16 June 2008

Red, blues, greens

I am willing to admit that even I, as a self-made Disney geek, make mistakes. The wonderful thing about mistakes is that you can learn from them. For years I have briskly maneuvered from the Japan pavilion to the France pavilion, my well established favorite of the World Showcase pavilions, disregarding almost entirely, the pavilion of Morocco. Even Richard Beard’s highly detailed look at EPCOT Center in Walt Disney’s EPCOT, which was published just prior to opening day, showcases Africa as a forthcoming pavilion, while Morocco is overlooked completely. If the time is not taken to immerse yourself within the many wonderful intricacies of Morocco, then that, my friends, is a grotesque oversight.

True, there are no movies or boat rides in this country, simply a couple of restaurants and a menagerie of shops. Looking into the pavilion from the promenade, guests can feel as if the pavilion is very small, with no real depth beyond the gate and move along, as I have so often done. What lies within the courtyard before the gate, and the city beyond, is simply astonishing. Stonework, carvings, meandering corridors meant to give the pavilion a disorienting sense of depth, and tile work give Morocco such a spirit that its power cannot be denied.

Another day we will touch upon the intricate carvings that are peppered throughout the pavilion, but today I want to turn your focus to the massive amounts of tile mosaics that permeate Morocco. In order to obtain the most precise appearance of Morocco, King Hassan II sent nineteen maalems, or craftsmen, to World Showcase. While there they placed nine tons of handmade enameled terra-cotta tiles, creating an astonishing number of intricate, and authentic, mosaics. Below are just a few examples of the fine work they completed.

Next time you are making your way around World Showcase, be sure to stop in and just allow yourself to become lost in the art that is all around you. It is an almost forgotten treasure of Epcot that you are sure to become enthralled with.

Special thanks must go out to my wife and Doc who both, in their separate ways, encouraged and nudged me until I became overwhelmed with the beauty and spirit of the Morocco pavilion. Many thanks to you both!


Unknown said...

Ryan, as I quickly discovered on my second trip to WDW, the Morocco Pavilion is certainly unique in its approach to detail and the fact that artisans from Morocco played such a vital part in the pavilion's construction. Thanks for the post!

Eric Hoffman said...

This is a favorite pavilion of my wife and I. The layout draws you in, surrounds you and truly makes you feel like you have stepped back in time. It also contains one of our all-time favorite restaurants on property, Restaurant Marrakesh.

The artists who put that pavilion together truly do deserve recognition!

Princess Fee said...

Morocco is also one that I passed on many visits to WDW, but after eventually taking the time to go through it, I kicked myself for not spending more time there before!
After I got over the sore leg, I took some time exploring it - it really is a beautiful pavilion, and one that is, in my opinion, overlooked. When you wind back towards the restaurant, you really feel enclosed by the pavilion and forget where you are. Beautiful!
Great pictures too - thanks Ryan!

Anonymous said...

Take one of the free tours offered throughout the afternoon! Just ask a Cast Member where to sign up. There's a tremendous amount of rich history all around this pavilion, but you do have to work for it. Enjoy!

Unknown said...

Morocco is amazing.

As Princess Fee stated, you do feel completely out of Epcot when you are in the Pavilion.

Which is actually a pretty cool feeling!

FoxxFur said...

Beard skips over Morocco because it didn't exist yet... the plan as of October 1982 was to clear up financing with Israel and have that pavilion be the representation of the middle east at EPCOT. But a number of circumstances including Israel lacking sufficient funds and Disney thinking better of representing a controversial territory meant that Israel was canceled. Turns out the king of Morocco had plenty of money and the will to make it so and that's why Morocco is now at EPCOT. I think Morocco went in in 1984.

Morocco is indeed wonderful and very easy to skip due to its' unassuming front. Restaurant Marrakesh is really top notch as well, even if I think the addition of Mo'Rockin out front is pretty unfortunate.

Ryan P. Wilson said...

Foxx, I am fully aware that Morocco wasn't opened until 1984, September 7th to be exact. My point was a symbolic one that emphasized how there were several potential pavilions (Africa, Israel, Morocco, etc.) on the drawing board at the time of opening, but just as the average guest will skip by Morocco so too did Beard's book, instead showcasing another pavilion which would never be constructed in World Showcase.

It is certainly one of the few pavilions you can lose yourself in, in a good way.

Thanks for the tip anonymous, I will definitely be checking this out!

FoxxFur said...

Yeah, was gonna say, I would've expected you to know this stuff. =P Re-reading I think I see how I got turned around in your turn of phrase...

Greg said...

Thanks Ryan and here is to more exploration in a foreign land.