Hello Friends and Family,

1983 - Epcot, part 2

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Continuing our visit to Epcot, we see the Rose & Crown, a traditional English-themed restaurant inside the United Kingdom pavilion. It also shares a space with the popular Rose and Crown Pub, where guests can buy a beer or mixed drink and take it with them around Epcot. The pub was a bit of a surprise since at the time, the Magic Kingdom, like Disneyland, had almost no alcohol on the property (and I believe that is still the case).

Keeping with the British theme, here is a double-decker bus. According to one website, six of these buses were used to transport visitors around Epcot. They were discontinued at some point but you might be able to purchase a restored bus if you have a big enough pile of cash and can find a seller.

The British area of Epcot has a number of shops — for instance, The Toy Soldier. This gift shop is now open again at EPCOT after an extended closure. It features merchandise inspired by characters associated with the United Kingdom such as Winnie the Pooh, 101 Dalmations, and Mary Poppins, among others.

This was cute, I thought. A young woman was being recorded on camera, providing a description of this part of Epcot. She was a real pro and not flustered at all by me taking her picture as she performed her announcing gig.

The France Pavilion is themed to look like a Parisienne neighborhood with a pool and fountains and a view of the Eiffel Tower in the distance. Most of the storefronts on the streets are actual shops selling French goods such as Guerlain perfume. The attraction evokes France's cities and historical structures.

It also includes two French restaurants; as well as the informal eateries Les Halles Boulangerie and Patisserie and L'artisan des Glace ice-cream parlor.

The Morocco pavilion was still under construction so we are jumping over to the Germany pavilion. It is handsome with bright pops of color and Tudor-style accents.

Even though this pavilion doesn’t offer a formal attraction, there are still several things to do here. Anyone that enjoys shopping, steins, pickle ornaments, cuckoo clocks, buffets, and beer, will find themselves right at home.

You might even run into Snow White in the German pavilion. She is, of course, the lovely young princess who longed for true love — and found it — returning to her wishing well to make her dreams come true.

I took a photo and expected to hear a story about friendship, kindness—and how to avoid apples offered by witches.

Just touching the World Showcase Lagoon in Epcot’s Japan Pavilion sits a traditional, vermilion-hued torii gate. This magnificent structure was inspired by the design and location of a real gate in Japan.

Here we see the Mitsukoshi Department Store: The store is separated into four zones: Festivity, Silence, Harmony, and Interest, and sells many Japanese items, including clothing, jewelry, books, manga, anime items (such as posters), and toys. It has been expanded in recent years to include a far greater variety of items than during my visit. More specifically, a greater portion of the store sells Japanese pop culture-related items, presumably to take advantage of the growing interest in these types of products in America.

I spied what appeared to be a Japanese castle in the distance — which reminded me of the TV mini-series, Shogun. Very impressive.

It is known as the “White Egret Castle” Hakuro-jō or Shirasagi-jō “White Heron Castle” because of its striking white exterior, it appears as a bird taking flight. Named the “Himeji Castle”, it represents the original Japanese castle complex located in Himeji, in Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan. Constructed of Wood and Stone, much like its European equivalents, it was used for the defense of the kingdom. And the common people lived near the castle for protection. These castles date back to 1333 when Akamatsu Norimura built a fort on top of Himeyama hill.

Inside the castle is part of the Mitsukoshi Department store, the Kidcot station, and a wonderful museum called Bijutsu-kan, meaning “Art-sensitive” Inside you will find an exhibit called “Spirit Beasts: From Ancient Stories to Anime Stars.” Throughout the ages, Japanese lore contained magical and heroic animals. This display showcases their stories, both in animation today (manga and anime) and traditional stories.

And what Japanese pavilion would be complete without a pagoda? Pagodas are linked to Buddhism and this is a replica of the one found in Ikaruga, Nara Prefecture, Japan. The original pagoda is acknowledged to be one of the oldest wooden buildings existing in the world. One of the largest differences between Japanese and Chinese cultures is that the Chinese use more vibrant colors and are more flamboyant in their construction techniques, whereas the Japanese are more subdued and employ simpler lines in buildings. Even the gardens are different; Japan’s are more orderly and neat, whereas the Chinese appear more natural and flowing. The Pagoda is five stories, reflecting the number of elements that the Buddhists believe the universe was created with… Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, and Sky. Topping off the Pagoda is a structure called the Sōrin. It’s a vertical shaft or a finial that tops a Japanese pagoda, either made of stone or wood. This Pagoda has several Chinese aspects incorporated into it when the Imagineers constructed it, thus it is not a true facsimile of the original.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com