Merry Christmas dear readers! You already know I am a fanatic about Outlander, but I am also a Disney fanatic. A Christmas tradition for my family is to go to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. We haven’t missed a year in twelve years. Living in Florida makes it an easy trip. We stay in one of the resorts on property, and spend two nights. The event is a hard ticket event, meaning you pay extra for admission to the party. We have learned over the years that although the party officially starts at 7:00 p.m., they will let you into the park with your ticket at 4:00 p.m. The party ends at midnight so if you go in at 4:00, you still have eight hours in the Magic Kingdom. We think of the party ticket as a “park ticket” for the day of the party. My favorite part of the night is Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade. Characters from the movie Frozen made an appearance this year. There are still tickets for the party available for the 18th of December.
Me and Goofy
For our second day at Walt Disney World, we pick another park to enjoy. This year, when my husband asked the kids what park they wanted to visit, they said, “I don’t know.” I responded, “I want to go to Epcot.” This Disney Park features a World Showcase which houses pavilions from 11 different countries; the United Kingdom is one destination. I have never been to the United Kingdom, but while I wish for an adventure across the pond, I happily took in my experience at the World Showcase. We didn’t eat in the UK pavilion this trip, but I have visited the Rose and Crown Pub and Dining Room, and listened to the Pub musician on previous visits. There is also the Yorkshire County Fish Shop available as a more casual option. “British Revolution” was performing while we shopped. At the “Crown and Crest” shop, they will frame your family’s crest and history. My husband purchased one for his Dad several years ago. In the past, I have also seen Scottish tartans and ties. I didn’t see any this time, but I spotted shirts, beer steins, and mugs.
The kids saw characters from Alice in Wonderland, Mary Poppins, Winnie the Pooh and Friends, and Peter Pan. As we walked through the United Kingdom, I asked my husband, “Where are the bagpipe players?”
M: I’ve never seen anybody playing bagpipes at the World Showcase.
Me: They used to stand in between the Canada Pavilion and the UK Pavilion.
M: Did you want to come to Epcot just to see men in kilts playing bagpipes?
Me: Well, that wasn’t the only reason.
I asked some of the cast members if they knew of any entertainers that played bagpipes, and they didn’t know of any either. The cast members that work in the World Showcase at Epcot are from the country they represent. The very nice people I spoke with weren’t from Scotland. I enjoyed listening to some lovely English accents though.
At this point, I am starting to question my sanity. Is my Outlander Withdrawal so severe that I am imagining Scottish Highlanders playing bagpipes at Epcot?
That night, I Googled “Epcot World Showcase Bagpipes”. I didn’t tell my husband “I told you so”, but there have been bagpipe players at the World Showcase from 1983-2014. In my research, I found a fun blog, http://www.yesterland.com. Werner Weiss is the curator of Yesterland. The blog compares photos from 1983 to photos in the same pavilion in 2011. I learned so much from reading his blog. For example, in 1983, the group was called the Calendonian Bagpipe Trio. The piper and singer Jamie Holton founded Off Kilter in 1997, and has performed at the Canada pavilion since 1990. The photos below were taken by Werner Weiss, and originally appeared in his blog December 9, 2011.
This made me wonder why the group performed in the Canada Pavilion. Weiss answered my question in his blog, “When immigrants from Scotland settled in the country of Canada, they brought their culture—including kilts and bagpipes—with them. Canada at Epcot has had musicians with kilts and bagpipes since the park opened.”
Off Kilter’s last performance at the World Showcase was September 27, 2014. I have lived in Florida since Epcot opened, and seen performances by the Calendonian Bagpipe Trio and Off Kilter. I will definitely miss hearing the bagpipes as I walk around the World Showcase. The band’s website is www.offkilter.net. I also found an Off Kilter board on Pinterest, and am actually listening to Off Kilter as I type, very motivational.
A new musical group, the Scottish Musical Trio, a Celtic musical act, will be performing at the United Kingdom pavilion in the future. I read an article in the Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com/travel/attractions/theme-park-rangers-blog/os-disney-ends-epcot-acts-off-kilter-20140828-post.html, with details.
We now have 16 weeks until Outlander returns on Starz. Thank you for following this blog, and my Twitter account as I attempt to think of ways to pass the time until April 4, 2015! Honestly, I was hoping to see men in kilts playing bagpipes at Epcot. While I was disappointed, I did see some sights at Disney that reminded me of Scotland.
This edition of Outlander Inspired took me longer to write. I found myself absorbed by the blogs and web sites I was reading to research. Here is a list of the ones I referenced:
I was also sucked in by Pinterest; I found the Off Kilter board which led me to these fun pictures.
The above pic I found on Pinterest, and realized that it is via outlandishobservations.blogspot.com. This is Gaelic for Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Thanks Outlandish Observations!
Thank you again for reading! I look forward to hearing from you!