President of Progress City
I'm honored that some of my past work has inspired this project! Great work!Be prepared, guys. Here's another short post. You see, one of the pavilions that will be covered here is merely a rumor, and such a rumor is spearheaded by a site notorious for spreading outlandish rumors. If the rumor does indeed turn out to be true, I'm sure Disney will announce it at D23. Therefore, we'll merely bypass that pavilion for now, but if the rumor is true, I'll come back and edit it after D23.
With that said, let's continue the tour.
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With South Africa explored, we come across the fifth country -- and second new addition -- to World Showcase: Greece. Greece has one of the most unique histories and one of the most famous collections of architecture in all the world, and the atmosphere would lend an air of peacefulness to the World Showcase experience. The architecture of the Greece pavilion is inspired by the glorious architecture that borders the Mediterranean -- the architecture of Santorini, Ios, and Naxos. But as you head towards the rear, you'll find yourself taken back in time to the days of Ancient Greece. A gorgeous blend of Mediterranean buildings and ancient Greek architecture. And with traditional Greek music playing in the background, it would be absolutely beautiful!
The surroundings of the Greece pavilion are lush and green, taking inspiration from the cliffs and greenery of Santorini. Even the borders along the World Showcase Lagoon would be outfitted in a similar fashion. Proceeding further into Greece, we find a bustling Mediterranean community living under the shadow of Mount Olympus. Η Αγορά, which means "The Marketplace", is the pavilion's major shop, selling Greek dolls, Greek Orthodox Iconography, leather goods, and evil eye charms, just to name a few. Smaller stores come in the form of Θησαυροί της Ελλάδας ("Treasures of Greece"), which sells Greek masks, carvings, statuettes, paintings, pottery, miniature mosaics and stories on scrolls, and Νέκταρ των Θεών ("Nectar of the Gods"), which sells food items, like Kalamata olives, olive oil, and traditional Greek spices. The smells of such wares carry throughout the pavilion!
Η Ελιά, which means "The Olive Tree", is an authentic Mediterranean and Greek restaurant set around a giant olive tree. According to Greek mythology, Athena, the goddess of wisdom, gave such a tree to the Greeks as a blessing. And the food for sale at The Olive Tree is a blessing unto itself! Spanakopita, tzatziki, gyros, baklava, mousaka, and souvlaki every day. Not to mention ouzo, raki, and other traditional Greek drinks. Of course, the wine would flow like rainfall here. Greece is home to some of the world's most famous wines, so it seems only fitting that the pavilion honor such a legacy. Η παραγωγή του κρασιού ("The Making of Wine") is connected to the The Olive Tree, showing us how authentic Greek wine is made. The Making of Wine features wine tasting (at a cost), wine-flavored ice cream, wine-flavored candy, and wine-flavored...well, I'm gonna stop whining about it and just let you put the rest together for yourself.
The center of this Mediterranean town is a prime source for entertainment. A large circle in the center of town marks the performance space of a team of Greek dancers. To the lively sounds of the bouzouki, a team of Greek dancers take to the streets to perform a series of traditional Greek dances, and even invite fellow guests to come and try their hand at a dance or two! But, if you're the kind of guy who likes to rub shoulders with Disney characters, Greece is the place to go if you want to meet Hercules and Megara. The characters from the 1997 cult classic have only appeared sporadically throughout Walt Disney World over the years. A Greece pavilion would be the perfect place for them to meet with guests on a regular basis.
Standing proudly beyond this Mediterranean town is the imposing visage of Mt. Olympus, home of the gods of Greek mythology. The mountain itself is towering, creating an impressive backdrop when you view the pavilion from across the lagoon at Showcase Plaza. Surrounding the mountain are the ancient remains of Greek temples, with an impressive replica of the Parthenon found within the forecourt. Inside the mountain, we'll set forth on an adventure of epic proportions: Mythica. Mythica is another roller-coaster coming to the park, themed after the perils of Greek mythology. Beautifully blending a dark ride with a classic Disney roller-coaster, Mythica promises itself to be another shining jewel in EPCOT's crown.
The ride's queue is themed to what looks like the ruined remains of an old Greek temple, taking guests past marble columns and beautiful frescos. Finally, guests walk into the pre-show, where the largest animatronic Disney has ever created will make its appearance. In dedication of the original designs for The Living Seas, Poseidon will make his appearance in this hall. He will stand still as guest enter in this hall in groups. But, as soon as the hall is filled, Poseidon will come to life in a jovial way. He will greet the guests and offer guest the chance to help Helios on his quest to take the sun on its daily journey. Guests will make their way through a side tunnel that will lead them into the station. From here they will board their ride vehicle that is shaped similarly to a Greek chariot. This ride vehicle will leave the station and with a flash of lightning, guest will find themselves flying through mist and clouds until they reach Olympus, where an animatronic of Helios tells guests that he needs their help to get the sun delivered to the sky. The coaster dives left into a heat room, simulating proximity to the sun. With the sun "following" us, our journey is stopped by a Hades animatronic (an original design created specifically for Mythica), who steals the sun in the hopes of using it for his own nefarious purposes. In Hades' wake, the track rolls backwards through a backwards section as if they are falling and losing control of the chariot. Finally the coaster will come to a stop again as Zeus (likewise, another original design) tells guests that they must retrieve the sun. With that, Zeus gives guests the power of lightning and the coaster launches off again on a new track. With strong use of special effects and projections, quest will rush through a battle between Zeus and Hades. Of course, all ends well -- Hades is defeated, Zeus and Helios retrieve the sun, and as we return to earth, Zeus gives us a blessing of a prosperous and fulfilling life.
Moving on from Greece, guests will arrive at the entrance to Germany. Germany consists mainly of many different shops, with some restaurants tucked in here and there. Just on the outskirts of the pavilion is a beautiful wishing well, where Snow White often meets guests. Upon entering the pavilion, to the right is the Das Kaufhaus store, which specifically sells crystal and glass figures, artwork and other types of merchandise. Surrounding the front of the pavilion is a nice relaxing area of trees and benches, which also make a great location to view the nighttime fireworks. Along the edges of the lagoon, the iconic miniature train display has been moved here because of the new pavilion moving in next door. Guests find themselves in a quaint village of Germany, just at the base of a clock tower. Every hour, on the hour, the clock comes to life, as a series of gizmos and figures appear from within the clock's frame, creating in the midst of the town. The clock comes to life in a wonderfully animated scene, including several different moving gadgets and figures. The German village surrounds a beautiful fountain, atop of which sits a statue of.
On the left corner of the town is Karamell-Küche, a wonderful bakery, offering all sorts of treats. The bakery specializes in caramel sweets, from everything to caramel and vanilla cupcakes, chocolate cookies with caramel frosting, brownies, cupcakes and wonderful other snacks. Passing through the sweet shop, guests will come across Die Weihnachts Ecke, a store completely devoted to Christmas items, featuring many different ornaments and Christmas merchandise. Through this store, guests will then be able to come across Weinkeller, a location that features a variety of different German wines and alcohols, where guests can purchase and even partake in their own wine tasting. Through the wine room, guests will then be able to reach the Kunstarbeit in Kristall store, which features more art work pieces and figures made completely out of glass.
All of these stores appear on the left hand side of the Germany pavilion. On the right side of the pavilion, the Volkskunst store can be located, offering many different Germany-based merchandise, from clothes, to yodeling attire, to sports equipment and working clocks. The store is also attached to the Der Teddybar store, which sells Disney Princess and teddy bear merchandise. On the farthest back end of the Germany pavilion, guests will find the sit-down Biergarten restaurant in the clocktower structure. Biergarten is a place where it's pretty much Oktoberfest every day. As guests dine on a German buffet, they are entertained by a German band, who perform on instruments native to Germany, as well as a lively troupe of German dancers, who often invite diners to join them in a polka or two. Nearby, Sommerfest has great German dishes, where guests can dine while being entertained by a quartet of yodelers. The location also features a quick-service location, consisting of mainly hot dogs and pretzels.
In my ideas for Germany, my biggest priority would be to restore something that's been a long time coming for this pavilion: the Rhine River Cruise. According to the Walt Disney Company's 1976 annual report, the Rhine River Cruise was to be "... a cruise down Germany's most famous rivers -- the Rhine, the Tauber, the Ruhr and the Isar. Detailed miniatures of famous landmarks will also be seen, including one of the Cologne Cathedral." While a majority of the show building was never actually constructed, the load and unload area of the ride would have been located next to the entrance to the Biergarten restaurant. Today, this area is hidden behind a giant mural depicting the German countryside. My version of the ride would be based upon what was originally planned, and similar in style to the boat ride in Mexico. The ride would feature a dramatic score comprised of music from some of Germany’s greatest composers including Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, and Wagner. Guests would sail past scenes of some of Germany’s most enduring landmarks such as the Neuschwanstein castle, the Brandenburg Gate, the Cathedral of Cologne, and the Schwarzwald (Black Forest). As in the original plans, when we reach the unload dock, the exit walkway has small seating areas so that we can stop and view the shows at Biergarten from above.
Brazil is one of those pavilions that's consistently rumored to be joining the World Showcase family, and recently, those rumors started circling around again. However, these rumors are spearheaded by a site notorious for spreading rumors that never come to fruition. With D23 on the horizon, it seems we'll get confirmation then. So, we'll just leave Brazil here for now, and if it's confirmed to be coming by, this post will be edited to include what Disney says is coming, as well as a few things I'd like to see.
Strolling along, we find ourselves in the pastoral settings of Italy. Guests arrive in the quaint city square of a city reminiscent of Venice. It looks quite majestic and beautiful. In the forefront of the pavilion, there are two landings jutting out onto the World Showcase Lagoon, the two, connected by a pair of twin bridges. The landings display a set of fountains. In-between the bridge landings and tunnelways, several canal boats can be seen on a nearby dock, making it seem as though the landings really are floating over the canals of Venice. Back up north, guests will arrive in the Italian courtyard. To the left, guests will come across Enoteca Castallo, an Italian shop, which specializes in clothes, perfumes and ceramic art pieces. Just across the courtyard, guests will come across Il Bel Cristallo and La Bottega Italiana, one being a wine location, offering a variety of wines to the guests and the other a chocolate store, offering some of the finest chocolate sweets and candies from Italy. Outside of the two stores, a small seating area is located, which also happens to be a perfect location for guests to have a wine tasting. The courtyard often becomes host to a series of performances from two different sources: Sergio the mime and the World Showcase Players. That's right--they're back! This troupe of players go around World Showcase to tell their butchered versions of classic tales from the countries they perform in. In the UK, they perform King Arthur & the Holy Grail, as well as A Christmas Carol during the holidays; they perform Cyrano de Bergerac in France, and here in Italy, they perform a very unique take on Romeo and Juliet.
Tucked away in the corner behind one of the shops is a stairway leading up to one of the upper levels of the buildings. This location is often used as a meet & greet location for Pinocchio and Geppetto. Speaking of Disney characters, the Lady and the Tramp topiary located here will be removed. They are not Italian characters. The back end of the Italian pavilion is reserved exclusively for some of the best restaurants in EPCOT. Guests come across a beautiful fountain area. Just past the fountain, to the left, is the Tutto Italia restaurant, which offers some of the best pasta, salad and Italian dishes. At the farthest back end of the Italy pavilion, guests will come across the Via Napoli pavilion. This restaurant is a great pizzeria, utilizing three different oven burners to create some of the finest dishes, transporting the flavors of Italy to their guests. The restaurant features a large sitting area, as well as a quaint outdoor seating location, offering wonderful views of the fireworks at nighttime. An extension to Via Napoli would give the pavilion its own counter-service restaurant. It would serve the same pizzas as its table-service counterpart, but give guests the opportunity to buy pizza by the slice.
Beyond all that, this pavilion will be expanded upon. I know it’s already a sufficient sized pavilion, but it has always seemed to be missing some of the grandeur of some of the other pavilions. I hope to fix that with this expansion. My ideas for an expansion are similar to the original Phase II proposal, beginning with -- at last -- a ride for the pavilion. what would Italy be without the iconic sounds of the gondolier? Now, at last, EPCOT's Italy gets that iconic sound in the form of Gondolas di Italia. Even though World Showcase is already heavy on boat rides, I think this idea is too good to pass up and there is something about gondolas themselves that would add extra allure to the attraction and make it somewhat unique. Based upon the original concepts for an Italian expansion, the ride begins with that yellow building we passed by earlier, which was meant to be the starting point for our cruise. It is here where we board our gondola. As we journey down along the rivers of Italy, a live gondolier will sing to us and tell us the history and stories of Italy as we glide along. We'll travel through scenes from some of Italy’s best-known cities, including Venice, Milan, Florence, Pisa, Rome, and Naples, and encounter some of the country’s most enduring landmarks. The ride will use miniatures and audio-animatronics to help bring Italy to life. It won't be an e-ticket, but it will certainly be educative, relaxing and entertaining.
After the ride, we're invited to explore ancient Roman ruins along the lines of what one would see today if walking through the Forum in Rome, built at the northern end of the pavilion. Paths would lead back to the main concourse of the pavilion. In addition to this new ride and ruins area, I'd build a little something called the Gelataria, a bakery that offers a wide assortment of sweet Italian gelato, as well as numerous pastries, such as biscotti, cannoli, and zeppole. This would be found near the ride's docking port and would help disguise the ride building.
As you can see, this picture was made before Via Napoli was built, but it still should help give you an idea of what I want to do here. Of course, the ride's path would have to be altered, and the location and set-up of the ruins would have to be adjusted as well, but I still believe that if this Phase II was to finally come to be, I think we'd have a real beautiful pavilion on our hands.
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Another four pavilions down! What do you think, guys? It should be noted that my Greece pavilion was a combination of four distinct concepts -- @MANEATINGWREATH's Beastly Kingdom from his 2016 Dream Resort thread, the Greece pavilion concepts of @MonorailRed and @ScorpionX, as well as the Helios' Journey ride created for a tournament back in 2013 by @Voxel and @jdmdisney99. Their version was created for a potential Italy pavilion expansion, but I thought it would work better in Greece. Besides, the Greek gods and Roman gods are basically the same people with mostly different names.
Now, in our next post, we'll cover five more pavilions, and after that, we'll cover the final four pavilions of World Showcase, as well as the International Gateway. See you all then! Until then, if you have any feedback or comments, please feel free to share them. I really would like to hear what you guys think!