Do you know these facts about the Mexico Pavilion at EPCOT? This World Showcase destination holds secrets even serious Walt Disney World fans don’t realize.
All of the pavilions sprinkled throughout EPCOT’s World Showcase have secrets and surprises hiding in them, but the Mexico Pavilion is definitely one you’ll want to spend extra time exploring. As one of the original inclusions in the World Showcase when it opened back in 1982, the Mexico Pavilion has delighted visitors young and old for over 40 years. It’s undergone some changes over the decades, but it’s still one of the most breathtaking venues in the park. Who doesn’t get goosebumps every time they step into that twilight plaza?
The next time you stroll through the World Showcase, keep these riveting Mexico Pavilion facts in mind and plan some extra time at this dazzling detour.
1. The Pavilion’s Architecture is Inspired by Real-Life Locations
As with all of the pavilions in the World Showcase, the Mexico exhibition evokes the architectural heritage of its homeland. In creating the iconic architecture of this pavilion, its designers drew their inspiration from specific real-life subjects in Mexico’s history when fashioning the massive monument.
When you visit the Mexico Pavilion, you can’t miss the 36-foot-tall pyramid. That pyramid is modeled after the Aztec Temple of the Feathered Serpent located in the ancient holy city of Teotihuacán (“The City of the Gods”), near modern-day Mexico City.
Many Mesoamerican pyramids still stand there today, including this temple dedicated to Quetzalcoatl. The Aztec god of wind and knowledge helped create the world and humankind. You’ll see a depiction of this feathered figure in a massive stone art piece blocking the front stairs up the pyramid. This carving is patterned after actual mural wall paintings found in Teotihuacán.
2. The Pavilion’s Scenery Highlights Two Regions of Mexico
If you’ve never taken a close look at the details in the landscaping around the Mexico Pavilion, you might want to do so during your next visit! The designers of the Mexico Pavilion also took inspiration from the natural landscapes of the country when developing the attraction, and you can find two distinctly different regions of Mexico recreated in unique juxtaposition.
At the exterior plaza surrounding the Cantina de San Angel, you’ll find the native plants and general aesthetic of Mexico’s desert regions, the Sonoran Desert and the Chihuahuan Desert.
Inside the pyramid, though, the scenery is far different. The lush tropics of Mexico’s other major climate zone — the jungles in states like Veracruz, Chiapas, and Quintana Roo — spread throughout the structure. Here, you’ll see the tranquil waters of a rippling lagoon, which are surrounded by tropical plants like Mexican fan palms, silver trumpet trees, Moreton Bay fig trees, orchids, and silk floss trees.
3. San Angel Inn Restaurante is Modeled After a Famous Real-Life Restaurant
There are multiple places you can dine and drink at the Mexico Pavilion, such as La Hacienda de San Angel. But the most unique spot is undoubtedly San Angel Inn Restaurante. This Hacienda-themed restaurant sits in the shadow of a towering Mayan pyramid. The glow from this illuminated wonder– flanked by a volcano that spews smoke and glows ominously– makes for a truly immersive dining experience!
But it’s not just a restaurant dreamed up by Disney’s Imagineers. It’s actually modeled after a famous Mexico City restaurant that bears the same name. Its namesake is located in an old, renovated Carmelite monastery in Mexico City’s historic neighborhood. The original is famous for its menu of international cuisine and its stunning Mexican-colonial architecture, spacious gardens, and flowing fountains. The EPCOT version and the real-life restaurant are sister restaurants, too!
4. You Can See Mexican Folk Art on Display
The heritage of Mexico is represented in many different ways through this festive attraction, including its artwork. If you haven’t, you should stroll through the upper level of the pyramid. That’s where you’ll find the Mexican Folk Art Gallery.
It’s one of a handful of galleries throughout the World Showcase that have changing displays of cultural handiwork in various forms. You’ll notice many pieces here inspired by the Disney-Pixar film Coco, but you can witness many creative representations of and artifacts from Mexican history too.
So, if you only go to EPCOT every so often, you might find something new on display the next time you visit — especially if you visit around Día de Muertos!
5. The Mexico Pavilion’s Attraction is Full of Surprises
The Mexico Pavilion is one of just a few pavilions in the World Showcase that has an actual ride. If you’re looking for some surprises (both in views of the pavilion and character-wise!), you won’t want to skip the attraction in the Mexico Pavilion.
Inside the Mexican pyramid, you can take the Gran Fiesta Tour. This tranquil float down the winding waterway gives you a unique view of the plaza before taking you into the jungle and through tunnels to special displays, animatronics, and other surprises you’ll only be able to access via boat (I won’t spoil all of them!).
Your cruise will rendezvous with Panchito and Jose, who are searching for their third caballero, Donald. Keep your eyes open for clips from their classic film! If you haven’t taken the Gran Fiesta Tour, you haven’t seen everything the Mexico Pavilion has to offer.
The next time you stroll through the Mexico Pavilion for some margaritas and churros, spend some time appreciating the details and creativity that went into this cultural homage. Hopefully, this trivia inspired you to take a closer look at this gem of a pavilion at EPCOT!