April 4, 2011

Epcot's Jolly Old England

With its very charming shops, the very good The Rose and Crown restaurant, its adjoining pub, and the British Invasion, an excellent Beatles tribute band that plays from time to time, the United Kingdom showcase is a must stop on any trip to Epcot. The concept art shown above was created to give the designers and future guests a feeling for the place. There are no black taxi cabs here and even the double decker buses that once cruised by have stopped. There is one single red telephone booth to be found, but the obvious landmarks like The Tower of London or even Big Ben from the Houses of Parliament were overlooked in favor of a quainter reproduction. (How I still wish there was a forced perspective building of the clock tower to be found!) This lends the area a more rural feel than I expected on my very first visit shortly after the park opened.

Over the years, not much has been added to the pavilion (do you see a trend here?) but an excellent fish shoppe from Harry Ramsden and a station for the kid friendly Kim Possible adventure. The gardens in the back make for a nice place to stop and rest, but I cannot forget the same area, shown above towards the back of the piece, was once targeted for a large theater and other diversions in its first incarnation. Another unfortunate loss due to overextended budgets. The Tea Caddy remains a destination for those of us longing for some treats from across the pond, but I certainly wouldn't mind a smaller gift outpost from Harrod's. Or a real adventure. Even a Mary Poppins themed attraction or a smaller version of Madame Tussaud's wax museum. The possibilities are only as limited as the cash Disney is willing to put out- if they ever do decide to invest in this portion of the park.

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

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