Monday, August 11, 2008

The Back Side of France

There are quite a few out of the way places in the parks and, in the opinion of the author, Epcot offers a nice selection of these mostly quiet, off the beaten track locations. A particular favorite is what we'll call, for lack of a better term, the back side of France. (No offense intended.) Located in the far corner of World Showcase opposite the International Gateway this area of the France Pavilion offers quite a few architectural 'plusses' in addition to a nice survey of buildings common to Paris.

This view, above, is at the far southwestern end of the pavilion. If you were to turn in place to the right you would glimpse the International Gateway and the Friendship boat launch area, located just a stone's throw away across a narrow strip of the World Showcase Lagoon.

Turning to your left your senses are treated to the Imagineer's interpretation of Paris' Belle Epoque period and architectural styles synonymous with Paris such as Mansard roofs, dormers, and storefronts. Paris is easily recognized by several cues that the legendary city planner, Georges Eugène Haussmann, brought to the modernization of the city in the mid and late 19th century. While it's impossible to fully capture the City of Light anywhere, I would argue this interpretation is far better than most and, due to the Haussmann style, easier here than in any other World Showcase pavilion.

The arcade entrance, seen at left above, pays homage to the covered shopping areas formerly common to Paris' 20th Arrondissement, the area just to the north of the Louvre, at the same time of Haussmann's work in the city. When you walk through into the Promenade it may bring to mind another Disney shopping area: New Orleans Square. How appropriate!

The ubiquitous Mansard roof is seen above, at far left, and fonts and artistic styles associated with movements known as Art Deco and Belle Epoque are prevalenet. True to form, there's plenty of shopping in the France Pavilion; La Signature, Plume et Palette, La Casserole (the author's favorite), Les Vin de France, Galerie de Halles, and Art Fest round out the options. It's very easy to see why this pavilion is a popular attraction and we'll continue to look at this pavilion in future posts.

And, for the book lover, there's always something special.

These photographs were taken by the author in November, 2007.

Friday, August 1, 2008

WDW Attraction Posters

Attraction posters at the Disney theme parks have a long and glorious tradition dating back to Disneyland. Originally placed on the outskirts of the Magic Kingdom, close to the park turnstiles and mounted on the fence that surrounded the entrance, attraction posters painted a vivid and mesmerizing glimpse into the sights and sounds located inside. Many a fellow blogger has posted snapshots of these posters and even more have lamented their parents' short-sightedness for not purchasing one these posers way back when.

While attraction posters no longer carry the weight of proclaiming to the world the wonders of the parks (think of how the web, alone, has reduced the need) attraction posters remain in the parks today; perhaps it's best to think of them not as anachronisms but ties to an earlier means of communication.

As you enter WDW's Magic Kingdom and pass under the Main Street Train Station you'll find attraction posters mounted on the walls, with guidemaps located below. If, like me, you find yourself moving in and out the parks at various times of the day take some time to view the posters, some of which are included in today's post.

(A very big thank you to the Major for his timely post on 28 July!)

These photographs were taken by the author in November, 2007.