Saturday, February 9, 2008

Disney World After Dark: United Kingdom

Passing by the International Gateway we descend the gentle hill into the United Kingdom; the tenth country on our around the world showcase tour. Perhaps you are bit thirsty, or you simply need something to refresh your palette and replace the lingering taste of the Merlot you enjoyed in France. At the foot of hill you see the beckoning sign of the Rose & Crown Pub and you decide to take a pint. But, be sure to behave yourself. The motto of the Rose & Crown is Otium cum Dignitate, Latin for Leisure with Dignity.

“The pavilion is a cornucopia of re-created British architecture. High Street features Elizabethan, Tudor and Victorian buildings. A replica of Henry VIII’s Hampton Court Palace, complete with cartouche, houses a toy store. Elegant Belgrave Square row houses, formal gardens, a hedge maze, Hyde Park, Yorkshire and Regency buildings, even a Shakespearean cottage – all are part of the architectural tour. The mélange of styles is made all the more fascinating by the ease with which the Imagineers have blended the diverse styles into a romantic fantasy of the United Kingdom.”

From Since the World Began, by Jeff Kurtti, page 114

The U.K. pavilion is like a home away from home for me. Mrs. Doc and I lived in England during the last few years on the 20th Century. We lived in the county of Warwickshire, also known as Shakespeare Country. Our weekends included shopping at the village market day and walks along portions of the green paths where, yes, we would occasionally happen upon a canal-side pub and stop in for a pint. As often as possible we would take short holidays to places like Stratford-upon-Avon, Oxford, and the West Country. And we would find ourselves in London a regular basis. So when we look at the various architectural styles presented in the Disney version, we can do so with a certain amount of familiarity and nostalgia too.

On one particularly memorable visit during the Millennium Celebration, the Rose & Crown carried my favorite ale, Caffrey’s Irish Ale. Perhaps not the best ale in the Bass family of beers, but it is my favorite. It was once rumored that you could fly from one island to another in the Outer Hebrides in less time than it takes for the head to form on a pint of Caffrey’s. On the wall behind the bar at O’Neill’s on New Row in London was a plaque that showed the various stages in the beer’s head formation. But, I digress. Suffice to say I enjoyed a “few” pints on that visit. Also, suffice to say, I was disappointed when I returned in 2001 and found that Caffrey’s had been pulled from the R&C bill of fare. Since then I have had to suffer a Boddington’s, the Pride of Manchester.

So next time you find yourself in the United Kingdom, drop by the Rose & Crown, order your favorite beverage and raise a glass to absent bloggers, er, friends.


1 comment:

-- Ryan P. Wilson said...

Doc, your stories and photography skills (especially the night shots of France, you know how much I love France) continue to amaze! Thank you for sharing all these various pieces of you with all of us.