It was announced, last week, that EPCOT will be getting a facelift. It is rumored that the majority of this facelift will be occurring in Future World and hopefully turning the Experimental Prototype Community of the Past (EPCOP) back into the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (EPCOT) I talked about this topic some time ago when attempting to fleshing out Walt Disney World’s long-range plan leading up to the 50th anniversary in 2021 (less than five years away). Today, I’ll attempt to figure out what is safe, what will get “a new coat of paint”, and what is “on the chopping block.”
In my opinion, there are three attractions that are considered safe from any type of redesign: Spaceship Earth, Soarin’, and Test Track. Spaceship Earth is the icon for EPCOT. I can’t see Disney Imagineering changing Spaceship Earth at all. It will still close down between now and 2021 for routine maintenance but nothing “earth shattering” will happen to Spaceship Earth.
Soarin’ and Test Track are in the same boat. Both attractions were recently re-designed. Soarin’ is now Soarin’ Around the World and Test Track received a “more futuristic” appearance. For this reason, I don’t see Disney Imagineering re-designing these attractions again between now and 2021. That said, I would like Test Track to return to its original form. All of the neon overlay gives the attraction more a Tron-like appearance than a true test track appearance.
WHAT WILL RECEIVE A “NEW COAT OF PAINT”
In Future World, there are a number of attractions that could receive a “new coat of paint.” These attractions are Journey into Imagination, The Seas with Nemo and Friends, Mission: Space, and Living with the Land. All of these attractions will still have the same basic theme that they already have but will receive some upgrades and enhancements to make these attractions feel fresh and new.
Journey into Imagination is safe because it houses Figment, the original “host” of EPCOT. That said, it could get another redesign like it did in 1999 and again in 2001. The attraction would still have the same basic theme, Journey into Figment’s Imagination, and would still be an omni-mover attraction but wouldn’t be a total re-boot of the attraction.
Mission: Space and The Seas with Nemo and Friends fall into the same boat. They are both popular attractions. Mission: Space gives guests a connection to the future. Space is a vast and there is a lot to be explored. People, at their core, are explorers. The current Mission: Space mission to Mars may change but the general theme of the attraction will not change.
The Seas with Nemo and Friends could get converted into more of Finding Dory attraction than a Finding Nemo attraction. Finding Dory is a very popular movie and popular among a wide-set of age groups. The family nature of this attraction makes a prime candidate to move from Finding Nemo to Finding Dory.
Living with the Land is a hard attraction to completely change because of the attraction’s large footprint. Those greenhouses take up a lot of space and it allows Disney to show what they are doing to advance agricultural science and helping people grow food. The “pre-show” before guests reach the greenhouse may change but the greenhouse section would not. It’s just too big.
Attractions on the chopping block have either already been chopped (Innoventions, Wonders of Life) or highly rumored to be chopped (Universe of Energy and Circle of Life movie).
Disney has a large movie inventory. Innoventions would be a great location to put that inventory to good use. Move The Incredibles out of Tomorrowland and give them a super hero attraction in one of the Innoventions. Imagineering could continue the super hero theme in the other Innoventions by putting in Big Hero 6 attraction.
The Wonders of Life is a great place to revive the Cranium Command attraction but with an Inside Out overlay. While the current Circle of Life movie could stand to lose in The Lion King theme while getting replaced by a similar movie featuring Wall-E.
Everyone wants to see the Guardians of Galaxy to replace Ellen in the Universe of Energy. The only hang-up I could foresee with this change is the part of the contract between Marvel and Universal prohibiting Marvel characters in non-Universal theme parks east of the Mississippi. This is always the moving target with Marvel and Walt Disney World. If the contract allows it, then go for it. If not, then this area is a blank slate. If Disney wants to stay with pre-historic nature of the attraction, then The Good Dinosaur is a good fit but this movie isn’t a time-less classic. If Disney wants to completely revamp the attraction, then this could be a place to put a Monsters Inc. Door Scene simulation type thrill ride. I’m thinking Sum of All Thrills but on a much larger scale.
In World Showcase, I would want to see all of the films updated. Some of them have not been updated since the park opened in 1982.
How do you want to see EPCOT change going forward as Walt Disney World approaches its 50th anniversary and EPCOT approaches its 40th anniversary?
Thanks for reading!