Across from the American Adventure is the America Gardens Theatre. The outdoor amphitheater has seen concerts, singers, and bands from around the world.
During the International Flower and Garden Festival each year in the spring singers and bands from the “Flower Power” era take the stage. The America Gardens Theatre has also hosted full productions including Blast, Barrage, and in 1999 and 2000, Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance.
With out a doubt, the most popular event at the America Gardens Theatre is the annual thrice nightly production of the Candlelight Processional. This is the traditional story of Christmas in song and narration presented by a guest narrator and performed by the Disney’s cast members who form the tree in the center of the stage, a symphony orchestra of 51 professional musicians from central Florida, and choir members from high school and church groups from Florida and across America. It is the most popular of all Disney events, with visitors paying for dinner at EPCOT’s pricey restaurants just to get reserved seating for one of the three nightly performances.
The theatre today is vastly different than it was in the beginning — an open air stage with no back drops and a view across the World Showcase Lagoon. Later what looked like a vessel from the Colonial era was added to the back of the stage as a dressing room/changing area. Then a roof was added, and columns, then a booth for producers and directors and lighting. And now it’s hard to even tell you are near the World Showcase Lagoon.
So many performers have appeared at the America Gardens Theatre that it would be impossible to name them all. The one that stands out most in my mind is the appearance of Bob McGrath from Sesame Street. My children were still very small and loved Sesame Street. Bob came out into the audience and my daughter wanted to shake his hand. We raised her up in the air and she got her wish!