The World Showcase is a collection of 11 amazing countries from around the world. They are all represented and give you the chance to explore the sights, language, culture, food, drink, architecture, and so much more about each of these countries. You get a little dose of what it might be like to travel to these countries right from Walt Disney World. There are tons and tons of amazing facts and secrets, but here are 11 of my favorites:
11 – That’s a workout!
For those of you who keep an eye on your Fitbit and how many steps you get it in, you will be pleased to know that if you walk just the walkway from Mexico to Canada, you will end up walking about 1.25 miles. If you meander through the pavilions to look at the shops and various attractions in each country, then you will earn even more steps for your tracker. This will help to negate all the food, snacks, and drinks that you will definitely want to sample while on your journey!
10 – Why are the pathways red?
Have you ever wondered about the pathways are all the color red around the world showcase? Well, as we have all come to learn, just about everything that Disney does is intentional, and this is definitely one of those things. The imagineers determined that the pathways should be red so that the greenery in the area visually looked much more of a rich green color. It definitely pays off since the World Showcase is such a beautiful area!
9 – Forced perspective used to make a building look…. smaller?!?
We are familiar with the use of forced perspective around Walt Disney World to make backgrounds and buildings look larger and grander than they actually are, but to make something look smaller? This was done at the American Adventure pavilion. The building is about 5 stories tall, but the windows were lengthened, and the doors are enormous to make the building look to be only 3 stories tall. During the era for the theme of the American Adventure pavilion, a 5 story building wouldn’t have been standard architecture. A true 3 story building wouldn’t have been tall enough to make an impression in the World Showcase, so they had to make a large building and use the forced perspective to make it visually 3 stories to stay true to the theme!
8 – One thing is not like the others.
When you are in the Canada pavilion, take an extra glance at the totem poles. There are 3 there, but only one of them is actually real. The one on the left was hand-carved by David Boxley. It is said to weigh about 700 pounds. The other two totem poles are not hand-carved and are actually made from pieces of fiberglass that has been stacked on top of each other to resemble totem poles.
7 – The statue in Japan was a gift.
You will notice the beautiful statue as you enter the Japan pavilion. This statue was actually originally a gift from the government of Japan when Magic Kingdom was first opened. It used to be on display there until Epcot was created. It was decided that the gift should be moved to the Japan pavilion for its permanent home, and it has been there ever since.
6 – The Strait of Gibraltar is in the World Showcase.
This is a pretty neat fact that I only learned recently. Pay close attention to the walkway between Morocco and France. The walkway has darker areas. The imagineers intended this to represent the Strait of Gibraltar that runs between Spain and Morocco. It isn’t exactly the correct geographic placement since Spain isn’t part of the World Showcase, but still a very neat way to incorporate the geographic element into the World Showcase.
5 – Real working clock in Germany.
This is one of my favorite little “extras” to catch when I can. While in the Germany pavilion, look toward the back of the pavilion at the clock. On each hour, a wooden boy and girl will come out and move, then go back into the clock. It is a real representation of this famous clock style that originated in Germany.
4 – You get to cross the English Channel.
There is a huge bridge between the UK pavilion and the France pavilion. As you cross over the bridge, Imagineers intended this to be the World Showcase’s English Channel. Look around below on the bridge, and you will notice props like a bicycle, a boat, and artwork on an easel that help to play in the theme for the area, too. Pretty neat, right?
3 – Morocco stays dark at night.
When the sun sets, and the park starts to turn dark and Illuminations takes over the World Showcase area, all of the pavilions become lit up to illuminate the buildings and be a part of the show. You will notice that the Morocco pavilion is the only one that stays dark and doesn’t have lights on it. This was, of course, intentional as illuminating the pavilion would be against religious beliefs that are prominent for the country. It is important to still be respectful of other cultures, which also helps us learn more about them.
2 – Real grass growing on the roof.
In Norway, the Kringla Bakeri og Kafe has real grass growing on the roof of the building. Cast members at Disney who are responsible for maintaining and caring for the various plant life around all of Walt Disney World resort actually climb up to the roof in order to provide the care and attention that the grass needs in order to keep it looking perfect and pretty.
1 – Bird deterrents on the Eiffel Tower.
The Eiffel Tower uses forced perspective to help it look much bigger than it is relative to the rest of the pavilion. If a bird should land on it, it would completely ruin the illusion as the bird would appear to be too large, or you would think it is one giant bird. Because of this, the Imagineers didn’t want to chance any bird landing on it and ruining the perspective of the Eiffel Tower. They use bird deterrents (natural and safe, of course) to help keep them away. They are still welcome all over the World Showcase, just not at the Eiffel Tower!
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