Unexplored Epcot: Encountering the Hat Lady

Not long ago, a Parkeologist who had seemingly explored every inch of Walt Disney World set out to discover and visit places inside the theme parks where he had never set foot before. Unexplored regions, often labeled “Here there be monsters” by former adventurers.

There were only two rules: It had to be a real guest-accessible location and it could not be a restroom. He would then share his findings with the world.

Success was achieved first at Magic Kingdom. But then came Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and the challenge almost got the best of me.

That left Epcot lingering as a goal half finished. Like that Volcano Hot Tub I tried to build in the backyard last summer, or the treadmill I purchased in January, which makes an excellent laundry hanger. My mom even called to wonder why she spent $300 on a French Horn if I wasn’t going to bother to learn the chords. This has nothing to do with Parkeology, and actually hasn’t been relevant for two decades. But you know mom.

I had expected Epcot to be the easiest park to find uncharted territory. All I had to do was head to World Showcase and invade one of the two restaurants I’ve never eaten at, and I could check this park off the list.

I knew it would be easy. I didn’t know it would be weird.

I’m sure all you alcoholics think it is downright criminal that I’ve never visited the Rose & Crown before. Had never even set foot inside. You have every right to flame me, as this restaurant is considered one of the true classics of Epcot and has been there since Day One. But I don’t drink and I don’t eat English food, which has frightening nouns like bangers and leeks. I’m sure it’s all very delicious, but they could use some help in the marketing department.

I figured it was high time I got myself inside the Rose & Crown to at least see what the décor looked like, and maybe … play darts and watch soccer? What do British people do in pubs? I’m tragically clueless about the whole experience.

But I was unprepared to be confronted with this:

The Hat Lady at Rose & Crown pub
Yes! Two drunk blondes! But also a nice old English lady.

This person is known as the Hat Lady. If I had to guess, it is probably because of the goose on her head. She has a whole corner in the back of the bar, and maybe puts on a show or something? There’s a microphone and a keyboard.

I am enthralled with the idea that this spring chicken has her own performance area in an Epcot restaurant. I’m sure she is some sort of cult Disney figure that everyone has heard of except me.

But then, I’m also the same person that for years didn’t know what “Kungaloosh” meant. Much to my shame.

Photos of the Hat Lady's fans
A shrine to her many victims fans.

There’s a giant spread of photos of people with the Hat Lady sprawled out on the counter at her nook. It’s apparently a big deal. I think there was a bigger line for her than I’ve ever seen for Duffy the Bear.

There’s a sign nearby that the hats are part of the act. This allowed me to indulge in a fantasy that the Hat Lady performs some sort of freakishly fantastic puppet show. But I’m going to assume it’s maybe some lighthearted music and dry British humor.

The Hat Lady requests that you not touch her hats, since they are part of the act.
And because of head lice, which I think is also on the menu.

I do wish I could have stayed for the show, but I felt a little guilty hanging around in the bar without ordering anything, and I really wasn’t in the mood for Two Turds in a Burp or a glass of Donkey Knuckles or whatever appetizing thing they were serving.

And I’m 99% sure everyone who might read this has heard of the Hat Lady, has seen the show dozens of times, and are probably pictured in that photo spread up above. So a review of the show is pointless. I would like to know more about what happens, so if anyone wants to drop a synopsis in the comments, I would love to hear it.

Now with Epcot off the list, there’s only one park left! Will I succeed? Tune in next time.

The Hat Lady sign hanging in the Rose & Crown pub, alongside her many hats
How awesome would it be if the hats came to life and talked? Puppet show!!

This is part of a series of posts on unexplored theme park locations. You can read about our discoveries in the other parks by clicking the links below:

Comments (13)

  1. @crocko33, another reader informed me of a second Hat Lady, who works a different schedule. To quote Nute Gunray, “This is getting too much. Now there are TWO of them!”

  2. I’ve never been in to Rose & Crown Pub either…and after this post…I am scared to do so.
    I don’t drink, don’t eat English food, and think I may be scared of Hat Lady(ies).

  3. I will meet you in the abandoned portion of the Dinosaur line at a date and time of your choosing to be briefed upon the contents of the door if you do not feel safe publishing the secrets on the interwebs.

  4. @Disney Zephyr, Thanks for having a great sense of humor about the whole food thing, and also proving yourself a true UK citizen because you knew Putty and Varnish sounded weird, but didn’t bat an eye at something called “Spotted Dick.”

  5. @Teevtee, to answer you question, yes, it’s Norway. I’m lacking in smallish female family members, so I’ve never braved the princess buffet.

  6. We in the UK relish suspect food names. For instance the dish ‘spotted dick’ is called ‘putty and varnish’ when the spots are removed. We have the same pints as you guys as the country went into a frenzy when they tried to go metric (you get 11% less per glass). Without that extra grog, how could we possibly tolerate incessant hat wearing shows… really?

  7. And I might as well ask… what;s the other restaurant you have never been to? I’m guessing Morocco or Norway.

  8. First of all Shane… Are you serious? You are not familiar with THE Hat Lady? Come on… what’s next? Are you going to say that you have never heard of Gilbert the Canadian Goose or Guido the “Pants Guy” over in Italy? Some things are kind of basic knowledge.

    Secondly yes, I have some posts for the Tokyo trip… I get your not so sublte jab at my laziness and lack of recent blog production… but I am still recovering from the overwhelming fun that any trip to Tokyo Disney brings… maybe someday we can discuss it, if you ever drag yourself over there!

  9. It’s pretty sad that a woman with Wembley Stadium perched on her noggin has to have a sign identifying her as “The Hat Lady.” Unless she’s got some truly remarkable socks we can;t see in the picture. I guess people might not notice the hat after a couple of metric pints of Pig’s Eye Scrumpy.

  10. Wow, So I am not alone on this issue. Seriously, at least ADRESS THE DAMN DOOR ISSUE ALREADY. It’s clearly the number one concern among your readership!!

  11. Ah, yes, next week! The week where you finally visit Animal Kingdom and GO BEHIND THAT Q#^#@^@^@# DOOR ON THE LAGOON AND TELL US WHAT IS IN THERE!

    Sorry, I wasn’t sure how to express FREAKING OUT properly. 🙁

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