Welcome to Theme Park Insider! Join the community or log in
Theme Park Insider
Facebook Twitter Google Plus Email Newsletter

Does the Death Bell Toll for EPCOT?

It occurred to me that the market for theme parks seems to be shifting in some way. Is there a place for a park like EPCOT anymore? What does EPCOT need to do to survive?

From James Adams
Posted March 20, 2002 at 1:07 PM
My family and I took a short theme park trip this last weekend. (My son finally reached 36" and can ride the kiddie coasters!). We spent the morning at the Magic Kingdom fighting long lines and huge crowds. Later, we went to EPCOT. At EPCOT, we strolled through near empty streets and literally walked onto the rides.

It occurred to me that the market for theme parks seems to be shifting in some way. What are your opinions about HOW the market is shifting? Is there a place for a park like EPCOT anymore? What does EPCOT need to do to survive? (and try to be more specific than "Eisner needs to spend more money.")


Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.

From Robert Niles
Posted March 20, 2002 at 1:48 PM
We've talked about how demographic affect theme parks before. In short, we're enterting another "baby bust" in the U.S., as the baby boomers have moved out of child-bearing age and the much-smaller Generation X now is the one having kids.

That's why Las Vegas has canned the "family friendly" bit and is now advertising show girls and lounge singers again. And it is why "family" theme parks like Disney are going to have to start appealing to the thrill ride and golf'n'spa crowds. (The first is the kids of the baby boomers, now teenagers and young adults. The second is the baby boomers themselves, many of them empty nesters approaching retirement age.)

What does this mean for EPCOT? Ironically, after years of being passe because it wasn't family-friendly enough, now EPCOT is uniquely positioned among Disney theme parks, IMO, to appeals to these important markets.

Fine dining, wine festivals, and international shopping brings in the baby boomers. Disney needs to refresh those components of EPCOT, bringing in some "name" chefs from non-U.S. restaurants and holding more food and wine-type festivals.

The second part is thrill rides. And that's the direction that Future World should go. Lose the "educational" veneer and just go for visceral thrills. Make Universe of Energy an indoor coaster with attacking dinosaurs, and you've got a BIG winner right there--and one that would slap down IOA pretty quick.

From Lesley Allen
Posted March 20, 2002 at 4:30 PM
I have to agree with the prior response. EPCOT has always been seen as "the thinking person's park". Unfortunately, most of today's younger folks don't go to theme parks to learn, they go there to have frivolous, unbridled fun! I think EPCOT needs to tone down a bit on the education and focus more on the enjoyment that a theme park can provide.

From Robert Niles
Posted March 20, 2002 at 5:08 PM
If EPCOT (or Disney, for that matter) is going to do the education thing, it needs to get an educational infrastructure in place. The company needs to hire curators and researchers, and work with universities, museums and foundations to put together "real" projects--not the dressed-up hokum that they've been offering.

Turn over Communicore to some real projects on topics that interest the Baby Boomlet. Don't expect a lot of gate or income--run it as a loss leader to get good PR and political contacts for the company.

Unfortunately, Disney's not much into loss leaders, from what I hear, these days. Everything's got to make money.

Well, education won't. So if you're not gonna do it right, why pretend to do it at all?

From Robert Niles
Posted March 20, 2002 at 5:17 PM
Oh, Lord. I'm showing my age. Did I just write "Communicore?"

From Anonymous
Posted March 20, 2002 at 5:30 PM
If disney was just for thrills than universal will beat it. Epcot is unique and atracts an audience to come to disney that my not always come. Without epcot a good deal of people woudn't waste the money coming to the resort and staying there. A good deal of the other parks attendance is there because people came for epcot. As much as disney in the future should go for a little more thrill at epcot they should still keep it educational and therefore let it attract a differeent audience to fill up the resort. That doesnt mean though that disney should close down old classics. Horizons and world of motion should still be there and i think are as big of classics as the pirates of the carrabean and the haunted mansion.

From Anonymous
Posted March 20, 2002 at 6:46 PM
I don't think EPCOT or any
other major Disney park
will close.

Even if EPCOT draws fewer
people than Disney's other parks, we must remember what
a huge number of people
we're talking about multiplied
by the $$$ each person spends.

Even if park attendance
isn't optimal, it's still
big $$$$$.

Any theme can be successful,
if there's enough imagination, resources,
common and business sense,
and promotion.

Disney certainly has the
resources and promotion
in spades.

IMO, EPCOT's main problem
since its inception (keeping
fully in mind that despite
any "problem," the park has been very successful) is that
there hasn't been a clear focus.

What is EPCOT's theme ?
Originally, it was the
"prototype community of
tomorrow," but what is
really the theme now ?

It's basically two half-parks
in one. The one half supposedly deals with the
"future," although some of
the attractions seem more
like it than others.
"In the future, there
will be many commercial
sponsorships."

The other half has the
countries - the "international" theme.


What they should've done
is made two completely
separate parks.

The "future" one should've
combined the current
"future" section with
some thrill rides connected
with space-themed movies, etc.
While "The Land" and "The Living Seas" are among my favorite EPCOT attractions,
these attractions would have
been a better fit with
the "Animal Kingdom."


The "international" side
would be an effective
draw for the large number
of international visitors.
Basically, the countries
seem like a "start" of
being a solid attraction.
There's just not much to them.
They can do much better. Look,
for instance, at the Polynesian Hotel. Now, that's
the sort of large-scale theming they need in the
"international" section.
Done right, the countries
could be much more effective.

From Kevin Baxter
Posted March 21, 2002 at 7:49 AM
Epcot can always SEEM empty since it is so gargantuan. Plus, there are many more inside areas to hide people. I have never been when we didn't walk right on any ride there but Test Track.

Still, Epcot has been having several problems unrelated to its theme. Test Track was the last new thing they added. That was three years ago. Before that was what? Honey, I Shrunk the Audience in 1994? And that wasn't exactly new, was it?

They have had a few changes, but the only improvement was Ellen's Energy Adventure. JIYI 2 was horrid. Food Rocks is about the same. The Circle of Life movie was cheapened. The Living Seas has gotten worse.

Robert is right, to a point. They need to add a little excitement to the place. I don't think they should dump the educational theme, though. It is the only original theme out there. Besides, they can fit thrills in there and still maintain a minor semblance of educational value. Epcot is rumored to be getting a clone of StormRider, which could get some educational pre-show and fit in nicely. Plus, Space seems like it will fill that exciting-yet-educational niche nicely.

I think Epcot's biggest problem is how much they have been ignoring the World Showcase section of the park. Poor planning caused the demise of the Mount Fuji roller coaster. But what about the other pavilions? Do the Mexico and Norway flumes have to be so lame? And why so many attraction-free pavilions? How about a Big Ben freefall ride? Or a Moroccan magic carpet ride? A gondola-flume ride in Italy? I can't think of anything for Germany, but the free-flowing beer may just be enough of an attraction there. Yes, these may all be a little extravagant, but would a motion simulator or two be too much to ask for?

New countries have been proposed for a decade, so where are they? The Millenium Celebration proved that even a half-baked pavilion could get people into the park, so imagine what the proposed Switzerland pavilion with a Matterhorn could do?

What is killing Epcot, besides the lack of new attractions, is Disney's insistence on having sponsors for its Future World pavilions. This is understandable, somewhat, since Epcot can't add simple attractions like at Disney's other parks. Any addition to Epcot requires a PAVILION. Until Disney decides they are going to spend some money (which they are making hand over fist, I might add) then Epcot will continue to languish.

From Anonymous
Posted March 21, 2002 at 1:01 PM
I agree...let's turn Universe of Energy into an indoor rollercoaster!

But even scarier than the animatronic dinosaurs attacking the riders would be multiple jumbotron screens with Ellen DeGeneres roaring and making political commentary!!! Now THERE'S an attraction where people would have the willies scared out of them!

Perhaps they could convert Spaceship Earth into an indoor, looping rollercoaster...all while providing the same audio-animatronic communication education that SE porvides now. You could even use the same cars tourists ride in now on SE, but with the standard shoulder harness/lap belt! At the conclusion of the ride, the coaster would ascend straight up out of the top of Spaceship Earth, do a double-triple-quadruple helix followed by a dozen or so loops, and then descend back to the station, while holograms of the members of N'Sync are projected on the tracks ahead of the coaster, acting as if they just got plowed by the coaster train. Pure entertainment!

As far as the World Showcase is concerned, here is the "piece de resistance"!

Have a steel rollercoaster installed that travels through all the themed areas...from Canada to Mexico! Then have the coaster complete its journey with an plunge into a tunnel under the WS lake, rising up again to a triple loop, double cobra roll...all above the lake!

If the suits at Disney would do this, they will pull off the greatest comeback story in theme park history!

*wink-wink*

Any other ideas for improving Epcot?

From Tina D
Posted March 21, 2002 at 1:27 PM
Well, speaking from experience, there are still plenty of families in need of friendly vacations. I am a child of a baby boomer, but was an adult with children by the time Gen-X came around. My children love Epcot, the whole boring lot of it. Mission:Space is scheduled to open next spring. Flight simulators anyone? They do need a new country, maybe Russia or Brazil. I would love to ride Gondolas in Italy and fat sumo wrestling suit in Japan. I go to Epcot for the food and the shopping. When I want to stand inline for 2 minutes of OMG I go to IOA.

From Reid Loveland
Posted March 21, 2002 at 1:25 PM
Epcot does need to add new attractions and successfully rehab old ones. And as a previous poster said, it seems Disney has to have a sponsor for anything new. Put in a Matterhorn-type coaster in World Showcase and watch the attendance skyrocket.
I can just imagine the "talk" around town as this gets built and then closer and closer to the opening date. Having worked at WDW I know how quickly word spreads about new attractions and how excited everyone is when they have Cast previews and a soft opening.

It wouldn't require 10 new major attractions; just 1 new one every 2 or three years. Epcot has the space, but Disney is just against building on it for some reason. I think the main reason is money. And almost any attraction can include some sort of educational side.

From Robert Niles
Posted March 21, 2002 at 2:49 PM
Tina, you're right--there's still a market for family-friendly stuff. Heck, I've got two kids--ages four and one--and appreciate top-shelf family entertainment.

Unfortunately for me, plurality rules in America (well, not in Presidential elections, but that's another story....). And if there are more consumers in their teens and 20s, than in elementary school, entertainment companies are going to go after that larger market.

Disney's going to struggle if it doesn't adapt. It can't earn the profit margins it did during the past decade, by still going after a now shrinking pool of elementary kids and their parents.

Disney's decision to throw a bunch of kiddie rides into California Adventure, and plow money into animated sequels tells me that Disney's not going be able to adapt anytime soon, and that the company is at risk of losing market share to firms like Six Flags and DreamWorks, which do appeal to an older audience.

The family market is still there. But it's going to be a niche market in the U.S. for the next decade or so. (Reid's right: It would take just one or two rides to make EPCOT a leading player again, family-oriented or not. Even a niche company could do that.)

If Disney's comfortable being a niche player, great. But given everything I know about that company, I really, really doubt it.

That said, theme park companies have plenty of new markets to work outside the United States. Couple that with the demographic changes in the U.S., and that's why I think you'll see the bulk of innovation in the theme park industry happening outside the U.S. for the nexy several years.

(And that's why I'm working so hard to include coverage of theme parks outside the United States on this site.)

From José Alberto Ruiz Sánchez
Posted March 21, 2002 at 4:57 PM
El futuro para EPCOT pasa por aumentar el número de pabellones de países (p.e. España. Por lo demas creo que es interesente y diferente al resto. No debe desaparecer

From Robert Niles
Posted March 21, 2002 at 5:57 PM
I don't know that simply increasing the number of pavilions will do much to boost EPCOT's attendance or public profile. Not if the new pavilions offer nothing different from the existing ones.

I stand by this: EPCOT needs more "name" chefs. More world-class shopping. More food and wine and garden festivals. And more thrill rides.

More of the same won't help. More of things I've mentioned, whether they be in new pavilions or the existing ones, will.

From Kevin Baxter
Posted March 22, 2002 at 6:27 AM
Well, say even one of the many Disney rumors comes true and they get a Soarin' Over Some New Country. Even that ride, while not what anyone would consider a thrill ride, would do wonders for Epcot.

Robert is right about better shopping and better chefs and such in World Showcase. The right side of the park seems to get all the buzz when it comes to restaurants. Mexico's is popular because of the setting, not the food. Norway's just has food that is a little too weird for most of us. Germany's is a little variety-free. Italy's and China's are okay, but nothing you can't find on I-Drive. And I have never heard one word about Japan's or Morocco's. If you don't eat in France, the UK or Canada, then your dining experience here will probably compare unfavorably to a day at the Studios. Epcot should NEVER be compared, food-wise, to any other Disney park. If so, then they are failing at one of the things that makes Epcot unique.

Reid was pretty accurate on the something-new-every-couple-years theory. I believe if WDW added one E-Ticket (and crap like Primeval Whirl is SO not an E-Ticket) to one park and one lesser ride to a different park every year, they would pack in the peeps for years to come.

From James Adams
Posted March 22, 2002 at 1:22 PM
Although I am not a advocate for Disney becoming another thrill ride depot (like the dismal breeding of Six Flags across the US, even infecting other countries), I must agree. EPCOT may need more thrill rides. I love dark themed rides but even I have wished that some of them go quicker (have you ridden E.T. lately at Universal? - ugh... I was wishing that the bikes would fly lose and send us crashing into the wall).

BUT, the challenge is to keep EPCOT qualitatively different than the other parks. Each park has it's own different theme (although I share the confusion about what EPCOT's theme really is anymore).

So the question is: how does EPCOT retain it's unique theme? How do they incorporate thrill yet maintain their "educational" theme? I think Test Track does that fairly well. I realize that many dislike Test Trake because it is not as rough as a roller coaster. BUT, it is not supposed to be a roller coaster. And, as fun as roller coasters are, I don't think that they fit EPCOT's theme/culture.

Another issue that EPCOT struggles with is: How big is big enough? A park cannot simply expand infinitely. From a management perspective, if you add a ride, then it needs to replace something. So, what needs to go?

From Reid Loveland
Posted March 22, 2002 at 2:51 PM
I fully agree that a park can't grow infinately, but Epcot has a lot of unused space right now. There is a whole show building attached to the Japan pavillion that was never used (From what I heard, it was to house a Carousel of Progress type show about Japan) that is now just storage. There are also several "lots" that were meant for future countries. There's plenty of room....now how do we get Disney Execs to loosen the purse strings and splurge a bit?

From Annie Clark
Posted March 22, 2002 at 4:46 PM
I agree with whoever it was that said coasters and EPCOT don't mix. A coaster? In EPCOT? That just doesn't seem right. I don't think Test Track really fits either.

I seriously doubt they would get rid of EPCOT. Spaceship Earth (or 'the golf ball' if you prefer) is such a Disney landmark I don't think they'd take it away. Personally I hate the Living Seas, I think they could either spice it up or change it altogether... But perhaps I'm biased because it made me sick (I know, of all the rides to get sick on, but for whatever reason looking through the glass did it). I miss Figment. I'm bitter. I love going to the different countries as well, I like the rides in them a lot, although it seems as thought some of you find them boring. Personally I think they should keep EPCOT how it is and hang in there, I think people will go again. If not for enjoyment then for nostalgia.

Wow, looking back I don't think I made much sense. Hope you got the idea, though.

From Josh Counsil
Posted March 22, 2002 at 8:35 PM
Even though Epcot isn't as popular, it's still a good park. There's just one thing - - It needs more rides! It's the 2nd largest park in Disney, but there's little to ride. We finished almost everything before lunch!

From Robert Niles
Posted March 23, 2002 at 1:30 AM
You know you're a bit short on the rides when your theme park's most popular "attraction" is "Drinking Around the World."

From Kevin Baxter
Posted March 23, 2002 at 4:39 AM
And what is wrong with drinking around the world???

Epcot doesn't necessarily need rides, just more variety in its attractions. Two slow flumes and four movies all in World Showcase! But then they have the completely different American Adventure, which is excellent for its novelty as well as its presentation!

As for Future World, I am fine with Test Track, IF there was a little more emphasis on the educational aspect of car-making. Making the queue into more of a science-exhibit-type place for the mechanics of a car would make that ride fit in a little better.

For example, since Robert is so desperate to put a coaster into FW, I decided to come up with a concept that would work. Well, why not just a Physics pavilion? There can be a coaster with a looooong straight track where you learn about coasters and their physics. You continue to learn about them on the lift hill, then you REALLY learn about them. There can be smaller rides in the pavilion also, like a swinging boat or some spinny ride. Yes, they are all flat rides, which many of us have trounced at DCA, but if they all get a cool theme, and the educational aspect is focused upon, it could work nicely. If the flat rides were all indoors, then it could be made to seem more like an experimental lab rather than some cheap carnival. Hey! The pavilion could be called The Science Fair and each ride could have one of those science-fair exhibit displays out in front! Education and several thrill rides all in one batch!

From Robert Niles
Posted March 23, 2002 at 6:13 PM
Only if they PROMISE to include the ubiquitous exploding volcano exhibit!

From Kevin Baxter
Posted March 24, 2002 at 5:56 AM
OMG!!!! Wouldn't that be awesome to put right in the middle of the coaster when it zooms outside??? That would be hilarious! They need to call us so we can get to work on this, Robert.

From Lesley Allen
Posted March 24, 2002 at 8:28 AM
Not to burst your bubble, Kevin & Robert...but isn't there already a Volcano coaster in a rival theme park? :)

This is a bizarre idea that just popped in my head when Kevin was discussing the "experimental lab" approach to Epcot. For some reason, the idea popped in my head of having a giant maze in the park for people to find their way out of. Instead of cheese as a reward, they could hide discount food or merchandise coupons in different areas of the maze. Kind of like the maze in the movie "The Shining", but with a Disney/Epcot twist! :)

From Kevin Baxter
Posted March 24, 2002 at 9:06 PM
Is there? Where is it? I know there is some sort of volcano attraction in Port Aventura, but I don't think people would think of that.

Anyhow, this wouldn't be a volcano, but one of those cheesy Brady Bunch looking things. So it could actually be a parody of a volcano coaster.

From Reid Loveland
Posted March 25, 2002 at 8:37 AM
"Personally I think they should keep EPCOT how it is and hang in there, I think people will go again. If not for enjoyment then for nostalgia. "

This statement written previously really made me cringe. Epcot has been like that for many years, and yes, it does bring people in but a park can't exist that way anymore. There's too much compitition from other nearby parks for Epcot (and the rest of WDW) to rest on it's laurels.

I don't think anyone is advocating changing what Epcot is...instead I think most people here believe Disney can ADD to the park in such a way as to keep the educational/informational aspect but put in more for those guests looking for something new to see or experience.

From Lesley Allen
Posted March 25, 2002 at 10:34 AM
Kevin: I was referring to "Volcano, The Blast Coaster" at PKD, actually. But if you're talking "cheesy Brady Bunch" volcano, I think we're thinking of a different league entirely. As long as it doesn't spew all over people like Peter Brady's did! (Hmmm.....on second thought, that might not be half-bad for a kiddie attraction. Would piss off the parents something fierce though, I think):)

From Steve Shaw
Posted March 26, 2002 at 10:34 AM
EPCOT is going downhill and it may be history if Disney doesn't do a major rehab on it.

Here's a list of suggestions Disney can do: 1. Get rid of the Land. This pavillion is a total waste of space. Replace it. 2. Add a cool underwater ride to Living Seas. This could get people back there. 3. Bring back Figment to Imagination that way you can still bring kids to the park. 4. Please get rid of Ellen. She is so annoying. 5. Make Maelstrom more exciting. 6. Add lots of attractions to World Showcase like a coaster or two, a "Soaring over a Country", and a dark ride.

Mexico, France, Canada, the American Adventure, Spaceship Earth, Test Track, and Wonders of Life should be left alone for now. If Disney changes any of those, I ain't going back to EPCOT. That's the end of my rambling.

From Tim Hillman
Posted March 27, 2002 at 4:12 PM
Has Disney ever considered changing the name of Epcot to something that really reflects the true nature of the park? Anybody with a few years on them knows that Epcot was Walt Disney's vision of a community of the future. What was built in Orlando is nothing similar to that vision. In reality, Celebration, Disney's planned community, is closer to the original Epcot than the Epcot park is. So why doesn't Disney rename it and develop it and promote it along the lines of what it truly is?

I personally would like to see it renamed something like World Showcase (real original idea here) and then developed with a coherent theme instead of the Jekyll and Hyde situation they've got now.

If they also put some money into some E-ticket attractions they might get some more repeat business from people like me. If these E-ticket attractions had a little oomph to them, they'd also diversify their visitor mixture. Right now, it seems to appeal to the older set. The kids in the adolescent and teen market are not interested.

From Anonymous
Posted March 28, 2002 at 3:44 PM
I just returned from my first trip to Disney and found Epcot to be my favorite. I hope that they develop the International area more and not only have more countries, but attractions for every country. I was a little annoyed that some countries just had gift shops and nothing else...but it was still fun. The first few days I spent in Magic Kingdom and MGM and had enough of screaming cranking kids who should have been home napping. Epcot was a relief.

From Sean Walls
Posted March 29, 2002 at 1:10 AM
We need to consider some things here. First, what does EPCOT stand for? Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. As I see it, only half of the park could fits into that category. And we need to look at something else; it is very unlikely that Disney will change the name of the park. Disney needs to live up to the name that was given to the park.

The “World Showcase” certainly does not live up to this name. It is by no means “experimental”. With its shortage of rides, Disney would be better to segregate it from the rest of the park and make it into an international Downtown Disney of sorts. The biggest compliment about the showcase is the food. So, close it off to the rest of Epcot or make it indirectly accessible, start cooking up some world class cuisine, and let it start pulling in some money. With that, you could start making Epcot what it is supposed to be.

I think that they need to start putting some “experimental technology” stuff into EPCOT. They are already doing this with Inventions. They just need to incorporate this into some new rides as well. Don’t get me started on Ellen’s Ride. If any ride should be put out of its misery, that is certainly it. The animatronics are far out of date, and the story line was Elmer’s glued to the ride to “update” it. In my opinion, that space is much more valuable.

The key to bringing people into a park, it to lure them with a new attraction every year or so. The best example is Cedar Point. They are consistently putting new stuff in that park, and they are bursting at the seams! Disney has the space; they have the money, why not improve EPCOT. I am sure that the Imagineers have some new technology that they are dying to implement. If any park is suited for cool rides, EPCOT is it! Bring them on. Change the park, have fun with it. “Cool Stuff” will get the people in. The jumping fountain does it. The Firework fountain does it. The whole “Make it educational” thing probably won’t work. Let’s face it. We come to the park to have fun. If we are going to learn, it will be about one second’s worth of “Oh! So that’s how it works! How cool!” and that is it.

Technology, New Ideas, and Fun. That is what EPCOT is about, and that is what EPCOT needs.

From Kevin Baxter
Posted March 29, 2002 at 6:19 AM
I actually discovered the PKD Volcano coaster on this site after I wrote that. The day Disney worries about having similar ideas to a Paramount park will be a cold day in Orlando! Besides, there were two other Rock 'n' Roller Coasters in existence before Disney "created" theirs.

I don't think what Epcot stands for is really all that important to Disney anymore. Disney doesn't even capitalize it any more. Furthermore, most people don't even have a clue that it stands for something in the first place. So I think Epcot is here to stay, which is just fine with me. Otherwise Disney might rename it Disney's World Adventure or something stoopid like that as long as they beat that Disney name like a dead horse.

Finally, as much as I would love to see Epcot add an attraction a year, I do realize that it isn't feasible. I think my plan of an E-Ticket alternating with a mid-level attraction every two years in each park would be both feasible and a boon for tourists.

From Reid Loveland
Posted March 29, 2002 at 8:03 AM
In a reply to Sean's previous post: Epcot no longer "stands" for anything. Disney changed this a few years ago and it's just Epcot...not EPCOT.

From Kevin Baxter
Posted March 30, 2002 at 4:55 AM
Was that official? Because I never heard anything out of Disney. I just noticed they weren't capitalizing the whole thing anymore. I figured out the reason for it, but never heard them explain it.

From Max Scheiber
Posted December 10, 2002 at 2:14 PM
I'm looking foward to Mission:Space, which opens in 2003.

From Kevin Baxter
Posted December 11, 2002 at 3:18 AM
Well, many of us are holding our collective breath on Mission: Space. Disney's track record in the past hasn't been that spectacular recently. I am hoping against hope that M:S will be great, but it clearly isn't enough for this foundering park.

Rumors are out about Disney funneling money that was going to pay for a fifth WDW park into Epcot instead. Reports have about $600K going into Epcot in the next few years. Some of the ideas sound great, like something exciting inside Spaceship Earth and new country pavilions. Others seem less so, like cloning some DCA attractions. Check them out - and RATE THEM - here.

From Kuribo -
Posted December 11, 2002 at 7:44 AM

I think the park has to have a clear brnad message. Nobody really understands it.

From Kuribo -
Posted December 11, 2002 at 11:01 AM
brand

From Kevin Baxter
Posted December 12, 2002 at 2:51 AM
LOL! Glad you corrected that. I was thinking, what does brnad mean???? Though you could have done it by refreshing the News & Commentary page and clicking on it in the Edit Your Messages area.

Anyhow, I think Epcot does have a brand, of sorts. Infotainment! They should stick to that!

From Andrew Swanson
Posted December 12, 2002 at 9:44 AM
It's kind of ironic that this thread was revived at this time. The other day, I was thinking that it's kind of ironic that World showcase is one of the finest dining experiences in WDW, (and the real world for that matter) and yet the American Pabilion only has a quick service food stand near the American Adventure. I was reading all of Kevin's posts regarding shipping in well known chefs, and it made me think; how about an Emeril Lagasse restaurant at the American Adventure; He's known for his Cajun cooking and that's just about the only food that's authentic to America that could be served at a higher-end restaurant. Sure Burgers and Hot dogs are American, but they really do lend themselves more to the Quick-Service route, whereas Emeril could bring in something a bit more fancy. I know this last part may be going out on a limb, but I'll say it anyway; during the early spring they could have a Mardi Gras parade in this area; Disney is known for their parades and this would be the perfect setting. What do you think, considering USF has their own Mardi Gras parade just down the street?

From Kevin Baxter
Posted December 13, 2002 at 2:29 AM
My only problem with any of this is that the American pavilion is the only one with a REAL attraction.

But I like the idea of having some sort of celebration for OTHER pavilions. How about a Dia de los Muertos party? How about turning Oktoberfest into something BIGGER? I say pick a month for each pavilion and celebrate that pavilion for the entire month. THAT would be cool!

From Reid Loveland
Posted December 13, 2002 at 7:16 AM
I totally agree with you on the month-long celebration for each country, Kevin. Wonderful idea!

From Jason Moore
Posted December 13, 2002 at 7:17 AM
Yes!! Excellent idea!

From Anonymous
Posted February 11, 2003 at 9:13 PM
The problem with an Emeril restaurant is that one already exists next-door at Universal Studios.

From Michelle Pilling
Posted February 12, 2003 at 2:41 AM
I had never been to Walt Disney world before, we went to Epcot, my children loved it, these are the generation of the future. Educational and fun, I wish we had something, like Epcot in Europe or the UK. The Disneyland in Paris, does not have anything like Epcot. I think you are lucky, to have a place like Epcot, in the USA.

From Philip Curds
Posted February 12, 2003 at 6:19 AM
'Looks can be deceiving...'

EPCOT has a number of issues that is true, declining numbers of visitors, perhaps the most glaring, however, Mission: Space will open in the late summer and will undoubtedly give a major boost to this 60/70s inspired themepark.

EPCOT and Disney have one massive advantage over its rivals, they offer an exclusive ticketing system that allows each Disney Passholder access to Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, EPCOT and MGM, not to mention the waterparks, which makes Disney far more competitive, not to say that WetNWild is bad, its just not the same as Typhoon or Blizzard.

From Marc-André Routhier
Posted February 12, 2003 at 7:54 AM
Hi everyone!

What amaze me here is that we seem to be forgetting the essential : the core business.

Point #1 : I'm designing a very new kind of attraction with a team of great creators. The most diffcult challenge we are facing is differenciation. We asked ousrselves what is unique about us? What is our core? We needed to come up with something in order to be able to build something that has a spinal cord and that can hold the test of time without being a me too product.

Disney, "Walt", should I say always said new that. It took him 15 years to come up with a concept for Dineyland, He needed to accomodate his core business which was telling stories with amusment park. That is when he came up with the Pirates type of attraction. So when people are asking what is missing at Epcot today I can only say : Ride that tell stories.

Point #2: How do you build your business offering around your core business?

Second most challenging decision is to decide what type of attraction to build. Do we build to answer fans multiple desires or do we build following our instincts? This is the creator's dilemma. Following your own sense of what is right or trying to please the crowd and disperse yourself by trying to be everything to everybody. What we have decided to do (my team) is to follow our core business but to adapt to the actual society needs. For exemple: Disney could still tell stories but stories of the new millenium. Plus they just need to find a way to tell those stories in a way that worked in the past. Exemple #2 : Pirates is definitely a classic. Why don't we decide to tell educationnal stories with the Pirate's attraction type? This would unify three things :

1- The core : Telling stories
2- The mission : Educate
3- The essence : Magic

That's it. It is not to difficult. If they keep going after the thrill, they will dilute their offering and come closer and closer to the Universal and SixFlags of this world.

Final opinion : It takes ball to follow our core business in tough economic times. But this is why we are in business. Because we are there to bring innovation to the world and lead the way. When we keep innovating, we expand the horizons of people. As a society, if we come back to only meet customer demand, we will cease to create, cease to evolve, cease to grow, cease to become a better, richer, greater society. Disney has a great potential. I only hope they realise it

MA Routhier
Montréal Canada

From Michael Murray
Posted February 13, 2003 at 10:57 AM
I ordered the free Disney World trip planning video about 2 weeks ago and it arrived yesterday. I noticed that the Tapestry of Dreams parade was already edited out of the Epcot segment. Those guys are pretty nimble! (The parade ends March 1)

From Anonymous
Posted February 14, 2003 at 2:00 PM
nooooooooooooo,i love epcot acualy i like all the parks epcot is differet u learn something like learning something form other cultures

From Jet Nitro
Posted February 16, 2003 at 4:17 PM
Heres my fixes for Epcot:

Future World:
A)Either keep/refurb or close WOL. If they decide to keep it, They need to seriously update the pavillion with a new "Body Wars" film shot and projected in digital with a new,matching digital soundtrack as well. Also,get rid of the "fluff" factor(Cranium Command,Making Of Me) and bring in some great permanent exhibits concering health and medicine.
If they decide to close it WOL,and we all hope they do, Keep the building and turn it into a weather pavillion w/excellent theming(Think Port Discovery at DisneySea), a Stormrider(also at DisneySea)and excitng,interactive exhibits on meterological sciences. Work with either NOAA/NWS or Weather Channel on this potential product as well

B) Take the old Communicore/Innoventions space and turn it into either an exhibit on geosciences,in particular earthquakes and volcanos OR turn it into food court. FW doesnt have alot in ways of eating and this could benefit the parks bottom line.

C) Living Seas: Either repair the Hydrolators ot take them out. Also, Refurb the theming a litte bit and give it a more "futuristic" look. Think Seaquest DSV(if ya remember the show) or ST: Enterprise in the design and implemntation. Make the guest feel like their truly 20,000 leagues under the sea. Update the exhbits to show all the new innovations in marine sciences in the past 20 years

World Showcase:

Plain and simple, Add a new country. I cant stress it enough..I think its time they need to put in Australia. I say make the pavillion both reflect the modern and ancient roots of the country. Im thinking of something like an outback station myself. Have exhibits and attractions based around what life is like in the bush. Have aboriginal art permiating throughout the exhibit. Have a bar where you can get some good tucker and a oil can of fosters as well.

From Michael Murray
Posted February 20, 2003 at 1:56 AM
Jim Hill has an excellent article today about "Project Gemini"--a proposed $350-500 million project which would be a major reworking of Future World (and would rename it "Discoveryland")

http://www.jimhillmedia.com/articles/02192003.1.htm


This discussion has been archived, and is not accepting additional responses.

Stories from a Theme Park Insider

Stories from a Theme Park Insider

What's it like to work in a theme park? Stories from a Theme Park Insider takes you inside the famous tunnels and backstage at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom for a look at how theme parks really work, sharing the funny moments and embarrassments that can happen when your job is someone else's vacation.
Order now: Kindle | iBooks | Paperback | Kindle (UK)