Mexico

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Mexico is a pavilion located within World Showcase at Epcot. It is located between the World Showcase entrance and Norway.

Mexico
Mexicopyramid2.jpg
A Mesoamerican pyramid serves as the centerpiece of the Mexico pavilion
Epcot
Land World Showcase
Opening date October 1, 1982
Number of Attractions 1
Number of Restaurants 4

History

A Mexican pavilion was planned for World Showcase since early on in the area’s development. The planned pavilion was to include two restaurants, as well as an attraction named “Las Tres Culturas de Mexico”. Although well developed, the plans for the Mexico’s boat ride were initially going to be pushed back to EPCOT Center’s “Phase Two”, and be built at a later date. At this point in the pavilion’s development, the load area and lagoon were to be constructed, with the idea that the ride itself would be built at a later date. These plans changed however when Germany’s planned Rhine River Cruise attraction was cancelled along with the Japan pavilion's planned attraction. Due to the fact that plans for an Equestrian Africa pavilion were also shelved, Disney had a capacity issue. With no other rides in World Showcase, the area would not have enough attractions to meet its expected guest capacity.
El Rio Del Tiempo became the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros in 2007. Photo Credit: Harshlight.
As a remedy for this situation, Disney decided to make Las Tres Culturas de Mexico an opening day attraction, changing the attraction’s name to El Rio del Tiempo. In order to complete the attraction (and pavilion) on time, the rides length was shortened by 40% and moved completely inside.

Despite the late starting point of the project, the Mexico pavilion opened with the rest of World Showcase on October 1, 1982. When the pavilion was complete, it consisted of two restaurants, two shops, and one attraction. The centerpiece of the pavilion is a large Mesoamerican pyramid, which was based on designs from the 3rd century AD. The interior of the pyramid was designed to look like a Mexican village (based on Taxco de Alarcón) at twilight. Besides initially housing El Rio Del Tiempo, the Mesoamerican pyramid also housed the San Angel Inn restaurant, which was designed based on a restaurant in Mexico City (with the same name), that opened in 1692. Also within the pyramid were various shops and stands in the Festival Marketplace. Outside of the pyramid is the Mexico pavilion’s lakeside restaurant- Cantina de San Ángel. Nearby, guests can also now meet Donald Duck in his Mexican outfit.

Following its opening in 1982, for a number of years the Mexico Pavilion saw a relativity small number of changes. Throughout its history, the shopping stalls located within the pyramid have changed, and more lights were added to the marketplace. The most substantial change to the pavilion came on January 2, 2007 when Mexico's only attraction El Rio Del Tiempo closed. The attraction was updated and renamed The Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros. On the Gran Fiesta Tour, guests travel through many of the same scenes as El Rio del Tiempo, however they now feature HD screens which allow guests to follow José Carioca and Panchito Pistoles (from the 1944 Disney movie The Three Caballeros) as they look around Mexico for Donald Duck.

In 2010 Cantina de San Ángel closed for refurbishment. When the establishment reopened, it consisted of two restaurants, the table service Cantina, and the new table service restaurant La Hacienda de San Ángel.

Current Attractions

The Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros- On this indoor boat ride, guests follow Panchito Pistoles and José Carioca (from the 1944 Disney movie The Three Caballeros) as they search all of Mexico for Donald Duck. The Gran Fiesta Tour replaced El Rio Del Tiempo in 2007.

Disney Phineas and Ferb: Agent P's World Showcase Adventure- On this interactive adventure, guests use a "F.O.N.E." (Field Operative Notification Equipment) to help Agent P. stop Dr. Doofenshmirtz, by looking for clues throughout World Showcase. The adventure is based on the Disney cartoon Phineas and Ferb.

Former Attractions

El Rio Del Tiempo- On this indoor boat ride, guests could take a relaxing tour to see both the history and the diverse culture of Mexico. El Rio Del Tiempo opened with the rest of the pavilion on October 1, 1982 and it closed on January 2, 2007. El Rio Del Tiempo was replaced by the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros, which uses many of the same scenes as its predecessor.

Restaurants

The Festival Marketplace inside the Mexico pavilion. Photo Credit: Harshlight.

The Mexico pavilion is home to four different dining options. All four restaurants serve Mexican cuisine.

San Angel Inn- Located inside of Mexico's Mesoamerican pyramid, the San Angel Inn is a table service restaurant. From their table (which is set in eternal twilight) guests can see parts of the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros.

Cantina de San Ángel- Specializing in tacos, Cantina de San Ángel opened with the pavilion in 1982. The counter service restaurant is located on World Showcase Lagoon and across from the pavilion's pyramid. In 2010, the original counter service restaurant closed for refurbishment. When the establishment reopened, it was divided into two restaurants. One was still called Cantina de San Ángel and remained a counter service restaurant, while the other was named La Hacienda de San Ángel which provides a table service meal.

La Hacienda de San Ángel- Located on the World Showcase Lagoon, La Hacienda de San Ángel offers guests an indoor, table service restaurant with great views of World Showcase. La Hacienda de San Ángel became Mexico’s newest dining location when it opened in 2010.

La Cava del Tequila- A tequila bar where guests can talk to “tequila connoisseurs" as they try various tequilas, margaritas, and Mexican appetizers.

Shopping

Festival Marketplace- Located within Mexico’s Mesoamerican pyramid, the Festival Marketplace is home to all sorts of stands which sell authentic Mexican merchandise. Guests can also find Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros merchandise here.

La Tienda Encantada- Located within the Festival Marketplace, this shop sells clothing and accessories.

La Princesa de Cristal- Located within the Festival Marketplace, this Arribas Brothers shop sells crystal and glassware.

Live Entertainment

Mariachi Cobre- This authentic mariachi band can often be found playing outside in the Mexico pavilion.

Fun Facts and Trivia

  • A Ring Carver stand is located within the Mexico pavilion.
  • Both the Moctezuma Brewery and the San Angel Inn contributed money to the construction of the Mexico pavilion.
  • At one time flamingos could be found near the bridge in the Mexico pavilion. They have since been removed.
  • Vice President of Walt Disney World (and eventual Disney Legend) Bob Allen dedicated the Mexico pavilion in 1982.

The Mesoamerican Pyramid

  • The Mesoamerican pyramid is modeled after an Aztec Temple of Quetzalcoatl found at Teotihuacan. Quetzalcoatl is the Aztec God of priesthood, learning and

knowledge, and is represented by the serpent heads which are found on the pyramid’s exterior.

  • The carving located at the bottom of the pavilion’s stairs is called a stele.
  • The entry to the interior of the Mesoamerican pyramid is designed to look like a Mayan Ceremonial Hall. Here various art exhibits are displayed.
  • Inside the pavilions large Mesoamerican pyramid, guests can see a Sun Stone (an Aztec calendar).
  • The Illuminations firework show is actually controlled out of a small office located at the top of Mexico's pyramid.

References

http://vimeo.com/2702430

http://www.yesterland.com/worldshowcase.html

http://www.wdwinfo.com/wdwinfo/guides/epcot/epws-mexico.htm

http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/epcot/attractions/mexico-pavilion/

http://land.allears.net/blogs/jackspence/2010/09/la_hacienda_de_san_angel_la_ca.html

http://land.allears.net/blogs/jackspence/walt_disney_world/theme_parks/epcot/mexico/