This week’s SATURDAY SIX is a Salute to All Nations (But Mostly America). July 4th weekend brings out the patriotism in all of us, and nothing is more American than our favorite theme parks. Created with the opening of Disneyland in 1955, theme parks — along with comic books and jazz music — are one of the rare forms of art that we in the USA have given to the citizens of Earth. Thankfully, they are all so good that the world forgives us for everything else we’ve given them such as Zima, reality television, and the KFC Double Down. So raise Old Glory up to full staff, put Real American on the CD mp3 player, and let’s dive into some theme park American goodness starting with…
Located at the American Adventure pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase, the Voices of Liberty are an 8 person a cappella group that will have your heart swelling with pride as they belt out some of the most well known songs paying tribute to our country’s rich history. The playlist includes: “America the Beautiful,” “This Land is Your Land,” “This is My Country,” “You Raise Me Up,” “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” And you just may hear a song from a little movie called Frozen…
Those who enjoy the live entertainment at Epcot now have one more option to experience!
American Music Machine, (I keep thinking of Miami Sound Machine every time I hear their name…haha), a five member, contemporary a Capella group, will bring performances of current and classic American pop tunes to the America Gardens Theatre stage. If this sounds a bit familiar (kind of like Glee), it should; the show’s vocal arranger, Tim Davis helped with creating it.
I am back from another great trip to Walt Disney World, and I have some news that I learned that you need to know for your upcoming trips. There are lots of great tidbits that I think are of great interest, so let’s dive right into the fun!
Over at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the fantastic macaw show, Winged Encounters – The Kingdom Takes Flight, will see a small change. The landing perch has been relocated in front of the Tree of Life. The show will continue to be performed at 9:15 a.m., 10:15 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m.
Previous location of the Winged Encounters perch. And yes, the birds DO fly AT you!
This year, Epcot’s Hanukkah entertainment includes a storytelling show about the Festival of Lights, staged outside the American Adventure pavilion. This year’s Hanukkah show features new songs, and you can get a free “gelt” chocolate coin at the end!
This week’s SATURDAY SIX for Memorial Day is a very special one. A Theme Park Tribute to America. It is thanks to our brave members of the military, both past and present, for the great country we live in and the freedom we have to visit some of the world’s greatest theme parks. Today we’re going into the Orlando parks and looking some of the tributes to America and its soldiers.
# 6 – Spirit of America Fife & Drum corps (Epcot)
Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps (photo by Brandon Glover)
Who knows where we would be today without the soldiers who fought in the Revolutionary War and the Spirit of America Fife & Drum Corps perform a patriotic tribute to them in front of the American Adventure pavilion in Epcot. With marching music and military formations, the Fife & Drum corps evoke the spirit of the Continental Army. Whether it’s “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” “God Bless America,” or “Grand Old Flag,” the four man band (plus a flag bearer) will have your heart pounding in pride.
They say that April showers bring May flowers, but this month a different kind of precipitation may be misting up Disneyland’s Main Street, U.S.A. I’m certain that I’m not the only Disney devotee who is shedding a tear over the loss of two favorite front-of-park attractions. One, a legendary retail outlet that had remained largely untouched for decades; the other, a relatively recent entertainment import from Epcot.
There are several groups who perform throughout Walt Disney World, and many of them can be found around World Showcase in Epcot. They provide a glimpse into the customs and artistry of these countries without needing a passport. Although there are so World Showcase performers to pick from, it is easy for me to say which is my favorite; without a doubt it’s the Voices of Liberty. These talented a cappella singers perform before the American Adventure show begins in the building’s rotunda, providing perfect acoustics. They dress in colonial costumes and thrill visitors several times every afternoon.
So why do I love this group so much? Those who know me know that I’m not only a Disney dork, but an American history dork as well. The old time Americana and patriotic songs they sing give me the warm and fuzzies and they have brought a tear to my eye on more than one occasion. The American Adventure is one of my favorite attractions in Epcot, and the Voices of Liberty only enhance my affection. Additionally, the talent pool is simply incredible. As someone who can’t carry a tune to save my life, I am in awe of their raw talent. And hey anyone who has sung for five sitting American presidents can sing for me any time. They are definitely something I make to see on every trip.
The Voices of Liberty have been singing at the American Adventure since Epcot’s opening in 1982 and hopefully they’ll continue well into the future. They are truly one of Disney World’s hidden gems. Be sure to pick up a Times Guide when you enter the park for the day for show times.