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roae and crown sign as seen in American Public House Review

Rose and Crown doors as seen inAmerican Public House Review

I have been a regular visitor to Walt Disney World since my parents started bringing me there as a child.  Even now, firmly planted in adulthood, I still love the place and I go as often as possible.  A few years ago my wife was not able to stay for the entire trip, and since my brother had his young family to introduce to the world’s biggest Fantasyland, I spent some time on my own.  One afternoon while the rest of the clan was heading back to the hotel to put the little ones down for a nap, I walked over to Epcot by myself just to walk around and take some photos.

As I entered the back gate of the park that offers walking access to hotels the heavens opened up on me.  It was the kind of pouring, soaking rain that only Florida can produce with such random efficiency.  Being completely oblivious to the day’s weather report, I was without an umbrella or rain jacket and had no desire to spend the day in a yellow Mickey Mouse poncho.  Instead I ran for the nearest dry place where I could spend a few minutes until the storm passed.  Luckily, I was only a short sprint to the doors of the Rose and Crown, a pub located in the United Kingdom Pavilion.

Rose and Crown as seen in American Public House Review
The Disney detail is impeccable as usual

The Rose and Crown has a wonderful restaurant with a beautiful outdoor area situated over a lagoon. But the star is the small yet alive pub.  It is a place where there are no barstools, as many people are only stopping in long enough to get their pint in a plastic “to go” cup and continue on their way around the park.  There are, however, some terrifically adorned tables to sit and relax, surrounded with interesting etched glass and perfectly themed appointments. 

It wasn’t long before the weather outside the pub became completely beside the point.  What had started as a quick chance to obtain shelter from the storm turned into an afternoon of pints and conversations.  I think the rain stopped somewhere when the bartender and I were talking about Scottish Football.  He was a young twenty-something from Glasgow and a fellow supporter of the famed Celtic Football Club from his home city.  They were set to play their archrival Rangers, also from Glasgow, in just a few days and he was more than happy to tell me some of his favorite war stories from past matches.  He loved the opportunity to come to Epcot, but when the Old Firm, the term used for Glasgow’s two big clubs, got together for a game he felt a touch of homesickness.  We talked about Celtic’s great achievements, our favorite moments and which players we wished the club would sign.  Me being an American and he being so far from home meant neither us get to talk soccer (I referred to it as football as well) as much as we would like.

Rose and Crown bar as seen in American Public House Review

Rose and Crown tables amd glass as seen in American PUblic House Review

The sun came back out probably around the time I met a man from Manhattan, who was stopping in for just a few minutes for a quick pint while his family stood online for a ride on the other side of the park.  It was 2004, and the Yankees collapse in the playoffs to the Red Sox was only a few weeks past.  We shared a beer and consoled each other while trying to avoid the glee of the two Bostonians standing only a few feet away.  There is no television to watch a game or fall under the hypnotic spell of a scrolling scoreboard or new ticker, but you never even notice the time going by.

Rose and Crown slogan as seen in American Public House Review
OTIUM CUM DIGNITATE: "leisure with dignity"
Rose and Crown dining table as seen in American Public House Review
One can almost smell the Thames.

There is an infinitely inviting atmosphere to this place.  It has a feeling that everyone is a friend and everyone who does stay for a while is willing to have a chat.  Unlike any other pub I have been in, you are probably not going to find many locals, if any at all.  The patrons here are from all over the world and as a result you will likely strike up a conversation you may not have expected.  Another reason such a bustling place is so inviting are the employees.  The people working behind the bar are mostly exchange students, coming to Florida from Britain to work and have some fun.  They love to talk about their homes, their favorite football teams, or what they think of our country.  They are also equally as interested in your story.  You don’t often find the same bartender twice, something also unusual for a great pub.  But it seems Disney has chosen these folks wisely.

Epcot's spaceship earth as seen in American Public House Review
Epcot's iconic structure, SPACESHIP EARTH

Epcot may be a fiberglass constructed world of make believe, and the definite antithesis for the Anthony Bourdain crowd that feels they know the secret to intelligent travel.  But those who assume Disney World is beneath them are missing the point.  Epcot’s World Showcase is not meant to be a substitute for going to these various countries.  Instead, it is meant to open people’s curiosity to places they may never have considered for a vacation before.  It is meant to excite people about the idea of traveling the world, and to some degree it accomplishes this goal.

For me, the Rose and Crown is itself something of a Neverland.  It doesn’t need animated robots, 3D glasses or cartoon animals to make it work.  And no one needs to pretend they’ve crossed the pond and stepped into one of Victorian London’s finest pubs.  Just walking through the doors of this welcoming watering hole and soaking in the conversation and drink is enough. 

Roseand crown Dini9ng Room as seen in American Public House Review
The pub may be imagineered, but the experience is true and the romance real.




pub stuff logo as seen in american Public House Review
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