This entire series, Dating Around World Showcase, has been an adventure. To date, Hubby and I have explored seven out of the eleven countries represented on the almost one-mile promenade at Epcot. The two of us have gained new perspective and a tremendous amount of knowledge and appreciation by talking to Cast Members, taking the time to read placards on the walls and by putting ourselves right in the middle of the action. We have slowed down to take in the sights and have no regrets about taking this “extended journey” around the world together. So, why should this episode be any different? It wasn’t! This date night took us to the American Adventure and we were surprised at how many things we had overlooked in the past. Ready to go the explore American Adventure with us? Let’s go!
Disclaimer #1 All expenses for this evening were self-paid. This post was not requested, nor compensated for its publication.
Disclaimer #2: This post contains affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure policy for more information.
Those of you following the series know that we had initially skipped over this pavilion. It wasn’t an oversight and not a blatant passing over. The night we intended to visit, we simply started out too late to enjoy all this exhibit has to offer during the day. However, there was no doubt we would backtrack to explore the nooks and crannies of this pavilion, no matter how much we thought we knew about it. It just took us a little longer to get back than we expected.
Starting the American Adventure at Home
The American Adventure doesn’t have a table service restaurant where Guests can sit down for a full service meal. Instead, it has a few outdoor booths (Fife ‘n Drum, Block and Hans, Funnel Cakes) and a quick service venue, Liberty Inn, with some good ol’ favorites like burgers and hot dogs.
Even before we headed out to the park, though, we decided to try something new. Within the last year, Disney Parks implemented a new way to order quick service meals. At select venues, Guests now have the ability to order a quick service meal from their mobile device before even reaching the restaurant. I’ve actually done this before with tremendous success at Magic Kingdom, so Hubby and I decided to give it a try for Epcot.
While sitting on my couch, just before putting on my sneakers, I pulled up the My Disney Experience app on my phone and went to Order Food. Once I signed in, it gave me a list of restaurants participating with this program and I selected Liberty Inn under Epcot, where we were planning on dining that afternoon.
Hubby and I proceeded to place our order, check out and head out. The order was then captured in the My Disney Experience app where I could access it once we reached the park. The next step would be to click the “I’m Here” button when were about ten minutes out and they would begin to prepare our order. I’ll get to that in a bit.
As a quick note, in order to do this, you have to have a credit card on file with the app because they do charge right away. That helps to weed out “fake orders,” I suppose.
FOOD ALLERGY NEWS!!
While placing our order, I noticed that they now have special dietary options on the mobile ordering menu!! This is a HUGE plus if you are comfortable ordering this way. I’m sure they take great care, but I’m still a face-to-face with the manager kind of a food allergy momma. In any case, knowing that they have this option now will provide tons of food allergy families with the ability to place mobile orders before heading off to a quick service venue at Disney Parks.
Arriving at the Park
This Disney date, we started off fairly early in the afternoon, determined to fit in everything we wanted to see and still return home before nightfall. We parked, took the tram to the front, got through security and made it through the Annual Passholder entrance with little to no issues.
Once we were on the inside, it felt like the park was pretty crowded for an October afternoon. It wasn’t shoulder to shoulder, but there were a few bottlenecks and slow downs here and there.
This trip, we decided to save time and, instead of walking the nearly half mile to get to the American Adventure, we decided to pick up the ferry boat at the Canada Pavilion and enjoy the smooth ride over to the Morocco Pavilion. That cut off about two countries and shaved off about eight to ten minutes of walking time.
Yup – He timed it. Hubby took out the stopwatch on his phone and timed the boat ride.
I actually meant to do this once we were seated on the boat (by the way – the best seat on the boat is in the back, but it fills up quickly!!). Instead, I went back to the My Disney Experience app once we arrived at the Morocco port and found the button to press on the app that says, “I’m Here. Prepare My Order.”
That sent a message to Liberty Inn that we were heading their way and they could begin to prepare our meal.
Back when the system was first implemented, the goal I believe was eleven minutes from hitting that button until receiving a message on your phone stating your order was ready.
This took two! Wow!
The American Adventure Pavilion
So, let’s talk about the American Adventure for just a moment. This pavilion is THE host pavilion within World Showcase. It sits all the way in the back of the park and is the sixth country reached either way you walk the promenade (unless you are entering from the Epcot Resorts). When I glance over at it from the 6 o’clock position (American Adventure standing at noon), I look to the left and to right and visualize the other countries as extended arms wrapping around the World Showcase Lagoon.
Yeah, weird, I know. It’s just what comes to mind when I look back at it.
The pavilion has one single uniquely designed building that is home to a quick service restaurant on one side, a museum and performance hall in the center and a small souvenir shop on the other. Made out of 110,000 aged bricks, the five story building is made to look like two-and-a-half by using forced perspective. When you stand back and look at people standing up against the building, the structure looks much bigger than it actually is.
Time to Dine on American Fare
As I mentioned above, our meal was done literally two minutes from the time I hit the “I’m Here” button, so we really didn’t have the time to leisurely make our way there.
We arrived and they were already calling out my name at the window. Goodness! They brought our order and then our beverage. We picked up a variety of condiments to use on our All-American Burger and fries and then found ourselves a quiet little table off to the side.
It was fairly populated in there ~ but a few seats were open, so we didn’t feel like we sitting on top of each other.
We chose to share another meal – this time the All-American Burger with fries and a large Coca-Cola®. The All-American Burger is a well done patty topped with Vermont Cheddar Cheese and bacon, all on a brioche bun. For some reason, they serve the lettuce, tomato and pickle slices on TOP of the bun, but they are easy to transfer right to the sandwich.
The french fries are shoe-string style and quite salty, but always good. They are perfect dipped in either honey mustard, barbecue sauce, ketchup or regular yellow mustard. Of course, they are pretty good on their own, as well.
While chowing down our on American grub, Hubby had an interesting thought. Why is it that, when we visit other countries around World Showcase, we get a taste of their authentic cuisine. However, when we visit The American Adventure, which is designed to replicate colonial times more than anything, we are not eating foods that were on the dinner plates of Americans from that time period? I’m not sure I have an answer to that one ~ perhaps it’s because this is the only “period piece” pavilion on the Promenade, but I do have to agree with him. What DID they eat back then? Where is the porridge, pudding and pot roast? Something tells me kids back in those days did not have the option of eating a hot dog topped with mac ‘n cheese.
Things that make you go ~ Hmmm………
Time to Explore
Once we took that last burger bite of our shared meal (we had to leave room for something later), we made our way out to find some of the entertainment. Adjacent to Liberty Inn and inside the center of the colonial-styled structure, there is a square lobby that surrounds an oval-shaped rotunda. Adorning the walls are various quotes from famous Americans, from Walt Disney to Ayn Rand, and a variety of paintings that depict what America is all about.
Voice of Liberty
We arrived just in time for my favorite part, with perhaps three minutes to spare. As we entered, we made our way quickly to the center of the rotunda, where the Voices of Liberty were about to perform.
The Voices of Liberty are an exceptionally talented a capella vocal group who perform in about 15 minute increments throughout the day. Their repertoire includes a handful of patriotic and timeless pieces that resound in the perfectly acoustic room, making music lovers and patriots-at-heart swoon.
If you know me personally, you are well aware that I am a “lover of all things harmony.” I have been singing for most of my life and studied music while in college. Picking up a harmony is one of my few special skills and is pretty much second nature to me. Listening to harmonies is my pure joy! It makes me all “melty” inside and you may find me swooning or leaking a little from the eyes. This group nails it! I am astounded every time I sit there and take in their performance. My boys love them, too.
American Heritage Gallery
Just to the right of the rotunda is something we never knew existed ~ the American Heritage Gallery. It sits right off the lobby, near the entrance that leads to the theater. This small space is currently home to a Disney and Smithsonian collaboration called “Creative Traditions: Innovation and Changes in American Indian Art.” Encased in glass are artifacts from Native American culture, dolls, shoes, carriers and more.
Hubby and I took a gander around, since Hubby has always been fascinated with reading the placards in a museum. I loved the 2018 dress in the center case and the various dolls found in a few of the others. Hubby was fascinated with the infant carriers and how the Indians seemed to have mastered the art of carrying littles long before our new-fondled contraptions came around.
The American Adventure
Within a few minutes, we were all heading up the escalator that leads to the “second” floor of the building. As you climb, you are surrounded by the Hall of Flags, which proudly showcases different flags flown through US History.
Once at the top, there are more paintings to admire as you make your way into the theater. The theater seats just over a thousand Guests and there really isn’t a bad seat in the house.
A few years ago, Hubby gifted me with the Backstage Magic Tour, a seven hour behind-the-scenes adventure around the four parks, for my birthday. One of our stops on this tour was behind the curtain of the American Adventure theatrical presentation. I can remember pulling up in the bus and being fascinated with how long the building actually is from that angle. While inside, we learned about the audio-animatronics themselves, how the mechanisms were incorporated into the show and what it takes to project onto such a wide screen! To be honest, I highly recommend this tour if you have the time and the money. It will knock your socks off!
Hubby and I have actually seen this 30 minute show quite a few times, purposefully making a point to see it with the boys on the Fourth of July this year. Normally, we try to find a seat near the center of the center. However, this time, we chose to get a different perspective and sat close to the front. We were in the second row, in fact, and that had its pros and cons.
Pros: We were able to see some of the detail in the audio-animatronics and feel closer to the story.
Cons: There was an echo that occurred every once in awhile, particularly in the scenes that had Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain, who happen t be the narrating storytellers in this presentation.
In the end, though, this really is one of our favorite shows to watch. What seals the deal is the song performed at the end. “Golden Dreams,” is one of the most rhythmically captivating and melodically satisfying pieces to me. The instrumental version is played at the front of the park and, once heard, sticks with you for a long time. The harmonies, the lyrics ~ just everything about it is amazing.
Time For Dessert
We came out of the American Adventure presentation and it was still light. However, it was definitely time to grab something else to eat. That meant – it was time for dessert.
Since we had shared our lunch, we knew we would be hungry at one point. Of course, something caught Hubby’s fancy as soon as we crossed the threshold into the American Adventure ~ FUNNEL CAKES!!
Across from the American Gardens Theater (I’ll get to that in a minute) sits this small booth year round that makes and sells funnel cakes. The smell is fantastic and we have always wanted to stop here. However, it’s not a smart choice for those with food allergies.
This booth offers traditional funnel cake options with powdered sugar, as well as topped with vanilla ice cream and/or chocolate sauce on it. For those looking for a little more creativity in their dessert, there is a cookies and cream option that looks absolutely amazing!!!!
During the holidays and festivals, there are usually one or two specialty cakes available. This year, there is a pumpkin spice funnel cake that comes with powdered sugar (or you can probably get vanilla ice cream on it) and, for the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, there is a maple bacon funnel cake.
~ OH – MY – GOODNESS! ~
This was a must try. It was a traditional funnel cake sprinkled with powered sugar and covered with a rectangular slab of maple ice cream. Topping the maple ice cream, of course, is candied bacon. CANDIED BACON!!!
Okay – now I’m going to be honest. I didn’t like the candied bacon. Neither did hubby. I mean, we love bacon, but the candied part made it a little hard to eat. Hubby still wiped the plate clean of it. However, I stuck to the funnel cake as much as possible (even avoiding the ice cream because, as much as I love ice cream ~ it doesn’t love me).
American Gardens Theater
There is one more highlight to the American Adventures pavilion at Epcot. That is the huge theater that sits just on the edge of the World Showcase Lagoon. Throughout the year, numerous events occur on that stage and many, many a famous name graces it. During each of the festivals, a different concert series features various artists and genres. It can include anyone from 38 Special and the Hooters to 98 Degrees and MercyMe, pulling in multiple generations of music lovers. During the Christmas holidays, the Candlelight Processional is performed on that stage. This spectacular performance features not only the narration of the Nativity by celebrities, but also the Voices of Liberty and various high school choirs who auditioned to be a part of this memorable and unique event.
Pssst – I have a secret!!! This year, our middle son will be performing with the Candlelight Processional at least four or five times throughout the season with his high school as part of the Honor Choir!!!!! I’m just going to sit in the audience each time and live vicariously through him. Don’t mind me. I’ll be the one crying tears of pride and joy, but I promise I won’t be THAT loud. But you may want to book that Candlelight Processional Package (dining and a guaranteed seat at one of the performances) now!!
The night of our American Adventure date, Sister Hazel was performing on the American Gardens Theater stage. To be honest ~ we just weren’t feeling it. We had already seen Tiffany and MercyMe perform this festival, so we know how amazing the concerts are. If you’re there during any of the concert series, though, we highly recommend taking a seat and enjoying one or a few if at Epcot.
Another Disney Date Concludes
So, we weren’t going to watch the concert and weren’t up to staying for the fireworks. Therefore, we felt it was time to call it a night. We, once again, caught the boat back to the Canada Pavilion. During that ride, we watched Cast Members working on the barges holding the pyrotechnics for IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.
TIP: Don’t forget!! The word is out that IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth will be setting off its last firework display in the summer of 2019.
To sum up the evening, the food was traditional, the entertainment spectacular and dessert delicious. We enjoyed the few hours we had together “sans kiddos” and were glad to check this one off the bucket list. We even scouted out shirts we want to buy for next year’s Fourth of July. YES – don’t forget to browse through merchandise at Heritage Manor Gifts!!!
Have you been to the American Adventure pavilion in World Showcase at Epcot? What’s YOUR favorite part about it? Do you wish they had a table service restaurant there and, if so, what would your vision for it be?
Be sure to check out the other Dating Around World Showcase Posts!!! The Series is almost complete!
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