Today, Dad For Disney begins his salute to all nations but mostly…..Canada?!?!?! Yes, Canada. Today is July 1st and that is Canada Day in Canada. Canada Day is basically Canada’s Birthday. With that in mind, we’ll take a closer look at the Canadian Pavilion at EPCOT.
Canada is one of 11 World Showcase Pavilions in EPCOT and located between the United Kingdom and the entrance to the World Showcase from Future World. At one point, the pavilion was going to be split into “French Canada” and “English Canada” to better represent the two heritages that make up the nation. But that idea was scrapped and Disney went ahead with a “unified Canada” with a very distinctive Pacific Northwest flair.
The pavilion has four main attractions:
- The Victoria Gardens
- Off Kilter Stage Show
- Le Cellier Restaurant
- O Canada! A Circle-Vision 360-degree movie presentation of Canadian Culture
The Victoria Gardens
The Victoria Gardens are modeled after the Butchart Gardens located in Victoria, British Columbia. The gardens are largest at Walt Disney World and therefore the most expensive and require the most man hours to maintain.
As you can see, Disney put in a lot of work to re-create these gardens and have done an excellent job of re-creating these gardens on a smaller scale. The Butchart Gardens are part of a sprawling 55-acre complex in Victoria.
Off Kilter Stage Show
Off Kilter Celtic band has been part of the Canada Pavilion since 1997. It is a five-man band but an interesting note about the band only one of the members is from Canada. Three of the members are from Florida while a fourth is from Ireland. Only the fiddle player, Jason Thomas, is from Ontario. This doesn’t prevent them from playing Canadian contemporary and historical rock from such artists like Brian Adams and Bachman Turner Overdrive.
O Canada! 360-degree Movie Presentation
Narrated by Martin Short, O Canada! is a fast-paced movie through the history and culture of Canada. Viewers learn about what makes Canadians, well, Canadian. The movie has running time of 18 minutes. Because it is a 360-degree view screen, there are no seats. To me, this is the only draw back to the movie. I have a hard time standing for long periods because it hurts my feet. Being able to sit down and watch this movie would be a big plus in my book. A major positive of the movie is the inclusion of my winter past-time….curling. It’s a brief mention but it’s better than nothing.
Le Cellier Restaurant
To most people, a restaurant isn’t an attraction but some people are attracted to Disney for the food and food can be attraction. Le Cellier, for a time, was a single table service credit. Then, it moved to a single credit for lunch and two credits for dinner. Now, it is two credits for both lunch and dinner.
The restaurant is located in the Hotel du Canada. This building is the only nod to Eastern Canada in the pavilion. The hotel is designed after the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa which is one of the top hotels in the city of Ottawa.
The dining area at Le Cellier is intimate and the seating capacity is not very large. This is what drove the increase from a single table credit meal to a two table credit meal. The demand was far exceeding the supply of seats. As a result, Disney tried to increase the price in table credits to lower the demand. However, Disney did not increase the quality of the menu as a result Le Cellier is now a two table credit meal with very little bang for the buck. If the quality of menu increases in future, this will obviously change mine and a lots of people’s view of Le Cellier as a two table credit/signature dining experience.
Canada with the O Canada! movie, Le Cellier, and the Victoria Gardens makes this pavilion not a “pass through” pavilion. It has some things to offer the guest that at least warrant a stop and to look around. However, I would like to see some more of Eastern Canada or even the prairies throughout the pavilion. By going with a Pacific Northwest theme, the Canada Pavilion can, to the casual observer, look like a mini-Wilderness Lodge.
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