After a very satisfying lunch, Dan and I headed out to finished touring as much of the World Showcase as we could, before going to the Future Showcase to redeem some of Dan’s fastpasses. The Morocco Pavilion was the next location on our list. It was probably the most immersive and impressive of all the countries. It was designed to look like a large Moroccan city with a realistic Minaret. The minaret is an architectural feature of Islamic design where the call to prayer is sent out of. Morroco, unlike the other pavilions, had their government involved in the design of the showcase, ensuring the realism of this exhibition.
A replica of Bab Boujeloud, the gateway to the Fez Medina, leads you to a large Bazaar area. The Morocco pavilion at Epcot features authentic Moroccan merchandise such as hand dyed fabrics, ceramics, Moroccan-made rugs, Moroccan clothing and shoes and brass and silver plates. The entire place smells as authentic as it looks, the heavy scent of incense floating through the air.
The courtyard is another kaleidoscope of colour and action. During the day, it features entertainment, like belly dancing shows and an Aladdin and Jasmine meet and greet.
Some of the major defining structures of the pavilion include Chellah, a replication of the necropolis in Rabat, and the Koutoubia, a replica of the minaret of the same name in Marrakech.
King Hassan II sent Moroccan artisans to design and create the many mosaics found throughout this part of the park. Following traditional Islamic beliefs, mosaics contain no representations of people and instead feature intricate and impactful geometric designs. Since the buildings have such powerful, religious significance, this pavilion is the only one which does not to light up during the IllumiNations fireworks show.
Restaurant Marrakesh, along with the Tangierine Cafe, serves Moroccan fare, including roast lamb in Tajine, Couscous, hummus and Harira soup. They also serve up traditional Moroccan beverages like mint tea, slushies, beer, and coffee
Since it was so cold outside, I grabbed a cup of hot, mint tea. It came in the most adorable Moroccan plastic cup which was shaped like a beautiful glass tea cup. Dan opted to try the Moroccan beer which you're allowed to take to-go as you wander about.
The Morocco Pavilion allows guests to gain insight into the lifestyle and culture of the Moroccan people through the Gallery of Arts and History. There were so many beautiful objects throughout, and it almost felt like a mini museum hosting such intimate treasure.
After wandering around Morocco, we headed off to Japan! We didn't stop there for too long since we would return there for dinner but we did make sure to head on down to their exhibit on Kawai culture.
The Japan Pavilion is made up of several buildings surrounding a large courtyard. On the one side, there is an entrance to a calming Japanese Pagoda. Beside the Pagoda is a small Japanese garden filled with koi pond pools and beautifully manicured flowers and bonsai trees. Towards the lake stands the bright red Torii gate. A torii gate is a traditional Japanese gate most commonly found at the entrance of or within a Shinto shrine.
Opposite the lake, at the end of the courtyard is a large Japanese castle. It doesn't resemble traditional European castles but is very authentic to the real castles of Japan. Inside, you are lead across a moat and into the main building. Inside are various exhibitions on display representing all different aspects of Japanese art and culture.
This show that was one called "Kawaii Life" and featured a look at Japan's "Culture of Cute." All these replica apartments were like something out of my dreams. Artist Sebastian Masuda explains: "The meaning of kawaii is that personal cosmos filled with the collection of things one madly loves. "Kawaii" is not something fashionable - dressing up for others or trying to be someone else - but rather collecting things because you simply love them. Fashion is just a statement to show what you love!" Since we are planning on visiting Japan in the fall, this got me very excited for that upcoming trip and all the wonderful things I will be bringing back!
Since we had a short amount of time left to spend here, we decided to browse the largest shopping mall they had in the building beside the Kawaii exhibition. The Mitsukoshi department store sells many Japanese items, including clothing, jewellery, books, manga, anime, and toys. A huge part of the shop sells Japanese pop culture related items like Pokemon and Sailor Moon! There is also a huge portion of the store dedicated to food items imported in from Japan. I couldn't help grabbing some very weird but delicious sounding items, including spicy and sweet mini crabs!
After shopping around Japan, we set out to the other side of the park to redeem some of our fastpasses. The first stop was at Spaceship Earth! We didn't need the fastpass though as the line was so short but still, it was nice to walk right on. I was looking forward to this classic ride, and I was not disappointed!
On the way over to Spaceship Earth, we marvelled at the Innoventions Fountains, dancing to a jangly soundtrack. Computer-controlled pumps send 30,000 gallons of water cascading down its tiered walls every minute. They were intensely mesmerising and even with all the noise around you when you're looking at these dancing fountains, it all seems to fall away.
Spaceship Earth is the iconic golf ball shaped structure that everyone associates with Epcot. Spaceship Earth is a derivative of a pentakis dodecahedron, with 60 isosceles triangle faces divided into 16 smaller triangles. There are 11,520 total isosceles triangles forming 3840 points which make up the giant sphere.
The Spaceship Earth dark ride is an animatronic ride where travellers journey through time, studying the advancements humans have made in communication starting with cave paintings and ending with Steve Jobs.
You step into a small little cart attached to processions of about 20 other carts and ride through the story of human communication throughout the ages. You start by ascending into the dark ride and pass through various human scale dioramas of the advancements in communication from hieroglyphics to Phoenician merchants, and Greek mathematics. Each scene is wonderfully rich with textures and historically accurate details. The animatronics might be dated, but they still add that extra touch of realness that makes the ride all the more enjoyable.
After you move through Rome, you turn a corner and suddenly smell smoke and the crackling of the fire. Then you see the scenes of the burning of the Library of Alexandria and the loss of the world's recorded knowledge. As someone who loves libraries so much this was a powerful scene for me. Then, we see scenes of Jewish and Islamic scholars of the Middle Ages preserving recorded information, so if a fire like Alexandra happened again, the knowledge would be spread to more than simply one building.
You'll come across Gutenberg and his invention, the printing press, which changed the spread of literature all over the world. The Renaissance was one of the most important eras of discovery, and you see various scholars, and they are represented surrounded by rich tapestries and dancing women. Around the corner, you see the darkened silhouette of Michelangelo painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
As we continue in the time machine, we pass through the 20th-century revolutions like the telegraphs, radio, telephones, and movies. We pass by a gorgeous mid-century living room, complete with a nuclear family watching the 1969 television broadcast of Apollo 11 landing on the moon.
One of the final scenes we pass by is the small, dingy garage of Steve Jobs as he sits by a small desk building the first home computer and what would become one of the biggest empires in the world.
As you descend back down to the lower level, you get a picture taken of you and your companion and have the chance to design your future using the touch screens which are on the front of your riding car. This was one of the funniest parts of the ride as we overheard a small child on the way out reminiscing on their future saying, "my future was terrible...." I know it might not be the most exciting ride but for me, it was fabulous and a great place to relax after all that walking around.
Dan headed over to Mission: Space next. I warned him not to take the "orange" option, as I had heard it was pretty intense. He said he wouldn't but of course, right before getting on the ride, he opted for the "orange track". Daredevil he is, he was perfectly fine. Mission: Space simulates what it would be like to ride on a spaceship on a mission to Mars. When you get on the ride, you get assigned a role and have tasks to do along the journey to successfully complete the mission.
While Dan rode the scary, fast rides, I tottled around the gift shop, looking at all the infinitely cute souvenirs they had on offer.
While I pursued the stores, Dan rode his final fastpass of the day, "Test Track". This is the most popular ride in Epcot and lines can reach two hours in the height of the summer. So, it was lucky for us that he was able to walk right on with his fastpass.
Test Track simulates the testing procedures that car companies use to evaluate their concepts cars. When you first get on the ride you are given the opportunity to design your vehicle; colour, shape, accents and interior. This is the only part of the experience I would have liked...
At the end of the ride, the car you are riding in speeds around an outdoor race track, going at extremely high speeds to give you the sense of being in a race car. After that final ride, even Dan had had enough of rides for the day, and we headed back to the World Showcase to explore the other countries we hadn't made it to yet and grab some treats along the way.