Walt Disney’s World Showcase brings the United Kingdom into America
By: Rachel Beckmann, Chicago, IL, USA
If you were to take a trip across the Atlantic Ocean to Orlando, Florida, United States, you may feel right at home back in the United Kingdom. At Walt Disney World’s resort situated in the South-Eastern coast of the US, you will find a park titled “Epcot”, which hosts Disney’s World Showcase, presenting snippets of over 11 countries with the United Kingdom just inside the entrance. As an American myself (and a writer for PWR, a UK-based magazine), I recently visited the World Showcase and paid special attention to the UK pavilion.
Photo courtesy: Rachel Beckmann
Walking into the United Kingdom pavilion you will be submerged in UK-esque architecture, foods, and medieval castles. At a glance, the UK pavilion seems to mimic a small English village, complete with your iconic glaring red phone booths at the corner of a cobble-stoned street, sitting next to brick-sided pubs and shops. Little carts and restaurants can be found, which offer bite-sized foods, where legitimate cast members from the UK may be serving fish & chips, bangers & mash, while offering both tea and pints of beer for refreshments. Shops here sell items such as merchandise focused on The Beatles, Doctor Who, and soccer tees, alongside the stereotypical tourist items, such as a sweater with the UK’s National flag embossed. While walking past this cultural display, English countryside tunes are discernible through the streets, including pieces titled the “United Kingdom Medley '', “The Ash Grove '', and “Shall I Sue?”. When Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, you may see Disney characters such as Mary Poppins or Winnie the Pooh and friends near a thatched cottage or right next to a miniature version of Hyde Park.
Reflecting on this, I think it is important to note that this pavilion was created for tourists to get a taste of what the UK has to offer. As an American who has never had the chance to visit the United Kingdom, this theme park allows me to catch a small glimpse of what a day in the UK could look like. The seemingly authentic experience is no surprise, seeing that each pavilion was built in collaboration with those countries to ensure their authenticity. Having never traveled to the UK myself, however, I am not the best to judge that thought. To all of you across the pond, do you think that this attraction rings true to your life in the UK? Why or why not?