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Complete Guide to The American Adventure show at Epcot

Complete Guide to The American Adventure show at Epcot

Take a trip through the history of the United States, without having to leave Epcot!

Your hosts for this patriotic journey are Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain as you’ll witness the Boston Tea Party and the writing of the Declaration of Independence while coming face to face with other American legends like George Washington, Susan B. Anthony, and Chief Joseph.

Stirring songs guide you on a journey of America’s highest and lowest moments in this dramatic production featuring 35 Audio-Animatronics figures and stunning digital rear-projection images on a 72-foot screen.

Keep reading for our complete guide to The American Adventure.

The American Adventure Quick Facts

  • Location: America Pavilion, World Showcase, Epcot
  • Height req: None
  • Suitable for: Anybody
  • Attraction length: 29 minutes
  • Do we recommend? Yes, if you have time or if you need to get out of the heat or rain
  • When to visit: Anytime, as scheduled
  • Lightning Lane available: No
  • Eligible for Early Entry: No
  • Eligible for Extended Evening Hours: No
  • Scheduled Refurbishments
  • Tip(s): This is 1 of 2 theaters in the World Showcase with seats, making it a great spot to rest and cool off. Although it may not appeal to many little ones or kids, the quiet, cool theater can be welcome if you need a break from the crowds.

Description: A dramatic re-telling of the American story, featuring 35 animatronics and a 72-foot screen.

Location

The American Adventure is located in World Showcase in Epcot, between the Japan Pavilion and the Italy Pavilion.

location of the american adventure in epcot

Download the PDF

Epcot Guide Map
Epcot Guide Map

How to Watch The American Adventure

The American Adventure has a Standby Line. There is no Single Rider Line.

Do I need to use Genie+ at The American Adventure?

The American Adventure does not offer Genie+, nor is it needed. The theater is quite large, with plenty of seating for guests to relax and enjoy the show.

Rider Switch/Child Swap

Since there is no height requirement for The American Adventure, this show does not offer Rider Switch.

Rider Switch is Disney’s system that allows guests with small children to take turns riding bigger rides, while another person/people wait with the little one.

You can learn more about Rider Switch via our handy guide.

What to Expect when you Watch

Queue

There is not a traditional queue for this attraction.

the american adventure - epcot

As guests enter The American Adventure they’ll find themselves gathered within a dome lobby. Around the pavilion are paintings as well as inspirational quotes by American historical figures.

american adventure rotunda - epcot

When it’s showtime, a Cast Member ushers guests up the escalator through the Hall of Flags which showcases the 44 flags that have been flown throughout the country’s history.

The theater for The American Adventure can hold 1,024 guests and every seat offers a great view of the stage and screen.

Accessibility Information

Those in ECVs and wheelchairs may remain in them to watch The American Adventure. They will be seated in a special section of the theater.

The American Adventure

Assistive listening, handheld captioning, and audio description is available for guests.

In the Show

If you prefer to experience The American Adventure without spoilers, you may want to skip this section.

The american adventure

The American Adventure opens with Benjamin Franklin quoting American author John Steinbeck’s view on the United States’ birth while Mark Twain encourages Franklin to tell the story of their nation.

An image of The Mayflower appears on the stage’s screen as a musical montage shows the first settlers in the country.

Next, we are transported to the American Revolution, specifically the Boston Tea Party and Thomas Jefferson in his loft, reading aloud his recently finished Declaration of Independence.

The american adventure

Cut to Valley Forge, where George Washington sits on horseback as two frostbitten soldiers complain about the conditions they’ve had to endure during the war.

Despite the ragtag nature of the Continental Army, Franklin announces that the American Revolution is won, giving birth to a new nation, before allowing Twain to take over the narration.

Twain turns to the discussion of slavery in America as the figure of Frederick Douglass appears floating down the Mississippi River on a raft. Douglass comments on how Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin has inspired the anti-slavery movement.

The show cuts to a Southern family posing for a photo, but it is a house divided by politics. The two brothers argue – one supports slavery and the other is an Abolitionist. Their father silences them, while their mother encourages Matthew Brady (one of the earliest American photographers who also captured Abraham Lincoln on camera) to take the photograph.

american adventure

A musical montage follows, focusing on the American Civil War and the fates of the two brothers.

Twain narrates the end of the Civil War and the arrival of new immigrants to help improve the country. However, this idealistic view of society is interrupted by Chief Joseph, cursing the cruel treatment of the Native Americans during the war.

Fast forward a few years to the country’s Centennial International Exhibition of 1878. Twain, Alexander Graham Bell, Andrew Carnegie, and Susan B. Anthony all stand in booths as they discuss issues of equality as well as how they have entered a time of innovation.

To show off the contributions the U.S. has made to the world, a musical montage featuring the Industrial Age, as well as the numerous inventions created by Americans like Edison and the Wright Brothers plays.

But while the country continues to modernize, the focus shifts to its natural resources, and the audience witnesses Theodore Roosevelt and environmentalist John Muir agreeing to create national parks as they overlook what will become Yosemite Park.

The american adventure

The tone of the show shifts to the tragedy of World War I and the Wall Street Crash of 1929. A gas station appears on the stage and four men joke about the former millionaires having to sell apples to make a living. 

They tune in to the radio to hear Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidential inauguration speech, followed by Will Rogers saying his famous quote, “We are the only nation in the world that waits till we get into a war before we start getting ready for it.”

The show fast-forwards to the bombings at Pearl Harbour and America’s entrance into World War II. A battleship appears, all dressed up for Christmas. A sailor, a worker, and a riveter share their hopes that they can reunite with their soldier boyfriends for the holidays next year.

The battleship descends, as a musical montage plays to the attraction’s theme song “Golden Dream”. The montage shows modern figures and events that have continuously been updated since the attraction’s opening day.

The american adventure

Some of the figures and events that have continued to be represented in the montage include Walt Disney, Albert Einstein, Louis Armstrong, Elvis Presley, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., the 1969 Apollo 11 Moon landing, and the Statue of Liberty.

Speaking of the Statue of Liberty, at the end of the montage Franklin and Twain rise up on a replica of Lady Liberty’s torch from the center of the stage. As they reflect on America’s progress, Twain now quotes Steinbeck’s warnings for the people not to become complacent.

Franklin counters, acknowledging the struggles of life, quoting Thomas Wolfe’s belief that everyone in America has the right to live, work, and follow their dreams.

As a reprisal of “Golden Dream” begins, Franklin and Twain shake hands as the statues lining both sides of the theater are highlighted by the colorful sunset.

The american adventure

These statues represent different qualities of Americans such as Adventure (a seaman), Compassion (female doctor), Discovery (mountain man), Freedom (pilgrim), Heritage (Native American woman), Independence (American Revolutionary soldier), Individualism (cowboy), Innovation (African American scientist), Knowledge (school teacher), Pioneering (pilot), Self-Reliance (farmer), and Tomorrow (a mother and her child).

The curtains then close and guests are ushered from the theater on the opposite side of where they entered.

Is The American Adventure Kid-Friendly?

The subject matter of The American Adventure is appropriate for guests of all ages, however, it may not appeal to many little ones.

Strollers

Strollers are not allowed in most queues at Walt Disney World, including The American Adventure.

Instead, you’ll need to leave your stroller in the designated stroller parking area outside the entrance of the show building.

History

As Imagineers were developing Epcot in the late 1970s, all of the pavilions of the World Showcase were going to be located within one semicircular building. But the American pavilion was not supposed to be part of this lineup.

As the “host country,” the American pavilion was designed as a futuristic two-story structure on stilts that straddled the border of The World Showcase and Future World. The attraction would be housed in the second story, and the first story would be used as the gateway to the World Showcase.

american adventure show sign - epcot

However, it was decided that the U.S.A shouldn’t overshadow the other nations and it was moved to the center of The World Showcase, where it could still play the role of host and each country would have its own separate pavilion.

Imagineer Marc Davis worked on a number of drafts for The American Adventure to find the right tone. His ideas ranged from a musical dark ride that explored American history and culture, to more serious examinations of American folklore and historical figures. But Davis would leave the project before the final design was drafted.

The american adventure

Imagineering decided to proceed with an animatronic stage show hosted by Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain which opened on the same day Epcot debuted, October 1, 1982.

While The American Adventure received one technical upgrade in 1993, including new audio-animatronic figures of Franklin and Twain, it has mostly undergone updates to the Golden Dream montage film at the end of the show.

The latest update to the film montage was in February 2018 when figures such as Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong were removed, while people like Barack and Michelle Obama, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Serena and Venus Williams, and the gold-medal winning U.S. gymnastics “Final Five” team from 2016, among others, were added.

The theme song “Golden Dreams” was also re-recorded with new orchestration.

Other Fun Details

  • The audience area’s sloped seating isn’t just to provide everyone with a good view of the stage. It also creates the perfect illusion for hiding massive sets above and below the stage.
  • There are ten different sets stored under the stage. How are they moved for each show? Below the stage is a 65-foot by 35-foot scene changer called the War Wagon. As the appropriate set piece rises up from below the stage, the War Wagon moves the sets into place horizontally.
  • While it may not be obvious, as the Host Nation and the centerpiece of the World Showcase, The American Adventure is built at a slightly higher elevation than the surrounding pavilions.
sign for the american adventure
  • The symmetrical design of the all-American plant material in the gardens of the pavilion is supposed to give it a feeling of Philadelphia formality.
  • Benjamin Franklin doesn’t really walk up the stairs into Thomas Jefferson’s study. The Audio-Animatronic figure is incrementally lifted into place one step at a time and since he is next to stairway railings, this gives the illusion that he is walking up a flight of stairs.
  • The speeches in the show are authentic, and some are word-for-word to their real-life counterparts. For example, Susan B. Anthony’s monologue in the show is almost a word-for-word excerpt from the Women’s Declaration of Independence and Frederick Douglass’ speech is heavily inspired by his 1855 Lecture on the Anti-Slavery movement. When Franklin D. Roosevelt speaks over the radio, you are hearing an actual recording from his inaugural address.
voices of liberty - american adventure pavilion - epcot
  • The American Pavilion also plays host to The Voices of Liberty, an eight-member patriotic acapella group. Throughout the day, often as a pre-show to The American Adventure, The Voices of Liberty perform in the pavilion rotunda.

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