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“Is the World Showcase even Disney?”

"Is the World Showcase Even Disney?" The DIS UKPavilion

Hello you lovely lot here on the DIS, I’m Adam. Very new to this Article writing malarkey as I’m normally one to take to a video camera, but here it goes!



So first and foremost; I was once a cast member working in the UK Pavilion at Epcot. Day in, day out I’d answer hundreds of guest questions from “Where’s Alice going to be?” to the down right bizarre. Like the time a gentlemen with his girlfriend asked “How do we get to Disney World?” or when a mother of 3 asked “When does the castle arrive for the fireworks?” Of course my instant reaction to these types of questions was often a look of complete dumb-foolery whilst I scanned the area for the hidden cameras of a prank show.

About 9 months into my program at Epcot, a guest like any other came up to me and said “Look, this is a stupid question…” It was at this moment I had to take in a deep breath and prepare to hold a smile no matter what was about to fall out of her mouth. “Is the World Showcase even Disney?” she asked. Naturally I responded as any cast member would, “Yes madame it is, however some of the pavilions are owned and partially operated by other companies.” I did my job, answered the question and she was happy… But then I got thinking; how Disney is the World Showcase when that ‘jolly’ gentleman and his 7 friends stumble around with a beer from France, swearing left, right and centre? Even as they slump over the Rose and Crown bar asking for my colleagues to destroy their livers before they hit one pavilion more on their drink around the world challenge, I wonder if that’s the intended or even allowed look of the World Showcase.



In my mind the World Showcase does offer something unique to the resort of Walt Disney World. Sure you could drink yourself under the table at the new Disney Springs, but you’d most likely get lost with the new layout and it’s nowhere near as fun as mocking the accent of each country you go to (don’t ask me how many times someone said “hello governor”, “pip pip” or “cheerio”). Is it all really true to Walt’s vision? He saw his parks as a place for parents and children to have fun together, did he not? Well I’m no father, but I wouldn’t like to be walking around with my kids when these ‘jolly’ gentlemen turn rowdy.

I agree that there needs to be an adult outlet within the parks. Us Disney fans aren’t all 7 years old, nor do we all necessarily have children with us. The current environment is obviously a fun one to be in, especially during the food and wine festival. But it’s more than just alcohol that de-Disneyfies the Showcase’s aesthetic in my opinion. I believe it’s partially down to the attractions that still run movies of a France that wasn’t even accurate in 1981 (in a theatre that smells like your great aunt Silvia’s house no less). Is it that the only characters most guests will ever see will either be Agent P or the occasional princess who’s been plopped on the edge of the lagoon because Anna and Elsa kicked her out of Magic Kingdom?

Most worrying of all, was it inconsistency with cast members and guest services that caused her to ask that question? Everyone who works within the Showcase is a Disney cast member, however they do not all work directly for Disney. As I mentioned earlier some of the pavilions are operating participants. Most of the cast is made up of Cultural Representatives on a year program, but this sometimes means that they are not all dedicated to the cause of ‘above and beyond’ guest service. It’s not hard to find that someone with an ‘it’s only a year’ attitude.



Whilst working there as a cast member representing British culture, with British people, in a British pub, it was easy to forget I was working in the most magical place on earth. I found myself having to say out loud “Hey, people save for a lifetime to come here.” As with any major company, each location has its own mini-culture. It’s down to the managers you have and the people that you work with that define the working environment and the guest experience. Sure Disney have their rules and regulations, but it’s down to the management to the degree in which they enforce them. Now believe me, the management team I worked with, I could not fault! And it was them that would remind us of where we were and reign any stragglers in. But we were part of Disney! Could I say the same for some of the operating participants… I’m not so sure.

In an ideal world, I would like to see Epcot get an overhaul just in general, let alone the World Showcase. However ,simple things like updating some of the movies, introducing more permanent meet and greet locations for the princesses, adding some more family attractions and maybe clamping down on that inconsistency with guest service would make it more recognisably Disney. I don’t think you have to take away the alcohol, just create a more family targeted atmosphere. I’m well aware of the upcoming Frozen attraction and I think that could be the first wave in a tide of change for Epcot. However I’m hesitant as to how that attraction will play out… Fastpass+ only maybe? (I heard hundreds of you shudder at the thought) I digress.



Anyhow, I personally would like to see the World Showcase become more Disney. After all, it’s within a Disney park and guests who have never been to Epcot before will expect the Disney atmosphere throughout. I think it’s too easy to forget that you’re in the most magical place on earth when you’re strolling around the World Showcase. But let me know what you think! Do you agree, should Disney invest some Disney into the Showcase? Is it fine the way it is? Or do you wish Anna and Elsa would just bugger off? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading and you can find me, myself and I on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.



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