The United Kingdom Pavilion – Part One

The United Kingdom Pavilion

When the Imagineers set out to design World Showcase, it wasn’t their intent to recreate a particular time and place within a country. But rather design a space that represents the memories one might bring back with them after a visit to that nation. And so it is with the United Kingdom Pavilion. The buildings here offer a stroll through time. Each structure represents a different era in British history, but the facades are so skillfully crafted that the transition from one to another is seamless. As with all of the World Showcase pavilions, the detail here is exquisite. When visiting, spend some time examining the finer points. But before we start with the architecture, let’s begin with the United Kingdom Pavilion’s town center, Britannia Square.

Town squares can be found in settlements and cities around the world. They are usually located in the center of the community and were used as a gathering spot for the citizens. Typically the ground was packed hard or paved to support merchant’s carts, musical concerts, and political rallies. These squares were often surrounded by meat and cheese markets, bakeries, and clothing stores. Usually, some sort of structure marked the center of the square. In earlier centuries, this was often a well. In time, fountains, monuments, and statues replaced the well as the square’s centerpiece. When Britannia Square was being designed, a statue was originally proposed to anchor this gathering place. Several kings and queens were considered as well as Lord Nelson, Lord Byron, Robert Burns, and William Shakespeare. But in the end, a sundial was selected as it made no political or social statement. For those of you who never realized this was a sundial, I have included a close-up of its face.

Britannia Square

Sundial

Sundial

The United Kingdom Pavilion doesn’t have a ride or a movie like some of the other World Showcase nations. But it has something equally entertaining – a pub. There are many places to imbibe along the promenade, but none beats the Rose & Crown. This is the quintessential spot to whet your whistle.

As with cultures around the world, the people of Great Britain have been brewing and drinking alcohol for centuries. When the Romans arrived at the British Isles, their network of roads gave birth to the Inn. It was here that a traveler could obtain lodging and refreshments. After the Romans, the Anglo-Saxons established alehouses. These were private residences that opened a room of their home for the selling of ale. In time, these homes became meeting places for the locals to discuss politics, gossip, and arrange communal help for their villages. The word “pub” comes from the shortening of “public house.” Pubs required a license from the local magistrate which regulated gaming, drunkenness, undesirable conduct, and other directives. Pubs often had frosted or distorted glass to shield customers from the street traffic outside. Pubs were also often owned by breweries, making ale and beer a better value than wine and hard liquor. Many of these traits can be seen at the Rose & Crown.

Bass

Fully Licensed

Distored Glass

The Rose & Crown incorporates four different pub styles prevalent in the United Kingdom into one structure. The establishment’s main entrance represents a street pub from the Victorian era of the 1890’s. This architecture features brick and wood paneling.

Victorian Pub

Country or “provincial” pubs of the 17th and 18th century featured slate roofs and plaster exterior walls with stone-quoined corners.

Country or

The Dickensian-style pub includes half-timbered walls, a flagstone terrace, and slate roof.

Dickensian-style Pub

And finally, the waterfront or river pub is characterized by stone exterior walls, a clay roof, and decorative doorway.

Waterfront Pub

Outside the River Pub section of the Rose & Crown is a recreation of a lock found on the Grand Union Canal. The Grand Union Canal stretches 137 miles from London to Birmingham with branches that reach Leicester, Slough, Aylesbury, Wendover and Northampton. Along its route are 166 locks. This canal was used for the transport of goods (primarily coal and building materials) between communities.

Rose & Crown Lock

Grand Union Canal Plaque

It’s interesting that the Imagineers chose to honor Thomas Dudley as the lockkeeper at the Rose & Crown Lock. Although Thomas Dudley was born in Yardley Hastings, a village near Northampton, England, his real claim to fame took place in the American Colonies. It was here that he served several terms as governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and was the chief founder of Newtowne, later Cambridge, Massachusetts.

In the early years of Epcot, the Rose & Crown Lock contained gates (as can be seen in the above picture), but these have since been removed. Why? I don’t know.

Rose & Crown Lock

Rose & Crown Lock

The Rose & Crown has two sections, the pub and the restaurant. In the early years, everyone entered through the front door of the brick structure. This can be seen in an older picture advertising both establishments. In later years, the entrance to the restaurant was moved to the side of the building and guests now enter the eatery through the Dickensian-style façade.

Pub and Dining Room Entrance

Pub Entrance

Restaurant Entrance

Inside the restaurant you’ll find three dining rooms, each with a decor to match its exterior. Although subtle, there are distinct differences. The first picture corresponds to the Victorian era, the second to the Dickensian-style, and the third to the River or Waterfront design.

Victorian Dining Room

Dickensian-style Dining Room

River or Waterfront Dining Room

The Rose & Crown Restaurant also offers outside seating. Those tables that sit waterside offer outstanding views of World Showcase Lagoon. This is the perfect spot to enjoy a late night supper and watch Illuminations. Note, these tables can be requested, but not guaranteed.

Outside Seating

Outside Seating

Unfortunately, Americans often poke fun at English cuisine. Please do not let these jabs deter you from trying this great restaurant. Some of my best Epcot meals have been had here. I especially like their Sticky Toffee Pudding for dessert. It’s scrumptious!

Like all Disney World restaurants, the Rose & Crown menu is continually changing. To see their current selection, click here. Reservations are suggested, but lunchtime meals can often be secured at a podium out front at the last minute.

Reservation Podium

Anyone who has toured Epcot between May and October knows that it can be hot and exhausting. During these months, the Rose & Crown Pub is just what the doctor ordered. Folks can stop in for a cold brew and relax and reflect upon their day. The atmosphere is congenial and the air-conditioning welcoming. And for those of you searching for something less intoxicating, a number of soft drinks are available.

Rose & Crown Pub

Rose & Crown Pub

One of the highlights of the Rose & Crown Pub is the Hat Lady. This eccentric American has made the United Kingdom and hats her passion. Her collection of headwear is extensive and each has a tale. During her performance, she will select a hat then regale the audience as to how it came to be in her possession and sing an appropriate melody. She also knows a long list of the best loved pub songs and encourages the bar patrons to sing along. The Hat Lady is extremely popular. Be sure to check the Times Guide for her schedule and arrive early.

Hat Lady

The pub can get crowded so an auxiliary bar has been set up outside and dispenses a variety of brews. Nearby, a number of shaded tables offer a wonderful atmosphere to sit and unwind. But don’t for a minute believe you’re having an original idea when you say to your drinking companion that this would be the perfect spot to watch Illuminations. Almost everyone already knows this and these tables are occupied well over an hour before the show.

Outdoor Bar

Outdoor Seating

The Rose and Crown bears the Latin motto ‘Otium Cum Dignitate’ (‘Leisure with dignity’).

Otium Cum Dignitate

My favorite Epcot people-watching spot is located in this same area. Four benches line the promenade and offer outstanding vistas of people as they run, walk, skip, limp, and trudge by. It’s also in this spot that the World Showcase Players set up an impromptu stage and select guests to help tell a lighthearted story of King Arthur and the Holy Grail. If you like puns and groaners, you’ll love this show. Once again, check your Times Guide for performance days and hours.

Park Benches

World Showcase Players

On the south side of the Rose & Crown is Yorkshire County Fish Shop. As you might guess, this is the spot to order that English gastronomic tradition, fish and chips. The menu is quite limited at this counter service restaurant; besides fish and chips, the only other food offerings are a side of chips and short bread. Soft drinks and ale are also available. By the way, for those Americans that don’t know, chips are what we call French fries. A limited number of tables and chairs are located nearby.

Yorkshire County Fish Shop

Yorkshire County Fish Shop Seating

Across the street from the pub is The Tea Caddy. This structure was inspired by the childhood home of Anne Hathaway, the wife of William Shakespeare. This style of architecture was common in the 1500’s and featured half-timbered walls and a thatched roof. Due to fire regulations, the roofing material here is actually plastic rather than straw or rushes. Larger homes of this era often had multiple fireplaces to help distribute the heat evenly. The largest of these hearths was used for cooking. This can be seen within the interior of The Tea Caddy.

The Tea Caddy

Anne Hathaway House

Fireplace

The Tea Caddy is sponsored by Twinings. This purveyor of teas, coffees, and hot chocolates was founded in 1706 by Thomas Twining. It is generally accepted that Twinings was the first to blend Earl Grey tea. The firm’s logo was created in 1787 and is one of the world’s oldest in continuous use. Besides a large assortment of teas, The Tea Caddy also sells brewing paraphernalia and a collection of shortbreads, shortcakes, biscuits, and other munchies to complement this steaming brew.

Twinings Tea

Tea Paraphernalia

Shortbreads, Shortcakes, and Biscuits

Twinings Logo

The Queen’s Table is housed within buildings representing Elizabethan architecture prevalent in the 1600’s. This architectural style was named for Queen Elizabeth I and is noted for having gable barge boards, diamond-shaped wooden moldings, trefoils, clovers, and chevrons. To add authenticity, the Imagineers designed the building on the left to lean ever so slightly. A close observer will notice crests in the leaded-glass window of the two-story structure. These are those of the four major United Kingdom schools, Oxford, Cambridge, Eton, and Edinburgh.

The Queen's Table

School Crests

The Queens Table sells Heirloom-brand bone china tea services. (Royal Doulton is no longer available here.) In addition, Alice in Wonderland tea sets and other table accessories can be found in this lovely shop.

The Queens Table Merchandise

The Queens Table Merchandise

The Queens Table Merchandise

Behind The Tea Caddy and The Queens Table is a wonderful example of an English cottage garden. In days of old, homeowners would work small patches of their land and grow food items to help supplement their diet. A variety of fruits and vegetables were often planted. Herbs were also found in these gardens, but they were usually planted for medicinal purposes rather than as a seasoning. As the country became more prosperous and fruits and vegetables easier to obtain, flowers began to find their way into these plots. Today, cottage gardens overflow with greenery and color.

The “homes” that face onto the cottage garden were taken from set drawings from the Mary Poppins movie.

Entrance to the Cottage Garden

Cottage Garden Homes

Cottage Garden Homes

Cottage Garden

Cottage Garden

Alice and Mary Poppins frequently show up near the entrance of the cottage garden to pose with guests.

Mary Poppins

That’s it for Part One of the United Kingdom Pavilion. Check back tomorrow for Part Two.

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17 Replies to “The United Kingdom Pavilion – Part One”

  1. Always one of my favorite Epcot places. Whatever happened to the sausage rolls they used to serve? Just the right treat to go with a Bass Ale.

  2. Hi Jack

    Hope you are well; great to see you back. UK is my favorite pavilion; hands down. It is so quaint. I love strolling through it. Every time I go, I have to take another photo even though it’s the same darn one from each previous trip. It’s just so gorgeous. Thanks again. – Shirley

  3. Hi Jack,
    The U.K. pavilion is one of our favorites as well. It’s always so nice to see photos of it. We happened to be in Disney when they were replacing the carpeting with flooring at the Rose & Crown and got a sneak peak. I can’t imagine what the noise level will be like in the pub now.

    With all due respect to the Hat Lady, our favorite entertainer remains Pam Brody. Although she can no longer appear as often or sing as long, she is a treasure. And Carl is our favorite publican. If you’re at the Rose & Crown during the daytime, be sure to hang out on his side of the bar for a VERY amusing and jolly good time!

  4. Hi Jack
    Great to having you blogging again!
    Ironically being British we tend not to linger in the UK pavilion – I suppose we think of it as home, and the shop merchandise isn’t exactly novel to us! So perhaps that’s why I never noticed the sundial – I must admit I thought it was a representation of the memeorials we have in every village and town in the UK commemorating our war dead (frankly sundials are a bit problematic in the UK owing to a lack of decent sunshine most of the time) We’re going to the Food & Wine festival in November and as we’ll be childless we intend to spend some time wandering World Showcase so maybe it’s time to look a little closer at our own country! On family holidays we do always dinner eat at the Rose & Crown at an outside table and watch Illuminations – it is a great spot but does take some advance planning to get but we love to have fish and chips (and they are good at the Rose & Crown) and have a tiny moment thinking of home. Keep up the good work

  5. Hi Jack,

    thanks again for a very interesting & informative blog. Great job!

    I’ve been trying to figure out where you were standing when you snapped pic. #12 (the Grand Union Canal Lock.)
    Did you climb to the very top of a tree? (;

    Jack’s Answer:

    If you walk around to the south side of the pub, then out towards the water, you get pretty close to the sign. I also have a good telephoto lens.

  6. Dear Jack,

    I learn something new every time I read your blog. I did not know the Elizabethan building leans a little. I love that. It’s Disney as usual putting those details, noticeable ones and subtle ones. One of our favorite restaurants is the Rose and Crown and my son must have the leek and potato soup every time we come. I’m so happy to see you blogging as often as you do. I expected there would be occasional blogs from you and yet it’s as if you are writing as you used to.

    Keep the articles coming. It makes my mornings!

    Mindy

  7. I noticed that in the one picture that there is windowpane containing a bull’s-eye. This comes from the time before mass manufacturing of glass was developed. The glass would be handmade by glassblowers called gaffers. In the center of the blown piece would be the bull’s-eye and was considered a cheap piece of glass. You can still see these pieces in old buildings even in the USA.
    David

  8. Great article once again Jack 🙂
    I drive through a village on my commute to work each day that really reminds me of the UK Pavilion in Epcot – there’s a pub, thatched cottages and Victorian-style houses!

    I’d never seen the lock before outside the pub, something to look out for on my next trip.. the real locks on the canals have walls covered in green moss & slime, so I’m glad Disney didn’t recreate that in the pavilion! 😉

  9. Hi Jack! Although this isn’t my favorite pavilion, I still adore its charm (And, thank you for all your info. I learned a lot). I do love walking around the gardens, and the Tea Caddy is one of my favorite shops. As for the characters, I love visiting with Mary Poppins and the characters from the Hundred Acre Woods here. I do however, wish WDW would bring out the cast from Robin Hood. It would make perfect sense to make their home inside the United Kingdom…

  10. Hi Jack,

    I have many fond and a couple of funny memories from the United Kingdom Showcase. Although I’m what I call, “a European Mutt, with a dash of Cherokee,” I’m more British than anything else, and I feel sort of an attachment to this Showcase.

    Last winter I took my father over to Epcot and we had a terrific lunch at the Rose & Crown. Since I don’t drink alcohol, I hadn’t been there before. It was one of those colder Florida winter days, and the Pub was toasty warm. It seems that those colder days make some of the “foreign experiences” more convincing. We each had Shepherd’s Pie, and some nice hot coffee. (I know that hot tea would have been more “proper.”

    The first Christmas that I lived in Orlando, I did my Christmas shopping around World Showcase. I purchased a Royal Doulton character jug, since my father collets them. I knew he didn’t have any women, so I bought Anne Boleyn.

    I remember one particular spring afternoon when I treated myself to a performance of the British Invasion. It was almost like going back to my childhood. All through the performance, I could smell the aroma of the fried fish wafting over to “Hyde Park” from the Yorkshire County Fish Shop. After their performance I walked over to get some fish & chips. I took my tray over to the eating area, when a gentleman with a 3-D camera caught my eye. I placed my tray on a table and walked over to investigate his camera. I turned around just in time to see a seagull make off with one of my pieces of fish! I shook my fist, and yelled, “I hope your arteries clog!” Tip: If you are alone at Walt Disney World, never leave food unattended outdoors. 😉

    I can’t believe that as many times as I’ve seen, photographed, and walked past the town square marker, I’ve never noticed the sundial! Now, I will have to take a closer look!

    Great blog, looking forward to part 2.

    Greg

  11. Hi Jack,
    The UK is my favorite pavilion because I love going into the Tea Caddy and buying a Crunchie bar and then sitting outside and enjoying this candy and the English atmosphere. The Crunchie bar is my favorite English candy.

  12. My favourite Pavilion Jack, (but then I’m biased). Some of the ‘hidden’ details I already knew but the others I’m glad you shared. As always a great blog and I’m looking forward to part 2.

    Thank you
    Heather

  13. hey jack
    The UK pavilion is not one that i have visited frequently however next time i visit i will have to take some time and look at the details and other things the UK has to offer. can’t wait for part 2 and as always keep up the great work.

  14. Wonderful blog Jack! I’m embarrassed to say that I didn’t know you could walk around the back of the Pub to see the lock. I learn something every time I read one of your blogs.

    Can’t wait for part 2,
    Wendy

  15. excellent report jack ! the rose & crown is also my favorite.miss pam brody for years was the “hat lady ” & is still my fav. the british invasion was a must see for me each trip has now been replaced by british revolation. it is also a place to “stop & smell the roses ” after the park closes it is so peaceful in the back where british revolation performs . lots of rabbits . just a note you must have taken pics a while back as the pub now has had the carpet removed. my aching feet & back.

    Jack’s Comment:

    When I wrote this blog, the Pub was closed for refurbishment. I had to find some old pictures of the interior. Thanks for keeping me honest.

  16. As always, a fascinating and highly detailed article. Thank you very much Jack. I’ve lived in UK all my life and didn’t know some of those facts!! Looking forward to part two.