The Hidden Tile at The Land in Epcot
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The Hidden Tile at The Land in Epcot


The Land over in Epcot is a beautiful building
with an even more beautiful entrance. Both sides of the walkway up to the front
doors are lined with a gorgeous 120 foot long mosaic that has been there since it opened
in 1982. It’s meant to represent the various layers
of our earth. Every day thousands of guests walk past it
without a second thought. Did you know there’s a hidden tile in the
mosaic and that the entire piece exists the way it does today because of a math error? Hans Scharff migrated over to the United States
from Germany after World War 2 and turning to his hobby of mosaic art as a means of supporting
himself, he found his big break by creating five thousand custom mosaic tables for Neiman
Marcus, a department store chain based out of Texas. From there he would grow his mosaic studio
working on all sorts of public projects in LA and San Francisco and in 1971 he would
ask his daughter-in-law, Monika, to join as an artist. One of the first projects she worked on as
part of the studio was a stunning five panel mosaic that would be built inside Cinderella’s
castle at the upcoming Florida resort, Walt Disney World. So a decade later when Disney was looking
for someone to build a mosaic for the entryway to The Land pavilion, Disney turned to the
team once more. The mosaic was designed by Walter Peregoy
who had worked at Disney since the age of 17 in the animation department. When it came time to build the actual mosaic
there one one problem, the numbers were off. The measurements of the mural itself were
about three feet off from the size of the actual wall that was built for the pavilion. Peregoy understandably didn’t want to see
three feet of the mural chopped off, and a solution wouldn’t be as easy as just tacking
on an extra three feet to the wall that was already built. So Scharff and Scharff proposed a solution:
curve it into the ground. Both Disney and Peregoy liked the idea and
that is why today if you look at the mosaic towards the top of the entry ramp you’ll
see that the design seamlessly curves down into the floor. As for the hidden tile, if you look closely
on the right hand mural up towards the door and a little past the “Land” sign, you’ll
spot one lone emerald tile among a layer of tan and brown tiles. The explanation of why this tile exists varies
depending on who you talk to. Some claim that the tile is a subtle artistic
signature. It’s supposedly meant to represent the person’s
birthstone. The problem is there is that the emerald is
neither Hans or Monikaa or Walters birthstone. Some say it’s the birthstone of Monika’s
son, which is possible, but I’ve been unable to confirm it. Another often repeated explanation is that
it was an intentional decision by either Scharff or Peregoy in order to ensure that the two
sides of the mural wouldn’t be 100% identical. Whatever the reason, the next time you find
yourself at The Land, before you head inside, take a moment to appreciate the craftsmanship
and hidden secrets of this beautiful mosaic. Then rush inside to Soarin’

47 Comments

  • Jonnyboy 7

    Great video Rob. Your videos are great and definitely are unique and historical which I love. Going in April with my son, will check it out

  • The Sloth Charmer

    Don't forget to look for a couple hidden mickeys on it as well 😉 (Right side facing the doors, close to the sign that reads THE LAND)

  • Krock

    The hidden tile could be a nod to the japanese philosophy Wabi-Sabi which says that nothing is perfect and so everything crafted should have a crack, some inconsistency, a dent etc.

  • Kat M

    Yesss love this!! They talked about the mosaic and the emerald on the Future World tour I did a few years ago, I can’t remember the possible reasons they said it was there tho!! I wish I did ahh, but yeah awesome video so glad you highlighted this gorgeous mosaic 💜

  • lexfacitregem

    Hey!!! You forgot to mention the fact that Hanns Scharff was a NAZI INTERROGATOR for the German Luftwaffe. Granted, he was one of the nicer ones, but still a Nazi Interrogator.

  • Marianne C

    Agreed…millions of guests at Epcot walk (or run to Soarin as you said) right past this mural without even noticing it. I myself included in those guests. I look forward to having a better look a the mural at my next trip. There’s quite a few things at these parks that I now have a better appreciation for thanks to your videos!

  • Oodololly

    Whenever we are at Epcot, I like to stop at that mosaic to take close-up pictures with my phone of different sections of it. Then I use those pictures for my phone's backgrounds throughout the months until our next WDW trip—-It's our fun (aesthetic) tradition! Thanks for another great video, Rob!

  • kathleenmary1000

    Islamic art(ists) and some other cultures will always leave one imperfection in their artwork on the premise that 'only God is perfect'. More than likely that is the rationale for the emerald tile. Wonderful video Rob, many thanks! K

  • Brandon DPersonal

    We were told by one told by the tour guide that Disney did not allow artists to sign their work. So the artist intentionally put the odd green tile on one side as sort of a “I’m going to sign it anyway and show you. “. So it was a sort of “Gotcha” and a middle finger to Disney.

  • Daniel and Jess

    Next time I’m in Epcot I’ll have to check out that mural. I’ve never really stopped and looked at it! Great video

  • JeffFrmJoisey

    Thanks for teaching me a bunch of Disney facts/trivia that I never knew. And you're correct, as much as I appreciate the Disney details, I've only rushed past these mosaics on the way in and out of The Land. I can't tell you how many times I've stood in front of the main sign, trying to remember when it had Kraft and Nestle on it and all the changes the sign's been thru over the years.

  • Sam Paul

    As mentioned below. A flaw is purposely introduced as to avoid a 'perfect' creation. As only God is perfect. American Indians do this with their rugs, and Traditional Quilts from the Amish have a 'humility square'..with errors introduced on purpose. And tiled mosaics in Islamic cultures has a similar error purposefully introduced. I also think he was influenced by this tradition as a nod to the history of mosaics.

  • Andrew DeSisto

    I'll look for that tile when we go next year! Speaking of EPCOT, do you know what the reasoning behind including America in the World Pavillion when there's already colonial Era representation in Liberty Square?

  • Luke Whiting

    At last it's time to put my Classics GCSE to work! That "incorrect" tile is indeed intentional and dates back to the religious beliefs of the ancient Roman mosaic artists. They believed that only the gods were perfect so they introduced deliberate errors into their work so as not to offend the gods. At least that's how it was explained to me while touring the remains of a Roman villa a few years back. It's cool to think of modern artists carrying on 2000+ year old traditions.

  • Brian Smith

    We recently did the “Undiscovered Future World Tour” at EPCOT and our tour guide pointed this tile out. According to the tour guide, Hans and Monika were Father-in-law and Daughter-in-law. The green tile is the birth stone of Monika’s husband. It was a signature to call out the one thing that linked Hans and Monika together. The tour guide explained it much better than I am here.

  • Masher88

    There's a long tradition in making mosaics that only God can make perfection, so all mosaics should have a "flaw tile". http://helenmilesmosaics.org/making-mosaics-general/mosaic-mistakes/

  • brian byrne

    I was told by a Youth Education Series instructor that it was indeed the emerald birthstone of a family member the artists were close to, which they did in honor of them and it also stood as a hidden signature although I don't remember exactly what she said. Since Disney owns all the art, artists can't leave direct signatures and they figured that would have worked for them. There has been a few exceptions on that rule though considering the artists reputation and value to Disney.)

  • Scott Satinoff

    That’s really cool. I’m going over to Epcot tomorrow to use my annual pass one more time before the blackout dates. I’m definitely gonna take a good look at this mural before I rush in to soarin

  • Kerry

    I worked at the Land in 1985 and was told by one of the Security Officers that there was an Officer posted at the entrance to the Land 24 X 7 to ensure the integrity of the mosaic was preserved while it was installed. It was fun to point out the emerald tile to guests that visited who took the time to talk to you and not just ask "where's the ride".

  • galrjkldd

    also, i'd suggest looking into birthstones because the idea was apparently an idea by some jewelers to sell more of certain stones, and the list is different between different places.

  • Jamin Duran

    As a training cast member, we did a scavenger hunt at Epcot and were asked to look for the artist’s signature in the mural. It was the emerald tile.

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