Thank you for returning to our series, 40 Days to 40 Years. (Ten years ago, this collaboration was named 30 days to 30 Years! In the blink of an eye…) If you are just joining us on our nostalgic journey through the last 40 years of Epcot, please tour our last posts. Today we are thrilled to welcome Amy of Growing Up Disney and the EPCOT 1997. Strike up the band!
1997 was Epcot’s greatest year because that’s when they hired Off Kilter. Ok, so that’s a stretch but the band is one of my favorite things about my favorite park.
I didn’t realize that Off Kilter started at Epcot in 1997 until this series of blog posts was suggested. My college program term was at the end of that year so I guess I have been a fan since the beginning. Now, I rarely make a trip to Walt Disney World without catching at least one Off Kilter performance. I keep their 5 CDs loaded on my iPhone. The uptempo songs are terrific for running or just motivation to do housework. “Follow Me Off to Carlow”, “Irish Rover” and “Whiskey in the Jar” are just a few of my favorite Off Kilter songs.
In case you aren’t familiar with them, Off Kilter is the house band of sorts at the Canada pavilion at Epcot’s World Showcase. I’m going to let the guys describe themselves. This is from the home page of their website. Off Kilter is a high-energy, progressive Celtic band that blends many hard-driving musical styles, bringing a whole new twist to Celtic music. The only thing I’d add to their description is humor. An Off Kilter show is musically enjoyable with quite a few laughs thrown in. They sing rock songs with a Celtic twist, traditional songs with a rock edge and even a few original songs.
You can listen to the band here!
Check out Off Kilter bios and interviews with the band members HERE. Randy Holbrook is the lead guitarist and I discovered that he plays not only with Off Kilter but also with a New Age band and in a show at Sea World. If you look through my photos of the group, you’ll notice a few new faces. Since it’s a regular five day a week gig, from time to time, someone is sick or on vacation and another musician will take his place.
Canada Mill Stage
We usually tour Epcot so we’ll end up in the vicinity of Canada in the afternoon or evening. It’s so much fun to be near the World Showcase Lagoon, enjoying some Celtic rock, a good beer and hopefully a light breeze. Regarding the beverage, the stage at Canada is conveniently located between stands selling Canadian and British beers, so arrive a little early and pick up some refreshments. If you are lucky enough to be visiting during the Food and Wine Festival, there is usually an additional beer marketplace in this area so your options are expanded.
I was in the parks a lot in 1997. In January, I took a trip with my three best friends during our university’s January break. We had a great time being a bunch of big kids, wearing silly hats at Magic Kingdom and doing cartwheels at Epcot. Oh goodness, I doubt I could do that now. Anyway, I still think of my friend Michelle every time I pass that area at World Showcase. Another funny Epcot memory from that trip is the mime at France. For some reason we all thought he was really cute and caught his show a couple of times.
In August of 1997, I moved into Vista Way and began work at Crystal Palace. I’ve finally found my scrapbook after our move so I’ll share more about that soon.
Many thanks to Donna for hosting this fun walk down memory lane! Happy 40th birthday Epcot!