The Gran Baño Tour!
Bienvenido, todos y cada uno a WDW Loo Review! We are beyond excited to have you join us for another, world-exclusive review of a featured Walt Disney World restroom!
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Alright, if the photo above didn't yet give away our destination, you're not a true WDW fanatic. Yes, this week, we're headed to the pyramid of the Mexico Pavilion for a review of a unique and unexpectedly quiet loo.
This week, we're headed to San Angel Inn Restaurante! Ole!
San Angel Inn is a dichotomous restaurant. On one hand, we could easily argue this is among the most atmospherically-unique places in which to dine on property. Where else can you have a meal inside of a Mesoamerican pyramid at a restaurant situated along a quietly-flowing river which, itself, sits at the base of another pyramid, which, by the way, is backlit by an active volcano (run-on sentence much? -- ed)?!?!?! This place is seriously cool, and we absolutely love the vibe of the marketplace outside of San Angel Inn. We love the fact this entire area is stuck in perpetual twilight. We love the fact that there are Gran Fiesta Tour riders slowly slinking past the restaurant as we dine. Yes, this place has a cool factor which is off the chart compared to many of its counterparts in World Showcase.
Seriously, folks, can you think of more than a few things cooler than eating chips and salsa at the base of this pyramid?
On the other hand, we have the restaurant itself, which is often panned as among the worst in World Showcase. One need only listen to The Dis Unplugged's Pete Werner rant about the food here to understand that this is no Le Cellier (by the way, we love it when Pete gets worked-up over bad food at WDW -- it's always a great listen!). Pete isn't the only one -- the food at San Angel Inn Restaurante (in contrast to its atmosphere) gets panned quite a bit. Our personal experiences here have been inconsistent -- at times, the food is palatable, at times not at all. Here's hoping things will improve!
What's that you ask? What about the restrooms here? Are San Angel Inn's loos on par with that of the decor or of the food? Stay-tuned to find out!
The entrance to the Inn is hard to miss. Two pillars support a large sign advertising the restaurant. Just head straight through the pavilion, past the marketplace, towards the volcano-lit pyramid, and you'll be there before you know it. If you accidentally walk onto The Gran Fiesta Tour, you're too far to the left!
Once inside the restaurant, immediately make a sharp right turn, and, after descending but a few short steps to an adjacent sunken dining area, you'll be just outside of the restrooms.
Here's the exterior of the loo foyer:
We love this area. It's often empty, without diners present. One feels as though he is outdoors, exploring a twilight- and street lamp-lit patio in a quiet Mexican village.
Here's a closer look at the restroom sign, suspended above the foyer which leads to the men's and women's loos. There is no companion restroom here; however, you'll soon see there is plenty of space to accommodate wheelchairs and large families. Moreover, this restroom is quiet enough that we've never found it crowded.
In short, we don't think most will miss the companion restroom.
Here's the exterior of the women's loo at San Angel Inn. Note the metal studded door and the use of both English and Espanol. We've seen this dual-language theme before at Tortuga Tavern's loo, and it definitely plays well here.
A closer look at the door-signage for our beloved Damas:
We'll get to the men's loo entrance in a moment, but first, we'd like to feature a little artwork. This colorful vase is proudly displayed in the loo entrance foyer, and it's worth stopping to admire for a few moments (unless your bladder is screaming for relief -- ed).
As is the case on the women's side, the men's room door is marked appropriately:
Let's move inside, yes?
Here's a view from the doorway to the men's loo. What a fiesta of color and light!
There's so much to really appreciate in here, it's hard to soak it all in at once. Let's dissect things in detail!
As is oft our wont, let's start with the sink station . Wow! Check this one out!
We love the terra cotta walls, the mirrors offset by dark wooden frames, the amazing floor tile! The sinks, though of a modern design (which one wouldn't expect to work well here), somehow seem to perfectly fit.
Here's a closer stare at a sink. A modern, sharply-angled faucet looms over a non-recessed white basin to create a thoroughly modern feel. Come on, you know you want to wash-up here!
Oh, and here's a closer look at one of the vanity sconces which illuminate the sink station below. Faux candlelight, shaded in brown and brass, can be found between each mirror here. The overall touch is warm and rustic, and it puts the final touches on what we believe to be this restroom's finest feature (where else are you going to go to read about a sink station being a room's finest feature? -- ed).
The wall tile here is ceramic, but it imparts the feel of terra cotta clay throughout the loo's interior. This colorful trim, offset by green, lines the upper third of the walls. Check it out:
Another feature which sets this loo apart: wall art! That's right, there are framed prints here. It's a fairly common site to find artwork adorning the walls outside of on-property restrooms; however, it's a rare thing indeed to find them within the loo itself!
Prints featuring Mesoamerican dancers, each framed by wide, dark wood can be found on the men's room loo wall just opposite the entrance.
Speaking of cool, check out the tile underfoot:
Colorful reds, greens and yellows interplay on a speckled cream-colored backdrop. When so many restrooms on-property recycle the same floor tile pattern, it's always a delight to find something like this! Bravo!
There are only two stalls in San Angel Inn's men's loo; however, the traffic here is low, so this doesn't seem to be an issue. Here's a look at the AMA-compliant toilet from its exterior:
And here's a look from the interior:
One can easily see there's plenty of room to maneuver in this stall: they didn't skimp on the loo when building this pyramid, folks.
A lonely urinal sits well-recessed near the restroom's entrance. Look at the privacy afforded for those who prefer to stand!
Lastly, here's a look at the baby-changing station (notice those photos overhead):
Though not of the awful (and frigid) stainless steel design shared by many Epcot diaper-changing stations, we must admit this cold, grey stonetop isn't much more friendly. Moreover, there's not much of a lip around this countertop's edges (hold onto your babies, gents -- don't let them roll off !).
WDW LOO REVIEW RECAP OF THE SAN ANGEL RESTAURANTE LOO AT EPCOT'S MEXICO PAVILION:
Capacity: Small, but given this location's low volume of traffic, it's sufficient (1 urinal, 2 stalls, one ADA compliant).
Cleanliness: Very clean!
Theming: Perfect for this location! A fiesta of colors interplays throughout!
Changing Station: Yes!
Companion Loo: No
Access: Easy (but only if you're dining at San Angel Inn)
Overall Rating: 4.5/5 Urinal Wafers.
With our only gripe being a potentially unsafe diaper-changing station, this loo is another one of our favorites. The theme of a quiet outdoor Mexican cafe continues inside San Angel Inn's men's loo with terra cotta, framed art, colorful floor tile, etc. This is one restroom, though a bit out of the way, that is well worth the trip! Oh, and the best news: you don't have to dine at the restaurant to use it (just ask the host or hostess at San Angel Inn's entrance permission first).
Thank you, friend, for stopping by, and be sure to let us know if you get the chance to enjoy this remarkable loo!
Until next time, bottoms down and thumbs up!