Last night after dinner as Dale and I were leaving Epcot's France Pavillion, I stopped at the Italy Pavillion so I could make lunch reservations for today. My favorite place to eat in Rome is "Alfredo alla Scrofa," the restaurant where Fettucini Alfredo was created. The taste is vastly superior to the total shit that Americans call "Fettucini Alfredo" and the only place you can get it outside of Italy is at "L'Originale Alfredo di Roma Ristorante" at Epcot. So today I show up and notice that the restaurant is no longer "Alfredo" but something else entirely. In the dark last night while making reservations, I didn't notice. WHAT THE BLOODY HELL HAPPENED?!?? Disney managing to score Alfredo was a major coup, and letting them leave Epcot is a huge mistake. The new restaurant doesn't even have Fettucini Alfredo on the menu! I felt like crying. Epcot is dead to me.
After having a fairly decent non-Alfredo lunch anyway, I was wandering through the Germany Pavilion when I heard IT.
Some woman was talking to her husband and said IT.
"The great thing about Epcot is that you can visit Germany and France and whatever without having to actually go there.
I could not help myself. I started laughing hysterically. I was like one of those Tickle-Me-Elmo dolls. I was Tickle-Me-Dave...
I found it absolutely priceless that this woman could think that the entire country of Germany could possibly be experienced by walking around an Epcot pavilion. I stopped and looked around "Germany" and just died...
Then I started thinking about the many times I've visited Germany and some of the incredible things I've seen there... and I died a little more. Died laughing.
And how about the Parisian village in France...
Yeah, that's totally France right there. No need to cross the Atlantic, because that's so totally it!
Hey Karla, forget about me ever coming to visit you in Oslo... I've now been to Norway, so there's really no point in it. See??? It's Norway...
I mean, what's the point in leaving the US anymore? Just go to Epcot, and you've experienced all the world culture you'll ever need! Lets take the "United Kingdom" for example. It's like an English village of some kind, complete with a corner pub...
And don't forget the fish & chips...
And the United Kingdom wouldn't be complete without red phone and post boxes...
Yep, that's the UK alright! Just like being there! And don't forget Canada...
All we need is a lumberjack, a Royal Canadian Mounty, and a moose with a hockey stick, and it's perfect!
But then I started looking around all the pavilions, and kind of had a change of heart. That woman may have been totally insane to think that Epcot could replace an actual visit to any of these countries... but that's not the point. The point is to get a little hint of what it must be like at these places. And just maybe what you see and experience at Epcot will be enough to make you want to visit the real country one day...
I've been very fortunate to have seen most all of these places for real. But that's an opportunity that many people don't have (and may never have now that Bush has put the value of the US dollar in the toilet). I've been to St. Mark's Square in Venice and seen the Campanile bell tower and Dodges Palace. Does the Epcot mini-versions somehow invalidate this? No. It's not even remotely the same thing. But it's a clever tribute, and that's all it's meant to be...
And then, just as I'm ready to praise Disney for making a little taste of foreign lands available to those who might otherwise never have a chance to experience them, I look across the lagoon towards that small patch of "Paris" and suddenly the illusion is shattered. Who is the dumb fuck Disney engineer who decided to build a massive hotel behind the Paris skyline? There's the Eiffel Tower alright, and it's being dominated by two giant swans, just like the real thing!!
Suddenly, the once great Eiffel Tower looks like the tiny little prop it is. Way to go Disney... you've painstakingly worked to build the illusion of one of the world's greatest cities, and then let greed go and fuck it up for everybody. Walt Disney World is MASSIVELY HUGE!! Couldn't you have found another place to stick your "Dolphin and Swan" hotel monstrosity? Whoever was in charge of picking that hotel location should be shot. What an asshole. Walt Disney is spinning in his grave with shame.
ATTRACTIONS OF THE DAY...
• Harmony Barber Shop. I actually got my hair cut at Magic Kingdom's resident barber shop yesterday, but forgot to mention it. This place is famous for giving kids their "first haircut" and any kid doing so gets a special "Mickey Mouse Ears" embroidered hat and a certificate to prove it. When I was there, a pair of twins were getting their first haircut, and it was pretty hilarious to watch. This place is massively busy all day long, so it helps to arrive early. I got lucky, because a parade distracted people so I could get in within 15 minutes.
• Test Track. This attraction was supposed to have a grand opening on one of my earlier Disney trips, but got delayed. When I finally did get to ride it my next trip, they had technical difficulties and had to stop it in the middle. I finally got to ride it all the way through on a following visit, but wasn't really impressed. The entire thing is just a glorified (and somewhat boring) General Motors car commercial. Sure it's a ride that goes 65 mph fast, but I've gone faster in my own car, so whoopty-do. But it's one of Epcot's biggest attractions, so I went ahead and rode it as I was leaving the park. Basically, you ride around in a 6-seater "car" that gets tested over bumps, heat, cold, and the like. Yawn. Wikipedia Link.
For the record, my biggest attraction of the day was buying a load of overpriced Japanese candy in the Japan pavilion...
And thus ends my third day in Walt Disney World.
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Wow, I love Fettucini Alfredo so much (the only way I’ve ever had it) I can’t wait to taste the real thing! There’s this place in New York I visited once – a real hole in the wall – when I was 20. I have no idea what the name was, I was with really wealthy salon owners and the bill for the 7 of us was over $1000. I absolutely not believe how good the food was.
There’s one italian place in Austin called Andiamo’s and it’s extremely good – so good you wonder why all Italian food can’t be that delicious.
But I’ll never pass on an invite to go to Johnny Carino’s, Olive Garden or Macaroni Grill 🙂
Wonderful post & great pics. Thnx!
A haircut at Disney World. Now that’s a new one on me. Let’s see a pic of that…
I wonder if Europeans travel across the pond to the states to taste real American food.
Clearly, Disney World does not awake your inner child. I think it’s one of those places where you have to suspend reality to enjoy it. I’ve only seen Disneyland once (when I was in my 40’s) and I cried I was so happy to finally be there after dreaming about it for years when I was little. I’m going to Disney World this fall for PG’s (Princess Granddaughter) 5th birthday. I was really looking forward to it, but your review kind of ruined it for me.
that is exactly what canada looks like.
When EPCOT first opened for the employees as a dry run, I ran all the way from the monorail platform to the France pavilion because I was mislead into believing that the Eiffel Tower was a mock-up, but you could still ride in it to the top (think the Paris hotel in LV – like that) Imagine my 12 year old dismay to find out it was just anchored to the top of the building and you couldn’t ride in it. Sigh.
I think I may still be a bit bitter about that. It was a long run, man!!
That woman must be from Iowa. That is the only thing that can explain it.
That woman’s an amateur! When I want to see the world, I go to Vegas.
More deja vu for me with the pics you posted above. I ate at the fish and chips place in the UK. It wasn’t bad. We also ate at Rose & Crown’s out on the deck next to the water.
As for Alfredo’s, I was looking forward to eating there, having visited their web site.
Then come to find out it’s not there when we get there.
Guess I should have visited this Wiki page before getting my hopes up.
We’ve actually eaten at the Alfredo’s in NY and was very impressed. Best Fettucini Alfredo I’ve had.
As for Test Track, the two times I rode it, it was pretty fun. But most of the fun was getting out on the track and hitting 67mph. Yeah, I’ve gone much faster in my own cars as well, but this was like being the passenger.
This is why I won’t bring my 6 year old to Epcot. She needs to see the real places and then visit Epcot when she misses them but can’t afford to go to the real place, not as a replacement for the real place.
Can I tell you, Dave3 and I just about died laughing reading this blog entry. I still have the hiccips from laughing. But you’re right, the World Showcase is supposed to give a glimpse that makes you want to see more of those countries, but you have to realize that woman you overheard probably thinks leaving her house to go to Disney World is world travel. I knew this girl from my neighborhood (in NYC) who’s been to the very close neighboring states of NJ and PA, and to Florida twice yet in her mind, she’s a world traveler. I can imagine her saying the same thing about Epcot.
And ooh I’m so jealous that you’re in Disney World!!! But, we’re going there in January, so I can’t whine too much, now can I?
I remember Alfredo’s and yes, they were yum, yum, yummy, though I didn’t eat there the last time I went because their fettuccini was made fresh (eggs). Wonder why Alfredo’s is gone now. So there’s just some other Italian restaurant in that spot now?
Oooh… my bad… I was just going through my Europe photos, and it looks like Disney managed to get it right after all…
I got my haircut there the day I proposed to my (now) wife.
I always thought that Epcot was just like each of those countries if they were just restaurants and gift shops, which let’s face it, they are. Only the dollar goes further in Europe than at WDW.
Not anymore it doesn’t. I assure you that even with things as expensive as they are at WDW, it’s an absolute bargain compared to Europe given the tragic value of the US dollar now-a-days!
ChillyWilly… There’s actually two restaurants which claim to be the originator of Fettucini Alfredo (I had to Google search, because you comment got me confused… your “Alfredo” was NOT the Alfredo I know from Rome).
So the restaurant that used to be at Epcot was the different restaurant than what I was thinking in Rome… but I still enjoyed it a lot, so now I am very much wanting to go to NYC and see if it’s as good as “my” Alfredos!
Wow, what a great post. (And what a kick-ass comment about that lady being from Iowa.) Scary that anyone thinks WDW is a substitue for the real thing, but maybe for those lucky enough to have visited the real thing it’s a neat reminder.
And very jealous of the Japanese candy!
Well let’s see, I’ve been to Paris in Vegas and seen all of your pictures, so yep….no need to travel abroad. 😉
Dave… I did the same Google search and this is the wiki page I came up with.
In that link to the History part of the article, it talks about the original Rome location, a new Rome location and the New York expansion, as well as the now-closed Epcot location.
So when you say there are two Alfredo restaurants, are you referring to the original and the new locations or is there another Alfredo out there?
And thanks for fixing the links in my previous post. I was tired when I was posting last night (trying to kick this damn cold).
Maybe I shouldn’t bother renewing my passport….
In the resorts, the TEN tv channels devoted to Disney attractions do not ever shut up about the stupid test track. So much so that Bella wouldn’t even ride it, because she thought it would be too scary. Ho-hum.
Wait a minute. You mean instead of going to Europe, I could have gone to Florida?
Hello. I came here via caffeinated librarian via mochamomma.com. CL said you had a decent blog and I had to come check you out. Ok, she didn’t say decent, I did.
For the pic of the UK to LOOK like the UK the phoneboxes would need to disappear. They’re no longer used except sparingly as iconic symbols of redness as with the Pillar Boxes and the Double Deckers. There also needs to be cheap lager bottles strewn around, mingled with litter, dog crap, old drunks looking for 10p for alcohol (they need to know it’s not that bloody cheap anymore) and fag ends. There’s no graffiti or Neds/Chavs (a brand of hooligans) either. How disappointing.
What you said about the Germany pavilion: about it not living up to the real thing. It’s so true. I must say it is a charming rendition of many aspects of German architecture and showcases a ton of German folk music, storytelling and culture, but you’re right: It doesnt live up the the real thing. The sad thing is that it originally was going to be even BETTER. It was going to have an awesome ride called the Rhine River cruise. In the ride you’d see the Cologne Cathedral, dozens of German castles, and the alps…but of course they said “Naw lets make the entrance of the ride into a giant restaurant!” Well it is a very authentic german restaurant…but it would have been a much greater redition of Germany with the ride…*sigh*