The pavilion at Epcot that represents the United States has a bad rep. It has for years, probably since the park’s opening day in 1982.
Many Americans have complained the pavilion’s only attraction, an Audio-Animatronic trip through the nation’s history hosted by Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain, is too heavily sanitized and Disneyfied.
But the American Adventure show isn’t the pavilion’s biggest problem. That distinction goes to the Liberty Inn, a counter service restaurant next-door to the theater.
It serves up stereotypical American fast food grub like cheeseburgers, hot dogs, and fries. The food here is so bland and tasteless, most pass holders avoid it like the plague and it never makes anyone’s list of places to dine at Epcot. It competes with World Showcase neighbors Japan and Italy, which both have restaurants representative of their cultures.
After 30-plus years of less than mediocre food offerings at the American Adventure pavilion, it’s time for Disney to finally make a change. Here are some recommendations.
1. Transform the Liberty Inn into a steak house along the lines of Ruth’s Chris. Give it a modern, upscale appearance and require reservations. Demand will be through the roof!
2. Make the Liberty Inn a food court with a variety of options representing geographical regions of the U.S. Seafood, Tex-Mex, southern fried chicken, pan Asian, deli-style sandwiches. Mix it up and allow picky eaters to choose what they want.
3. What says America more than a hearty breakfast? Turn the Liberty Inn into a restaurant that serves breakfast all day. Pancakes, bacon, omelets, cereals, pastries. You get the idea.
4. Americans love their barbeque. Every region of the country seems to lay claim to having the best. Let’s put it to the test at Epcot. Turn the Liberty Inn into a year round Smokehouse and serve up every style in America – Kansas City, Memphis, Texas and the Carolinas.
5. If Disney feels burgers and hot dogs are the best representation of American food, at least make what’s served at Epcot unique. Make everything on the menu truly gourmet and offer insane, regionalized toppings.
6. Turn it into a massive dessert cafe. The whole world knows Americans love to eat our sweets. Let’s show France and the others how to throw down some donuts and apple pie!
7. In keeping with the pavilion’s colonial architecture, lease out the restaurant space to The Peanut Shop of Williamsburg. The Virginia-based company could use it as a retail space for their wide selection of handcooked peanuts, brittles, and snack mixes. They could provide tasting stations and even sell fresh cakes and desserts made with their products.
8. Turn over the Liberty Inn to a celebrity chef and let them transform the space into a unique American dining experience. Bobby Flay, Rachael Ray, or Tyler Florence could deliver a family dining concept that would make Walt Disney himself proud.