Dia De Los Caballeros
Recently I wrote an article about It’s a Small World and stated that the famous attraction inspired several other attraction. You don’t have to look much further than the Gran Fiesta Tour at Epcot’s Mexico Pavilion. This It’s a Small World inspired attraction brings to life the beauty of a country most Americans associate with cowboys, sombreros, and burritos through the charm of Donald Duck and his friends, Jose Carioca and Panchito Pistoles.
The attraction originally opened as El Rio Del Tiempo (The River of Time), a pump propelled boat ride with animatronics and filmed segments projected onto screens hidden within the architecture. The focus of the attraction was to showcase Mexico’s vast history, from Aztecs and Mayans to modern day Mexico City. Culturally, Mexico is shown as traditional with dances and Mariachis playing. The animatronics of the attraction really showcased the Small World look with children playing and dancing in the attraction. The distinct difference was a group of skeletons dressed as a Mariachi band showcasing Mexico’s view of afterlife and referencing Dia de los Muertos and sugar skulls.
The attraction was reworked in April 2007 after low attendance and a necessary upgrade to the film segments which had shown their age. The solution was the Gran Fiesta Tour starring the Three Caballeros. A facelift to the attraction, most notably in the film segments, and the introduction of Disney characters gave a new life to the attraction. Unfortunately there had to be losses and some of the historical segments of the attraction are lost in the story of Panchito and Jose trying to find Donald who is touring the country. The Mayan and Aztec histories are gone, but the attraction now showcases some of Mexico’s more scenic areas and focuses on present day culture and traditions. Other elements and cultural references have been added to the attraction like children swinging at a Donald Duck shaped pinata or the magic sarape which Panchito and Jose ride across the country while looking for Donald. The attraction ends with the Caballeros reuniting and performing a concert while fireworks go off over Mexico City.
The attraction lasts less than 8 minutes and is one of two attractions in the World Showcase that are actual ride through attractions. (The other being Norway’s Maelstrom.) In an American culture that doesn’t know much about it’s neighbor country, I would recommend this attraction as a great starting point in getting to know the people, traditions, and culture of Mexico. It’s worth the trip while you are waiting for your dinner reservations.
What are your thoughts on the Gran Fiesta Tour? Was El Rio Del Tiempo better? Are the Caballeros characters welcome in this attraction or are they a distraction from what the attraction really is? Let me know your thoughts. Adios Amigos.
Posted on January 16, 2013, in Articles and tagged Aztec, Donald Duck, El Rio Del Tiempo, Epcot, Gran Fiesta Tour, Jose Cariaco, Mayan, Mexican Culture, Mexico, Panchito Pistoles, The Three Cabelleros, Walt Disney World. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.