Food Rocks

presented by Nestlé

A benefit concert
for good nutrition
 
The Land Pavilion


Yester Epcot at Yesterland
Food Rocks at Epcot

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2002

Food Rocks in The Land

Birds, flowers, and tikis provide a “musical luau” at the Enchanted Tiki Room. Bears, a raccoon, a bison, a moose, and a stag deer perform a down-home concert at the Country Bear Jamboree. If you think these are unusual singers, just wait until you experience Food Rocks.


The entertainers of Food Rocks are fruits, vegetables, dairy products, a basket of treats, a fish, a sandwich, kitchen tools, bags of junk food—and even food packaging.

Food Rocks at Epcot

Photo by Chris Bales, 2002

Entrance

Go to the lower level of The Land pavilion. It’s presented by Nestlé. Head into the waiting area and wait for the next show. There’s seldom a crowd. There’s only one theater, so your wait time will depend on when the prior show began.

Food Rocks at Epcot

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2001

Fun facts about food

Food Rocks at Epcot

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2001

More fun facts

Your waiting area’s pre-show “entertainment” consists of colorful graphics with food facts. Some are just odd bits of history or food science, while others encourage good nutrition.

Food Rocks at Epcot

Photo by Chris Bales, 2002

Doors to the theater

The countdown clock reaches zero and the theater doors open. Pick a row.

You’re about to be entertained by such acts as Pita Gabriel (a pita bread sandwich stuffed with high-fiber fillings), Richard (a singing pineapple with a Little Richard mustache), and The Sole of Rock ’n’ Roll (a fish who resembles Cher, including her hair).

Food Rocks at Epcot

Photo by Chris Bales, 2002

Fūd Wrapper (pronounced “food wrapper”), the host of the show

This “benefit concert for good nutrition” packs 12 musical numbers into a 12-minute show:

  • “We’ll Make It Count in the Kitchen” by The Utensils (based on “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen)
  • “Good Nutrition” by the Peach Boys (based on “Good Vibrations” the Beach Boys)
  • “Every Bite You Take” by the Refrigerator Police (based on “Every Breath You Take” by The Police)
  • “High Fiber” by Pita Gabriel (based on “Sledgehammer” by Peter Gabriel)
  • “Always Read the Wrapper” by Fūd Wrapper (based on “Funky Cold Medina” by Tone Lōc)
  • “Just Keep It Lean” by The Sole of Rock ‘n’ Roll (based on “The Shoop Shoop Song / It’s in His Kiss” by Cher)
  • “Tutti Frutti” by Richard (based on “Tutti Frutti” by Little Richard)
  • “Vegetables Are Good for You” by Neil Moussaka (based on “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do” by Neil Sedaka)
  • “Let’s Exercise” by Chubby Cheddar (based on “The Twist” by Chubby Checker)
  • “Give Us Junk” by The Excess (not a parody)
  • “Just a Little Bit” by the Get-the-Point Sisters (based on the song “Respect” by Aretha Franklin, with the name of the group a parody of The Pointer Sisters)
  • “Choose Before You Chew” by The Utensils and the rest of the cast (based on “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen)
Food Rocks at Epcot

Photo by Chris Bales, 2002

Finale: “Choose Before You Chew”

Almost everyone’s lyrics promote healthy food choices. For example, Pita Gabriel sings this:

You could have some red beans;
A tortilla might be nice;
How about a leafy green salad?
Or a nice big bowl of rice?
All you do is call me, I got everything you need;
I want to be your High Fiber.

There’s one exception. The Excess, a heavy metal act, looks unhealthy and has a different idea:

We love junk—give us sugar and fat;
We love junk—you got a problem with that?
We love junk—and we’ll be a disgrace;
When there’s junk, there’s nothin’ like stuffin’ your face.

Fans of heavy metal might prefer The Excess over the other acts—and their lyrics might resonate more. That’s not what the folks who designed this attraction had in mind.


Food Rocks had a ten-year run at Epcot—from March 26, 1994 to January 3, 2004. But it wasn’t the first show in its space.

When Epcot opened October 1, 1982 (as EPCOT Center), The Land pavilion was sponsored by Kraft Foods and had three major attractions under one roof:

  • Listen to the Land, a boat ride, which was modified in 1993 to become Living with the Land;
  • Symbiosis, a 70 mm film, which was replaced in 1995 by Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable;
  • Kitchen Kabaret, an Audio-Animatronic show, in the space that became Food Rocks in 1994.

Kitchen Kabaret had also been about nutrition, back when Americans were urged to eat from the Basic Four Food Groups—meat, dairy, grains, and fruits and vegetables. The musical styles were from before the age of rock ’n’ roll, the distant past for audiences of the 1980s—although the catchy Latin-style “Veggie Veggie Fruit Fruit” was a hit with guests of all ages.

In November 1992, The Walt Disney Company and Nestlé USA Inc. announced an expanded strategic alliance. Disneyland already had a long relationship with Nestlé’s Carnation and Stouffer brands, but the new agreement would be much bigger. Among other things, Nestlé would replace Kraft General Foods as the sponsor of The Land in September of the following year. It was time to update The Land for Nestlé.

1992 was also the year that the USDA replaced the Basic Four Food Groups with the Food Pyramid, suggesting relative quantities for each food category.

In 1993, Disney announced that Kitchen Kabaret would be replaced. Here’s how Walt Disney World’s hometown newspaper reported the news (“Disney Sheds Light on Projects,” by Craig Dezern, Orlando Sentinel, July 5, 1993):

The audio-animatronic “Kitchen Kabaret,” which focuses on the four food groups, will be replaced by a show tentatively titled “Food Rocks.” Faux rock ’n’ roll stars (Tina Tuna, Elvis Parsley) will promote healthy eating.

Kitchen Kabaret closed January 3, 1994. Food Rocks officially opened on March 26, 1994 with more recent music and an updated nutrition message—but without Tina Tuna or Elvis Parsley.

The motion of the Food Rocks Audio-Animatronic characters was quite limited. It seemed that more of the budget went into the clever songs than into the physical show. Exaggerated lighting effects and high volume tried to hide the lack of animation.

By 2003, another big change was coming to The Land—and Food Rocks was in the way. In August, a new show building began construction adjoining The Land.

Soarin’ Over California had been the stand-out hit attraction of the floundering Disney’s California Adventure park, and Epcot could benefit from a proven crowd-pleaser. It would simply called for Soarin’ to downplay the California connection. But it actually made sense to have it at The Land. Although it was filmed in a single state, it was really about land in many forms and how people interact with it.

After the 2003 holiday season, Food Rocks closed. Walls went up. Demolition began. The space would emerge as the FastPass distribution area and the start of the queue for Soarin’, which opened May 5, 2005.

Soarin’ at Epcot

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2006

Soarin’ where Food Rocks had been

Soarin’ at Epcot

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2013

Soarin’ sign, without “Over California”

Soarin’ at Epcot

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2013

Soarin’ queue

Soarin’ is a much bigger success than the two music shows that preceded it in The Land.

Since 2011, the USDA has promoted MyPlate (a plate and glass with five food groups) instead of any sort of pyramid. But Epcot will probably never have a nutrition show based on MyPlate.


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Updated December 23, 2015.