Year-Long Takeover: Disney World Announces Closure Date for Location Handed to President

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A little girl looking up at Spaceship Earth inside of EPCOT at Walt Disney World Resort.

Credit: Disney

Walt Disney World Resort has announced closure dates for the EPCOT location being handed over to a former president.

The second-oldest park at Disney World has undergone plenty of changes over the years, but one thing that remains consistent is World Showcase’s focus on culture and history across the globe.

Spaceship Earth at EPCOT framed from the arch in the Japan Pavilion in World Showcase. At EPCOT in Walt Disney World Resort
Credit: Ed Aguila, Inside the Magic

Throughout the year, Disney celebrates holidays and occasions in each respective pavilion – such as Bastille Day in France, Cinco de Mayo in Mexico, and Chinese New Year in China.

Usually, these celebrations are pretty low-key and shortlived, with the longest-running country-specific additions typically occurring during Festival of the Holidays, when several countries boast their own respective Holiday Storytellers.

American Adventure at EPCOT in Walt Disney World Resort
Credit: Disney

At The American Adventure Pavilion, EPCOT also nods to several important days in the national calendar. Thanksgiving and July 4 are honored in some way on an annual basis, as is National Military Appreciation Month, with the latter getting an extra special addition for 2024.

As was announced earlier this month, EPCOT will welcome a new addition for the occasion – courtesy of none other than President George W. Bush.

Come June 9, the pavilion’s American Heritage Gallery will be taken over by a temporary exhibit, “Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute,” which will honor both veterans and those who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces.

american adventure lobby
Credit: Disney

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The art featured in “Portraits of Courage” is the personal work of Bush, who runs the Bush Institute’s Veterans and Military Families program.

“Celebrating those who give so much to our country has been part of the fabric of The Walt Disney Company throughout our 100-year history,” said Josh D’Amaro, Chairman, Disney Experiences. “We’re grateful to the Bush Institute for allowing us to feature this special collection and share it with our guests.”

The entrance to the American Heritage Gallery, featuring displays of cultural artifacts and a central map titled "Creating Tradition." The gallery includes elements of native and historical exhibitions following its recent takeover.
Credit: Disney

Today, EPCOT has confirmed when guests can expect the American Heritage Gallery to close to make way for “Portraits of Courage.” According to the official Walt Disney World operating calendar, it will temporarily shut its doors from May 28 through June 6, 2024.

The American Adventure gallery typically showcases artwork from Native American communities across the U.S. When it reopens with its new exhibit, this will remain open well beyond National Military Appreciation Month. “Portraits of Courage” is expected to run for a full year, packed with over 60 oil paintings of various service members and veterans.

A man paints a large canvas filled with various expressive portraits in a studio, surrounded by brushes and paint palettes, despite news of the Disney World closure.
Credit: Disney

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Each painting will also be accompanied by a recap of the subject’s story (also written by Bush), highlighting “tales of valiant service on the battlefield, resilience in recovering from injury to the continued leadership and contributions they make in their post-military careers.”

Walt Disney World Resort routinely champions veterans and military families beyond just The American Adventure Pavilion. Not only does it offer military discounts, but it has donated over $20 million to various nonprofits supporting current and former members of the military since 2012.

It also boasts a resort owned by the United States Department of Defense, Shades of Green, which is not bookable by the general public.

Do you plan on visiting “Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute” when it opens? Let us know in the comments!

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