This is it! We have come to the end of the line and “full circle” around World Showcase at Epcot. If you have followed our dating journey from beginning to end (or at all, for that matter), you know that we started off in Mexico and are concluding our series here in the Canada Pavilion. The interesting thing is that THIS date was a lot shorter than the others and really took some effort to make magical. Why, you ask? Well, there’s this little thing called a drenching downpour…..
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While we were determined to make the most of our day, the puddles were deep and it was impossible to not feel the cold, wet rain and wind soaking through our clothes. Nonetheless, we had our jackets and an umbrella and did our best to hold hands to keep warm (some moments, it was just better to keep our hands in our pockets, though).
Buuuuuuut ~ know what? Before we jump into the date, let’s chat a little bit about the Canada Pavilion ~ you know, get just a few of the facts out of the way.
Leaving Footprints in Canada
The Canada exhibit opened in World Showcase at Epcot in 1982. When entering from Future World, it is the first pavilion to the right. It is the eleventh pavilion if you choose to do the crazy thing and walk all the way around and the second to the left if entering through the International Gateway (Epcot Resorts entrance).
No – Hubby did not do “Disney science” on this one.
As you approach the pavilion, you see this gorgeous Victorian-style structure referred to as “Hotel du Canada.” This exhibit centerpiece was inspired by the Chateau Laurier, an historic hotel found in the country’s capitol of Ottawa.
Landscaping in the Canada Pavilion
Disney did a magnificent job planning out the pavilion’s landscaping. As you enter, you are welcomed by a colorful display in what is meant to represent the Butchart Gardens from Victoria, British Columbia. I kid you not, the array of beauty is breathtaking. On a gorgeous Florida day, the reds, yellows and purples pop amid the green grass and it is next to impossible not to smile.
Farther back in the pavilion, the architects added a feel of walking through the Canadian Rockies. To add a little more texture to the “environment,” they added a 30 feet waterfall!
So ~ I’m a HUGE fan of waterfalls, people. I could literally sit next to that thing all – day – long, listening to the sound of the water dropping into the stream below. It’s so relaxing.
Within the Canada pavilion, there is one table service restaurant tucked into the infrastructure of the exhibit and a cart found out on the promenade. Le Cellier is a signature dining experience within the Disney Dining Plan and is well known for its delicious steaks and cheddar cheese soup. Since this is where we dined that afternoon, I’ll have more to share on this in a moment.
Now, if you’re just looking for a quick snack, the Popcorn in Canada cart outside offers…yes, popcorn. However, that also includes MAPLE popcorn, as well as a variety of Coca-Cola® products and a few alcoholic options. Snack credits can be used at this location.
During the various Epcot festivals, there is always a booth offering Canadian favorites, such as wild mushroom risotto and poutine.
With regard to shopping, there are three places to find Canadian and Disney merchandise. On the promenade, Guests can find Illuminations CDs, shirts, mugs, hats and more at an outdoor kiosk.
Up the stairs and inside the rustic-looking buildings, however, there are two other shopping opportunities. Northwest Mercantile is where Guests can find both stunning glass and wooden ornaments for every season, as well as nearly every woodland animal. The store also showcases hockey attire (of course), Root fragrances and Hatley apparel.
The Trading Post features maple products (yum!!) ~ including tea, candies, cookies and syrup! Growing up, I was a HUGE fan of maple sugar candy because it was one of the only candies my mother would allow me to have (no artificial colors or flavors). Today, my boys now love the sweet taste of a maple sugar leaf melting in their mouth. Mmmm……
Okay, who am I kidding ~ so do I!!
The Trading Post also sells items such as stuffed animals, books, caps and totem poles. Great gifts to bring home to the kiddos you decided to perhaps vacation without….(no judgement here!)
Yes, you read that correctly up there. Totem poles. In fact, there are three within the pavilion! You can also find something here that you can also find in the United Kingdom Pavilion ~ one of those red telephone booths! Yup! It’s tucked away up the stairs and to the left above the shops, but it’s there and doesn’t get as much traffic as the visible ones in the adjacent pavilion.
Sounds like the perfect place to take a picture (wink, wink).
If you remember, at the beginning I mentioned that it was raining quite hard for this particular date. The reservations had been made weeks in advance and I, for some reason, did not check the weather two days beforehand to see if we should reschedule. Besides, I was eager to ~ sad to say ~ get this one over with simply because I am so excited to say we actually completed the project. Nevertheless, we knew it would be a memory in the making.
On our way towards the pavilion, there is a Disney Vacation Club booth to the right, just as you cross over into the Canada Pavilion. Since we had a few minutes to spare, I decided to check and see what pins the Cast Members were sharing, just in case there was one I had been looking to add to my own collection.
PS – I love pin-trading. I haven’t talked about it much, but it is a hobby that I have enjoyed for a few years now. While I am not an avid trader, I do like to stop a Cast Member every once in awhile and see if he or she has a pin in one of the series I like to collect. Here’s a pro-tip (probably knew this one already): Perhaps two or three times a year, I purchase a pack of authentic Disney pins that I have no desire to keep on my personal board. This way, I have no attachment or problem with trading them out. I then take those and use them to trade with various Cast Members. This year, Hubby got me a pack for Christmas that I am currently trading out as we speak.
Back to the date
Our reservation was for 2 PM at Le Cellier for lunch. However, since the weather was not conducive to exploring and we didn’t want to show up to lunch drenched, we decided to attempt an early arrival. You know, it would be better to get drenched AFTER eating and on a full stomach. Right?
After checking in, we were initially told that we would likely have to wait until our reservation time. However, we were actually called to be seated within a few minutes of finding a warm, dry spot on a bench.
This was not our first visit…
No, in fact, we actually dined at Le Cellier for our 18th anniversary a little over four years ago. So, we were familiar with the menu and the ambiance, as well as the cost.
The one thing that I do NOT like about this restaurant, however, is how cramped it feels. I really feel as if we are dining with literally everyone who sits around us. We have found it next to impossible to have a private conversation ~ unless you score one of a few very special tables in one of the corners.
The ambiance, however, can be fairly romantic. A lot of people do actually choose this establishment for a romantic evening together. I mean, the lights are dimmed and the music is played lightly and softly overhead. It does set a beautiful scene. Though not lit, there is a beautiful fireplace on one of the walls within the dining area.
Meeting our server
Sadly, this was another one of those moments that did not go the “Footprints in Pixie Dust” way. The scenario just did not allow for an opportunity to get to know our server. We at least knew her name was Lacey ~ that’s about it. She didn’t hang around much and, again, the cramped quarters did not really produce an opportunity that allowed for conversation.
What did we eat?
Okay – so let’s get to the good stuff. Shall we? I started off with something to drink! I was looking for something sweet, but small – nothing that would affect me too much. After a long hard look at my options, I chose the Victoria Raspberry ~ a nice blend of Dillon’s small batch vodka with fresh-squeezed lime juice and raspberry purée. Hubby went conservative and stuck with soda for this venture.
Food-wise this go round, Hubby and I decided to share an appetizer, entree and dessert. Believe it not, even with sharing, we almost didn’t make it to dessert! Our appetizer was so filling in and of itself that we were struggling by the time our entree came.
So, what appetizer did we choose? Well, as soon as Hubby’s eyes caught a glimpse of the poutine options, he felt that, since we were in Canada, we really should have something that is…well, “Canadian?” He was all about the Bacon Cheeseburger poutine, so we sent in an order for that. This is an offering inspired by the American Adventure Pavilion (isn’t THAT interesting) and includes fresh cut french fries, Wagyu ground beef, Applewood smoked bacon, cheese curds, American Cheese “Whiz” (what???? I NEVER eat Cheese Whiz), tomato jam, dill pickle slaw and Dijon mustard aioli.
As I typed that out, I have NO clue why I agreed to order that….
When it arrived, our eyes nearly popped out of our heads. It was larger than we anticipated and looked – actually – good!!! Yes, I was quite surprised. It truly was a meal in and of itself and filled both of us up to the point where we were a little nervous about seeing our entree.
When our main course did arrived it looked delicious. I mean, steak, people. Yum! Fortunately, we are a couple who likes our steak cooked the same way. I know, right? Strange? We are lucky to at least not have to argue about to whether it is cooked to his liking or to mine.
However, the USDA Prime Rib-Eye Steak we were sharing actually came out to us ~ cold. I mean, the meat, the fingerling potatoes, the veggies ~ it was all cold. It just didn’t taste right. We also felt that the accompanying maple-whiskey glazed brussel sprouts (ordered as an enhancement) were a little TOO charred for our liking. We sadly had to call out for our server to see what could be done.
Now, here’s an interesting thing to note. When Lacey returned to our table and we shared our concern, she didn’t even flinch. She didn’t question us or anything. It was as if she knew this plate would be going back to the kitchen within minutes of its arrival.
Things that make you go, “Hmmm……”
So ~ this at least gave our tummies the time they needed to let the poutine digest a little more.
When the plate returned ~ portioned out and everything (really making us question how things were done back there this go round) ~ it was definitely cooked better. However, it did taste like it had just been reheated. Wasn’t too happy about that ~ and this may have been the first time in the series we were truly disappointed in the delivery and the meal itself. Out of eleven countries, I’m just going to chalk this up as an “oops.”
Now, this is where I will give them brownie points. I mean, we were stuffed for sure….but they had crême brulée. Crême brulée, people!! Ummm – anyone who knows me (or has been following these posts for any length of time) knows that, if there is crême brulée, they know what was ordered for dessert.
This is my ultimate favorite sweet treat.
Now, the pièce de résistance with THIS particular version??? It was maple-flavored!!!
Oh, it was a tough go for Hubby as I tried so hard to make sure he was left his half of the dessert to enjoy. I mean, I was a good girl and stuck to my…”half”….but I savored EVERY single bite. Oh, my ~ yummy, heavenly goodness on a spoon!!!!
After dinner activities
Well, dinner was…nice, but not magical. I’m not sure we will visit it again for another few years, but it was definitely worth the stop this time. It is a higher priced dining option at Walt Disney World, but the steaks are usually VERY good.
So – we had some walking to do to help the food digest. Unfortunately, the weather was not being very cooperative and we were struggling to stay dry even with the umbrella. Our shoes were soaked through to our toes because of the puddles and, since we were in pants due to the cooler temperatures, the sections near our ankles were pretty saturated.
Needless to say, we still found a way to enjoy the time together. We strolled through NorthWest Mercantile and the Trading Post ~ making funny marriage jokes about the buffalo plaid pajamas they sell (PS – I really love that pattern in the winter!!). We also admired the beautiful ornaments.
Cute tidbit about us: We love to pick up a new ornament when we would go on vacation or explore new areas. When it comes time to decorate the tree each year, we enjoy reminiscing about our past adventures. You should see the number of Disney ornaments we have!
We took some time to take a closer look at the totem poles, as well ~ fascinated by the intricate designs. However, we then heard music playing just around the corner. Knowing it was a one of the few entertainment options in the Canada Pavilion, we jumped puddles to get over there and listen for a bit.
There are actually about five different musical ensembles that play on that stage in Canada, but we had the opportunity to listen to Bodh’aktan. This group features Celtic, trad-Quebecois, punk, Irish folk, Breton and Maritime influences.
After we worked off a little of our dinner (yes, we danced a tiny bit….well, I did. Hubby just tried to stay dry. I was trying to stay warm), we made our way over to the Circle-D 360° movie housed within the Canada Pavilion.
I have to warn you guys again. If you read about our China date, I mentioned that these Circle-Vision 360° movies are fabulous, but can affect those with motion sickness. This one is no different than that one and I did have a few issues. However, I love this particular movie because the host, Martin Short, is hilarious, witty and a treat to see up on the screen. In my personal opinion (you may think differently), I find this the most entertaining of the movies featured in World Showcase.
The unique film takes us on a virtual visit around Canada, starting with Horseshoe Falls. For the next 18 minutes, we were taken on a journey from coast to coast, through metropolitan areas such as Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal and into frontier towns and wintry scenes. The Canadian-born comedian highlights the country’s love, passion and strength in winter sports and reminds us of the various famous faces that have the pleasure of calling Canada “home.”
The movie runs continuously throughout the day, so it’s hard to miss it. You do have to travel to the back of the pavilion to find the theater. However, it’s really not that difficult to find. I highly recommend taking the time to venture back there to watch. However, if you do get motion sickness at all, I would also recommend taking a few minutes AFTER the movie to sit and regain your footing before venturing back out onto the Promenade.
Closing out the date
So, we didn’t spend hours upon hours exploring the intricacies of this particular exhibit. Perhaps, we will have to go back and try again some time. We did, however, have a great time enjoying a meal together, listening to music, watching a movie and walking in the rain hand in hand. We were kid-free and able to enjoy some time one-on-one and make the most of a rainy day at Disney.
Have you explored the Canada Pavilion in World Showcase at Epcot? If so, did I miss anything? What do you love most about it? How do you rank it against the other pavilions (uh-oh…is that a loaded question??).
I cannot thank you enough for joining us on this journey around “The World.” Here’s hoping you remain eager to find out where we venture next as we begin a new dating series in a few short weeks.
Until then, explore often and be sure to leave positive footprints behind for others to follow.
To read about our other dates around World Showcase:
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