Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Walt Disney World Attraction Overview: The American Adventure

This Friday is Independence Day and to celebrate, I thought I would take a look at one of the best attractions at Walt Disney World, The American Adventure.

Now I know what you're thinking...this is one of the best attractions at Walt Disney World? How can that be? It certainly isn't one that many would add to their Top 10 Walt Disney World attractions must dos.  Oftentimes it gets overlooked due to faster and flashier choices.  Even I'm guilty of skipping it when it doesn't fit into my schedule.  However, I have to say that to me, this is unequivocally one of the best attractions that Imagineering has ever put forward.

Let's start with the Pavilion overall.  It is located in Epcot, in the World Showcase section of the park and American Adventure Pavilion is huge.  There's the American Gardens Theater out front, which showcases things like the Eat to the Beat Concert Series and the Flower Power Concert Series.  Then you have the beautiful decor of the building itself that the attraction sits in.  It' is just so gorgeously well done.  The Pavilion also houses a counter service restaurant called Liberty Inn (which honestly is not the best...I don't know why they don't change it out to serve some of the items they serve during Flower and Garden Festival and the Food and Wine Festival. To me, lobster rolls and barbeque are much better draws than dried out hamburgers and hot dogs.  But that's an argument for another day and time.)

There's also the upstairs section, which is a private lounge that's used during the Epcot Food and Wine Festival for Chase card holders. It's a really neat section to experience.

View from the American Adventure Pavilion Lounge

Before heading inside, don't miss the Spirit of America Fife and Drums Corps.  This marching band does a great job of getting you into the patriotic spirit. 

When you enter the doors to head in to see the attraction, head over to the right.  There is a great exhibit over there called ”Re-Discovering America: Family Treasures from the Kinsey Collection.”  There are fantastic artifacts represented celebrating the history and achievements of African Americans. Items include things like a collection of slave songs, African American works of art, historic books published, and even a sewing machine. It is a fascinating exhibit that shares beliefs like hope, courage, and more.

Of course, if you enter the pavilion during the afternoon, you absolutely want to make sure to catch a performance by the Voices of Liberty.  This fantastically talented a capella group have voices that are unparalleled. Often their music is so beautiful it will bring tears to the eye.  During their 15 minute sets, which is performed in the rotunda section, they sing many different songs, but they mostly focus on American anthems.

After catching their show and touring the exhibit, there is still more to see!  You see, you still haven't yet seen The American Adventure show!  You'll head up the escalators where you will pass by The Hall of Flags.  It is a beautiful sight!

You'll then take your seat for the 20 minute show, which shares a beautiful rendition of American history narrated by an AudioAnimatronic Mark Twain and Ben Franklin. The show relies on both AudioAnamtronics, as well as video.  Scenes include things like George Washington and the Revolutionary War, the writing of the Declaration of Independence, the Civil War, the suffering of Native Americans, the Great Depression, World War II, and the creation of National Parks.

Apparently the only photo I have of this show...I need to take more photos here!

Perhaps the most touching section is where they play the stirring song "Golden Dream" alongside clips of other famous and notable Americans from the past century.Of course, this isn't the only great song in this attraction.  There is also the haunting "Two Brothers."

One of the best things about this attraction is how incredibly technologically advanced it is.  All of the moments of history you'll see before you move through the use of a computer-controlled movable system that's found underneath the stage.  The sets are stored and are moved on cue by this fantastically advanced system. Also impressive are the fact that these are some of the most amazing AudioAnamtronics--Ben Franklin walks up stairs and Mark Twain smokes a smoking cigar! (This attraction is especially impressive when you consider it was created more than 30 years ago!)

When the show is over, American guests certainly exit the attraction feeling a strong sense of patriotism.  Overall, it is so fantastically done. It is a wonderful, yet clearly not completely fleshed out, lesson in our country's history. (Otherwise it would be an hours long presentation and no one has time for that on their vacation!)

The American Adventure, tells a fantastic story, has amazing visuals, and beautiful, memorable songs, which is why, to me, this is one of the best attractions that is at Walt Disney World.

But enough about my thoughts...what about you?  Do you enjoy this attraction?  Think it's a snooze fest?  Agree that it's one of the best attractions that Walt Disney World has?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments section or on the Facebook page.

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