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Epcot’s Morocco and Me: A Love Story

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I did not go to Walt Disney World looking for love, yet I found it. I was walking the promenade of Epcot’s World Showcase when my eye was pulled towards such beauty that my heart stopped. Okay, I will stop with the strange romantic novel opening before this starts getting really weird. As you have probably gathered from the title of this post, I am not talking about a person but the Morocco pavilion.

The reason this reminds me of a love story is because of the organic way that my affection for Morocco began (please note that when I say ‘Morocco,’ I mean the pavilion. I have never even been on the African continent, let alone in the actual country of Morocco). As a child I was underwhelmed with World Showcase in general as most kids tend to be. As I have gotten older however, I have developed an affinity for other cultures and travel. Well, you can probably guess that makes World Showcase one of my favorite places to be in Disney World.

At first I was naturally drawn to those pavilions that have rides such as Mexico and Norway and, to a lesser extent, the attractions of China, France, America, and Canada. As an adult male, I was also drawn to those pavilions with excellent (and familiar) food and beer choices such as Italy, Germany, and the UK. Morocco always just seemed too foreign, too different, too…boring.

Then one day many years ago I was wandering World Showcase all by myself. I couldn’t go on any of the attractions because of the frequent beers that seemed to appear in my hand as if from nowhere so I was simply ambling in and out of all of the pavilions. It was a busy Saturday, so there were some lively (i.e. drunk) crowds hanging around many of the European representatives. As I made my way through the bustle of the France pavilion I was beginning to think that walking all of World Showcase would be more like swimming upstream than a relaxing stroll. Then I saw her…Morocco.

With her sandstone façade, peaceful tiled fountain, keyhole arches, and delicate details I was awed for the first time by this pavilion. I honestly think I had never truly looked at it before, but I was seeing it now. It got better as I walked deeper into the pavilion and found…no one. Not literally nobody, but I found it very easy to get pictures with no one in them, so very few. The peace I instantly found was intoxicating (okay, that could have been the beer, but the peace was nice too).

The internal pathways of the Morocco pavilion are different than all other Epcot pavilions. While each pavilion has places that are relatively quiet, they are all wide open to either the World Showcase walkway or the main courtyard of the pavilion itself. In contrast, Morocco has only a small courtyard adjoining it to the World Showcase promenade and the rest of the pavilion is a tall narrow “old city” street.

Making the pavilion such a thin walkway was a risky choice. While supposedly authentic (again, never been so I wouldn’t know), it could have been choked with pedestrians, strollers, and ECVs. Instead it seems that the opposite happened and people just plain stay out of the area completely. Once you cross under the first arch you may as well be in an ancient city as you are confronted with worn wooden doors, aged stone, and breathtaking mosaic tile work.

Speaking of tile work, I would be remiss if I did not mention the fantastic inner courtyard that is to the left after you pass through the first arch. A two story reproduction of courtyards found in many Moroccan homes, it is an awe inspiring space full of light and beauty. It is a room that you can get lost in as you admire the craftsmanship and detail.

So narrow...so wonderful!

While all of the pavilions (and just about all of Walt Disney World) are intricately detailed, Morocco may be the most intricatest (hmmm, spell check says that’s not a word…it must not be up to date). As the only pavilion with backing by the actual country’s government, Morocco was built to be as authentic an experience as possible. All of the time and effort has paid off in the most engrossing experience in World Showcase.

If you are really a fan of fantasy, detail, and an immersive experience you will not be disappointed by just walking through Morocco. I never am.

Through an amazing coincidence, after I started writing this gushing story it was decided that Touring Plans would be having a meet on September 7, 2012…Morocco’s 28th birthday. Along with the incomparable Stacey Lantz and the always comparable stat whiz, Fred Hazleton, I will be attending the meet. This is your perfect opportunity to lavish praise on me or throw rotten tomatoes (note: tomatoes are BYO).

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Brian McNichols

In addition to blogging, I also do some analyzin' here at Touring Plans. I am a travel nut, planning nut, Disney nut, wall nut. Husband of 1, father of 2. Hilariously funny in my own mind. Find me on Twitter @YesThatBrian if you like really dumb jokes.

11 thoughts on “Epcot’s Morocco and Me: A Love Story

  • Night time, especially during extra magic hours + a visit to Morocco= pure Epcot perfection. I could spend hours there in the evening. Great post Brian.

  • When my son was 2, we found ourselves in the World Showcase late. It was dark out and he was cranky and tired and overstimulated. And we wandered into Morocco, which was literally empty. He climbed out of his stroller, quiet finally, and climbed up onto the fountain and stuck his chubby fingers in. We sat there for 20 minutes while he happily swirled the water with his fingers and I just took in the surroundings. It was the first peace I’d had all day. And then he climbed back into his stroller and fell asleep on the way to the buses.

  • Count me as another Touring Plans blogger fan of Morocco. Restaurant Marrakesh is one of my family’s favorite Epcot spots. The lemon chicken with cous cous is delish!

  • I assume you plagiarized this post, as I find myself in complete agreement. I refuse to believe that I’d ever agree with something you wrote.

    Morocco is also the best or second-best pavilion for photography.

  • Incomparable… really? You’re too kind. Morocco is the perfect place for everything… shopping, dining, smiling, cool air kicks. I can’t wait to visit it with such awesome people!

  • I’ll be in WDW for a week starting on 9/9, and I have been reading several WDW blogs daily for months in anticipation. This is the first blog I’ve read in a long time that really reminded how exciting this all is and that there is always something new to discover with every trip. I can’t wait to spend some quality time in Morocco! Thanks so much for the post.

  • I was here just two weeks ago and ate at the Restaurant Marrakesh for the first time. The food was unbelievably amazing and my husband and I were stunned that, at lunchtime, the restaurant still had plenty of available seating. If you book at around 12:30pm there’s live music and a belly dancer. A truly wonderful experience — this will be the first restaurant I book when I go back to WDW!!

    • I didn’t even mention the food for some reason. I have actually never eaten at Marrakesh, but The Tangerine Cafe is my favorite Counter Service in WDW.

      • My niece had us eat there in January. I was a bit hesitant but it turned out great! It was beautifully decorated and the staff was first rate. The food was very good. Morocco may be tied with Japan for my favorite pavilion.

  • Great article, we are planning our first dinner in Morocco when we get to WDW.
    And by the way, if Shakespeare could add words to our ever growing language, I think Touring Plan’s blog post should be able to legitimize “intricatest”.

    • Another thumbs up for “intricatest”.


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