Walt Disney World
Epcot: World Showcase East
World Showcase East is a collection of pavilions representing the culture, cuisine, and shopping of countries in the eastern hemisphere. All of World Showcase's most popular pavilions can be found here.
The centerpiece of the Mexico pavilion is a life-size Mayan pyramid within which is a smaller Mayan pyramid that serves as the centerpiece to a fine Mexican restaurant. Within the smaller pyramid is an even smaller pyramid still, that serves as the centerpiece to a fine Mexican snack stand. The even smaller pyramid has a dinky pyramid within it that stands on a table next to a dish of mints. We're not sure what's in the dinky pyramid.
Also within the pyramid is El Rio Del Tiempo (literally, The Road of the Tempo or something -- we don't speak Spanish). This spectacular water ride allows guests to follow the animated stars of Disney's The Three Caballeros as they travel through Mexico looking at little Mexican dolls and watching movies of people selling things and cliff diving.
Trivia: When the Mexico pavilion first opened, it was planned to be the showpiece of an annual swimming race to the American pavilion. But even before the first race was scheduled, someone in management realized that this might be a mistake and the whole thing was canceled.
The Norway pavilion has three main attractions:
One of the best shopping venues in the World Showcase, the China pavilion is the perfect place to pick up authentic Chinese wares -- from Chinese checkers and Chinese handcuffs to Chinese calendars, and, of course, fine china. You can also select from a variety of traditional Chinese herbal medicines (some made from former Disney's Animal Kingdom residents).
Be sure to catch the Circlevision film "Reflections of China," in which all of China's magnificence was reflected in a full-length mirror and filmed. (This replaced "Wonders of China," which apparently made many too many guests ask themselves, "I wonder if that's China?")
Trivia: To optimize guests' viewing experience, China's Circlevision theater has been constructed so that the ratio of its diameter to its radius is precisely 2.
A small shopping area paying tribute to countries without enough cash for a real pavilion of their own.
Germany and Italy
These were both, at one time, fine, proud pavilions full of glorious pride and national ambition. Unfortunately, a few years back they got together, nationalized all of their attractions, and tried to expand into other parts of World Showcase. Although the French pavilion made only token protests, the other pavilions (with the notable exception of Japan) put them back in their place. Today, these pavilions are allowed to have nothing more than a restaurant and a couple of token shops, just so they don't get any ideas.
U.S.A. -- The American Adventure (Left)
The American Adventure is divided into two parts, just like the country for which it's named. The left half of this pavilion features a stunning animatronic show in which Hellen Keller, Chief Joseph, Rosa Parks, and other prominent Americans demonstrate what makes this country great. The show ends with a montage of caring Hollywood celebrities. There is also a Guest Services booth in The American Adventure (Left) in which you can receive complimentary medical care and any items you may have lost during your vacation will be replaced free of charge. Note that the tax rate in all of this pavilion's shops has been tripled.
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