Guten tag! The Germany Pavilion at Walt Disney World’s Epcot is a combination of different eras and locales representing Bavarian villages from the 13th through 17th centuries. This romantic, fairy-tale architecture gives the Pavilion instant recognition without directly reproducing specific buildings in the region.
The platz, or plaza, the equivalent of an American Main Street or Town Square, captures the essence of German townships. The castle walls at the rear combine features of Eltz Castle near Koblenz and Stahleck Fortress on the Rhine near Bacharach, while the Biergarten exterior resembles a similar establishment in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, and smaller village facades are taken from Romerburg Platz in Frankfurt, Freiburg, and Rothenburg.
Standing guard over the Pavilion is a statue of St. George, the patron saint of soldiers, slaying a dragon. German legend states that St. George killed a dragon with his magical sword, Ascalon, thus freeing the king’s daughter from being sacrificed. Similar statues can be found in most German villages. The one here is modeled after the one in Rothenburg.
The Biergarten Restaurant offers a wonderful sampling of delicious German foods and beverages, paying homage to festival settings like Sommerfest and Octoberfest. At lunch and dinner, lederhosen-clad musicians yodel and dance and invite Guests onstage to join in the fun. And don’t miss the daily wine tastings at the Weinkeller or the freshly baked goods at Sussigkeiten.
Adorning the Gild Hall, a 16th century merchants hall inspired by Kaufhaus in Freiburg, are three armored figures. They represent three of four Hapsburg emperors who ruled Austria-Hungary from 1273-1918. Only three are seen here due to the building’s scale. They are Philip I, Charles V, and Ferdinand I; Maximilian I was excluded.
As you exit the Pavilion and head toward Italy, don’t miss the miniature train setup that maneuvers through, around, and even briefly under a German-style town and countryside. Young children especially enjoy watching the train steam through. And don’t forget to check the times guide! You won’t want to miss Snow White’s meet-n-greet by the wishing well.
 The Imagineering Field Guide to Epcot. NY: Disney Editions, 2006.
I can’t think of Germany without thinking food, so today we’re doing some baking! I know, it’s not something I would normally do in the summer when it’s 105 degrees outside, but mmm, it’ll be worth it!
According to the German Food Guide, “The history of the Strudel dates back hundreds of years. It was made as an easy yet satisfying meal by the poor. However, it was the Turkish Baklava pastry, introduced into Austria in 1453, that laid the foundation for the Strudel. The Austrians first created the Wiener Apfelstrudel (Viennese Apple Strudel). Gradually over time, other Strudels with different fillings were created.”
German Food Guide Recipe for Apfelstrudel (Apple Strudel):
For a quick Apple Strudel, you can use frozen Puff Pastry or Phylo Dough instead of authentic Strudel dough. Follow package instructions for thawing and rolling out.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a large sheet pan or line it with parchment paper.
Combine the filling ingredients.
Follow the instructions for preparing and stretching the strudel dough.
Arrange a 2-inch thick strip of apple filling across one end of the dough (short side of rectangle), leaving about a 1 1/2 inch border from the edges. Fold over the 1 1/2 inch flaps of dough to the right and left of the filling. Brush the outside of the flaps with butter.
Follow the instructions for rolling up the strudel dough.
Cut a few small ventilation wholes on the top of the strudel. Bake the strudel for about 1 hour, basting it occasionally with melted butter, until the strudel is golden brown.
Remove the strudel from the oven. Allow it to cool somewhat, then dust with powdered sugar. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or a vanilla sauce.
**HELPFUL TIP FROM A FRIENDLY READER: For my fellow celiacs, Jules Nearly Normal Gluten-free Flour should work beautifully in this recipe! (Thanks, Nan!)**
SCHOOL SUBJECT: Home Economics
SKILL LEVEL: High School
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