EPCOT is one of the four theme parks at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. Known for being a blend between the technology of the future and world culture, EPCOT’s biggest feature is the World Showcase.
Featuring 11 countries from around the world, the World Showcase is a celebration of world unity and international culture. However, there is one country in particular that actually draws criticism rather than compliments. And it isn’t even a country at all.
The Refreshment Outpost is in between the China and Germany pavilions and for years has just been themed as a generic African village. The problem is that Africa isn’t a country, it’s a continent, and a lot of the theming and decor in that area was a mix of artifacts from various countries and cultures within Africa. This drew a lot of criticism from people over the years due to the fact that the rest of the World Showcase was very obviously based on countries around the world, and Africa was just clumped together.
Recently, however, it seems that steps have been made in order to change that. In the last couple of years, the African Refreshment Outpost has removed the random tribal masks that were used as decorations in the area. Still just labeled as “Outpost” on the maps and in the app, recent upgrades to the area show that new signs have been put up renaming “Village Traders” to “Amani Village Traders,” with the masks being replaced by signs advertising “Amani Village Market Tours” and various “river excursions.”
Considering Animal Kingdom has an entire African-themed area, as well as Animal Kingdom Lodge, being themed to the African safari and animals, EPCOT’s lackluster theming of their Refreshment Outpost was disappointing, especially considering it’s little more than a food service area selling American food like hotdogs and chips. Several fans online have complained about the small and generic area compared to the large built-out countries surrounding it, suggesting everything from specifying a certain region of Africa to just retheming it.
Disney has at least acknowledged this insensitivity by removing the inaccurate decorations, but it has a ways to go before the Refreshment Outpost is on the same level as the rest of the World Showcase.