Epcot and Tom Fitzgerald

September 15, 2014, 8:15 AM

A few months back, we know that Tom Fitzgerald took over the creative direction at epcot. Can anyone shed any light on what this might mean over the next few years.

I re-read the article from wdwmagic which said - "In further organizational changes at both park leadership and at Walt Disney Imagineering, veteran Imagineer Tom Fitzgerald is taking lead on the creative direction of Epcot. Disney is poised to begin a major re-Imagineering of Epcot, looking to restore the original intent of the park in both Future World and World Showcase. Tom's extensive experience with WDI should position him well to take on such a project"

This seems to be implying that major changes are on the way and towards restoring the original intent of the park. How accurate is this likely to be? what are we likely to see happen over the next few years (Frozen aside of course), any thoughts?

Replies (6)

September 15, 2014, 8:46 AM

I think you're just seeing PR flack nonsense, Tom. Disney is going to have to do something with Epcot, but going back to the original intent isn't the answer. Once the Disney brass sees the results from the Frozen overlay on the Norway ride, you can bet that there will be a massive redo of the park with more Disney IP (and of course, more Disney princesses).

On a side note. It looks like we're going full circle here. You can't go "Back to the Future" in the Universal parks in the USA anymore, and now Disney is proposing to go to "back to the future" at Epcot. I wonder if we will see DeLoreans in Ellen's Energy Adventure sometime soon?

Edited: September 15, 2014, 3:24 PM

Epcot World Showcase is already teeming with Disney princesses and similar characters. Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Belle, Jasmine, Mulan are there for meet and greets many times a day. Add in the Innoventions character spot (Big 5), Alice, Mary Poppins, Pooh, Tigger, Aristocats and many others and Disney characters are everywhere.

The question is whether the country pavilions will turn Disney-fictional. This IMO would be a terrible change.

September 15, 2014, 2:24 PM

All Disney has to do to justify restoring Journey into Imagination to its past glory (not necessarily recreate the original version, but something better quality than whats there) is make a cartoon show with the target demographic of 8-12 year olds and decent quality. That could help Figment and Dreamfinder get some recognition seemingly needed to justify a ride in Disney and sell merchandise now. Even an animated film at this point could work well for the characters.

September 15, 2014, 3:10 PM

Like it was mentioned above, I don't think Disney is going to take the direction to make Epcot more like it used to be. I see them taking it to a new path which will be almost unrecognizable today (minus Spaceship Earth) in 10 to 15 years. Part of this is a shame, because it's nice that there is such a thing as the World Showcase (minus the American Pavilion) to help educate while entertaining folks about cultures and customs of countries they might not have the opportunity to travel to. The only problem with this is that it doesn't bring in more money, or at least the amount of money Disney would like to see.

Another factor with making changes to the park is to relieve the overcrowding in Magic Kingdom. If you could move some of the people from Magic Kingdom over to Epcot, this would help reduce alleviate wait times at MK and spread out the herd. Right now, there aren't enough high capacity rides at Epcot to do this.

If the 2013 attendance data is true, Epcot is the second busiest park of WDW. It receives a million more visitors than Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. I could definitely see why they would want to more throw more money into it, plus change the overall theme of the park in order to increase visitors.

Will we see an overhaul like California Adventure? Probably not, but it wouldn't surprise me that the closing of Maelstrom is a start towards a new and unfamiliar Epcot.

September 16, 2014, 9:04 PM

I am not sure, I am not liking the EPCOT ideas lately. Off Kilter out? Frozen in?

September 22, 2014, 6:19 AM

Sadly the writing has been on the wall for some time now. When project Gemini never took off it was a clear indication that Disney was more concerned with its other properties outside of Florida. If the princess and characters are any indication I can imagine that Disney is moving toward turning the world showcase into fictional Disney Pavilions. Frozen taking over Maelstrom is only the beginning. I'd imagine Ratouille will be next in France, and so on...

Future World is anything but futuristic these days. A Hyped up GM Commercial, and many other outdated less than mediocre overhauls. With enough patches it’s bound to need to be completely replaced. The nostalgia of what Epcot was is simply that in fact. I’ve looked through some souvenir books from the late 1980's and it’s already morphed into a completely different park.

With The Star Wars Franchise headed to the studios it makes you wonder how Disney is going to spice up Future World. The Retro Future that never was really never took off at The Magic Kingdom or Disneyland so you can probably see that not coming to light either.

We can hope for an optimistic change. If the vision is to truly return Epcot to its former glory it needs unique one of a kind attractions with staying power. Not a quick overhaul.

I am not an imagined, just a dreamer but here's what I'd like to se. These are just my dreams. So if you disagree great, I get it.

Future World:

Space Ship Earth: Gut It! Keep the same Communication Theme. Revamp it, make it relevant. An Omni mover is outdated and no fun. Introduce new state of the art animatronics like at Disney Sea. A time machine adventure that immerses you into those key times. Instead of a quick peak into La Scoux how about actually climbing down into the caves, being inside of The Coliseum, Etc.

Communicore: Adios! Green Space would be better.

Universe of Energy: The possibilities are endless, such a large pavilion could anchor a major attraction that puts you into the energy, hydro, thermal, wind, solar, and (A thrill ride meets education.

Wonders of Life: My favorite as a kid. Body Wars was my first ride at Epcot. Add new technology. Spice it up, So much has changed since the pavilion has opened. How about a forensic attraction?

Mission Space: Since it’s hardly what it used to be how about returning the attraction to Horizons and bringing a new vision of the way we will life in the future, space is just one facade.

Test Track: Carsland meets a GM Commercial. It’s boring! Transportation evolution has been mind boggling. If we could experience the different modes of transportation and dreams of what was and is to be this would inspire curious minds to once again dream. A new World of Motion.

Odyssey: A weather Pavilion: One of the many tossed around ideas. Mother Nature is powerful and an attraction anchored around these powers could be riveting.

Imagination: Figment and Dream Finder deserve their place! A new whimsical adventure through imagination. Literacy could even be the underlying theme. It's a great place to start.

The Land: While Soaring is amazing, it’s the air over the land. How could this pavilion become two? Perhaps an aviation themed pavilion and then an earth/land pavilion. Redo the entire right portion of the land. The boat tour is a nice break from the heat with air-conditioning but how about new animatronics, less video, and more understanding of the different biomes and regions of the earth.

The Living Seas: Sorry Nemo, but you gotta go!!! Redo this without the aquariums. Maybe a water based attraction? Rivers, Lakes, Oceans, etc. An interactive attraction that shows how humankind has lived with water.
New Attractions:
Mexico: (Redo boat ride Aztec and Mayan Overlay)

China: (A Dragon themed attraction)
Egypt: (An indoor roller coaster through Egyptian ruins at night housed in a Pyramid)
Germany: (A Grimm Brothers Themed Attraction)
Italy: (A ride showcasing the rise and fall of Rome)
USA: (Redo the Show, Move Hall of Presidents here, add a sleepy Hollow Dark Ride)
United Kingdom:

Just ideas. However maybe a way to revamp the park.

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