The Moroccan Pavilion is part of the World Showcase within Epcot at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. It opened on September 7, 1984, and was actually the first expansion pavilion to be added to World Showcase. Morocco is the only country in World Showcase sponsored by the government and not a corporation. With the help of the country’s government, the pavilion is designed to look, feel, and even smell like a city in Morocco! The goal being that Guests to get to know and understand the culture and people of Morocco through the accurate use of architectural designs, plants, dining and shopping options, as well as entertainment.
Although I have never been to Morocco, being in this pavilion transports me there. I love the scent of the air, the feeling of walking down a narrow street in a far away land, the way the shops are arranged – like in a real souk, I find the sound of the fountain soothing after running around in the theme park all day – everything about this pavilion feels authentic. I remember going to Epcot in 1986 with my parents and spending at least an hour going through the shops and eating the “strange” food. Flash forward a few years, and I remember when the Aladdin movie had just come out and they actually had a character breakfast with Aladdin, Princess Jasmine, Genie and Jafar. Now they have a great band, some great exhibits, and my family always makes sure to get a picture wearing fez in front of the camel! Here is a little bit more detail about what you will find when you visit Morocco at Epcot’s World Showcase.
The Moroccan Pavilion is divided into two sections – the Ville Nouvelle (new city) and the Medina (old city). In the Medina, you will find the bustling marketplace or bazaar. The Ville Nouvelle (new city) has the Royal Gallery and the Moroccan National Tourist Office where you can see a three-screen slide show of the landscape and culture of Morocco. Some examples of authentic architecture can be found in the replica of the Koutoubia Minaret of Marrakesh, a prayer tower of the 12th century mosque; in the replica of the Bab Boujouloud Gate located at the entrance to the Medina (the old city) and in the flower-filled courtyard that is surrounded by citrus and olive trees, date palms and banana plants, which includes a fountain inspired by the Nejjarine fountain in Fez. Throughout the entire exhibit native artisans gave meticulous attention to detail in their carved geometric patterns and mosaic tile designs. And as you head to the back of the Pavilion, you will swear you have been transported out of Epcot to the other side of the world!
Attractions and Entertainment
The Treasures of Morocco is a free tour available throughout the day for those interested in learning more about Morocco. In this extremely educational 45-minute tour you will learn about the history, people, and culture of Morocco. The Gallery of Arts and History is where you can enjoy the ever-changing exhibits of the science, music and technology of Morocco. The current exhibit is “Moroccan Style: The Art of Personal Adornment.” The Fez House represents a typical Moroccan home. There are beautiful mosaic tiles, carvings, and artifacts from daily life. Don’t miss out on the Character Greetings – Princess Jasmine and Aladdin appear daily at the Moroccan Pavilion, and I have even seen Jafar there once or twice! Finally, a trip to Morocco is not complete without seeing a Mo’Rockin show. This 6-person musical group performs a fun 20-minute on the lagoon side of the pavilion. They blend rhythms from several different world cultures, including Middle Eastern, African, Spanish and American, into a fun show for the whole family!
You have two dining options available to you while visiting the Moroccan Pavilion. The Restaurant Marrakesh offers Guests a chance to sample the exotic cuisine of Morocco and enjoy a Moroccan belly dancing show. Options run from the Taste of Morocco: Royal Feast (which includes everything from Harira soup to Moroccan pastries) to Bastilla appetizers (meat or seafood baked in a thin pastry with vegetables or almonds) and traditional couscous, to a number of lamb dishes, chicken brochettes, and kabobs. The Tangierine Cafe is a small open-air cafe offering sandwiches, humus, vegetarian platters and desserts.
There are quite a few shopping options in the Moroccan Pavilion that will make you feel like you are shopping in a real Casablancan souk. Berber Oasis sells baskets, brass items, jewelry, and leather. The Brass Bazaar sells handmade bowls, pitchers, and planters. Casablanca Carpets sells handmade carpeting and textiles. The Marketplace in The Medina has baskets, wicker lamps, leather goods, and furniture. Medina Arts sells woodcrafts, musical instruments, and clothing. Finally, Tangier Traders sells clothing.
I am not going to give any secrets away, but if you keep your eyes out you will see a few hidden Mickey’s in and around the Morocco pavilion – happy hunting!