Hello! And welcome to the halfway point on our tour around the world! Can you believe we’ve already visited Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, and Italy? Today we’re bringing you the best pavilion around the World Showcase Lagoon – the U.S.A! And what a lovely pavilion it is:
When entering the USA from Italy, the first thing you will see is coffee and donuts. While I can’t start my day without a cup of joe, I have to point out the irony in this.
Next is a really neat looking structure that unfortunately just sells DVC. There is a trend of really interesting buildings being built to house DVC and credit card kiosks in the parks. I really don’t care for it! Is it just me? Does anyone else feel they have no place in the parks?
If you continue on Fife & Drum Tavern is next. One thing to note here is a recent menu change since we updated. If you’re looking for the Jalapeno Cheese Stuffed Pretzel you can find these just down the street at at the new Block & Hans beer stand (photo below). I found this out on New Year’s Eve after waiting in line for 20 minutes! I don’t want anyone else to suffer that fate while waiting for cheesy goodness.
On the other side of the street you can see the America Gardens Theatre. It is so massive! In the other seasons the trees are lush and pretty- but you can see the structure better now that the leaves have fallen. This theater was so busy for Candlelight Processional that it’s nice to see it empty for a change!
If you check out the very first photo you can see that America is one large building from the front. Over to the far left we start with the Liberty Inn. This is a counter service restaurant with indoor/outdoor seating.
Check out this pretty courtyard out front. This is a great spot to sit an listen to the different concerts throughout the year. There is almost always room with no waiting and it isn’t as loud as being in the theater. Add a snack and drink and this is the perfect spot for me to “watch” those performances.
Here is a quick look at the indoor dining room. As you can see, you do not gain more comfortable seats by choosing to sit indoors!
The entry way to this restaurant is lined with flags from U.S. history. I did some quick Googling and didn’t come up with the details on these. I assume they are from the colonies? If anyone has information about these, would you share in the comments below? I’m sure everyone would be interested!
In the center of the main U.S.A. building is the American Adventure. I will warn you before you continue that I did not include the show in this post. That is because I could go on for days about how much I love it. Would anyone like to see a separate post on the show and decor? Let me know in the comments below – I’d love to do it for you!
Just out front is this sign for the attraction. I almost walked right by but realized this was too beautiful not to share!
When you first step into the building, this is the small room you will see first. The entire building is modeled after Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello. If you don’t know what it looks like, you can click the link or just look on the back of a nickel, where it is pictured.
Past this room you enter a huge area with a rotunda in the center. Inside this rotunda you can see The Voices of Liberty perform several times throughout the day. The room is huge and features art work from Disney Imagineers and quotes from famous figures throughout U.S. history.
Here is a closer look down one of the walls lined with art and quotes. Considering that this is just one wall of the pavilion makes you appreciate just how large it is. The pavilion takes up 108,555 square feet, if you can believe it!
Below is one of many quotes that are illuminated on the walls. I’m not sure if you can tell from the photo above that between every painting is a quote like this mounted directly on the wall. The lighting is so harsh it doesn’t photograph well, but it is very moving when you see it in person.
In hunting around the building I found the below panels. None of the cast members on duty were able to tell me anything about them. Does anyone know the history on these? I’ve hunted and can’t find anything. They are massive and beautiful, though!
Remember the rotunda I mentioned earlier? Well.. I might have laid in the floor with my fisheye lens and tired to get the whole thing for you guys! It wasn’t quite wide enough but it gives you an idea what it looks like to walk under this impressive 45-foot tall ceiling! The floor under this area is lined with 50 stars to represent the states.
Here is the beautiful arch you pass through to enter the American Adventure Theater. Once you enter there are escalators to the left to take you upstairs to the theater entrance.
To the right of this entrance is the American Heritage Gallery, which is currently housing The Kinsey Collection. I know I’m a big nerd, but I actually went the weekend this opened last year. I was excited to see all the new additions from this private collection that celebrates the history of African American achievements and contributions.
Here is a look down one of the walls inside the gallery. This section is “Belief.” Each of the themed areas is highly interactive, featuring touch panels and some really amazing displays.
Below is a link to a video of one of the lanterns inside the museum. I apologize for the focus – the flame was tough for my camera to track. As the video goes on you can see words and images in the lantern. There are several of these inside this area – each with a different story to tell.
Stepping back outside you can catch a performance of the Spirit of America Fife & Drum Corps. These guys march through the U.S.A. Pavilion, put on a show,and then stick around to take photos in front of American Adventure.
Moving along, next door you will find Heritage Manor Gifts. Though this building looks huge, it is only the downstairs that contains the store. If you notice the little door to the left – it’s often used to allow guests upstairs for the Chase Lounge during festivals and events.
Here is a quick look inside the gift shop. I would imagine now that Heritage House has closed over at the Magic Kingdom that some of that merchandise will be coming over here.
Exiting the gift shop and moving along you’ll come to the Kidcot station for America. This one is huge! It seems like they could fit several more tables in here. While it was early in the day when I visited for photos, the demand is certainly there for more Kidcot seats later in the day!
Okay, I know, I included a photo of the bathrooms. But these are shiny, new bathrooms!! I’m sure folks will remember the gross ones at the opposite end of the pavilion? If you remember, then you should be very excited to see this photo!!
Back on the main walkways around World Showcase Lagoon, you’ll find a pin cart that is also utilized for selling CDs of artists performing at the America Gardens Theatre. I mainly mention it because I’ve been told the Candlelight Processional CD is completely sold out and that Disney is producing a new version to be released this summer. This isn’t surprising since the current version is over 10 years old, but if you’ve always wanted it, now is a good time to track down a copy!
Next is the new Block & Hans beer stand, the new home of soft pretzels! It also sells several different beers and a couple wines. I seem to recall at one point this was the DVC booth in America, but I’m just not sure. Does anyone remember for certain?
The last stop leaving America is the Funnel Cake cart. How ironic, right? Donuts on the way in and Funnel Cakes on the way out! But maybe it’s a true measure of America because despite hanging out for 15 minutes (before lunch time), I couldn’t get a photo without someone at the window!
In the photo above you can almost see Japan off in the distance calling us to keep going! I hope you’ll be joining me next time to explore the land of the rising sun. Did I miss anything in America? Did you see something you hadn’t before? I sure hope so! Plese let me know in the comments below and as always thanks for reading!