Palais du Cinéma

The France Pavilion is one of the more immersive pavilions in Epcot’s World Showcase. The beautiful buildings, fountains, winding alleys, and delicious bakery smells make you feel like you really are in some quaint French village or hidden corner of the City of Light.

IMG_4001As you head into the pavilion, you will see the Palais du Cinéma, which is home to the film Impressions de France. The 18-minute film is a delight to watch and listen to, with its staggering views of France and beautiful musical score. But before you even enter the theatre, there is plenty to see and learn in the waiting area.

A small gallery toward the front of the waiting area showcases four distinct collections of information about the famous Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral. Each collection highlights one aspect of art in architecture: Gargoyles and Chimeras, the Western Façade, Rose Windows, and Flying Buttresses. There are even some replicas of gargoyles, including the famous “Spitting Gargoyle” that was cast from the original in France.

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Read through the placards and you’ll learn some interesting facts. Why were the statues on the Western Façade beheaded during the French Revolution? What is a flying buttress anyway? And how many Rose Windows did stonecutters and glaziers actually attempt to make?

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You don’t have to watch the film to experience the gallery, but it does make for a relaxing break. Next time you’re stopping by France for an éclair, step inside the Palais du Cinéma to learn a thing or two about one of France’s most famous landmarks.


STEM Topic: Engineering
Florida Sunshine State Social Studies Standards:

Florida Sunshine State Visual Arts Standards:
VA.4.H.1.1, VA.5.H.1.1, VA.68.H.1.1, VA.912.H.1.1, VA.912.H.1.9

Echo Lake Architecture

Echo Lake is one of the eight sections featured at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It represents a time and place in California history when the movies were still young and the dream of living in Los Angeles attracted many. Looking around at the buildings here, you’ll see several architectural styles, both residential and commercial. Some of the buildings are modeled after real ones from the 1930s through 1950s.

There are two can’t-miss pieces of architectural fun that represent the California Crazy style: Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner and Dinosaur Gertie. Plaques outside both buildings explain California Crazy architecture and the inspiration for each.

Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner is a tribute to Min and Bill, a 1931 MGM hit comedy that took place around a waterfront. The steamboat is fun to look at and includes some spinning and water-spouting features. And if you know your nautical flags, there’s a message spelled out above the smokestack. (Incidentally, they serve up a mean frankfurter, too!)

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Across the water is Dinosaur Gertie, a larger than life brontosaurus shaped building that occasionally serves up ice cream. Gertie is based on a cartoon from the early days of film, one that also inspired Walt Disney.

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FL Sunshine State Visual Arts Standards:
VA.K.H.1.1, VA.K.F.1.2, VA.1.H.2.1, VA.1.F.2.1, VA.2.H.2.3, VA.4.H.1.1, VA.4.H.2.3, VA.5.H.1.1