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Vintage Walt Disney World: Building the Eiffel Tower

Nate Rasmussen

by , Librarian, Walt Disney Archives

Today is Bastille Day in France, so to mark the occasion I thought it would be fun to take a look back at an early construction photo of our very own version of France in Epcot‘s World Showcase. In the photo below, the pavilion is beginning to take shape back in December 1981.

Construction on the France Pavilion at Epcot in December 1981

The France Pavilion’s architecture is representative of a vast majority of France’s history from the 1600s through the 1900s. One of the most famous landmarks in Paris, the Eiffel Tower, was reconstructed at Epcot at 1/10 scale of the original and stretches 103 feet into the air.

Eiffel Tower Reconstruction at Epcot's France Pavilion

Obviously, any trip to the France Pavilion with me will almost certainly include a stop at the Boulangerie Pâtisserie for a chocolate croissant. Delicious!


  • Our favorite Epcot-France activity that involves food is to sit at a streetside table while enjoying wine, some cheese, and a baguette. It seems so…..French. 🙂

  • The Chocolate Mousse is amazing!! My family and I will be there in 55 days! So excited!! 🙂

  • Thank you for sharing the early construction photo…. I love seeing these types of pictures……

  • Love your posts! I would love to have your job!

    ………How does what get your job actually?

    Liberty, Equality, Fraternity (A little French Revolution reference),
    Cristian M
    Los Angeles, California

  • @ Samuel – I was there in May also, and it was there when I went. The picture of it above makes it look a lot more prominent than it really is. It’s actually on top of (made to look like it is behind) the France pavilion’s building and looks as though it should be in the distance because it’s fairly small. I didn’t even notice it the first few times I went to Disney World. I was very embarrassed when I said “Hey, look, they added the Eiffel Tower!” and was told it had been there all along :X

  • When I was there in May, the Eiffel Tower was no longer there that I could tell. Has it been removed? Dinner upstairs in France is always wonderful!

  • Nate, It would be interesting to ask guests how many Eiffel Tower’s exist in all the Disney Parks collectively? Paris and Tokyo have their Eiffel Towers, but more than 1 in Epcot exists within the parks in Paris, Disneyland,Disney world,Hong Kong, and Tokyo Disneyland Resort. I remember reading that when Art Deco became the rage, they thought about covering over the Eiffel Tower for a newer exposition in Paris. Structural Engineer Gustave Eiffel, designed the Eiffel Tower as well as the structural framework of the Staue of Liberty in New York,which can also be seen in part in World Showcase.

  • Wow! I really enjoy these old photos. Thanks for sharing!

  • “Bastille Day! Nothing makes us prouder in all of France than to celebrate the birth of our republic!”

    Nate, I finally discovered your blog posts! Great job. I went back and read all 11 just now. Well done!

    That photo archive really is something else. I miss it and the rest of the Marketng Resource Center.

    Keep em coming, Nate Dog!

  • The quiche’s are also incredible!! Love to sleep in after a late night and get to France by 11am for a “brunch” 🙂

  • Had an amazing visit to Epcot this past April and thought it was Beautiful and couldn’t get enough of their many pastry delights!Thank You Disney!!

  • Grace, those hot ham and cheese croissants are amazing.

    • Yes, they are. 🙂

  • I don’t want to be a stickler – however my girlfriend is training to be a pastry chef – and there is no such thing as a chocolate croissant it is a pain au chocolat. Especially in France, or at the France Pavilion.

  • @Grace: to get in the French spirit I’ll help you out a little… the ham & cheese sandwich you’re referring to is called a “Croque Monsieur.” 😉 there is also the “Croque Madame” which is just a little different but equally as tasty! we didn’t try these at Epcot last week but I’ve had them in France many times and they are divine! bon appétit in 93 days!!!

  • Looks like it’s back to normal now!! Sorry for the complaint.

  • What in the world have you done to the format of the blog???? It’s awful!!!! Sorry. Don’t mean to be a complainer, but I loved coming to this site, but now it’s not enticing anymore and makes me want to close it up and move on right away. Not sure why exactly.

    As to the France Pavilion, I can’t wait to get a chocolate croissant! And I’ve heard the ham and cheese croissants are amazing too. 93 days….. 🙂

  • Might I suggest the lemon tart? AH-MAZ-ING!

    • You may, I’ll have to try on the next time I’m there.

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