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Vote of the Week: What's the best option for a new ride for Epcot?

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Published: November 22, 2013 at 10:56 AM

With Bryan Wawzenek writing for us this week about all the cool new stuff at Hong Kong Disneyland, a new trackless ride coming to Paris, last year's massive Disneyland Resort expansion, and the continued awesomeness at Tokyo Disney, one can't blame Walt Disney World fans for feeling a bit left out. The New Fantasyland stuff has helped drive attendance and spending, but next to what other Disney resorts are getting, that's like having a meet and greet with Pluto when everyone else is getting a private audience with Mickey and Minnie Mouse. It's nice, but... c'mon.

It's high time that Disney showed some love to its most popular theme park resort. And love is on the way, with Avatar in the works for 2017 and beyond, and a Star Wars land coming at some point after that. But those will be for Animal Kingdom and Studios. What about Epcot?

Disney doesn't need to create a new attraction from scratch to bring something new to Epcot. The company's got loads of wildly popular rides around the world that it could copy in Florida to provide something new for the park. We've selected four options — from Disney parks in Tokyo, Paris, and Anaheim — that would fit well thematically at Epcot. And to shake up the poll even more, we've added a fifth option, to revive one of Epcot's most beloved past attractions.

Which of these options would you most want to see Disney bring to Epcot as a new attraction? Follow the links for more detail and reader reviews of the rides' current incarnations.

Disneyland's Matterhorn Bobsleds in the Japan pavilion, as Mt. Fuji

Matterhorn Bobsleds

This would require lopping off the Matterhorn's distinctive "hook" to create a volcano-like caldera at the top, but that's just a decorative change. The ride would remain the same.

Walt Disney Studios Paris' Ratatouille ride in the France pavilion

Ratatouille: L'Aventure Totalement Toquee de Remi

Bringing Remi to Walt Disney World would give American Disney fans their first trackless ride from the company.

Tokyo DisneySea's Sindbad's Storybook Voyage in a Persian or Arabian pavilion

Sindbad's Storybook Voyage

No, Sindbad wouldn't fit in the Morocco pavilion. Wrong coast of Africa, wrong sea to sail, and wrong ethnicity. But Disney could bring TDS' Arabian Coast land over as the first new Epcot pavilion since 1988 and have a huge hit.

Tokyo DisneySea's StormRider in The Land pavilion

StormRider

Yeah, The Land already has Soarin'. But StormRider might be a better thematic fit for the pavilion. And people love watching bad weather.

Rebuild Horizons in the Wonders of Life space

Horizons

Few former Disney attractions elicit the love that fans continue to have for Horizons. (Follow the link for one item of evidence.) Theme parks always can use high-capacity dark rides, and Horizons was one of the first to offer in-ride interactivity, too. It'd still pack 'em in.

So which of these options would you most want to see added to Epcot? Which ride would most encourage you to visit — and keep revisiting — the park?

Campaign for your favorites in the comments.

One more little pre-holiday piece of news for you: I'm pleased to announce that long-promised Theme Park Insider guidebook to Orlando will publish next week! I'm working on the final touches and expect to have the eBook available on Amazon sometime next week, with the print book available for sale soon after that. So, please, save a space on your Christmas wish list for what will be the best darned guidebook to the Orlando theme parks available anywhere. Or plan to buy a few copies as gifts for the theme park fans (or potential theme park fans) in your life.

Readers' Opinions

From Mike Brilhart on November 22, 2013 at 11:09 AM
I missed the chance to ride Horizons by just a year on my fist visit. Having studied all the information there is on the ride online, I can safety say this would be the best option for a new attraction. And honestly, future world needs something new that doesn't kill people on a regular basis; subject them to unnatural forces, or just provide a lazily rehabbed version of a previous attraction that sat in the same place.
From 75.89.237.189 on November 22, 2013 at 11:32 AM
I've always wanted Matterhorn to make its way to Florida..... but my second place would be ratta....ummm... the rat ride. Either of those would be awesome.
From 71.173.7.121 on November 22, 2013 at 11:38 AM
I voted for StormRider for selfish reasons.

I love World Showcase just the way it is. It's grown up, it's relaxing, it's a place to go stroll around with a beer or a snack or just taking pictures and people watching. I don't want it spoiled by hoards of people rushing to a ride.

That having been said, the Ratatouille ride in France makes by far the most sense unless it means closing down the existing Impressions of France show.

Also they could probably just put Sinbad in Morocco and not have to build a new pavilion.

From Daniel Etcheberry on November 22, 2013 at 11:58 AM
I loved the movie Ratatouille, so my vote goes there. It would draw people of all ages to the French pavilion.

I would have added the option of bringing Mystic Manor to the Chinese pavilion.

From Anon Mouse on November 22, 2013 at 12:01 PM
Having more rides in World Showcase will restore more balance in attractions. On the other hand, they need to fix all the empty pavilions in Future World. It is so sad that even the existing Future World pavilions are at risk of deterioration. EPCOT is a park in decline. There is nothing fresh about it except for the food that they do so well. Rides? Not so much. Exhibits? Gone for the most part. The park has so much square footage that it take quite a long time to walk around it and only see more carpet, walls, and concrete. It is certainly a modern example of zombie land.
From Tony Duda on November 22, 2013 at 12:05 PM
Block off the Imagination Pavilion from Future World, create an entrance to it as part of the Canadian Pavilion and put in a Grizzly Canyon type indoor coaster there.

This would be big step in improving some of the many problems existing at Epcot.

From O T on November 22, 2013 at 12:25 PM
"...one can't blame Walt Disney World fans for feeling a bit left out."

I don't think WDW fans feel left out, they still come in droves, get voluntarily tagged like cattle and their wallets squeezed dry so Disney is ok to let Epcot rot away.
But id they want to do something the one of the countries that has nothing should get something or they can re-theme the whole in cohesive mess they call Future World who at the moment only visualise the current situation of the financial state the US is in.

From Andrew Dougherty on November 22, 2013 at 12:30 PM
Why not referbish Journey into Imagination back to the original version
From Nick McKaig on November 22, 2013 at 1:20 PM
I find it hard to believe that there are not more of Pixar's properties in existence besides Toy Story and A Bug's Life in all of Disney's properties. Pixar stories are universally adored by all ages, it seems like such a natural fit. I would think that Ratatouille would have already ended up in one of WDW's properties, as well as Wall-E and others.
From David L. on November 22, 2013 at 1:38 PM
Sindbad. A new pavilion and a high capacity dark ride? Yes! 2nd place would go to Horizons for similar reasons. However, Sindbad would be a different type of ride for Epcot, likely drawing more people.
From Tim Hillman on November 22, 2013 at 1:49 PM
Why think small? Epcot needs some serious attention. Future World needs an update, so Stormrider and Horizons would add some freshness to the front of the park, and Sindbad, the Matterhorn/Mt Fuji, and Ratatouille would make World Showcase an actual showcase. (Movies and real rides instead of just movies and slo-mo boat rides!)

I vote for all five.

From 50.89.13.35 on November 22, 2013 at 2:00 PM
Turn 'Wonders of Life' into a weather pavilion.
From Gabriel Schroll on November 22, 2013 at 3:47 PM
My vote goes to a Mt Fuji Matterhorn ride at Japan. The reason I say that is because Japan is nearly at the back of the park, next to America, which would be the next best place to put a fake mountain. It would add another great backdrop for PhotoPass and more than anything, Japan has no rides. I occasionally walk around to look at the architecture and have eaten at both restaurants, but really...it's a very boring pavilion.

I think Test Track's Tron refurb was a serious waste of money. People were going to ride Test Track regardless. Just update the old videos in the waiting room, add some paint and a few modern touches, and it would still be a great ride, but without the outdated look. The money they spent redoing the ride should have been spent on something else.

ANYTHING else! They have so many problems at Future World that to update something people were going to make a priority anyway...SMH!

It's like spending money on fancy new tires for your car when the engine is falling out of the bottom of your car.

At this rate, the next major update will be to Soarin. Again, a ride that people will go to, no matter what.

From 74.202.118.163 on November 22, 2013 at 4:18 PM
I agree with Tim H. -- I vote for all five too!
From Robert Niles on November 22, 2013 at 5:10 PM
Just to clarify, I selected candidates that wouldn't need to be created or substantially redesigned, but that could be just dropped in to work at Epcot. Yeah, we'd need a new pavilion of the Sindbad ride, but with Arabian Shores from DisneySea, WDI's basically got one ready to go there.

That said, I am intrigued by the idea of a weather/climate pavilion at Wonders of Life, with StormRider as its centerpiece. That's a great comment.

From 216.81.81.83 on November 22, 2013 at 6:21 PM
Without a doubt ratatouille or Mt fuji coaster. Ratatouille is a shoe in for the france pavillion and Mt fuji would be awesome especially if they added a lava monster like Journey to the center of the earth has. Not sure what kind of Japanese lore surrounds the mountain but they should definitely look into that. Adding an element of fire to it would differentiate it from Everest which would be necessary.

Shame they didn't just put Shanghai's tron coaster into epcot instead of the strange tron test track. Storm rider is an outdated simulator so I wouldn't suggest that. I was a little underwhelmed by sinbad when I rode it. It's cute but not very rerideable imo, which is probably why it was a walk on when I was there.

From 74.235.192.163 on November 22, 2013 at 6:26 PM
I want a rebuilt Mr Toad's Wild Ride in England. It would be a smash hit with the drinking around the world crowd as they can relate to the joy ride that starts in a bar but ends up destroying the town and the Religious crowd would embrace the sinners going to hell ending. A classic Disney ride that pleases everyone
From AJ Hummel on November 22, 2013 at 7:31 PM
While any of these would improve Epcot, my opinion (best to worst) is:

1. Sindbad's Storybook Voyage: This ride doesn't get a lot of exposure because it's in Japan at a park with (arguably) the best theme park ride ever built, but every time I see a video of the ride I think it looks amazing. Basically it's a small world without the annoyance (even in Japanese I love the song), which means everyone can ride it and it would likely appeal to a lot of people. The big problem is that it would be a tough sell in the US, but as part of a new pavilion I think it would work.

2. Ratatouille ride: This is probably the safest option on the list in terms of reception and popularity, and would finally bring the trackless technology to the US. The only reason I rank it below Sindbad is because the attraction is unproven, but if the Paris attraction is a hit (and is as good as everyone expects), this would easily be my first choice.

3. Rebuild Horizons: My knowledge of the original Horizons is somewhat limited, but it seems to have the largest fan following of any defunct Disney attraction. I doubt it would work without a redesign to bring it up to today's standards, but this would be a good way to improve Epcot by using the history of the park. The biggest danger is building a new attraction that tarnishes the reputation of the original (something that has definitely occurred before at this park).

4. Matterhorn as Mt. Fuji: As far as I know, Epcot is the only legitimate theme park in the world without a roller coaster. It could definitely use one. The issue here is that the ride would have to be redesigned as Arrow Dynamics is long out of business and I doubt Disney would want to debut a brand new E-ticket coaster that rides rougher than many woodies, plus it would have to distance itself from Expedition Everest and Space Mountain.

5. StormRider: I don't know much about this attraction, but I've heard it's not all that great and putting two simulators right next to each other is probably not the best idea (there is no way Soarin' is leaving anytime soon).

From 108.81.13.35 on November 22, 2013 at 8:49 PM
A great D+ or E- ticket Mary Poppins dark ride in the England pavilion. Underused property in theme parks and the upcoming Saving Mr. Banks film will stoke interest in MP.
From 108.81.13.35 on November 22, 2013 at 8:58 PM
A great D+ or E- ticket Mary Poppins dark ride in the England pavilion. Underused property in theme parks and the upcoming Saving Mr. Banks film will stoke interest in MP.
From 70.127.22.39 on November 22, 2013 at 11:27 PM
I grew up LOVING Horizons. When I went for my last high school band trip, I told so many friends about it. It had just closed down just months before our trip. I was so debased and it ruined my first day at Disney World. I was so excited to ride it again! It would be amazing to see it open again!
From 98.227.60.180 on November 23, 2013 at 9:12 AM
Here is what I would like to see go to EPCOT:

1. A Cars 2-themed version of Autopia that would allow kids to "race around the world" in different internationally-themed Cars vehicles. After this is built at EPCOT the Speedway could be removed from MK and that area could be repurposed with better attractions than Autopia. I think that a "race around the world" has real appeal and staying power...and it would allow Disney to have all sorts of new countries represented in EPCOT via this ride. It would also never really need updating and would not go out of style. I think it would be so very charming. Every country pavilion could have a Car designed for it, and Disney would get great merchandise sales from people collecting them all (British car, Canadian car, Chinese car, Norwegian car, etc.). Kind of like the old "Wacky Racers" cartoon.

2. Accept the reality that the age of companies sponsoring attractions at EPCOT is over and that the "World's Fair" vibe of it is something people no longer seem interested in. So, rebrand EPCOT as the theme park that is about providing informative attractions that teach things that won't ever get dated. Stop trying to present the future...instead make EPCOT the world's greatest Science & Industry park. Ever been to a Science & Industry museum? Most big cities have these, or Children's Museums. EPCOT should really look to these and create attractions that teach the things showcased in those museums...but on a giant and supremely impressive scale. For instance:

* a very popular exhibit recently at the Science museum by us shrunk people to the size of bugs and showed the different bugs in the backyard. I thought the whole time "This would be a great ride at EPCOT"...and they could make it a great dark ride/coaster hybrid like the Seven Dwarves Mine Train.

* have some attraction be about geothermal energy, the Earth's core, all of that. Kids love learning about that.

* for a walkthrough attraction, create the world's most amazing and spectacularly detailed model train setup. Have it be epic in size...and it could show different trains through history...or have it based on the Orient Express or something have have it show all the different countries in miniature. They could build a restaurant around it too...and people would love being able to eat and watch the trains go by. I suggest something like this because the Science museum near us has a large train setup and my boys can't get enough of it. They want to spend HOURS staring at it. My husband is entranced by it too. And every time we go, I think "If they build one of these on a really impressive scale at EPCOT it would be a MUST SEE for many families".

* I think a ride that took people inside the human body would be interesting too...like that movie Inner Space. Shrink people, put them in a little sub, and then the ride is fighting a virus and delivering medicine to some part of the body or something. It would be interesting to have a Medical Pavilion, where you learn about bacteria and viruses and things and how to stay healthy.

Basically, I think EPCOT needs a rebranding and an acceptance that companies and countries aren't going to be writing sponsorship checks. It needs attractions that don't seem outdated in just a few years. I think EPCOT could really excel in being a "Science, Industry, and International" park.

From 98.155.253.35 on November 23, 2013 at 10:59 AM
In my opinion, WDI needs to revisit the purpose of EPCOT. If it's edutainment in the guise of a World's Fair, then the rides need to be balanced with the message. I suspect that conservatives will be upset, but I think one of the commenters ideas about climate change and Stormrider make sense. EPCOT already has areas about issues facing the world. It's either great foresight or they've always been an issue, but from what I understand we face issues about energy, food and water. Also, when I went through Wprld Showcase a year ago, it didn't seem like much changed. I don't mean rides. The content needs to be updated. Maybe every five years, the countries should update content to give insight into their current state. It shouldn't just be a travelogue. So I'm for refreshing content and then introducing new attractions to help illustrate concepts. In hindsight, it's funny that knowing that Tomorrowland is already dated, Disney made a whole theme park that would get stale rather quickly.
From Rod Whitenack on November 23, 2013 at 12:07 PM
I'm the odd man out here. I went for the Sinbad ride, however I actually don't think the existing Sinbad ride is very good. There is an opportunity for a much cooler Sinbad dark ride. The Arabian stories are extremely creative and exciting, and it's a shame they weren't better used in the original Sinbad ride.
From Mark Fairleigh on November 24, 2013 at 1:10 PM
Though I was born 40 or so miles from Mt. Fuji, I had to go with rebuilding Horizons!
From Anthony Murphy on November 24, 2013 at 2:13 PM
Am I the only one that dislikes Horizons? I mean, it was ok, but not something I would want to see back. I would rather see Wonders of Life come back (or a medical science pavilion).

I voted for France, but thats because I really didn't like the other options. I would rather see Journey Into Imagination redone using technologies in Mystic Manor. It looks like a concept that could be easily turned into Imagination Theme. It already showcases art and music.

From 74.92.71.29 on November 25, 2013 at 1:58 PM
How about a trackless Journey into Imagination redo? Like Mystic Manor, but with Figment and company.

Bring this new system into the actual park that's supposed to be a celebration of technological advances.

From Flavio de Souza on November 25, 2013 at 4:48 PM
Please no movies or cartoons characters in EPCOT!!!!!!
You have DHS for that! You have Fantasyland for that. Tomorrowland, adventureland and DAK were already invaded by cartoons! Leave Epcot out!!!!
From Jay Ubilla on November 26, 2013 at 4:14 PM
I would put the Remi ride in Hollywood Studios as it does lend itself to the theme-ing of Pixar place.
Honestly, what they need to do is build an Australian Pavilion and expand the Outpost area in the Equatorial Africa Pavilion, then it can be called a true "World Showcase."
Horizons needs a comeback and I don't see the point of tearing down the Imagination pavilion in Future World.
From 12.25.107.2 on November 27, 2013 at 1:34 PM
I really think an Incredibles-themed dark ride in either the Wonders of Life or Universe of Energy pavilion (sorry Ellen) would fit the theme of Future World really well.

They could theme it as a tour of Syndrome's lair (either as a tourist-attraction theme, or "company" guided tour) where the Incredibles come to save the day. Something similar to Spider-Man with virtual and real life elements, of course.

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