The latest in a long line of befuddling changes and cuts, Disney management has taken measures to change Cast Member’s costuming at EPCOT’s American Adventure from thematic colonial garb to a much more “modern” and professional costume consisting of a double breasted suit for men, and a skirt and blazer for women. Previously, men wore period appropriate breeches and a tunic, while women donned bonnets and flowing dresses. These costumes reflected American in it’s infancy and the aesthetics of the Federal Style, the overriding date for most of the pavilion’s trappings.
|Welcome to Soarin...er...The Amercian Adventure|
©2012 The Walt Disney Company. All Rights Reserved.
This is not to say that the costumes were the only appropriate choice for the pavilion, or for EPCOT. By nature of it’s theme and intent, EPCOT is very different from the Magic Kingdom, or any of her sister parks. EPCOT is a showplace for technology and world culture and fully acknowledges that. Though most of the World Showcase pavilions do create a striking illusion of being transported to the country depicted, it is very easy to see that the pavilions are designed to be grand showplaces of the achievements and the people of their nations. EPCOT deals in exhibition but dabbles is place making and illusion. The American Adventure is a prime example of this.
|The New American Adventure Look posted on The Hub|
©2012 The Walt Disney Company. All Rights Reserved
Considering this, a costume change is not intrinsically a bad thing. If Creative Costuming had elected to make dress the cast in a more professional vein, that would have been fine, as it reflects the museum quality of EPCOT. But this costume change looks to be a shift toward the garish and the cheap. It appears that Disney was aiming for a “museum docent” look, but instead landed upon a stereotypical “airplane pilot/stewardess” aesthetic. These costumes look more in line with what one would expect to find at Soarin’, especially considering the hues of blue and red in the renderings.
If anything, a simple, modern, streamlined suit and tie for the men, and a professional skirt and blouse for the ladies would be appropriate, perhaps with a flag lapel to reflect the patriotic sentiment of the pavilion.
|Lonnie Hicks: Face of The American Adventure|
Photo Credit: Attractions Magazine
With this in mind, hopefully cooler heads will prevail that know what is right for EPCOT and what is right for the thematic and cogency of the American Adventure. Costumes are relatively small detail in the grand scheme of running a world class theme park. But with Disney, these are the details that matter and adherence to them is what allows Disney to be special, and believable.