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It All Started With The Carolwood Pacific: “Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros”

Gran FiestaThe Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros is an attraction located in the Mexico pavilion in Epcot®’s World Showcase. Although this attraction is short and relatively simple, I believe it has some great details and show scenes to offer.

Every pavilion in Epcot®’s World Showcase is beautiful and has its own unique style and culture and Mexico’s pavilion is no different. The main building for the pavilion is a pre-Colombian pyramid. Inside the pavilion, it is always nighttime which offers a perfect backdrop for what is offered inside.

The attraction’s story line is based on The Three Cabballeros: Panchito Pistoles, José Carioca and Donald Duck. The three characters are in Mexico to perform a concert for the guests riding the attraction. In the attraction, Donald gets lost and Panchito and José must search for him. Once the guests board the boats, the attraction starts with journey through a Yucatan jungle that leads to what I believe is the highlight of the attraction. To the guest’s lefts is another beautiful Mayan Pyramid that is extremely detailed. The pyramid appears that it has been aging for hundreds of years, and its beauty urges guests to want to hop out of the boat and venture out to climb the stairs leading to the top. With the lush jungle, Mayan stone carvings surrounding the pyramid, and a volcano erupting off in the distance, this scene is one of the most beautiful in Walt Disney World®.

As much as there is to look at on the left, the right side of this attraction has much to offer as well. To the right is the San Angel Inn restaurant and a Mexican marketplace. The theme to this area reflects a small riverside Mexican village. There are colorful buildings lined on the outside of the wall of the village and floating lanterns above that completely draw the guest’s attention.

Gran Fiesta - disneyAs the boat continues on in the darkness, a fire ahead draws the boat into a tunnel. Inside this tunnel, the jungle has started to take it over as vines wrap around the cave walls. Up ahead you can hear José and Panchito taking the stage but Donald appears to have gone missing. The attraction portrays the story through movie screens that the Caballeros are presented on. These screens allow the Imagineers and artists to be more creative with what the characters do in the attraction. On all the screens, there is beautiful props and artwork that are themed to what is appearing on the movie screen.

The boat eventually pulls into a scene that is very similar to “it’s a small world”. What makes this scene so appealing is the bright colors and the Audio-Animatronic figures taking part in the party. While traveling under the bridge in this scene, look up, you will notice the skeleton mariachi band playing the theme song for the attraction.

As the journey continues, the boats pull into Mexico City where Donald is finally reunited with the other two Caballeros and is just in time for the concert. As they take the stage, the boat travels through a beautifully portrayed city skyline while fireworks explode above the city.
Interesting Facts:

• The attraction is storyline is based on the 1944 Walt Disney Film, The Three Caballeros. This film is a sequal to the 1942 film Saludos Amigos which was created after the U.S. Government urged Walt Disney to travel to South America on a goodwill tour to help prevent the spread of the Nazi regime.
• Panchito Pistoles, the leading singer of the musical group, is the only Mexican character in The Three Caballeros.
• In 2006, the attraction received a major refurbishment that introduced The Three Caballeros into it. Prior to the introduction, the attraction was known as El Rio del Tiempo, and it took guests through Mexican history and culture.

 (Sign photo from the personal collection of Kendall Foreman.  On-ride photo ©Disney)

Please leave a comment below and let me know what your favorite part of the attraction is or whether you like the refurbishment that was done in 2006! 


Alex Larson is currently a college student at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin, he has loved Disney since he was born. Making annual trips to Walt Disney World® since the age of three, the parks have become a very special place to him. His love for the parks is due to the memories he has had, attractions, the endless things to explore, the food and the sense of happiness every Disney fan feels while there.