Sail Around Mexico on the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros

When you're looking for a ride where you can rest your weary feet for a few minutes, head over to the Mexico Pavilion and hop on the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros. This nearly seven-minute boat ride takes guests on an adventure through Mexico as Jose Carioca and Panchito try to find their missing amigo, Donald Duck.

But before we board the boat, let's talk a little bit about the Mexico Pavilion.

Mexico Pavilion at NightMexico Pavilion at Night

The pavilion is unique in that aside from the outside dining on the lagoon and a few shops, the rest of the pavilion is inside the Mesoamerican pyramid that is the centerpiece of the pavilion. When you enter the pyramid, you'll walk past a display of Mexican artwork and soon find yourself in the middle of a Mexican marketplace at twilight.

Inside the marketplace you'll find shops, the tequila bar La Cava del Tequila, and the San Angel Inn which sits on the banks of the river that flows through the pavilion. To the left of the San Angel Inn is the boarding area for the Gran Fiesta Tour attraction.

Mexican Courtyard In Perpetual TwilightMexican Courtyard In Perpetual Twilight

Donald and friends weren't always part of the attraction inside the pyramid. When the pavilion first opened in 1982, the attraction was called El Rio del Tiempo and took guests on a journey through ancient, colonial, and modern Mexico. (The working title of the ride, before Epcot opened, was Las Tres Culturas de Mexico).

The original version of the attraction featured the same movie screens that you see today on Gran Fiesta Tour, but instead of watching Donald and his friends, guests saw moving images of Aztec and native rituals, colonial times, and then finally the modern era.

El Rio del Tiempo closed in January 2007 and reopened a few months later as the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros.

On the current version of the attraction, guests float past the Mayan pyramid and the back of the San Angel Inn dining room and then enter a tunnel where Jose Carioca and Panchito appear on a video screen and introduce themselves, only to discover that the third member of their band - Donald Duck - has gone missing.

Sail The River Past an Ancient Pyramid and the San Angel InnSail The River Past an Ancient Pyramid and the San Angel Inn

The attraction features live-action footage from Mexico and animation inspired by the 1944 film The Three Caballeros. (An interesting tidbit - Panchito is the only Mexican bird in The Three Caballeros. Donald is American and Jose Carioca is Brazilian.)

Donald shows up in several scenes throughout the ride, including climbing the steps of a Mayan pyramid, cliff diving in Acapulco, and as a pinata during the 'it's a Small World'-inspired scene where Audio-Animatronic dolls dance at the Festival of the Children. And all the while, Jose Carioca and Panchito chase after him on their magical flying serape.

Dolls Dance in the Festival of ChildrenDolls Dance in the Festival of Children

The boat sails into Mexico City just in time and The Three Caballeros are reunited in time for the fireworks and for their concert which closes out the ride.

The kids are sure to love this attraction, but the adults might have to stop at La Cava del Tequila afterward, just to get that song out of their head with the aid of an after-ride cocktail.

A Big thanks once again to Traci C. for this fantastic guest post. How much do you love the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Kristen K. wrote on Thu, 08/01/2013 - 15:24:

Kristen K.'s picture

This was always my youngest daughter's favorite ride in Epcot when she was small. Now she's a teenager and a thrill ride junkie, it's just not the same but I still make her go on it with me!

PirateGirl wrote on Thu, 08/01/2013 - 20:53:

I love this ride. It's fun watching the others chase after Donald and it's also a chance to relax.

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