Plans filed for site work at Walt Disney World's France pavilion

June 23, 2017, 4:42 PM · The Reedy Creek Improvement District today filed a permit with the South Florida Water Management District for a project that covers the entire "back of house" area behind, and next to, Epcot's France pavilion.

"The project consists of modifying a back of house area to include gravel parking and two dry detention ponds," according to a letter from a Reedy Creek project manager to the SFWMD, included in the permit application. While that doesn't sound especially exciting on its own, the modification would be a necessary first step toward a new construction project on the site.

We recently reported that insiders were working on plans to bring a version of Walt Disney Studios Paris' Ratatouille ride to Epcot's France pavilion. Last month, Reedy Creek — the Disney-controlled local government agency that oversees development at the Walt Disney World Resort — filed a permit to modify canals behind the Universe of Energy pavilion in Epcot's Future World, which would be the first step in what we've been told will be the replacement of Ellen's Energy Adventure with a new Guardians of the Galaxy-themed roller coaster.

The new permit application for the France pavilion defines the project boundaries to include the entire backstage area behind the existing France pavilion buildings, as well as the space to the east of the France pavilion all the way over to the buildings in the adjacent Morocco building.

Epcot France pavilion project

From a quick glance at Google Maps, that space would provide enough area to house the show building for the Ratatouille: L'Aventure Totalement Toquee de Remi ride from the Walt Disney Studios Park at Disneyland Paris. That attraction is a 3D trackless dark ride, which we reviewed upon its opening in 2014.

As with all construction projects underway at the Walt Disney World Resort, Disney won't officially confirm anything until it is good and ready to make a public announcement. With this application covering only site preparation work, we would appear to be several months — at least — away from the start of any major construction at either the France or Universe of Energy pavilions.

Update: Hearing now that we might expect Disney to announced the Epcot projects at the D23 Expo in Anaheim next month. Stay tuned!

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Replies (39)

June 23, 2017 at 5:35 PM · FINALLY
June 23, 2017 at 5:48 PM · I'm unhappy there are far too many rollercoasters being built. Not a thrill ride fan, i prefer more family friendly rides.
June 23, 2017 at 6:09 PM · Ugh. Really? Don't ride them then. Plenty of family friendly mild rides at WDW (and Disney parks in general) already. No need to ruin it for the rest of us.
June 23, 2017 at 6:31 PM · This will not be a roller coaster. So rejoice Pollyanna
June 23, 2017 at 7:18 PM · Poster Don't worry, be happy now.... because if the Rat ride comes to France, that is a family ride. Cheer up. Sounds like there will be something for everyone. :-)
June 23, 2017 at 7:40 PM · Ratatouille Isn't a coaster.
June 23, 2017 at 8:34 PM · This is a no brainer and should have been built in the first place.
June 23, 2017 at 9:16 PM · Ratatouille is a great family friendly darkride. Always long lines in Disneyland Paris.
June 23, 2017 at 9:24 PM · This is good news. I love the original EPCOT Center, but I don't have issues with this addition, especially since it seems like it won't replace Impressions de France.
June 23, 2017 at 10:01 PM · This will be a good addition. I really hope Imagineering pluses the original version in Paris. It is a good ride, but could be so much better. We shall see.
June 24, 2017 at 2:34 AM · Glad to see that EPCOT is finally showing signs of getting a little bit of the love Disney has been spreading around the parks.

That said, I'm still not sure what a Guardians of the Galaxy Roller Coaster would have to do with Future World.

June 24, 2017 at 6:08 AM · Pandora, Star Wars, Guardians ... Disney has the throttle wide open.
June 24, 2017 at 6:49 AM · What breaks my heart a little about this is how it will completely change the atmosphere of Les Halles first thing in the mornings. For anyone who stays at an Epcot resort, it's so peaceful and calm to come over at 9am and enjoy a few pastries before diving into the rest of the park. Now with the hordes of crowds that'll descend upon this first thing in the morning... yet another small piece of Disney loveliness will be killed off. The ride will no doubt be great and enjoyable, but I wish Disney could find a way to balance attractions and crowds without having to ruin other more relaxing bits of the property.
June 24, 2017 at 8:44 AM · I'm very excited that another great attraction is possibly being built at Disney World especially since I'm poor and can't afford to go. I absolutely LOVE learning about fun, beautiful rides that I might never get to experience. Also, I don't like eggplant, one of the prime ingredients in ratatouille, but still think that this addition rocks.
June 24, 2017 at 9:14 AM · I'm aware Ratatouille isn't a coaster - but the rumoured Guardians of Galaxy coaster is what i'm referring too. I assume it will be similar to the coaster in Tokyo - but i honestly find there is way too many coasters at the moment.
June 24, 2017 at 9:47 AM · Finally, a roller coaster. Just what Epcot needs. Good themed roller coasters are rare. Hopefully its not a cookie cutter coaster though. WDW needs to get their hands on a B&M and see what they can do with that.
June 24, 2017 at 9:54 AM · Guardians of the Galaxy fits in nicely with Future World. I can imagine a comedic, educational look at space exploration and the cosmos. Neil Degrasse Tyson meets Starlord.
June 24, 2017 at 10:42 AM · "Neil Degrasse Tyson meets Starlord."

Meets? In my headcanon, NDT *is* Starlord. The casting of Chris Pratt in the movie role is a ruse.

June 24, 2017 at 1:00 PM · Guardians could possibly similar to Tron - which is similar in a sense to Test Track.

Epcot shouldn't have a rollercoaster. Sick of them. THey are cheap to build than a proper world class attraction which i guess is why Disney would be keen.

June 24, 2017 at 7:23 PM · Sorry to spoil the fun but If I am correct Paris had at least a 5 year solo right on Ratatoille so with the opening in 2014 the states will have to wait at least till 2019 for it to get build.
June 25, 2017 at 2:04 AM · Once the new upgrades and additions have taken place, Epcot will just be another Disney theme park awash with Disney IP at every turn. What made EPCOT/Epcot special was its absolute uniqueness. This has been eroded over the years with Nemo, Frozen, The Three Cabellaros and will now accelerate at a fast pace. Whilst the initial concept for EPCOT was solely Walt's the original version was a fantastic attempt at marrying Walt's ideas in a themed park environment for all of the family. I am all for progress, evolution and development but Epcot is replacing its heart and soul with pure unnecessary commercial overkill. I expect to be in a small minority..... but what a shame.
June 25, 2017 at 5:00 AM · Controversial opinion here, but I'll take IP tie-ins over sponsorship-driven adverts masquerading as attractions any day. But I guess US audiences are generally more forgiving of that than us Europeans.

That said, I'm still sceptical about how Ratatouille is going to be received, unless it gets some serious plussing for its Epcot iteration. It's a good attraction, but I'm not sure how it's going to hold up in the Orlando market.

June 25, 2017 at 6:34 AM · I am fine with the Ratatouille as long as Impressions is left alone. Not a fan of Frozen, as it is out of place in Norway, but at least Ratatouille fits. The Guardian coaster is a sigh of relief for me, which means that they are leaving the Twilight Zone alone at DHS. I do think that the one thing Disney is sorely lacking in is thrill rides. Yes, I know not everyone likes them, but we have to agree that Disney is awash with tame, pleasant rides. The last roller coaster they did make cost more than a major country and it is extremely tame itself.

I will repeat a prior comment from a past thread. EPCOT is an oasis for me, especially the world showcase. It is so much different from the typical theme park, and even my kids appreciate the difference that it brings. I hope they do not seek to substantially change the park.

June 25, 2017 at 7:02 AM · The IP debate is actually substituting one corporate sponsorship for another. Since Disney can no longer rely in corporate sponsorships to fund attractions, why not use it's own? They are even more popular than attractions sponsored by Kodak that created the Imagination fiasco. You're at Disney because of Disney. The idea that Disney can offer unique attractions without IP makes no sense either. They could turn into movies too.
June 25, 2017 at 8:58 AM · This should take out Impressions. Since Disney has given up on the educational bent, nothing should be safe!
June 25, 2017 at 9:52 AM · I heard Impressions will remain. At worse, it will be the queue line.
June 25, 2017 at 5:38 PM · Prof, "Walt's Vision" died with Walt. Epcot was unique yes but things change. I LOVED classic EPCOT but I recognize how so much of it can come off slow and boring to younger kids of today. Do I wish more "edutaintment?" Sure but I also recognize Disney is a business and I'll be happy for any new stuff at Epcot which gets it going more than the half-deserted place of today.
June 25, 2017 at 5:38 PM · Prof, "Walt's Vision" died with Walt. Epcot was unique yes but things change. I LOVED classic EPCOT but I recognize how so much of it can come off slow and boring to younger kids of today. Do I wish more "edutaintment?" Sure but I also recognize Disney is a business and I'll be happy for any new stuff at Epcot which gets it going more than the half-deserted place of today.
June 25, 2017 at 7:22 PM · More screeenz! 3D galore! Oh wait, this is Disney so screens are always welcome.
June 25, 2017 at 8:08 PM · Looks like we know what's up Disney's sleeves after Toy Story and Star Wars lands, eh?
June 25, 2017 at 11:50 PM · An Epcot makeover is overdue. Up until recently, I thought Disney still didn't know what to do with this park. Glad to see that isn't the case.

As with the rumored DHS name change, they might want to rechristen Epcot, too. Let's face it, this park is headed in a completely different direction, leaving science and edutainment further and further behind.

June 26, 2017 at 1:25 AM · As long as Epcot keeps Spaceship Earth and Living Land, I'm happy. Those are really the only two old school rides left at Epcot. Course I hope they don't get rid of Figment, it needs a update but I hope it's not replaced. The Ellen Ride has to go and the TRON ride would be perfect for Epcot. The future of TRON just fits Epcot. If I had it my way, I wish Epcot would bring back the old school rides of Horizons, World of Motions and Body Wars. That would be awesome if they did that.
June 26, 2017 at 10:36 AM · Thank goodness Disney is going to fix Epcot! For far too long this park has lacked a viable identity, and it looks like Disney is going to show a little love to their third oldest park!
June 26, 2017 at 11:01 AM · Ratatouille seems like a great fit in France. It just seems to me that Tron light cycle coaster is a better fit in Future World than the Guardians of the Galaxy rumor. Even the design and look of the Tron ride would fit right into FW. Plus I just can't see Disney being able to negotiate the use of GOG with Universal (as far as I know as soon as the GOG enter the the Avengers Infinity War film they will be off limits to Disney anyway).
June 26, 2017 at 11:27 AM · Easily the three best attractions at Epcot are Test Track, Soarin' and Spaceship Earth. Conclusive proof that Disney IP does not have to be attached to the new attractions to make them special. However, I fully understand the rationale behind substituting corporate sponsorship for Disney IP branding. We don't now need "edutainment" but we don't need it dumbed down to under 10's either re Nemo, Frozen and the Three Cabelleros.
June 26, 2017 at 6:35 PM · In response to Ben Mills: Isn't an IP tie-in to build an attraction just another way to "advertise" a character/brand/movie/TV show? I see no difference if it is Coca-Cola, GM, Kodak, AT&T or McDonalds presenting the attraction. It's still an advertisement no matter how you frame it.
June 26, 2017 at 9:27 PM · As long as it's an addition and not replacing anything. I want this in Epcot bad but I don't want them to delete anything already there either .
June 27, 2017 at 5:28 AM · Walt would not approve.
June 27, 2017 at 6:03 PM · @anonymous204: Future World already has Tron. It's called Test Track 2.0.

@anonymous126: "I don't want them to delete anything". Hopefully one day you get a chance to visit EPCOT. It's a real place - you can't "delete" anything.

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