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Big Bad Revealed for Walt Disney World's New Ride

April 15, 2022, 4:12 PM · We now know who will be responsible for the inevitable "...and then it all went terribly wrong" moment on Walt Disney World's newest thrill ride.

Conflict drives story, and theme park attractions get no exception. "Something going wrong" allows heroes the opportunity to save the day, so great stories often need a baddie to make that something go terribly wrong. On the new Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind attraction that opens next month at Walt Disney World's Epcot that Big Bad will be Eson, a Celestial whom Marvel movie fans might remember from the original Guardians of the Galaxy movie.

If you don't remember, no biggie. I am sure that the new ride's preshow will set up everything. But if you want a quick refresher before your next visit to the Walt Disney World Resort, here is the moment in GOTG when Taneleer Tivan explains the Infinity Stones and gives us a quick look at Eson laying waste to a planet.

In the Epcot attraction's story, Eson has been watching Earth for eons and is now "is looking 'to right a wrong in a big way.'" What that "wrong" is, Disney has not revealed yet, but the Eson's supposed fix promises to be bad for Earth, because the Guardians of the Galaxy will be enlisting the help of attraction visitors to stop Eson and save the planet... if not the galaxy.

Eson the Celestial
Eson the Celestial. Image courtesy Marvel and Disney

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is an indoor roller coaster that's been built in a new show building behind the former Universe of Energy pavilion. Disney has transformed that location into the Wonders of Xandar pavilion, celebrating the home planet of the Nova Corps that movie fans discovered in that first Guardians film. On the ride, guests will experience Disney's first-ever reverse coaster launch as well as new "story coaster" ride vehicles that will rotate to point riders toward the action taking place around them. Audio will complete the experience, as riders enjoy some of Peter Quill's favorite tunes along the way.

We will be in Orlando the first week of May for the ride's media preview. Soft opening previews for pre-registered Walt Disney World annual passholders and Disney Vacation Club members will follow before the ride opens officially to Epcot visitors on May 27.

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Replies (13)

April 15, 2022 at 4:40 PM

15 years ago I thought the IP at Disney Parks was mostly outdated and they could definitely use more attractions with newer IP, but they've gotten totally out of control with it. Modern Disney Parks reminds me of the old MadTV skit with Steve Jobs presenting the "I-Rack" that's what they are doing with the IP. I think we can agree this ride in no way fits in this park.

for reference (keep in mind this was during the Iraq war)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rw2nkoGLhrE

April 15, 2022 at 4:56 PM

It certainly doesn’t belong in the 20th century EPCOT, but works nicely in the 21st century EPCOT alongside Frozen Ever After, and Remy.

Parks sometimes undergo change. Hollywood Studios used to be about creating movies, and now it is about being in the movie. While Animal Kingdom was supposed to have an area about mythical beasts at opening, we now know the area now is based on Avatar.

I applaud the imagineers for using the building as a “Xander exhibit” much like the countries of the World Showcase. Looking forward to riding WDW’s first proper Marvel attraction.

April 15, 2022 at 5:19 PM

Frozen and Remy made sense considering the circumstances, obviously everything are business driven decisions but at least those [kind of] made sense for the areas they were in.

This is just blatant "we don't care about what this park is supposed to be whatsoever we're putting this here because it's going to sell the more expensive ticket" as you get. They literally saw Universal do it with Potter and said hey that works for them it will work for us to.

DAK - Avatar. Studios - Star Wars. Epcot - Guardians. MK - Tron
If you want to see our new big rides and/or fans of blockbuster movies you have to buy the ticket for all 4 parks. Now bend over, b*tch.

April 15, 2022 at 5:22 PM

@the_man: I would argue Star Wars fits the Studios as it is a movie-themed property. And Magic Kingdom Tomorrowland is a perfect spot for a Tron ride.

I mean, the original spirit of EPCOT Center faded a long time ago, sadly. As for spreading it out that was always a thing with Disney to get folks to visit all the parks long before IP stuff took off. You have four parks, of course each gets different attractions for folks to visit, sort of part of the theme park business.

April 15, 2022 at 5:30 PM

The eventual lineup of World Discovery will be Test Track, Mission: Space, Wonders of Xandar/GotG Cosmic Rewind and PLAY. Sounds legit! It’s a modern day Disney theme park, it is what it is, and it’s pretty good.

April 16, 2022 at 8:30 AM

The size of a Celestial in the MCU in relation to humans would make the use of a jumbo Animatronic too impractical so I would have to assume that the interactions with this being will be mostly screen-driven, although some tantalizing possibilities do exist for atmospheric effects or even projection mapping to help achieve the sense of scale. I’m excited that so much of the story of this attraction has managed to stay under wraps.

As for lamenting the implementation of modern IP, I have no problem with it if the attraction has lasting value and is a great experience to repeat. Let’s all be honest here - we all went on Universe of Energy for the dinosaurs. If we were given the opportunity to skip the movie portion, I suspect most of us would have done just that. Hell, it was hard enough getting people to sit for the excellent mini-film that played post-Maelstrom (pours a sip of Norwegian beer on the ground). Of course I miss all of the classic future world attractions that used to play on that section of the park, but I think Epcot has struggled with maintaining a balance of entertaining attractions that also educate in the modern theme park climate. Times change, and so do public tastes. Personally, I would love to see a slow-moving indoor dark ride about the history and evolution of slow-moving indoor dark rides, but it ain’t gonna happen. Universal definitely upped the ante for what is expected by the theme park going public after the Harry Potter shot across the bow announced they were no longer content to sit in the Mouse’s shadow. It’s been said before that in the Theme Park Wars the only real winner is all of us and i happen to agree (at least in terms of new attractions, the whole Genie+ thing is another topic for back-and-forth). If I’m going to have to pay for price raises on an annual basis then at least give me new attractions, because the prices are going up no matter what.
I feel like a lot of people complained for the longest time that Disney didn’t add enough new attractions. Now that their oversized white glove hand has been forced into doing just that, they are slammed for using modern IP.

April 16, 2022 at 10:15 AM

I think the “world” vibe still overlays everything else and a little excitement on your trip around the world is a good thing. Look forward to this attraction sounds like a winner!

April 16, 2022 at 1:15 PM

NGL, Test Track might end up being the weak link there, IMHO. That's not so much a knock on Epcot but an endorsement of how much this park is improving in this area.

April 16, 2022 at 4:57 PM

@fattyackin: You nail it on public tastes changing. As much as I loved Horizons and World of Motion, I sadly see the younger generation not as open to these slow-moving dark rides. And yes, Universe of Energy was always skippable to me before the Ellen makeover and even then not too often because aside from the dinosaurs, a rather slow and dull attraction. And I'm as guilty as anyone of skipping the Malestrom movie if I was in a rush. Sad to say but that stuff fit back then but not as much today, as much as we'd like otherwise.

April 16, 2022 at 6:11 PM

For this ride, what's meant by reverse coaster launch? Thanks.

April 17, 2022 at 9:38 AM

@movieman:

If you’ve ever been on the Aerosmith Rock ‘n Rollercoaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios or The Incredible Hulk coaster at Universal’s Islands of Adventure you will remember how at the beginning of each of those rides your train simply accelerates at the beginning as if it were being shot out of a cannon rather than relying on a lift hill and initial drop to achieve the necessary momentum to propel you forward. That, in essence is a “launch”. A highly effective and thrilling element to a coaster when used properly. Now imagine a point in the ride, either from a static point at the beginning or at another point where the train has slowed to a stop where you are slung backwards, as if your spaceship were being hurled by a large Celestial being, instead of forwards, and boom baby! Reverse launch time.

April 18, 2022 at 4:08 PM

I haven't been on either Aerosmith Rock ‘n Rollercoaster or The Incredible Hulk. In terms of experiencing a reverse launch, I did so on Superman at Magic Mountain and Boomerang at Discovery Kingdom, but this doesn't seem like one of those fast kind of rides.

April 19, 2022 at 1:03 AM

Epcot Future Showcase was a great idea back when you had to go places to see new ideas in action and when England was a farway land many Americans might never visit. Now with the internet the "future" is instantly known to us all, and the world is smaller than ever. I mean, the original idea for Epcot is quaint in today's world.

So I'm happy to see Disney evolve away from that idea, and work to make the park relevant again. Sounds like it also might be more fun than it ever was, too.

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