LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Epcot World Showcase has been a “showplace” of nations since its grand opening in 1982. But beyond the pagodas in Japan and the longboats in Norway lies a whole other world, treating art lovers to museum-quality galleries. Since early galleries in Japan and Morocco, the opportunities for art appreciation have grown with the addition of galleries in Norway, China and Mexico.
Here’s a look at the inspiring exhibitions (all included with the price of admission) Epcot currently has to offer:
The American Adventure
Re-Discovering America: Family Treasures from the Kinsey Collection (NEW)
Exhibition located in the American Heritage Gallery.
“Re-Discovering America: Family Treasures from the Kinsey Collection,” draws from an extensive collection of rare art, documents, books and artifacts amassed by philanthropists Bernard and Shirley Kinsey, who share a passion for African-American history.The exhibit – themed to hope, belief, courage, imagination and heritage – provides optimistic and empowering stories from American history from voices that are not commonly seen or heard. Art and artifacts pay homage to African-Americans who helped build and transform a nation. Their stories of determination and courage, from the nation’s early days to the present, are at the heart of the exhibit.To enrich the immersive storytelling experience of the exhibit, Walt Disney Imagineers added interactive displays in which Epcot guests can deepen their knowledge of the American heritage that the Kinsey holdings represent. Epcot guests will be able to use touch screens placed throughout the exhibit to further explore the art, artifacts and history. Guest-activated lanterns will help bring the history to life, with narration provided by special celebrities.
The Vikings: Conquerors of the Seas
Exhibition located in the Gol Stave Church Gallery.
In Norway’s Gol Stave Church Gallery, the ancient world of the Vikings is brought to life through a rare collection of Viking artifacts, including some that date back more than 1,000 years. This special exhibit also includes vignettes depicting three Norwegian Viking leaders: Erik the Red, King Olaf and Rögnvald the Raider, and a detailed scale model of the 9th century Viking ship Oseberg, providing a glimpse into Viking culture and these individuals who helped shape history.
The Vikings: Conquerors of the Seas is held within a small reproduction of a Stave Church, where guests may experience the history and legend of these seafaring Scandinavian warriors, ship builders and explorers, while viewing swords, arrow points, and other significant artifacts found in Norwegian archaeological sites.
Tomb Warriors Guardian Spirits of Ancient China
Exhibition located in The Gallery of the Whispering Willow adjacent to Reflections of China.
In ancient Chinese civilization, members of the royal dynasty carried miniature terra cotta or stone carved warriors with them in their tombs to protect them from supernatural threats. At the gallery inside the China pavilion, guests glimpse a miniature recreation of the tomb of China’s first emperor, which is the single largest archeological find in the world. Epcot guests also have the opportunity to see authentic tomb sculptures from Ancient China — dating back 2,000 years to the Han Dynasty.
Spirited Beasts: From Ancient Stories to Anime Stars
Exhibition located inside of the Japanese castle.
Guests visiting the Spirited Beasts: From Ancient Stories to Anime Stars discover the connection between ancient Japanese magical creatures and 21st century anime.Inside the gallery, guests will find a tranquil rock garden, guarded by a statue of karasu-tengu, the birdlike”Slayer of Vanity” of legend. Beautiful melodies drift through the space. Though the music is played on traditional instruments, some may recognize the tunes as themes from popular anime features. Along the walls, case displays provide a window into each aspect of the stories, represented with traditional art, and the modern toys, books and media that have carried them forward into the 21st century.
La Vida Antigua: Life in Ancient Mexico
Exhibition located in the pyramid’s Mayan Ceremonial Hall.
In the Mexico pavilion guests can examine brightly colored representatives of Ancient Mexican culture at La Vida Antigua: Life in Ancient Mexico gallery.
The gallery allows guests to discover the daily lives of the Maya, Aztec and Toltec civilizations in Ancient Mexico. These great Mesoamerican cultures that are centuries old, flourished in present day Mexico and developed some of the largest and most sophisticated civilizations in the Western Hemisphere.Guests learn about the significance of the ball game and see how the Aztecs marked time with a massive calendar stone. From work and play to humble huts and towering temples, guests experience the daily life in Ancient Mexico.
Gallery of Arts and History Traditional Arts of Morocco
Exhibition located next to the Fez house.
A part of the Morocco pavilion for twenty years, the Gallery of Arts and History continues to evoke visions of Morocco for Epcot guests. Mosaic art, defined by its balance of geometry and philosophy, decorates the gallery’s walls and ceiling. Skillful Maalems (Morrocan artisans) traveled to Epcot to help recreate their homeland and created these exquisite tiles. The building also features beautiful stained glass doors and lamps and intricately sculpted ceilings.The Gallery of Arts and History displays ceramic pottery, ancient musical instruments and artisan-crafted jewelry. The Moroccan ceramics are distinguished by their intermingling of floral and geometrical designs.