The American Adventure

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The American Adventure
AmericanAdvenure.jpg
The American Adventure at night
Epcot
Land World Showcase
Opening date October 1, 1982
Number of Attractions One
Number of Restaurants Two

The American Adventure is a pavilion located within World Showcase in Epcot. It is located between Italy and Japan. If you’re looking for the attraction housed within the pavilion see: The American Adventure (Attraction).

Pavilion History

Although an American pavilion was always going to be a part of EPCOT Center, Imagineers were initially not sure where they wanted to place the pavilion. When EPCOT's Master Plan 5 was revealed in the 1977 Walt Disney Company Annual Report, The American Adventure pavilion was to be the bridge between Future World and World Showcase [1]. Promoted as the "gateway between the world of today and tomorrow", this version of the pavilion's first floor would have served as the walkway between the park's two sections, while the second story would have housed the American Adventure attraction[1].

An early rendering of the American Adventure pavilion by Herb Ryman

By 1979, plans for The American Adventure pavilion had changed[1]. At this point, Imagineers decided to place the pavilion in the back center of World Showcase [2]. This move served multiple purposes for the new park. First off, this was done to make sure that Disney did not give the impression that America was "elitist" and apart from the rest of the world [2]. By placing the pavilion in the center of World Showcase, Imagineers were also able to represent the fact that America was the host to the other countries represented[2]. Finally, putting The American Adventure in the back of World Showcase served as a "weenie" to draw guests back into the land.

At the time of the pavilion's move, its basic design was also changed. As opposed to being a sleek and futuristic looking pavilion (which would have helped it blend in with Future World), the pavilion was instead given a traditional colonial design [3]. As the host of World Showcase, the pavilion was built higher up than the other countries' pavilions. Also differentiating the American Adventure, was the fact that unlike many of the other pavilions in World Showcase, the America pavilion was not designed with the goal of making people feel like they were visiting the country[4]. Instead, Imagineers wanted to focus on the fact that America was the host of World Showcase, while also showcasing the country's history. With this in mind, the pavilion was named The American Adventure as opposed to the “United States”, "America" or “U.S.A” pavilion [3].

Construction on The American Adventure pavilion began in early 1980 [2]. The pavilion was designed by architect George Terpatsi, who wanted the exterior to resemble a Georgian mansion [3]. The design also took inspiration from buildings in Williamsburg, Virginia, Independence Hall in Philadelphia, the Old State House in Boston, and Thomas Jefferson's Monticello home [3].

The American Adventure pavilion opened on October 1, 1982 with the rest of EPCOT Center. When the pavilion opened it was sponsored by Coca-Cola and American Express [2], and it featured the American Adventure (Attraction), the American Gardens Theatre, Manor Gifts and the Liberty Inn. The pavilion was officially dedicated on October 11, 1982. On hand for the festivities were Disney CEO Card Walker, American Express CEO Jim Robinson, and Coca-Cola President Don Keough. At the ceremony the Voices of Liberty performed the Star Spangled Banner as doves were released [5].

Since its opening, the American Adventure pavilion has seen a relatively few number of changes. The pavilion's attraction was updated in 1993, 1997 and again in 2018 [2] [6]. Also in 1993, a small Victorian ship named the Golden Dream was docked on the pavilion's coastline [2]. In November 1994, the American Gardens Theatre was partially enclosed for the debut of the Barbie's Birthday Party show[2]. Original sponsor Cola-Cola ended its sponsorship in 1998, while sponsor American Express ended its sponsorship in 2002 (when Disney switched to Visa) [2]. Finally, when the Liberty Inn initially opened, it did not have walls or windows (although it did have a roof). Subsequently, the restaurant has been altered so that it is entirely indoors [2].

In 2007, the quick service Fife and Drum Tavern opened in The American Adventure pavilion [7]. On September 27, 2014, the Spirit of America Fife & Drum Crops ceased performing in the pavilion [8].

Layout

The American Adventure pavilion's dedication

The American Adventure is made up of one large building and an outdoor amphitheater. The pavilion's main structure took inspiration from buildings in Williamsburg, Virginia, Independence Hall in Philadelphia, the Old State House in Boston, and Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. In order to see the American Adventure attraction, guests must pass through the pavilion's main indoor entrance. Here, they find themselves in a colonial lobby centered around a large rotunda. The main rotunda is about 35 high and it features 12 large columns [3]. Around the room guests are surrounded by inspirational quotes that correspond to various pieces of hung artwork. On the far side of the lobby, guests can tour the American Heritage Gallery which houses various exhibits. 15 minutes prior to showings of the American Adventure attraction, guests are treated to an a cappella performance by the Voices of Liberty in the pavilion's rotunda.

On the second floor of the American Adventure pavilion (which guests must pass through on their way to see the American Adventure (Attraction), the Hall of Flags can be found. Here, 44 flags that have represented parts of the United States during its history are showcased. These flags include, colonial flags, revolutionary war flags, territorial flags, and even flags that belonged to the European countries who once colonized what is today the United States. As previously mentioned, the second floor of the pavilion also holds the American Adventure theater, where the pavilion's attraction is located.

The main entrance to the American Adventure pavilion is flanked on the left by the Liberty Inn (a counter service restaurant), and on the right by Heritage Manor Gifts (a gift ship). Across from the pavilion's main building, guests can find the America Gardens Theatre, where live entertainment can often be found.

Attractions

American Adventure (Attraction)- This show uses photos, video, music and Audio Animatronics to tell the story of America. The attraction is hosted by Ben Franklin and Mark Twain.

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.

Restaurants

Liberty Inn- Located in American Adventure's main building, the Liberty Inn is a counter service restaurant. The restaurant specializes in American cuisine, including hot dogs and hamburgers.

Fife and Drum Tavern- This stand sells American snacks and refreshments, including the popular turkey leg.

Shopping

The Voices of Liberty performing in the American Adventure pavilion. Photo: Lauren Javier

Heritage Manor- This small gift shop sells historical American souvenirs.

Live Entertainment

The Voices of Liberty- This eight piece a cappella group often can be found performing inside the American Adventure pavilion. The group is used as a preshow for the American Adventure attraction, although they also do special events around the pavilion. The Voices of Liberty have been performing in the American Adventure since the pavilion opened.

America Gardens Theater-Live concerts are frequently held in this outdoor amphitheater.

Former Live Entertainment

Spirit of America Fife & Drum Corps- This authentic band entertained guests with patriotic American music throughout the day. The Spirit of America Fife & Drum Corps performed for the final time on September 27, 2014.

Fun Facts and Trivia

  • If guests look closely at the clock on the steeple in the American Adventure pavilion, they will notice that the Roman numeral four is written as IIII (instead of IV). This was standard in the time of America's founding, because IV was used to represent the Roman God Jupiter [3].
  • Disney executives originally hoped to have women playing musical water glasses in the American Adventure's lobby (due to the fact that Benjamin Franklin had created similar instruments called "glass armonicas". Unfortunately the idea was cut when it could not fit in the budget [9].
  • The Golden Dream boat that sits outside the American Adventure pavilion was damaged by Hurricane Charley in August 2004, but returned to the lagoon in June 2006 [2]
  • 140,000 hand made bricks were used in the construction of The American Adventure pavilion [2].
  • The furniture in the American Adventure pavilion are replica pieces created by Imagineers [3].
  • The floor in the American Adventure rotunda features 50 stars.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 http://progresscityusa.com/2010/04/20/epcot-origins-1977-master-plan-5/
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 http://www.martinsvids.net/?s=American+Adventure
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 http://land.allears.net/blogs/jackspence/2010/12/the_american_adventure_part_1_1.html
  4. http://land.allears.net/blogs/jackspence/2010/12/the_american_adventure_part_1_1.html
  5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QsXXdGhma0
  6. https://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2018/02/epcots-american-adventure-attraction-will-add-new-american-icons-this-month/
  7. https://www.wdwmagic.com/dining/fife-and-drum-tavern.htm
  8. https://touringplans.com/epcot/attractions/spirit-of-america-fife-drum-corps
  9. Realityland: true-life adventures at Walt Disney World. David Koenig - Bonaventure Press - 2007