The American Adventure
Epcot


Ben Franklin and Mark Twain

All Ears Feature Article on the American Adventure


INTRODUCTION


As you enter World Showcase from Future World, The American Adventure is directly across the Lagoon. It is the center-most pavilion in the World Showcase and is flanked by Italy on the east and Japan on the west. It is actually the southernmost point of Epcot.

The pavilion includes an Audio-Animatronic stage show (also called American Adventure), an outdoor stage and amphitheater (America Gardens Theater), a gallery exhibit called National Treasures featuring Americana from Jackie Robinson, Abe Lincoln, and many more (American Heritage Gallery) a fast-food eatery (Liberty Inn), and a small shop (Heritage Manor Gifts), all set among landscaped walkways and gardens.

The architecture of the building is done in classic English Georgian style. Elements in the Disney building were inspired by Independence Hall, Boston's Old State House, Monticello, and Colonial Williamsburg. The structure's 110,000 bricks are handmade from Georgian clay, which were then colored and aged to make them look authentic. The roof is made of slate, and the floor of marble and copper.

Paintings and quotations line the walls of the Main Hall, the West Hall, and the Upper Lobby of the attraction's building. The quotes are from Walt Disney, Samuel Walter Foss, Althea Gibson, Charles A. Lindbergh, Archibald MacLeish, George Magar Markikian, Herman Melville, Ayn Rand, Wendell Lewis Willkie, and Thomas Wolfe.

As you leave the main lobby and proceed into the theater, you must ride escalators or hike a set of stairs through the Hall of Flags . Above you is hung a collection of the flags that have flown over the United States in all of its forms. It includes Revolutionary War flags, Colonial flags, and foreign flags that once had claim to the land. There are 44 flags in all.


ATTRACTIONS


The American Adventure

Once it is time for you to move into the theater, you will be directed from the main hall to escalators and a stairway.  Upstairs, just follow everyone into the theater.  You sit for the entire show.  All seats are good seats.  The screen is 72 feet wide!

Spirits of AmericaAs you sit down before the show, you will notice 12 statues, 6 on each side of the theater. These are the "Spirits of America." On the left side of the theater, from front to back, are Individualism, Innovation, Tomorrow, Independence, Compassion, and Discovery . On the right side of the theater, from front to back, are Freedom, Heritage, Pioneering, Knowledge, Self-Reliance , and Adventure. They are all life-sized, and are highlighted during the final sequence of the show.

The presentation is a showcase for Disney attractions featuring Audio-Animatronic figures, filmed images, moving sets, and sound and lighting effects.  The 30 minute show highlights notable events and great personalities in American History.  It is in no way complete.

Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain are your hosts for the journey through The American Adventure.   Scenes include:  the Pilgrims and the Mayflower; the Boston Tea Party; the writing of the Declaration of Independence; Valley Forge and the Revolutionary War; slavery and the Civil War; the suffering of Native Americans; the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition; the founding of Yosemite National Park; World Wars I and II; and a series of images depicting the people and events of recent history.

The "Golden Dreams" film montage near the end of the presentation was last updated (about 45 seconds near the end) June 2007.

American Heritage Gallery - The National Treasures opened late September 2007 and features over 40 special artifacts on loan to Epcot. From Abe Lincoln's stovepipe hat to items representing the lives of Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson, Senator Daniel Inouye, Astronaut Gus Grissom and much more.

The Gallery Opens September 2007 with the National Treasures Exhibit
National Treasures Dedication Ceremony

 

The America Gardens Theater

Epcot's Candlelight ProcessionalDirectly across from the American Adventure Building this theater hosts live stage shows and concerts in Epcot.

Click here for the America Gardens Theater Schedule.

Special events here include the Candlelight Processional (late November - December); Eat to the Beat Concerts during the Fall Food and Wine Festival;and Flower Power Concerts during the Flower and Garden Festival, which feature acts such as The Monkees.

Epcot Attractions At A Glance

 

DINING


Liberty Inn - This is a counter service restaurant that features cheeseburgers, chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, chicken strips and french fries. There is a large air-conditioned seating area inside and there is also seating area outside, with some umbrellas at the tables. This is basic fast food fare with a couple of lighter
alternatives such as a Chicken Caesar Salad, Vegetarian Burger and Fruit Cup. As you face the building, the Liberty Inn is on the left side.

Funnel Cakes -   For those seeking a fried dough treat don't miss the Funnel Cake kiosk to the right of the American Adventure Pavilion.

Epcot Restaurants At A Glance
Menus From Around the World
Vegetarian and Other Special Diets

 

ENTERTAINMENT


The Voices of Liberty (below on left), an a cappella group, sing American patriotic songs.  Check your Times Guide for times. Voices of Liberty sings in the rotunda of the American Adventure Pavilion (usually about 15 minutes prior to the next showing of the American Adventure). You can purchase their CDs in the gift shop.


Voices of Liberty
Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps

The Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps (above on right) also perform patriotic songs and songs of the colonial era periodically throughout most days.

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TOURING TIPS


Take a nice 15 minute break, sit on the cool floor just inside the main doors and enjoy the Voices of Liberty! They sing at specific times throughout the day.

Take a look at the Clock Face.  You will see a numeral IIII, instead of the IV.  This was done to prevent confusion when viewing the clock from a distance.

Hidden Mickey Sighting: Lobby—painting of wagon train heading west—above the front leg of the foremost oxen

Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival Highlights - An incredible bed of bright yellow sunflowers highlight the festivals exhibits at the American Adventure.  There are American Floral Flags accompanied by some Disney characters.  In addition, the topiaries feature Mickey and Minnie and Pocahontas.

Holidays from Around the World features storytellers in each country. During Kwanzaa and Hanukkah there are special related exhibits in the American Adventure Rotunda, in addition to the storytelling Santa Claus for Christmas.

Also during Holidays From Around the World, the American Adventure is home to Santa's Bakeshop, a life-size Gingerbread House you'll want to see. It is made with real gingerbread, candies and icing.

Wheelchair guests should check with the Cast Member upon entering the main hall.  There is an elevator that will take you and your party up to the level where the theater is located.

Seating is conventional theater seating.  Wheelchair areas in the back of the theater.

At the American Adventure, the "seating" for the ECVs was extremely hazardous. We were in the back row of the theater. The CM has us pull down to the last available inch and then "nose in" to the seats in front of us so we could fit more ECVs. There is virtually no room there to maneuver. We were all trapped and it took quite some time to get us out. Several companions to those of us on wheels had to come and lift the ECVs to turn them around. (Beth Christie)

Assistive Listening Devices from Guest Services Can Be Used at the American Adventure and the America Gardens Theatre.

Ears to the World, show translators that are available for guests with limited English fluency, may be used at this attraction. Guests may choose from one of the five Walt Disney World Resort key languages: French, German, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish. Ask a Cast Member about availability.

Reflective Captioning Available for the American Adventure

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KIDS AND CHARACTERS


Each of the World Showcase countries has a special "KIDCOT" area that provides an opportunity for your child to interact with a native of the country you are visiting.

Epcot PassPorts are great fun for kids as they have them stamped at each pavilion around World Showcase.

Epcot Characters At A Glance 
Character Meet and Greet FAQ

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SHOPPING


Heritage Manor Gifts - Handcrafted goods, Americana items, and Coke items. Voices of Liberty CDs are sold here!

Kodak Kiosk - Accessories and drop-off for two-hour film processing. Pick up prints at Camera Center.

Pin Cart - If the pin trading craze has gotten you, here's another place in Epcot where you can see a wide variety of pins for purchase.

(Excerpt from Shopping Around the World) The group converged on Heritage Manor Gifts. The most popular item with nearly everyone was the Gemini Specs ($2.50). These specs are similar to ones that used to be given out at the Osborne Spectacle of Lights, but are for watching Epcot's nighttime show, IllumiNations. With the specs on, you'll see the letters "USA" sparkle around whatever you view -- hmmm, maybe you had to be there to appreciate these...

Perhaps it was because the USA is our home, or maybe it's the fact that the store is quite small, but none of the souvenirs wowed any of the Shoppers. As Lisa explained, "Our country is chock full of culture and diversity. What a shame that none of it is displayed. Where were the Native American crafts? Where were the Amish Hex signs? Flags and small statues of 'Lady Liberty' just left me wanting more."

Still, when pressed to come up with something, the Shoppers eventually agreed on Red, White and Blue baseballs ($6), a Mickey Mouse wooden mini-bat ($14), bald eagle sculpture ($8), and replicas of historical documents such as the Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence for the low price of $2 each.

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INTERESTING FACTS


When the decision was made to turn Walt Disney's city of Epcot into the theme park of Epcot Center, World Showcase was to have been the main park component. Plans for the showcase had all pavilions located within one semicircular building. When the plans changed to the present World Showcase Lagoon design, Imagineers did not even place the United States with the other pavilions. It was to be a two-story structure on stilts, between World Showcase and Future World. The attraction would be housed in the second story, and the first story would be used as a sort of tunneled gateway to World Showcase. Finally, it was decided to move the United States pavilion not only into the Showcase, but also into the center-most position across the lagoon, so that The American Adventure would play host to all the countries that surround it.

As the Host Nation and the centerpiece of World Showcase, The American Adventure is built at a slightly higher elevation than the surrounding pavilions. The landscaping here is the most structured of all the countries represented. The symmetrical planting and all-American plant material give it a feeling of Philadelphia formality.

Original plans for the attraction called for three hosts, one representing each century during which the United States has existed. Franklin was chosen as representative of the 18th century, and Twain for the 19th century. After suggesting possible figures, such as Will Rogers and Walter Cronkite, it was decided that guests were too familiar with the 20th century to easily be represented by one person. It was decided to execute the show with only two hosts.

Thirty-five figures are used during the show. They are (in order of appearance): Ben Franklin (3 figures); Mark Twain (3 figures); Thomas Jefferson; George Washington; Washington's horse; two soldiers in Valley Forge; Frederick Douglas; a Civil War-era family consisting of a father, mother, baby, daughter, and two brothers; Mr. Brady (a Civil War-era photographer); Chief Joseph; Alexander Graham Bell; Andrew Carnegie; Susan B. Anthony; Theodore Roosevelt; John Muir; four men and a dog in a 1929 gas station scene; Franklin D. Roosevelt; Will Rogers; Rosie the Riveter; and two battleship crew members (one male and one female).

People ask if Benjamin Franklin really walks up the stairs into Thomas Jefferson's study.  The Audio-Animatronic figure is actually incrementally lifted into place one step at a time.  Placed next to stairway railings, this gives the illusion of a man walking up a flight of stairs.

There are so many figures and changes in the show that Disney uses something called "the war wagon," a movable device under the theater, measuring 65-by-35-by-14 feet and weighing 175 tons. Ten different sets are stored on the device, and then moved forward or backward when needed. It is all computer-controlled.

Here are some of the songs heard during the presentation:

  • "New World Bound," which is played against the backdrop of a series of paintings depicting the Mayflower voyage and the Pilgrims' landing at Plymouth Rock.
  • "In The Days of '76," which is played during various scenes of the Revolutionary War.
  • "Two Brothers," telling the Civil War story of two brothers, fighting on opposite sides of the War.
  • "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" sung by a banjo player in a 1929 gas station.
  • "I'll Be Home For Christmas," which is heard in the background of the Rosie the Riveter scene.
  • "Golden Dream," sung during the film montage and the show's finale.

To date, only "Golden Dream" has been released on album, tape or CD.

The American Adventure has been renovated twice. Once in 1993, several changes, including the use of new audio-animatronic figures of Franklin and Twain and an update to the film montage were installed. 

This Golden Dream Montage included:  Neil Armstrong, Leonard Bernstein, Johnny Carson, Walt Disney, Bob Dylan, Albert Einstein, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Judy Garland, Chief Dan George, Alex Haley, Jim Henson, Bob Hope, "Magic" Johnson, John F. Kennedy, Billie Jean King, Mary Martin, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Mary Lou Retton, Sally Ride, Jackie Robinson, Eleanor Roosevelt, Frank Sinatra, Gloria Steinem, Ryan White, and Frank Lloyd Wright, among others.

The attraction was updated once again in June 2007, when the last 45 seconds of the film montaqe was updated.