Sunday, March 21, 2010

Flying Knives & Dancing Bellies

Bet that title got your attention, huh?

So, we're still on our "around the world" review of the World Showcase at Epcot - which is where we visited last week along with the millions of other barbarians on Spring Break. Apparently, they didn't get the memo that the Drama Queen would be visiting and that the DQ likes the parks EMPTY, please, of all hordes. Oh well. We still had a great time.

We've already discussed Canada, UK and France...which now leads us to:


Morocco is an under-appreciated treasure of the World Showcase. It has some great architecture, art exhibits, and entertainment - but much is hidden from the casual visitor. You have to delve in and explore the back alleys to really appreciate it. The King himself sent his own artists to create what is now at Epcot - and it shows.

An interesting bit of trivia about this attraction is that because Muslims believe that no one is perfect but Allah, there are intentional design flaws throughout the pavilion. Did you know that Morocco was the FIRST country in the world to acknowledge the United States as a country after the Revolutionary War? If you go into the restaurant, you'll find a replica of a letter sent from the then-king His Majesty Mohamed III's letter with President George, huh?!

Another bit of trivia - at night, during Illuminations, all of the pavilions light up - with the exception of Morocco, out of respect for their spiritual beliefs.

We did not partake of the food during this visit - darn it - but on a previous trip, we have dined at the Restaurant Marrakech - and it was very, very good. I enjoyed the food - while hubby enjoyed the belly dancers. Go figure.


On to Japan - a graceful, serene pavilion with warm colors and beautiful plants. Speaking of plants, most of the plants in this pavilion are NOT native to Japan - as the native plants couldn't survive in the Florida climate. But the Imagineers have done a great job in making them LOOK native to Japan!

The goju-no-to (are you impressed that I speak Japanese? Okay - I cheated.) which means "five-storied pagoda", represents Earth, Wind, Fire, Water and Sky.

Originally, there was supposed to be a Mount Fuji roller coaster ride here - but two reasons why there isn't. The first was funding...and the second? Well, Kodak sponsors this pavilion - and they really didn't like the idea of having the name "Fuji" on their pavilion lest it reminded guests of their competitor, Fuji Film. Mount Kodak wouldn't have sounded quite right, huh?

We had lunch here on Wednesday, March 17th - Saint Patrick's Day. (Believe me, if Ireland had been at the World Showcase, that's where we would have gone. But there's not and so we didn't.)

We ate at the fabulous restaurant, Teppan Edo, which, like so many other restaurants in the World Showcase - is another difficult reservation to get. You have to call 180 days out to get this one - but it is so worth it!

They will seat you at tables like this:

We were seated with a delightful family of five from San Antonio, TX - although the parents were both originally from Puerto Rico. It was great to talk with them while we watched our chef, Kenta, perform his magic during lunch. He did the usual tricks, such as the "volcano" onion, as well as others that I won't mention here because I don't want to spoil it for anyone else.

We could tell, from observing the other chefs in the room, that Kenta was one of the best - he was funny and energetic and he engaged with the kids at our table - which made the meal one to remember.

Speaking of food, hubby and I both had the Asakusa - Sirloin steak and large shrimp with seasonal vegetables, Udon noodles, and steamed rice. The steak was a little dry - not a lot of fat - but the shrimp was very good. When I go back, I'll just stick with all shrimp.

For dessert, we ordered the Green Tea Pudding - a very creamy, mild pudding that is delightfully refreshing on the palate.

We were surprised with a slice of Chocolate Ginger Cake - as we were celebrating our Wedding Anniversary on this trip (Disney gave us buttons to wear that proudly announced this all week) along with a little candle. I thought the cake was a little dry.

We then had a special song performed for us by the chefs and waitresses - which included a lot of clapping, but I couldn't begin to tell you the words. Because I really don't know any Japanese. Honestly.

The American Adventure

On to the central pavilion in the World Showcase - the United States of America! Woot! It sits in the center to play host to all the countries surrounding her, spreading her architectural arms wide in a gesture of hospitality! A note of trivia - this pavilion is the largest - a subtle highlight to Walt Disney's pride in his country. All of the flowers planted here are red, white and blue - appropriately enough.

We got to the pavilion just in time to catch the tail-end of the Fife and Drum Corps.

We watched the Voices of Liberty perform here inside the pavilion - an 8-part a capella group that harmonizes while singing Americana, folk and patriotic songs - they almost brought everyone to tears. They are definitely a "do-not-miss" performance.

After their show, we wandered into to watch the 30-minute "American Adventure Show", a patriotic tour of U.S. history done with animatronics, film and photographs. I always like the song that is sung at the end - again, another tear jerker. Damn, I'm getting soft in my old age...either that, or I'm a sucker for patriotic stuff and all. I liked the show - hubby liked the fact that we were sitting down, in the dark - where he promptly fell asleep and took a much-needed nap. Thank God he didn't snore.

We didn't eat any food here - because, as I see it, we pretty much eat this stuff every day. However, I have to share a quick funny story....

As we were walking through each World pavilion, I told my daughter that we would have to "speak" in that accent. For instance, in Canada, we put an "eh?" on every sentence; in the United Kingdom, we sounded oh-so-British; and in France, we tried to sound like Gaston from "Beauty and the Beast." (We failed miserably.) And we really didn't have a clue as to how to sound Moroccan. We sucked. However, when we got to the American Adventure, I said to daughter, "Remember - you're supposed to sound American here."

She quickly replied, without a moment's hesitation, "I want a hot dog. And McDonald's. Now."

I lost it. Yup - that's about as American as you can get. Bless her heart.



1 comment:

Aunt Juicebox said...

You really make me want to go back! Morroco was my favorite, and my favorite food too!