Background: In March, Pistols At Dawn wrote about the Canada Pavillion at Disney's EPCOT Center in Florida. It blew my mind that a magical world full of Canadian stereotypes exists on U.S. soil, and the more I researched, the more I laughed.
Disclaimer: I have never been to EPCOT, so this review is based solely on descriptions and photographs found online. You're welcome to argue that my opinions lack validity because of this, but since this blog was founded on principles of talking a lot of shit, all protests will be met with unwavering indifference.
Overall, I think it's fabulous that a person can experience a little sampler box of Canada in the balmy climate of Florida. It's an enormous country and the weather's only cooperative for 3 to 4 months out of the year, so travel is expensive and potentially chilly. It's kinda neat to pack all the highlights of one nation into a few acres, and I know that Epcot is intended to be a fantasy for tourists. Unfortunately, whenever Disney is involved, fantasy quickly evolves into surrealism:
attraction: Hotel du Canada
concept: A recreation of Canada's distinctive CP Hotels such as Chateau Laurier, Chateau Frontenac, and Banff Springs.
review: Very nice, but why? These are really just old hotels, and I'll never understand what that has to do with a national identity. That's like building a USA themepark that features a Hyatt Regency attraction. "Canadians have room service? I had no idea they were such an advanced culture!"
rating: HIGH-larious! I wonder if rooms are available "by the hour" for that authentic touch.
attraction: Victoria Gardens & "the Rocky Mountains"
concept: showcase the awesome natural beauty of Canada using paper maché and topiaries.
review: Disney loves building fake mountains and castles, so why stop now? The United States has more mountainous terrain than Canada, but I'm sure that's just an oversight. Also, our birds are made of bird, not trees, but now I'm just nit-picking.
rating: Good effort, but snow in Florida would've really impressed me.
attraction: live "Canadian" music
concept: daily shows featuring Florida Celtic band Off Kilter.
review: No Canadian members here, just 4 Americans, and a Puerto Rican keyboard player. Celtic music is popular in the Maritimes, but it's Scottish/Irish music, not Canadian. I love men in kilts, but they look like my brother's wedding party.
rating: Poor. I bet Nickleback would've worked for minimum wage too. Did anyone bother to ask?
attraction: Totem poles & trading post
concept: feature Canada's First Nations culture and history via insult and exploitation.
review: Totem poles are common in some areas of Ontario and BC, and these replicas are actually pretty good. The "Northwest Merchantile" is another story. White fur traders like The Hudson Bay Company dessimated entire native populations with disease and unfair business practices. Thanks for bringing that back up. It's a fitting place to hawk cheaply mass produced Inuit carvings, lumber jackets and maple syrup. So nice to see the legacy of oppression carried forward for the next generation of young people to enjoy and uphold.
rating: Holy crap. A real forehead-slapper.
attraction: O Canada! 360 CircleVision film (see clip below)
concept: 18 minutes of scenic pans of the country's landscapes, cities, and economic industries. Features a rare Celine Dion-free soundtrack. Released in 1967.
review: This film is older than me, and I'm just 3 years shy of Cougar status. There's even a shot of Toronto's skyline, and it's missing the CN Tower. The only thing that tourists could learn from this film is that John Denver seriously ripped his style from us.
rating: Expired. I think I've seen enough, thanks. .. but enjoy this 5-minute retro clip...