Saying Goodbye to an Iconic Parasol
Salutations, friends! We hope this latest review finds you well as we enter the season of Not-So-Scary and Food & Wine! It’s an exciting time of year, for sure, but especially so this year in light of the latest from D23! EPCOT is getting a major makeover, and we couldn’t be more excited. Of course, change is a bittersweet thing, and nowhere is this phrase more applicable than our favorite community of tomorrow. We’ve said goodbye to so many standards over the last few weeks: Club Cool, Fountain View and many others have all gone the way of Ellen’s Universe of Energy, and along with them many of the remaining vestiges of old EPCOT. Very soon, we'll be bidding adieu to Mousegear and all of Innoventions East, including one of the most eclectic (and often most maligned) counter service restaurant on-property: Electric Umbrella.
Today, we pay tribute to this dining establishment’s remarkable loo, waving goodbye as it soon fades into the Florida sunset.
The Electric Umbrella (heretofore referred to EU), has been a fixture of Innoventions East for over a decade. Though not renowned for its food, the EU has often been admired for its eclectic decor and colorful lights. The interior of this place is pure 1990's, with purples, blues, red umbrellas, not-so-subtle nods to Coca-Cola and tons of neon lighting the way for guests dining on the standard WDW chicken nuggets and burgers.
Though, in recent years, the EU chefs tried to offer a few more exciting items (see below), it often reverted back to the uninspiring and unadventurous standby fast food fare. Here's a look at the offerings last Winter:
If only the menu here was as adventurous as the decorations. Just look at this place, folks!
While we'll easily forget the food offerings here, we'll hold fond memories of our time underneath this umbrella for years to come. We are hopeful Mr. Chapek and his band of merry Imagineers can find a suitable replacement for the colorful kitsch that is Electric Umbrella's trademark.
But what about the loo? As we approach EU's final days in existence, is the restroom here worth making a special trip? It the nostalgia factor worthy of an extra five minute stroll? Is this restroom worthy of a deposit before it is soon torn-down, pipe by pipe, tile by tile?
The answer will probably not surprise you. We here at the WDW Loo Review home office believe the EU loo most certainly is worth your time for at least one more visit. Let's take a gander, yes?
The restroom here is easy to find. The neon and umbrella festooned ordering station is a can't-miss. When standing in front of it, simply pivot 90 degrees to the left. Look for the series of eggplant colored columns, each displaying a restroom sign marked with a directional arrow at eye level:
Following the signs, we pivot to our right to stare down this long hallway:
Man, if this decor doesn't scream the late 90's/early 2000's EPCOT, nothing does. Multi-colored carpet below, dark blue carpet on the walls, purple above ... we love it! Not to mention the carpet here is textured, inviting anyone to reach out and drag the fingertips along its ridges (we dare you to not touch this carpet as you walk down the hallway -- ed). Plus, it's a really long hallway, and with each step, the loo-anticipation cannot help but grow.
Eventually, to our right, we come upon these two doors, each painted a bright red, standing in sharp contrast to the dark walls surrounding them.
The men's loo is beyond the left door, the ladies is behind the right.
Though the carpet supporting it has seen better days, the men's restroom sign -- though pretty standard and unthemed -- remains intact and unblemished.
The same can be said for the women's restroom sign:
Let's take a look inside the men's restroom:
Woah! Look at the walls, the floor! If the EU dining area is eccentric, this is unabashedly mind-blowing. Look at the colors on these walls -- white tile is frequently interrupted by yellow, blue, red and black squares. The floor beneath is black and white -- perhaps the world's most unhygienic chessboard!
Moving in closer to the sink station, we notice a few things:
First, there's no vanity mirror here ... and why would there be when users can simply stare instead at the confetti of color before them?! Second, we see ample space for a busy loo: four basins are situated in relief to a periwinkle-grey counter. And ... what's this? A floral arrangement?
Fake though it may be, we love it when the Department of Loo Imagineering sees fit to include a small touch like this. It really elevates the hand washing experience, don't you think?
Four urinals (three standard height, one short-round) adorn the wall opposite the stalls. Nothing too special here, and there doesn't need to be given that this colorful wall, juxtaposed to the chessboard floor, does all the heavy lifting!
This is a deep restroom, much larger than initial impressions would lead us to believe. The proof? Here's six white stalls, smartly-suited for six bottoms:
Here's a peek inside the ADA-compliant stall:
Though not as roomy as other ADA stalls on property, there's still plenty of space for most.
Always last, but never least, here's a look at the diaper changing station. It's unique in that there is a mirror to the stall's left. We're not sure why a dad would want to be checking himself out while changing a dirty nappy, but we must give props to WDW for giving us the opportunity regardless.
Now that we've finished this review, let's address the elephant in the restroom: you've seen this before, right? If you're a long-time follower of our blog (and why wouldn't you be? -- ed), you'll surely recognize this decor, as it matches that of one of our favorite (and, sadly, recently closed) loos. Take a look at one of the photos from that restroom:
Yes, it's pretty much a match, folks ... and that's not a bad thing. Though we can no longer access the long admired (for its low traffic and ambient music) Innoventions West restroom, its memory lives on for but a few more weeks inside Electric Umbrella. We love that we have a little more precious time to visit this dying remnant of old Epcot.
Oh, and one more thing. Take a look at this:
Yes, that's the bathroom scene with Robin and Steve from Stranger Things 3. Though most of us here at the home office loved this season and watched it with great attention, even we almost missed the similarities between the Starcourt Mall theater's restroom and our favorite Innoventions loos! The resemblance is uncanny. We know the Duffer brothers are huge fans of the 80's, and we can't help but wonder if the restroom design in this scene was a tribute to a younger Epcot Center.
WDW LOO REVIEW RECAP OF INNOVENTIONS EAST/ELECTRIC UMBRELLA LOO:
Capacity: Large (six stalls -- one ADA-compliant, four urinals)
Cleanliness: Though some of the decor is showing some wear, the restroom was spotless
Theming: Come on! Though not tied to any IP, this restroom screams Card Walker, Bob Eisner and Epcot (back when it was still called Epcot Center).
Companion Loo: No
Access: It's an easy walk from the ordering area to the restrooms.
WDW Loo Review Score: 4/5 Urinal Wafers
Folks, visiting this restroom is a limited time offer. So quickly, we have seen (and will continue to see) the colors and structures of old Epcot forever disappear. Change is inevitable, of course, and we love what Bob Chapek has planned for the new Epcot. That said, you have a small window of opportunity to take a break in a place that is steeped deeply in Epcot nostalgia, and we highly suggest you seize it.
Until next time, friends, bottoms down and thumbs up!