Vote of the week: What should Disney do with Epcot?
Did you know that it's been 25 years
since Disney added a new attraction to Epcot
's World Showcase?
The France pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase
Yep. Norway's Maelstrom, which debuted in 1988, was the last attraction added to the back half of Epcot. Since then, we've had some swaps -- new films for China and Canada, new versions of IllumiNations, and a new themed overlay for Mexico's boat ride -- but nothing added to the mix. No new nations, and not even an additional new ride or show in an existing pavilion.
Let's put that into a broader perspective. In the past 25 years, Disney's added zero nations to World Showcase, while the United Nations has added 38 nations to its line-up of countries. When Maelstrom opened in 1988, the Soviet Union still existed and the real Germany was still divided. The world has changed over the past generation. But you'd never know that from annual visits to World Showcase.
Perhaps that's the nature of sharing a park with a section dubbed "Future World." The future has this nasty habit of becoming the present, forcing designers and managers to keep changing attractions on that side of the park to keep it looking futuristic. That tends to suck up whatever budget Disney might "earmark" for Epcot improvements. (Sorry, couldn't resist that one.)
Not that's Disney's in the clear over there, either. Disney threw in the towel at SeaBase Alpha, changing the Seas into a Finding Nemo-themed ride. Ellen's Energy Adventure remains stuck in a 1990s' world view. The Imagination pavilion remains a narrative mess, according to no less a source that Imagineering's own Tony Baxter. Wonders of Life opened, then closed.
Millions of fans continue to pack into Epcot's World Showcase each year, and they're not all just spill-over from Future World. Many fans come to the park just to enjoy World Showcase's abundant food and delightful scenery. Perhaps that's why when Disney does add something to World Showcase, it's a restaurant, such as the new Moroccan waterfront restaurant the park will get later this year.
But… 25 years? Really? Is it time for Disney to add a new pavilion -- or at least an attraction -- to World Showcase, or is the company better off focusing its attention elsewhere in Walt Disney World's second most-popular theme park?
Let's hear your wish list for Epcot, in the comments. And, as always, thank you for reading Theme Park Insider, and for telling your friends about the site.
Everything besides "Nothing it's fine"
I believe Future World to be in FAR worse shape than World Showcase. I chose to "revamp one of the Future World pavilions", though I think at least 3 or 4 need major help...
Whatever's possible, but Future World needs some help the most.
In light of how they are treating the rest of WDW, why does it matter? Epcot is a Worlds Fair type theme park. In a fair, they have a rides section (Future World) and an International bazaar section. They pretty much kept to that concept. Besides, they are still shoring up the weakest sections while still neglecting many sections.
I'm okay with them not adding a World Showcase country, but I do wish there were a few more attractions that weren't just restaurants being added.
I really would like to see Russia, Australia, and/or India get a pavilion.
As long as guests are stupid enough to pay top dollars for some tired pavilions and eat at insane high prices in the shopping mall that's called World Showcase, Disney is going to milk it.
Test Track isn't Star Wars, folks. It isn't that much different from the original, but Disney never intended it to be. Yet people bashed it because it was too similar.
Soaring was added, was it not? However, I do agree that some new life could be added to World Showcase.
I would love to see a recreation of Russia's Saint Basile created for a new Russian pavilion. It would also be incredible to have Disney build the once scrapped Mt. Fuji coaster for Japan. Personally I find Illuminations to de dated beyond belief- I can not watch the show. Disney could also update the lagoon for a new version of Illuminations inspired by DCA's World of Color- complete with glow with the show ears!
A new Pavillion would be nice. How about Egypt? India? Russia?
What about Kim Possible Missions/Agent P World Showcase Adventure?
Years ago the was a sign between China and Germany announcing that a Switzerland pavilion was going to be added. It was suppose to have the Matterhorn ride. I wonder what happened to that idea.
I'm surprised you didn't consider the October 1, 1999 opening of Millennium Village. It represented 24 countries including Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Sweden Scotland, Chile, Denmark and even Eritrea. It didn't have traditional representation of architecture from those countries but it did provide a cultural experience of their history, people, art, music, technologies, foods, customs and artifacts.
I'll like to see Spain ! Mexico is okay but we need a second Spanish country!
Anon Mouse writes: “I will be surprised, but not really, when the attendance of DCA surpasses Epcot. This is expected and long overdue.”
I think one of the problems with the whole Epcot concept is that it's supposed to be "educational" and not fantastical, and folks on vacation are generally looking for an escape from reality. I'm sure it's a tough to sell to spend $100 million on an attraction that has a goal other than thrilling its audience. I can only imagine what the scores look like when Disney does marketing research asking its customers if they'd rather ride an attraction where giant robots are smashing things or if they'd rather ride through an attraction warning them about the effects of global warming.
Imagination was the beating heart of EPCOT when it first opened. I find it's current state so upsetting, not necessarily because it is so bad (although it's pretty bad), but because the original ride was SO good. The amount of time, effort, creativity, and fun that went into that attraction was amazing. It's hard to remember now, but the effects on that ride, the use of colors, laser light, on-ride photography (the first use!), animatronics. There was SO MUCH to look at. You could ride again and again and always find new things to see. I've said this before--to me, EPCOT will not be EPCOT again until an overhauled and vastly improved Imagination pavilion is restored. I think that WDI and some of the new brass could really get this done in a beautiful way. I found the redo of test track to be very encouraging. If you are in a position to make this happen, and you are reading this, then please, I entreat you!
@THC: Here's something you missed.
@Anon Mouse: Thank you for identifying the "who." Although I am sure you would agree that the one blog post you reference is a prediction. I mean the writer at MiceChat is claiming that DCA will almost double its attendance over a three year period.
I think you said all we need to know in the article. Epcot is WDW's second most visited Park. From what I can see, Disney are taking a, 'If it ain't broke don't fix it' approach.
It's too bad WDW doesn't implement parking garages, as DLR does. Yes, "Disney Springs" will include garages, and it will open up a lot more space for shopping. But the parking lot at EPCOT is absolutely gigantic! If Disney could simple add some 4 story garages (with rooftop parking), they theoretically expand the park. Of course, it would logistically be an expansion of Future World, but it needs help too. EPCOT is what it is though. For me, it's a place to enjoy the food and global architecture.
Build a structure that no can enter and call the new land North Korea?
Epcot is such a hard park to fix. There are so many like me who love it soooooo much because we allow our nostalgia to overwhelm what we're actually taking in through our senses. Epcot was the park that I didn't want go to when my family visited WDW for the first time in 1984, but once I walked in for the first time, I didn't want to leave. I loved everything about it, except for the boring countries (which I would eventually love on my second visit, a mere 16 years later).
World Showcase needs a new country!
TH, the attendance boom at DCA is unprecedented. It just goes to show that when Disney puts forth the effort to build something wonderful, when they knock an expansion out of the park (so to speak), people come in droves. Which makes me wonder why in the world they don't set up construction schedules so that something amazing is added every year at WDW, in a four park rotation? At least then you would have a new attraction every four years at Epcot instead of every eight years (Soarin' was the last major addition back in 2005, unless you count the Nemo ride added in 2007, or Sum of All Thrills added in 2009).
I would love a new country, especially Greece. Good food, so much interesting history and beautiful architecture. You could argue it's already too Europe heavy, but I still think it's a good idea. Especially if they put in a Hercules ride.
Ratattouille seems like a no brainer for the Paris pavillion. I understand EPCOT purists hate seeing Disney cartoons invading Epcot, and personally I agree with them, its destroying Epcots uniqueness. But Disney has already started that trend with nemo, and the three amigos in Mexico. If they're going that route and need attractions then I think ratatouille is a good choice and a US park will finally have a trackless attraction!
I think at the minimum, all CONTINENTS should be represented. Why isn't South America, Antarctica or Australia represented? haha and don't even get me started on Disney's embarrassing "Australia" that I just witnessed on Hong Kong's It's a Small World :P ..putting the statues from Easter Island (off the coast of South America and a territory of Chile) in the Australia section with koalas hanging off them with a big sign "Australia". Oh dear. Epic geography fail Disney. So perhaps an Aussie representation in Epcot is much needed!! But maybe Disney think anything south of the equator is on one continent? :P
James Rao; Your comments are right on.
I wouldn't call World Showcase completely neglected. They have updated Canada, The America Adventure, Tequila Bar, and now there will be a new Moroccan place/
How about just giving us the resources to maintain what we have to the standard to which it was designed? No major attractions have been added, and what was there has been reduced over time. I need some light bulbs, please.
I read a year or two ago that Disney was doing a survey in Epcot on what new country you would most like to see..."showcased"...at the World Showcase and I believe the selections were South Africa, India, Brazil, Australia, and Russia.
Robert- I say this with respect, but this article infers that you don't understand the World Showcase, the setup and how it came to be.
Close it for a year. Then give it a full proper refresh , reboot, and Rethink.
My vote is for a new pavillion (indeed russia would be nice), and a new ride to go with that pavillion
So they updated the Tequila bar? Of course, b/c alcohol is a huge profit margin.
Since the Epcot concept is essentially a permanent world's fair and the fairs seem to have become too expensive to hold, Disney should devote expansion space at Epcot for major cutting-edge corporations to sponsor long-term temporary world's fair style exhibitions. Several exhibitions by the world's most significant science/technology companies that would be designed to once again showcase an exciting future.
In my humble opinion, because health and well being is an important theme in the arena of Future World, I guess it is sentimental and rational to give the Wonders of Life pavilion a much needed rehab, restoration and its return far deserved. Buzzy would as well deserve a chance to have his job back anyhow.
love epcot but took a group of Japanese friends with me thier this past March and they were dissapointed with Japans pavillion not have more, they thought China's was better in fact
First off... a bit of triage for WS: Replace the oh-so-dated film in the Norway pavilion. It's very stuck in the 80s.
I believe the next thing that should be considered is converting the old Body's Pavilion into something new. Maybe a cyber-world/digital age pavilion. Feature attractions from Tron and tie in video-games like Wreck-It-Ralph and Kingdom of Hearts into it.
Can't believe that nobody mentioned this yet, but over the years Epcot has become MUCH better for younger kids!
they re not going to add anything new to future world since they just finished up a major refurb/redesign of test track
SOMEthing - ANYthing! What is happening with Imagination? Now that Kodak is gone, who is going in? I could see Dreamworks, Apple - even Samsung. Let's get it going!
I would add a Miyazaki/Studio Ghibli attraction to Japan. Preferably Spirited Away or Castle in the Sky.
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