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The American Adventure, the flagship pavilion of Epcot World Showcase, celebrates the spirit of America’s history and diversity.

The pavilion, presented by American Express, is home to the American Adventure show, housed inside a 108,000-square-foot Georgian-style mansion.

In the dramatic 29-minute presentation, one of the most elaborate ever created using Audio-Animatronics® figures, hosts Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain take guests on a journey into the birth of a new nation and the resulting spirit of its creation.

Through the magic of Audio-Animatronics and an innovative combination of film and special effects, the show features such "performers" as Thomas Jefferson, Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, Alexander Graham Bell, Teddy Roosevelt, Charles Lindbergh, John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr.

Disney "stage directors" have drawn reactions and movements from the Audio-Animatronics actors never before accomplished. "With live acting, the essence of a message may be caught in a moment; two actors making eye contact, or a subtle move of the body," said figure animator Dave Feiten. "In the Valley Forge scene, for instance, two Audio-Animatronics figures are hunched over against a chilling wind. As they converse, one of the soldiers takes just a split second to raise his head and look at his fellow compatriot. These are things that aren’t in the script but they give the figure that extra feeling of life."

Research for the American Adventure began almost three years prior to its 1982 premiere. Careful attention was given to ensure that the presentation is historically accurate, according to researcher Melissa Rhone.

For instance, in a scene depicting the Great Depression, pages of quotes from Will Rogers were gathered by Walt Disney Imagineers to incorporate into the scene. In order to duplicate the advertisements of the Depression era, architectural magazines were scanned. Music logs were searched to find an appropriate song for the banjo player on the porch -- "Brother Can You Spare a Dime?" In addition to obtaining Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1933 inaugural speech, Imagineers wrote to the Library of Congress for a copy of his unusual presidential seal to duplicate for his podium.

The show is held in a 1,024-seat theater complete with rich, Corinthian-style details: chandeliers, archways, columns, elegant fabrics and paneling. The theater includes the Spirits of America, twelve "marble" statues lining both sides of the theater, representing such American qualities as heritage, innovation, knowledge, pioneering, discovery and freedom.

In 1993, the show was updated to include a new generation of Audio-Animatronics figures, re-recorded audio tracks and a dramatic new ending sequence.

The new "Golden Dreams" ending sequence encompasses events from 1945 through the present. Notable new additions include Ryan White, the young hemophiliac who succumbed to AIDS after a courageous battle with the disease, Muppet creator Jim Henson and basketball star Earvin "Magic" Johnson.

Other American Adventure pavilion entertainment highlights: The Voices of Liberty a cappella singers, and the America Gardens Theatre, an expanded 1,800-seat outdoor theater used as a venue for special shows, guest performances and music series.

As the host country, The American Adventure pavilion is constructed on higher ground and located in the center of World Showcase. “This pavilion is by far the most formal, with its soldier-like rows of magnolias and the holly in front of the America Gardens Theatre,” Darden says.

Designed after the old colonial-style architecture and landscapes, this pavilion features a predominant color scheme of red, white and blue flowers. The sycamore trees in the America Gardens Theatre are pleached -- that is, their branches interlace, creating a living ceiling over the area. Four large oak trees in front of the building have an interesting history. They were originally planted on Hotel Plaza Boulevard near Downtown Disney in the late 1960s, but later were relocated here to grace The American Adventure when Epcot opened in 1982.



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Video: American Adventure Pavilion

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