Welcome back! In this edition of Uniquely Disney we are venturing back to Epcot and World Showcase- and to the Mexico pavilion! This is one of my absolutely favourite areas for its immersive atmosphere. Though it is a small pavilion Disney has done an outstanding job transporting you to Mexico, to lush jungle, ancient pyramids, and a small town marketplace. Let’s delve into three amazing details in Epcot’s Mexico!
- Pyramid Sculptures
Mexico is one of the most noticeable pavilions when you approach World Showcase, due to its eye-catching focal point – the 36 foot tall pre-Columbian pyramid. This Disney reproduction is a representation of ancient Mesoamerican pyramids and temples, such as El Castillo in Yucatan. This structure features the classic staircase ascending to the top of the pyramid (no, you cannot climb it), and a detailed relief carving at the base of the steps.
My first pavilion detail is on this pyramid – you’ve probably seen it many times!: Ascending the stone steps (the off-limits ones) are serpent-head sculptures. These sculptures represent Aztec god Quetzalcoatl, who was an important creator deity in ancient religions – it was believed that Quetzalcoatl was the creator of man. This is one of the little touches I love; designers could have created images to place on the pyramid, but they chose to include a little history, and thus a little authenticity, in this pavilion structure!
- The San Angel Inn Restaurante
Once you have taken in the sights outside, it’s time to head into the pyramid itself where the rest of the Mexico pavilion awaits! Be sure to take in the displays of Mexican art and history in the front area before you continue through to the Plaza De Los Amigos – an open air market in a small village, carts and wares aglow in lamplight under a night sky. Back behind all the marketplace carts and bustle is my next Disney detail: The San Angel Inn Restaurante! I’ve chosen the restaurant as a whole as my detail because this sit-down stop isn’t just a pure creation; it takes inspiration from the actual ‘San Angel Inn’ in Mexico City! The San Angel Inn in Mexico was built inside an old monastery, and has deep roots dating back to the 1600’s. Disney World’s version is an open-air restaurant at nighttime, lit by the warm glow of candlelight, and set against a backdrop of lush jungle and an ancient pyramid with a smoking volcano in the distance. I love that Disney took real-world inspiration for this eatery, rather than just creating their own version from scratch; it’s details like these that add layers and that real-world feel transports you.
- That Home-y Feeling
The Plaza De Los Amigos is one of my favourite places in World Showcase; the setup and atmosphere is like no other. When you step inside the pyramid and into the Plaza it looks as though you’ve stepped into an outdoor marketplace in a small village in Mexico, hanging lanterns casting a warm glow over the carts dotting the square under the night sky. In the distance you can see an ancient pyramid rising from the trees, and beyond the outline of a volcano, smoke wafting lazily from its peak.
The effect created in this marketplace is amazing, and I love to sit on the benches or the fountain edge and take in the sights. There are beautiful details all around the square, not to mention all the merchandise; but my last detail is something small, nothing more than a finishing touch. The marketplace is bordered by buildings, presumably with homes within, with windows and balconies overlooking the square. These little balcony doors and windows are my third detail in this beautiful pavilion – you can glimpse drawn curtains and flickering lights within, and stairways and balconies are decorated with blooming flowers. These little touches give the impression that there are lived-in homes behind those windows, really rounding out the feel of the marketplace and village.
There you have it- those are my top three Disney details in the Mexico pavilion! I love it just as much everytime I visit World Showcase. What are your favourite Mexico pavilion details?