Tomes would be written about the attractions at Epcot oft-times bypassing the minutiae of the architecture that evokes these feelings of nostalgia and giddiness for travel. My goal is to bring to light the small in order to give the traveler better vantage of the entire picture.
Now we shall move along our tour onto our stop in Epcot’s United Kingdom. This particular “country” has a bit of a bittersweet twinge for me. My family hails from Ireland (originally, however there was a “brief” history through Australia) and though a lot of the “troubles” have ended, the fact that Northern Ireland is represented alongside Scotland, Wales and England will always be a sticking point. (Yes, I understand that this really has no bearing on the land’s layout at Epcot, it’s just a personal gripe of mine.) In any case, shall we?
As we approach the UK from Canada, we find the Eastern façade Sportsman’s Shoppe, a building very much like that of Hampton Court, (modeled after it, so rightfully so!) a Tudor/Baroque style building.
These two styles are due largely to the fact that the palace was begun by Cardinal Wolsey (Chief Minister to Henry VIII- Henry Tudor) and William III began the later renovations after those of the Palace at Versailles in the Baroque style. The work at Hampton Court was stopped in 1694, leaving these two contrasting styles co-habitating and much like most places within WDW they still work extraordinarily well together.
(Sportsman’s Shoppe, East Façade)
We also find a mail drop, a telly booth area and a water feature on the approach to the north side of the pavilion just before the short garden in front of the building itself.
I just recently took notice of this fountain outside of the WC area here. (At first glance, not too incredibly interesting, however, on further review, the spout of said fountain is highly suggestive of a nearby resort. Care to venture a guess which?) Well yes, much like many other renaissance depictions of dolphins, this beaked fish is purportedly our friendly mereswine. (The artistic obtuseness has always creeped me out a bit. This is certainly no exception.) You’ll also take note of the rose spouts on the base of the fountain. This is the representation of White Rose of York (not the Red Rose of Lancaster, which has two petals at the top, not one) is not really significant to current day royals, seeing as how the current monarchy is from the House of Windsor. However the two roses were merged together after the War of the Roses to form the Tudor rose, which is only significant to the architectural style of this façade. (Yorkshire day is on my birthday, coincidentally.) Prince Andrew, second son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, consort is the Duke of York. Prince Henry will be accorded the title of Andrew predeceased him. It makes my head spin. Have you had enough royal history? Me too.
Shall we move on?
As we crest the square, we see the Southern façade of Sportsman’s Shoppe. This was modeled after Sir Walter Scott’s Abbotsford Manor House. (Not to be too cheeky, but Scott “borrowed” the sculpted stones from abbeys and ruined castles across Scotland for his building materials… I suppose I should also note that this has been done for thousands of years across Ireland, the British Isles and most of Europe. It just seems harsh.)
(Sportsman’s Shoppe, South façade)
(Abbotsford Manor House)
I would be remiss without mentioning the window on this façade. The crests represent England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. When overlaid onto one another, they form the Union Jack, or flag of the United Kingdom (Great Britain, etc…)
I’ve always felt that this building felt like two, now I understand why. I think 400 years was nearly too much to try to mush together. The other buildings in this pavilion work nearly seamlessly, however this one is much more choppy. In any case, gentle reader, I hope to have enlightened you about this small section of the UK pavilion, and have much more to come.
(As a side note, bring back the Man U kits!!!!)
I leave you with this,
“…But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain
For promis’d joy….” Robert Burns, “To a Mouse”, 1785