,
Thanks for the wonderful walking tours! The American Adventure is my favorite pavilion and I loved seeing how you presented it. Every time we go to Epcot we make sure to see the Voices of Liberty. One of my favorite Disney memories is when one of the singers came up to me after the sow and said she remembered me from past years and thanked me for being such a loyal fan. Typical Disney, it made me feel special that out of the millions of people who visit, she remembered me!

DizneyMike replies: Trisha, isn't that fantastic that that singer would recognize you from previous years; only at Disney! Thanks for sharing that magical moment with us....Mike

Danielle Harmon:

Thanks for another great tour Mike! As a service member, this is one of my favorite pavilions, for obvious reasons! On July 4, 2004 I was blessed enough to be able to perform a patriotic musicale with a Joint Service Choir (we had Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Dept. of Defense civilians) in the Rotunda, all of us in our service uniforms! What a thrill, and what a response we received from guests and CMs alike! For all our British cousins out there who get choked up in the American Adventure, I want to say thank you! Your reactions are a testament to our two countries' special bond.

Thanks again Mike! Can't wait to see it again this summer!

DizneyMike replies: Danielle, I wish I was there to see you sing! That sounds like a very special time; lucky you! Thank you for the great comment, it's much appreciated....Mike

Richard Mercer:

Mike,

Thanks for a fitting conclusion to this series, and especially thanks for giving Voices of Liberty due praise. Though often referred to as the "preshow", they are (IMNSHO) the best live show in Epcot and just as worth seeing as the American Adventure itself.

DizneyMike replies: Richard, I agree with you that the VOL are the best live entertainment in Epcot. I get shivers down my spine just thinking of them performing! They a fantastic! Thanks for the comment...Mike

Twila:

Mike, like you, every time I hear "Golden Dream" from American Adventure it brings on the tears and gives me goose bumps! Love your walking tours! Twila

DizneyMike replies: Twila, thanks for the comment....Mike

christine:

Can't wait for our next trip in May- been to Disney a few times, but have yet to hear the drums or voices.. keep missing it..... Is there a schedule for the performances? It is on my "must see/do" list, and I don't want to miss it again.
Thanks for all your Disney clips/pics, great job.

DisneyMike replies: Christine, there is a schedule of all the entertainment that you can pick up along with a map at the entrance to the park as well as many shopping locations throughout Epcot. Enjoy that trip...Mike

Post a comment

(All comments must be approved before they appear on the entry.)


Return to Blog Central

About

This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 8, 2010 5:00 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Flower Power Concert: Jose Feliciano.

The next post in this blog is Walking Tours of the World Showcase Pavilions.

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