One of my favorite parts in all of Walt Disney World is the world showcase section of Epcot. Experiencing the various cultures, especially the food and beverages that each country exhibits gives a person the ability to see many other cultures in a short period of time. But have you ever wondered why the countries were set up the way they are, and why some are included and others are not? As with most everything interesting, there’s usually a story behind it.
The World Showcase at Epcot is represented by 11 countries centered on a large lagoon. The distance around the lagoon totals about 1 ¼ miles, and when the countries were being selected any country was welcome to place a bid. In some cases they had to get countries to agree on costs, and for that or for some reason couldn’t come up with an agreement. In fact, three pavilions were advertised as part of the project but were never built: Spain, Israel and Equatorial Africa. It is said that Spain still might be represented at some point in the future.
The original plan was to have the American showcase as the centerpiece, and that would have been the place from where visitors would start the showcase. From there they would go to Mexico to the left or Canada to the right, which of course are our natural geographic neighbors. Then it was decided that the American adventure, being the focal point of the entire area should be on the opposite side as the draw for people to circle the lagoon. That’s the way it’s set up now, as it is more visually appealing as the centerpiece of all of the lands across the lagoon. But Canada and Mexico remained where they are today.
In order to make sure that every country was equal, the frontage is the same as is the height of their tallest feature. In the interior some may spread out a bit more than others, but each is equal in frontage space. Morocco is interesting in that it didn’t cost Disney anything to build. The King of Morocco at the time was so thrilled to be part of the showcase that he sent his own people over to build it, totally paying for its construction. Another thing about Morocco is at night when the countries are all lit up as part of its illuminations, the temple in Morocco is not lit up as it would violate their religious beliefs.