|Image via Imagineering Field Guide to Epcot|
When planning Epcot’s American Adventure Pavilion, Disney Imagineers faced a bit of a dilemma as to where the Pavilion should be located. Designers wanted to present our country as gracious hosts. Early models placed the Pavilion at the World Showcase entrance. Guests would have journeyed through the United States to access the other nations. Ultimately, it was placed directly across the lagoon, still the centerpiece of the Showcase it its place of prominence, but a much less domineering site.
The Pavilion’s edifice portrays “America’s Mansion,” pulling architectural elements from Independence Hall, Boston’s Old State House, Monticello, and colonial Williamsburg. It is built in the English Georgian style, which was prevalent during the 18th century reigns of King George I through King George IV and was therefore common in the colonies as well. It is characterized by Greek-revivalist porticos, stone-quoined corners and a clock-and-bell tower. Patriotic red, white and blue colors dominate the Pavilion from the 110,000 red bricks to the blue tile fountain to the plant groupings.
Inside, a gallery of paintings depicts various scenes of Americana, famous quotations from the likes of Walt Disney, Charles Lindbergh and Herman Melville inspire innovation, and an impressive Audio-Animatronics show communicates 200+ years of progress. Other American Adventure Pavilion highlights include the Fife and Drum Tavern, a capella singers, and the 1,800-seat performance area, the America Gardens Theater.
The Show, considered an “extension of the presentation techniques behind Carousel of Progress,” offers a variety of visual and auditory devices to communicate changes that have occurred in America over the past 200 or so years. Audio-Animatronic figures of Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain host the performance which features the likes of Alexander Graham Bell, Susan B. Anthony, Walt Disney, and even Lance Armstrong. The scene where Benjamin Franklin joins Thomas Jefferson signing the Declaration of Independence was a landmark feat for these robotic characters as Franklin walks up steps and across the stage.
Review this timeline of American history from the Smithsonian Institution. Gather up your plush Mickeys, Minnies and their friends, then choose five (or more) historical occurrences from the timeline and create a puppet show to act them out. Here’s a cute way to build a simple puppet theater out of a cardboard box (Adult supervision required!):
SCHOOL SUBJECT: American history
SKILL LEVEL: Elementary, Middle Grades
Add MAGICAL MOUSE SCHOOLHOUSE to your home library!