Vote of the week: What should Disney do with Epcot?
Written by Robert Niles
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?
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