When EPCOT opened at Walt Disney World on October 1, 1982, only nine World Showcase pavilions graced World Showcase Lagoon. Each pavilion has a history, and we are starting a new series bringing you The Unofficial Guide to EPCOT’s World Showcase pavilions. Today we start with the Mexican pavilion.
The Mexican pavilion opened with the entire theme park on October 1, 1982. So did China, Germany, Italy, USA, Japan, France, United Kingdom, and Canada. The Norway pavilion joined these countries in 1984, and Morocco, the last pavilion to open, was inaugurated in 1988. But let’s talk about these in future posts. For now, back to Mexico!
The Mexican pavilion is home to a ride, several dining venues, a tequila bar, an outdoor margarita bar, musical entertainment, an exhibit area, shopping, and even a meet-and-greet with Donald Duck.
The 36-foot-tall, pre-Columbian pyramid is modeled after an Aztec temple and resembles a Mesoamerican pyramid with steps leading to entrance doors. The original temple was located in Tenochtitlán, the capital of the Aztec city, from 1325 to 1521. Unfortunately, the original was destroyed by the Spanish conquistadors.
When entering the pyramid, make sure to explore the gallery of Mexican artwork. La Celebración del Día de Muertos is a colorful exhibit featuring sculptures with a bridal couple as a centerpiece and many more pieces of art created by prominent Mexican-American artists. The skeleton Bridal Couple symbolizes forever love.
Of course, there is a dose of Coco in the gallery. While I usually am wary of Disney imposing its animated movies on a ride, I would be very much in favor of replacing the current ride with a Coco-themed attraction.
SHOPPING, DINING, & LIBATIONS
When leaving the exhibit area, guests reach La Plaza de Los Amigos, a Mexican village marketplace with plenty of shopping opportunities. The atmosphere is terrific, and you should observe the many artists working on their crafts.
The main restaurant inside the pyramid, the San Ángel Inn Restaurante, overlooks a smaller pyramid, and front-row tables have views of the boats of the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros ride.
Stop at La Cava del Tequila if you are interested in a light appetizer and the best tequila in EPCOT. Located next to the San Ángel Inn Restaurante, the tequila bar is the best and will even convince connoisseurs that it is the real deal!
In September 2010, the sit-down restaurant La Hacienda de Ángel opened along the waterfront. Right next door, guests can enjoy the lakeside counter service of the Cantina de San Ángel. The casual outdoor seating is perfect for watching the closing fireworks.
In November 2017, the Mexican pavilion added an outdoor margarita bar. Choza de Margarita has a wide variety of margaritas, made any way you like them.
The Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros is not the original boat ride from 1982. Upon opening, the Mexican pavilion debuted with El Rio Del Tiempo. The ride meaning “The River of Time” ran out of time in 2007 and was replaced with The Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros. The ride is based on the 1944 Disney film The Three Caballeros, featuring Donald Duck, Jose Carioca, and Panchito Pistoles. There are no height requirements for this attraction! I can’t wait for the ride to be updated with a Coco-themed attraction. What do you think?
The 12-piece Mariachi Cobre band performs traditional folk music from Jalisco, Mexico. Make sure to check your app for performance times. Founded in 1971 by Randy Carrillo, a veteran of the first mariachi youth group in the United States, the band has been an ambassador for mariachi music for 40 years through its performances at Disney World. The group has accompanied a wide range of mariachi and non-mariachi artists, including Linda Ronstadt, Lucha Villa, Lola Beltran, Ana Gabriel, Guadalupe Pineda, Julio Iglesias, and Vikki Carr. They have also performed with nearly 50 symphony orchestras across the US and Mexico. Find out more about Mariachi Cobre here.
Outside, to the pyramid’s right, guests can meet Donald Duck, who holds court dressed in Mexican attire.
Kids will love to stop at the Kidcot Fun Stop where cast members share information about the country and provide activity cards. The Kidcot Fun Stop at the Mexican pavilion is located near the Mexico Folk Art Gallery.
CHRISTMAS AT THE MEXICAN PAVILION
In December 2022, Las Posadas with Mariachi Cobre will return, to the enjoyment of all. The meaning of Las Posadas comes from the Spanish for “The Inns.” It is a religious festival celebrated in Mexico and some parts of the United States between December 16 and 24. Las Posadas commemorates the journey that Joseph and Mary made to Bethlehem.
I love Las Posadas but still miss the Los Tres Reyes performance in front of the Mexican pyramid. Los Tres Reyes celebrates Epiphany. I think there is room for both, don’t you?
For all there is to see and do at Walt Disney World, check out The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World.