Opened in September 1984, this pavilion is a beautiful and magical representation of Morocco which was built from scratch in the United States. Located between the Japan and France pavilion, a stop at the Morocco pavilion allows visitors from Epcot, Walt Disney, to enter a world of fortresses and castles. It is a replica of the medina of Marrakech shows glimpses of other Moroccan cities such as Fez, Casablanca, and Rabat. Discover below all about Morocco… but at Disney world!
The Morocco pavilion is part of the World Showcase at Walt Disney World Resort’s Epcot theme park in Orlando, Florida. It is mainly a replica of the medina of Marrakech with a minaret as well as the necropolis of Chellah in Rabat and the door of the medina of Fes. Apart from a very realistic look due to Disney’s attention to detail, the pavilion has few elements apart from shops and restaurants. For the record, Disney had brought in Moroccan artists to create the decorations for the pavilion, sent by King Hassan II. Without forgetting the fact that the Moroccan pavilion is the only African and Arab country represented.
Lemon trees, olive trees, and date palms have also been imported to accentuate the local color of the place: they decorate the main courtyard of the pavilion and the streets. The interiors of some houses are designed to introduce the public to the art of Moroccan architecture. Visitors can immerse themselves in the culture of the kingdom through the gallery of Moroccan arts and history, and discover the flavors of Moroccan cuisine offered in restaurants, or go shopping in craft shops.
A lot of persons who visited the Moroccan pavilion says that it is the most exotic and authentic pavilion in the park. The employees, on the other hand, of the pavilion representing the kingdom, are all Moroccans, and all speak darija (the Moroccan dialect). “Because it’s not enough to look Moroccan to be hired,” says the former park employee. “The employees have to transmit the Moroccan culture. So they have to know how to speak Arabic.”
History of the Moroccan pavilion at Walt Disney
Walter Elias Disney and Mohammed V. Two men, two kingdoms. When this picture below was taken in 1957, the king had been at the head of an independent country for only one year, and the Disney Land Resort park in California opened two years ago. The businessman and the king were discussing how best to properly celebrate the friendship between the two countries; together they planned to bring a Moroccan touch to Disney Land.
Mohammed V died in 1961 and Walter Elias Disney in 1966. But the idea was not abandoned. In the 1980s, the Walt Disney Company was an entertainment giant, and a new Disney amusement park was opened in 1971. It is located this time on the east coast of the United States, in Orlando in the state of Florida. In 1982, Disney opened EPCOT (Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow) alongside the company. It is a city project imagined by Walt Disney in the last years of his life.
The park offers a space called the World Showcase. Eleven pavilions representing as many countries of the world have been built around an artificial lagoon. And Morocco is among the nations represented.
Once the design was completed, a model of the premises was sent to the royal architect who presents it to the monarch. The latter, wishing to ensure the authenticity of the architecture, sends Moroccan workers to the construction site. On the day of the inauguration ceremony, Princess Lalla Meryem traveled to represent her father.
What to expect in the Moroccan pavilion at Walt Disney World Resort
In this pavilion, you will be able to stroll through narrow streets that will take you to small nooks and crannies where you will find typical Moroccan shops. Here you can buy jewelry, objects, clothes, and sculptures from Morocco.
- Berber Oasis: copper objects, baskets, jewelry and leather.
- The Brass Bazaar: handcrafted copper tableware.
- Casablanca Carpets: handmade oriental textiles and carpets.
- Marketplace in The Medina: baskets and traditional objects for home furnishing.
- Medina Arts: wooden objects and musical instruments.
- Tangier Traders: Clothing
- Moroccan restaurant
In this maze of alleys, you will also discover beautiful ceramic mosaics, stone fountains, and sculptures. Discover below in this Disney World Food Tour video more about this Moroccan magical place in Florida.
Disney Food Blog (DFB) offers us a guided tour of the Morocco pavilion at Walt Disney World Resort’s famous Epcot theme park in Orlando, Florida. And as said before, it is a replica of Marrakech’s medina, but also shows glimpses of other Moroccan cities such as Fez, Casablanca, and Rabat.
More than ten million people visit the park every year, which is a nice way to put the spotlight on the Moroccan kingdom.