The American Adventure
The imposing brick colonial style structure (suggested by Philadelphia's
Independence Hall) that anchors World Showcase lagoon is home to one of Disney Imagineering's
The American Adventure. Archetypal Americans Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain
are our hosts for this entertaining journey through American history. This show is
technologically staggering, mixing a huge cast of audio-animatronic figures with synchronized
projections, special effects, and a full soundtrack. Styles of music and artwork are carefully matched to the periods represented: we begin with naturalistic paintings in the 1600's, then work our way
up to photography in the civil war era and motion pictures in the early twentieth century. A
massive and complicated superstructure underneath the sets shifts the show elements into place
The most impressive thing about this show is how easy it is to forget
that we're watching a mere mechanical contrivance and to get caught up in the story. History
is humanized here by a focus on the individuals involved. Some are nameless to us,
like the Pilgrim mother in the first scenes, or the family who illustrate the literal
"brother against brother" nature of the Civil War in the haunting "One wore blue and one wore gray"
sequence. While we recognize General Washington at Valley Forge, it is the two unknown
foot solders who draw us in to the reality of their struggle.
Other figures are more famous, but are still shown as real people with their own concerns
and hopes for this country. Thomas Jefferson, Chief Joseph, Susan B. Anthony, Alexander Graham Bell,
Will Rogers, and others come alive for us and remind us that there is always a struggle
before the reality of our country is made to live up to our ideals. Ultimately, the show's message is an upbeat one, that we have come a long way in the struggle to make a free and democratic
nation work for all of its people and that, while there is still room for improvement, there
is hope that we can meet the challenges of tomorrow as we have overcome the problems of the past.
Some critics have complained that it doesn't go far enough in showing the struggles of
various minorities, while others have complained that it dwells on such problems too
much -- essentially a sign that they have achieved a pretty fair balance in the presentation.
As theater, it's a marvelous achievement and a great entertainment. A definite must see attraction.
The auditorium itself is huge and able to accommodate an extremely large crowd, so there's
usually no worry about getting in to the next scheduled show. The sight lines are such that
there are no really bad seats in the house, although most people will prefer to be somewhere
in the middle. Don't rush in as soon as the doors are open, but hang back a
bit. The first people who enter the room will be instructed to move on down to the
ends of the rows, so those who follow can find seats. There's no need to push and shove, as
some do, to be first through the door.
Check your entertainment schedule and be sure you're here when The Voices of Liberty a cappella group
are performing inside the dome, as a pre-show for The American Adventure. These highly
talented and engaging singers perform traditional American folk songs and standards, with
a range that will make you laugh, then give you goosebumps.
The American Heritage Gallery is a small display area inside the American Adventure's waiting lobby with an eclectic collection of American historical artifacts. It's worth a look while you wait for the main attraction.
America Gardens Theater. This stage on the World Showcase lagoon offers a variety of different programs. Check the daily entertainment schedule for shows and show
The Liberty Inn represents American cuisine in
Epcot: a fast food stand selling burgers, hot dogs, chicken strips, and salads.
What could be more quintessentially American than a hot dog and fries? As a nation, we may
see ourselves as a filet mignon kind of people, but, let's face it, we eat a lot more hamburger.
It's also the only food some American kids will eat on this side of World Showcase.
The Fife & Drum Tavern is a kiosk offering turkey legs, hot dogs, popcorn, and other snacks and drinks. There's also a funnel cake window across the way (open seasonally).
Heritage Manor Gifts is The American Adventure's one small Americana shop. It's perhaps not surprising that there's nothing exotic about shopping for American goods in the
From The American Adventure you can turn left (as you face World Showcase Lagoon) to visit Japan or right to visit Italy.