EPCOT Rumor Roundup


In 2017 Disney’s Animal Kingdom will open the much anticipated Pandora – The World of Avatar, after that we’ll have two new lands at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Toy Story Land and the as yet unnamed Star Wars themed land). As far as announced projects, that’s all we have right now. So which park is due to get a major makeover next? Some are claiming it’s EPCOT. Let’s look into some of the persistent rumors and try our hand at a little handicapping as well.

With Shanghai Disneyland just opened, there’s a rumor that we’ll soon get a version of the TRON Lightcycle Power Run roller coaster where the Wonders of Life is now. EPCOT could sure use a roller coaster and the TRON coaster looks great (if a bit short), but unless EPCOT also plans to build an event center somewhere, I don’t see this happening. Plus, the TRON franchise died in theaters. So I don’t know how much credibility this rumor has. I think it’s more like wishful thinking.

There is another Future World building that needs some help and that’s Universe of Energy. The show, while great when it opened, hasn’t aged all that well. It could do with a mega update, but the rumor that’s going around now doesn’t make much sense. I’ve read that Disney is thinking of a Guardians of the Galaxy update to the ride. If true, I hope that would be a mega-update, not just an overlay. I know Disney is looking for ways to get Marvel content into the parks, but there is that pesky contract that gives Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure exclusive rights to Marvel Characters in Orlando. Could Disney sneak in GotG without labeling it Marvel, maybe.

There’s a separate rumor that the Guardians of the Galaxy overlay would be put on Mission:SPACE. That might make more sense financially for the mouse, but I hope that GotG gets more than a simulator attraction when they finally do build it somewhere.

Sticking in Future World, there’s a new rumor for Journey into Imagination with Figment, a ride that has long been rumored to be on the chopping block. Right now the belief is that there will be an Inside Out overlay added to the ride. This I could totally see working, especially if that sequel gets approved. Disney’s all about keeping budgets low by re-using existing infrastructure. I give this one a good chance.

Now we head out to World Showcase where I think we have our most plausible rumor. With the Ratatouille attraction winning over guests at Disneyland Paris’ Studio park, there has been a lot of talk about bringing it here. The attraction uses a trackless ride technology to whisk you around Gusteau’s restaurant in rat-shaped vehicles. There’s even an expansion pad available right next to the France pavilion. Could this happen? Most definitely.

Considering EPCOT just opened a third theater for Soarin’ with a new film and the Frozen Ever After Attraction, I don’t see anything new opening for at least 3 years. But who knows?

Adding a new attraction here are there might a help, but EPCOT really needs a refocusing of its twin themes. Future World needs to stand for something again and the World Showplace needs to reflect the changed globally connected world we live in now.

If I had my druthers, I’d focus on a new science based future theme for Future World with an emphasis on entertainment, environment, and transportation (think: autonomous vehicles and Hyperloop), build a new world class event facility for the festivals, and a new performance hall with a better stage for productions and rain protection (heck even air conditioning) for the audience. Food and Festivals appears to be the future of EPCOT, so play to those strengths.

Yes a new country in the world showcase would be great. But Disney needs a country to step up to the plate with cash to accomplish that. Since I don’t see that happening, let’s keep adding attractions to existing pavilions. Germany, Japan, China, Italy, the UK, and Canada are all good prospects for a new attraction once Ratatouille opens. Finally, I’d also like to see some technology updates to Illuminations. There’s a lot more competition for night time spectaculars at Disney World now and EPCOT needs to compete for audience.

Which of the above rumors do you think is most likely to be built first, or do you think they’re all just dreams, never to be reality. What is your plan for the future of EPCOT?

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18 thoughts on “EPCOT Rumor Roundup

  1. Jack Fussell

    I’m seeing these and other rumors floating around a lot right now. I love the thought of new stuff in Epcot but I’m worried that with more animated IP creeping into Future World it’s losing it’s theme.

    I wish leadership would reimagine Epcot with more of Walt would have infused into it.

  2. J Price

    Did Disney settle with Universal to allow Marvel-based characters in theme parks east of the Mississippi? If not, GotG@Epcot ain’t gonna happen.

    1. EBlues

      Actually it can. The agreement is specific to current and former characters/images and their “families”/groups within the Marvel Universe. GotG were never used in Uni, so as long as they are not labeled as part of the Avengers, they can used in WDW.

  3. Julie Wheeler

    Honestly I’d be happy if, in World Showcase, they would just put benches in the various countries movie theaters. I’d be much more inclined to watch the movies if I could get off of my feet for a few minutes. An update to the projection equipment and film quality would be a bonus.

  4. Patricia

    I agree with you and hope that EPCOT keeps its science-based background and that changes hat come to it focus on things like environment and transportation. It’s what made me love EPCOT as a kid. As for the World Showcase… I would LOVE to see a ratatouille ride in France! That movie doesn’t get enough credit and it’s wonderful.

  5. Mark

    Imagination moving to an Inside Out theme is brilliant! Just would want them to keep Figment involved! The Universe of Energy really needs to be totally overhauled!

  6. Stephanie W.

    I agree with keeping Epcot science and country based. Personally, my kids and I love a bit of fun learning! I’m afraid that if they put GofG into Mission Space it would be a fictional Galaxy (a la Frozen in Norway). I would love to see the Tron light cycles but at Hollywood. There are still enough Tron fans in the world! Ratatouille looks like an amazing ride and is actually in France. I would love to see this. Universe of Energy needs an overhaul like you said. I think Inside Out would be a great fit for Imagination (but only if they could fit Figment in somehow – I love him).

  7. Dave D.

    If they want to do a Marvel tie-in why not turn the Cores into a “Stark Expo” type place showing off “future” tech maybe as envisioned by the past contrasting with current future visions.

  8. Gary Pearson

    The ‘World’ showcase doesn’t reflect near enough of the world. Not sure why they have to ask the nations to kick in money to build a new pavilion. They should just hire people from whatever country and go for it. I think there is room to go deeper in each pavilion, to tell history and folk tales with Disney ride tech, story telling arts. The place definitely needs more attractions, they aren’t wearing well.

  9. Gary Pearson

    There are 207 countries represented in this summer’s Olympic games, but EPCOT is stuck at 11 nations. So much of the world is simply not there.

  10. Jim Lee

    I agree with Jack. Although there are spacific attractions at Shanghai Disneyland we would love to see here in the U. S. I believe we can still have the new technology of SDL but like Jack states above, lets keep Walts vision of Epcot alive, where people can get off of an attraction and not just experience a thrill but years later remember what the attraction taught you and your children about how to change our future for the better. I hope that Bob Iger doesn’t forget that, and hopefully he hasnt forgot that Epcot is short for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. I would like to see those two ideas put together to make something more than just a ride but an attraction that we will remember and learn from for the rest of our lives.

  11. dashboardcowman

    I’m a fan of Inside Out, but I’d be tempted to start a virtual from my air conditioned living room picket line if they got rid of Figment. Figment is the most unappreciated character. Poor little dragon. So much potential, so little recognition. I mean, come on, they even named their creative people based on the Figment way of thinking (Imagineers).

    1. Patricia

      Aw, little figment. My 1980s-era stuffed animal Figment is one of my most cherished WDW souvenirs.

  12. kther

    Germany has a confirmed lot behind the restaurants that was supposed to be a boat ride like Rio del Tiempo at opening, you can see it on aerial views, that would be a great addition to that side of world showcase, it’s very lacking on that side.

  13. danlb_2000

    @J Price: The Universal contact does not apply to all the Marvel characters, just the ones that Universal is using or the ones in the same “family”, e.g. Avengers, Fantastic Four, X-Men, etc. Disney World already has a Bay Max M&G which is a Marvel character not covered by the contract and it appears GoTG isn’t either.

  14. Kevin

    They put TRON in Shanghai, so it stands to reason they would consider putting it in Orlando, regardless of how it did in theaters.
    The main problem with Future World is the same problem Tomorrowland has historically had. The future keeps coming, replacing any visions we have of it. If they stick with futurism, they will need to constantly be replacing everything, and Disney has shown they’re not interested in that. Future World needs a new identity. Or more simply, a new frame of reference. Rather than focusing on what will be, focus on the wonder of the world that is. The seas, the land and air, imagination, space, technology (test track, spaceship earth). It’s all pretty much there already. Use Innoventions as the new festival space. That leaves two pavilions to be reimagined.
    As far as World Showcase, I don’t think Disney needs a country to finance a new pavilion. They’ve proven in Animal Kingdom that they can create realistic (albeit imaginary) foreign lands. They just need the impetus to do it. Expand countries where appropriate and create new ones where needed. Brazil, Australia, Egypt, there are lots of choices.

  15. Samantha Lucas

    Particularly in these times I wish Epcot would do more to showcase unity across borders and beliefs. Epcot was supposed to be the dream city/world, I’d like to see some kind of a focus on a world of peace and harmony, educating while entertaining, showing what we share in values, showcasing strengths in culture, new technology, green alternatives, and how we can work together to create an amazing world for our children.

    I’d just be very sad to see Epcot lose its essence and simply become another attraction heavy park, but I do get that rollercoasters make money.

  16. Barbara

    Do not…I repeat…do not…get rid of Figment…AGAIN. …it took a long time for us to get Disney to reverse itself and bring back Figment. Figment is a great character that the kid love…..they need to save Figment. Not everything has to be roller coasters….and hi-tech…..sometimes less is more. Our kids are being forced to grow up too fast and too early…some low-tech things..like Figment…are what our kids need (and what parents want)…..so let’s take a step back…and remember….”It all started with a Mouse.” A simple…low-tech..animated mouse!!!!!!

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