(Germany pavilion of Epcot - picture taken 5/12/15 by myself)
I was trying to think how I could infuse my recent vacation in relation to this blog and the world of genealogy, and as I was editing photos from our first day at Epcot in Disney World, I found the perfect inspiration!
Firstly, a little background. I had never been to Disney World or Florida, for that matter, up until a few weeks ago, so it was going to be a very new experience for me. However, since I live only within hours of Disneyland, Disney World felt very different yet other parts felt very much as they do here at home. Epcot and Animal Kingdom felt the most unique, where as Magic Kingdom felt similar to Disneyland Park and Hollywood Studios felt similar to Disney's California Adventure (DCA, as it's known).
Epcot was our first stop at Disney World. I am glad we chose it as our first stop. It seemed to fit our mood for the day. Being that we took a red eye flight out of San Francisco and had basically just gotten from the Orlando airport, gotten our room at Port Orleans - Riverside and hopped onto a bus to Epcot, we were really running on fumes, but I think the excitement of being there is what kept us going. We didn't return to our hotel until nearly midnight. You can imagine how tired we were! But, we were glad we didn't use up a whole day to get rest. It really never got to us (until now - I have literally spent half of my Memorial day weekend hibernating and recovering from all we did!)
So, what is the connection here? Well, Epcot, as some of you may be familiar with, has the beautiful "World Showcase" portion of their park - which is devoted to 11 different countries and showcases the highlights of what each country offers - surrounded by a lagoon - there is food, shopping, historical and scenic films in Circle-Vision (basically, a room with a 360 degree projected movie - pretty awesome!), and some live entertainment to add to the authenticity of each country. Also, almost all cast members are of that country or speak the language. It's a very immersive experience. Some may not appreciate Disney for all they do to make this feel like a unique experience, but I surely did!
There were several pavilions I felt the strongest connections to - I guess it is no surprise that France, Germany, Norway, United Kingdom, Canada and even the American Adventure portion - all made me feel quite at home. Italy and Morocco were both very beautiful and loved the theming of these two areas, too.
I think for those of us who are looking for some motivation and inspiration for our work, can come out of the World Showcase feeling a strong connection to some of our home countries. Being that I've never been to any of the countries that my ancestors are from, getting a sneak peek in this format was a great little teaser and left me wanting more. However, I know the "Disney" version is generally a little more people friendly, but it definitely sparks some interest for those who may have a heritage in some or many of the countries represented.
I hope in coming years they can squeeze in a few more countries that were missed. I'd like to see what they can come up with. It would be really nice if they could honor Native Americans more.
So, with this said - if you've been to World Showcase at Epcot - did you also have a bit of sense of pride for the countries that you toured that are in your heritage? Did anything turn you away or not feel authentic enough? Did any country that was not within your heritage also spark interest? Did visiting these pavilions motivate you more to want to research certain lineages of your family?