ABOVE: On Saturday, December 5, 2009, my daughter Ashley Peters and I spent the day park hopping at Walt Disney World. This was our Christmas present to each other. It rained the first half of the day and then it got COLD and WINDY! We had a great time. At Epcot we waited in the standby line for almost two hours so we could get a seat to experience Candlelight with conductor Dr. John Sinclair and guest narrator, Stephen Curtis Chapman. The music was fantastic but the new robes were a bit of an eyesore! Dr. Sinclair conducted with enthusiasm and energy, as usual, and Stephen Curtis Chapman was wonderful, commenting that the “Christmas Story” was not a story to him but a wonderful reality. Visit Candlelight Processional at the American Gardens Theatre
ABOVE: Bob McGrath of Sesame Street performed at EPCOT around 1989. My kids were three and five at the time and big Sesame Street fans. Bob came out into the audience and stood right next to where we were sitting. You’ll note that there was no enclosure at the seemingly makeshift stage in 1989, perhaps so visitors could have a better view of the events that took place over the lagoon.
The American Pavilion or American Adventure is part of the World Showcase at EPCOT. The pavilion features the America Gardens Theatre which hosts entertainment from around the world during the year and the Candlelight Processional during the Christmas holidays. Inside the pavilion is the American Adventure which, with audio animatronic hosts Mark Twain and Ben Franklin and others, tells the story of America. The a cappella singing group “Voices of Liberty” performs inside the pavilion under the rotunda and the “Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps” appear outside in the courtyard at various times during the day performing patriotic and colonial era songs. For details on the American Pavilion-it’s history and lots of trivia, check out All Ears.net
There are a number of songs featured in the American Adventure but only one – “Golden Dream” – sung over the final montage at the end of the presentation has been made available to the public. This is by far my favorite song, however, “Two Brothers” – the story of a Southern family during the Civil War – is one that brings tears to my eyes, as well. My ancestors have been Americans since people could claim that distinction. When I visit the American Adventure I feel I am experiencing vignettes from my family’s past. My people fought and died to preserve America’s freedom: in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, both World Wars, and beyond. To me, this is a tribute to what we have achieved as a nation and a challenge for the future. The words of the final song say it all.
America, spread your golden wings sail on freedom’s wind, across the sky. Great bird, with your golden dreams flying high, flying high.
Restless one in a world of change, keeping dreams aloft in the rain. Spirit free, soaring through the clouds of time, of time.
America, you must keep dreaming now dreaming the promised vow of your pioneers. America, keep on flying now. Keep your spirit free. Facing new frontiers.
America, spread your golden wings sail on freedom’s wind across the sky. Great bird with your golden dreams, flying high, flying high, flying high, flying high!
VIEW the images below to see American Pavilion at various times.