2010 Best Theme Park Attraction nominee: Epcot's American Adventure
Today's attraction spotlight shines on Epcot's The American Adventure
, the fourth seed in the Best Movie or Animated Show bracket of Theme Park Insider's 2010 Best Theme Park Attraction Tournament
Yep, Ben Franklin and Mark Twain host this animatronic and filmed review of United States history. If the Hall of Presidents tells the story of America from the perspective of the Oval Office, the American Adventure offers a broader narrative on how the nation got to where it is today. (Or, where it was - more or less - around 1980, when Epcot opened.)
The show hits the highlights of any basic U.S. history course - the Revolution, the Declaration of Independence, the westward expansion - but it doesn't ignore the bitter moments in the nation's history, either, including slavery and the Native American genocide.
Personally, I love the show for its choice of hosts. There seems to be a movement today to paint the nation's founding fathers as pious men, motivated by religious calling. In Franklin and Twain, you couldn't find two more sarcastic,
God(okay, Christian)-mocking examples to blow up that mistaken assumption about our nation's past. (True, you don't see anywhere near the full range of Franklin's and Twain's sharper attitudes written into in this show, but still, having them up there helps cut the cloying, rah-rah jingoism that threatens to bog down shows like this.)
Here's a clip from the middle of the show, which demonstrates that Disney was using the "Ken Burns effect" to animate still images long before Burns took over PBS pledge drive weeks. (Disney tech geeks should also note that this show offered the first example of an Audio Animatronic walking, too!)
What's your take on The American Adventure? We'd love to hear your thoughts, in the comments.
I saw this show for the first time late last year (having skipped it on previous visits) and was amazed by it as much on a purely technical level as I was by the actual narrative.
The American Adventure is an amazing show. Technically dazzling, moving and educational at the same time. A must see; unfortunately, I keep hearing about people skipping this show. That's a mistake; the American Adventure is the best part of the World Showcase, IMHO.
Something not mentioned in the description is that the cast members in this attraction are the best consistantly and most informative in my opinion. The last three times I have went, I have had an older cast member who told us about the flags and the hall as we were going upstairs to get into the theater. There is, of course, Pearl, my most favorite Cast member ever, but I haven't seen her for awhile.
This is a great attraction to take in when visiting the American Pavillion at the World Showcase in Epcot. International friends should not be turned off by the prospect of flag waving patriotism here. Sure, old glory is featured as are standard images of Americana iconography, but it is the "American Adventure", so that is all par for the course.
Didn't Franklin once write: "The longer I live, the more convincing Proofs I see of this Truth — That God governs in the Affairs of Men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his Notice, is it probable that an Empire can rise without his Aid?"
I took a back stage tour which brought us behind the scenes of this great attraction. The logistics of getting the sets moved around is something to behold.
Not to change this to a political argument, but Franklin, along with other founding fathers, was a deist, which means he believed in there being a God, but not organized religion. While they seem pretty tame by today's standards, both Franklin and Twain were a bit ahead of their time, even contriversal.
Argument? Who's arguing? ;p
i dont care about the politics, this is the best animatronics show, period. plus i love the pre show about the flags and such. everyone needs to hit this up at the world showcase, plus they need to get drunk and hit those funnel cakes with ice cream on top.
I love how much controversy this attraction raises.
The American Adventure show is an amazing show, one of Disney's best. In response to part of what was said in the write-up, many of our founding fathers WERE God-fearing people. In all of what I have read, I have never seen a quote where Franklin mocked God. It might be a different story with Twain though.
In my opinion, the greatest Disney attraction. Ever. So many skills coalesce in The American Adventure--particularly the art of show writing. The proposition of distilling the story of the United States into a twenty nine minute song-and-robot show and somehow come out the other end with a dignified, meaningful experience--well, that's daunting. The fact that Disney not only pulled off that feat, but managed in the process to create the closest thing to theme park poetry that I can point to...well, it's amazing.
thanx for the props, corn pops!
Sorry, but the God mocking comment was uncalled for. If you actually read your history, you will find this comment to be a farce. This isn't a political or religious forum, so comments like that are not needed. Get back to reviewing theme parks.
See, I knew that people were going to start arguing about it, suprised not more WORD or NO NAME writers.
Everyone's entitled to an opinion, Joshua. Besides, I kinda thought the "cloying, rah-rah jingoism" comment would inspire a little more of an outcry than it has. Maybe most folks don't know what jingoism is? For the Founding Fathers, the Boston Tea Party was probably construed by the English as a jingoistic act. And in relation to the rapid westward expansion of this nation, think of jingoism as an angry, violent way of describing "manifest destiny." But, what do I know? I'm just grateful to be an American and consider myself very lucky to have been born here. But lets face it, every nation/civilization worth its salt was founded upon war and conquest. We are not alone in our jingoism. Just ask Sid Meier! ;)
LOL, Anthony! I like the Jungle Cruise, I just think it needs a good, jingoistic update! We should be exerting our evil will over some small, defenseless native tribe during that cruise, not pandering to their crazy antics with frivolity and punnery! =)
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