disney world: epcot (world showcase)

Beyond Future World is the World Showcase - the main reason for picking Epcot as my top choice out of the four parks in Disney World to visit first. World Showcase has clusters of pavilions built around a lagoon to represent eleven countries (listed in the order I visited them): Canada, United Kingdom, France, Morocco, Japan, United States, Italy, Germany, China, Norway and Mexico.

Whenever I start trying to describe World Showcase to anybody, their first thought is always that it's a miniature mock-up of the listed countries. No no no! Each 'country' actually has life sized streets and buildings that are replicas of a real destination (usually a well known area) from that country and contains shops, restaurants, museums and theatres to showcase its produce, cuisine, culture and lifestyle. I particularly liked that fact that all the staff in each 'country' are citizens of the real represented country as part of the Cultural Representative Program.

Many of these 'countries' also play a short 15 - 30min introductory film about them - I went to all of them and was very impressed by the effort each pavilion takes to promote its home country given that I read from Wiki that "The only pavilion that is sponsored by the country it represents is Morocco. The remaining country pavilions are all sponsored by private companies.". I wonder why all the tourism boards of the remaining 10 countries have not participated. Singapore will do well to have a small pavilion there to educate the geographically ignorant Americans and other tourists on its existence on the world map. Even if limited by budget constraints, what's to stop STB from garnering business sponsors to set up shops and restaurants there? I'm sure there's an abundance of opportunity to tap into the tourist dollar.

Here are some hastily put-together collages of the pavilions I managed to cover while there was still daylight. I left out photographing the last two destinations (Morocco and Mexico) as it got too dark and I was rushing to find a good spot to watch the finale - IllumiNations.

1) Canada

2) United Kingdom

3) France

4) Morocco

5) Japan

6) United States

7) Italy

8) Germany

9) China

I wrapped the evening up by watching the 14-minute mesmerising display of fireworks, laser and water show - IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth - from an obscure corner where heads often bobbed into my field of vision. Add that to the fact that I did not have a tripod with me, it was impossible for me to get a single decent short to share with you this spectacular live pyrotechnic show so the best I could do was rip a photo off the official Walt Disney Epcot website and plaster it here in the hope they will offer me some kind of travel voucher to visit Disney World again in return for the free publicity I'm doing for them here. ;p

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