The Three Caballeros is a film which, whilst obscure within the feature film canon, actually has a quite prominent presence at Epcot, to the extent that the film actually has a ride themed around it. Having commented on how odd it is that an enormously famous film such as Bambi has almost no presence in the parks, let alone a ride based on it, it seems just as odd that an obscure package film such as The Three Caballeros would do.
But with Latin America being the focus of two package films, and Mexico being represented by the character of Panchito Pistoles in the second of the two, a tour of the Mexico area and pavilion of World Showcase at Epcot seems rather appropriate.
I remember visiting the Mexico pavilion when my wife and I visited Epcot in 2007. We had spent most of the morning in the other areas of Epcot and then moved on to the World Showcase. Mexico is the first area you reach if moving in a clockwise direction around the lake and its an impressive sight to begin with. The huge Mesoamerican temple structure dominates the area and inside there are some delights to find, not least the Three Caballeros themed water ride, Gran Fiesta Tour. I'll talk about that attraction in a dedicated post.
Climbing the steps visitors enter the pyramid to find, inside, a small area with display cases showing Mexican artefacts. A display entitled Animales Fantastico shows brightly-coloured wooden carvings.
Here there is also a 'Kidcot' area which provides a quick, fun activity for children to do (apparently it is colouring a picture of Duffy Bear to put on a stick, although I have only gleaned this from Youtube videos and other blogs on the subject, as I don't remember it from my own visit). Children can also get their Epcot Passports stamped marking their 'trip' to Mexico.
Moving through this area, visitors then find themselves in a Mexican town at night - the Plaza de Los Amigos. This is a beautifully detailed area and achieves the magic of making it seem like outside, inside.
The courtyard in the centre of the pavilion is dominated by various market stalls selling a wide range of colourful wares, including the requisite sombreros.
At the back of the area is an entrance to the San Angel Inn Restaurant with a backdrop of a Mayan pyramid and smoking volcano; this is one of a few restaurants in the Mexico area. Various shops branch off the central area.
Outside the pavilion are other restaurants: La Hacienda de San Angel, La Cantina de San Angel and La Cava de Tequila. I haven't eaten in any of these, although I have acquired a taste for Mexican food in recent years, so I would certainly consider seeking one out on our next visit.
Around the side of the pyramid is a dedicated Meet and Greet area where guests can get a hug from Donald and, occasionally, from Jose and Panchito (although I think these two only appear for 'Limited Time' magic meetings). I talk a little more about this in a separate post.
Music is integral to each area and attraction of the Disney theme parks and Mexico is no exception. Aside from the music loops there is also the sometime appearance of a Mariachi band.
I remember really liking the Mexico area of World Showcase on our visit to Epcot and now, looking at Youtube videos, I can see why. It is a vibrant, beautifully realised area with a fun attraction. Whilst Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros might not be my favourite films, this area is definitely one I am fond of.