D23 2017 Rumor: Epcot Is Ready To Evolve
The park that bridged the future and culture is ready to evolve.
Disney fans don’t particularly respond well to change. Especially involving what has become the classic park Epcot. Disney Parks and Resort Chairman Bob Chapek has already announced that big changes are coming to Epcot. The plan will be done in phases. The whole overhaul should be completed in 2022. Which would be the 40th anniversary of Epcot. Disney is hoping at least one big, thrilling attraction will be done for 2021. In honor of Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary celebration.
These changes are likely to be announced at D23 Expo 2017. Let’s examine the possible changes.
New Entrance Plaza
Disney will remove the Leave A Legacy stones and update the main entrance area to bring it into the 21st century. I wouldn’t expect major changes here.
Siemens is expected to renews its sponsorship deal on Spaceship Earth and Epcot’s nighttime show. I’m sure the post show area will be updated. Project Tomorrow: Inventing the Wonders of the Future will receive an update. I wouldn’t mind seeing some scenes added into the attraction. Although many fans are clamoring for a new narrator I rather keep Dame Judi Dench.
Innoventions Area Overhaul
The overhaul will add a multi-level quick service restaurant. That should help with capacity. A remodeled Mouse Gear, the demolition of Innoventions East and West. Hopefully fan-favorites like Club Cool stay in amidst of the heavy consturction.
Guardians of the Galaxy
Disney cast members have been told that Universe of Energy will be demolished after October 1st of this year. It’s planned to be transformed into a Guardians of the Galaxy mini themed land. WDWNT (reliable source) still thinks that Tron Lightcycle Power Run will be in the Magic Kingdom for the 50th anniversary. I honestly think that TRON would fit Tomorrowland better. Yes Guardians in Epcot wouldn’t make complete sense. Yet, I love the franchise so much I wouldn’t care. Plus I hate Universal’s Marvel deal. I still absolutely hate it. Universal holds the characters hostage and Super Hero Island isn’t impressive besides Spider-Man. I hate that if Guardians join the Avengers then they will be owned by Uni. It’s just absolutely ridiculous on all levels. Universal should use this as a opportunity to move on. They need space to expand anyways. They won’t ever do another Marvel project because it would just benefit Disney. So it’s time to give the character rights back to Disney. Back from that loud rant, the Guardians of the Galaxy attraction itself is suppose to be a roller coaster. It may have a similar feel to Mission: Breakout. It’s likely that Wonders of Life gets demolished also. It’s right by Universe of Energy. I have always thought we would get a Space mini land. Now it looks like we will get a Galaxy mini land with Mission: Space bridging the land.
Mission: SPACE Update
This one I don’t believe as much. Yeah, the ride is becoming outdated because we already got to Mars. Yet I don’t see Disney updating the ride just yet. Disney fans overreact whenever D23 Expo comes around. Myself included in this. We always expect Disney to announce thousands of things for the parks when realistically they announce like two super cool things and that’s it. Maybe it will be different with Epcot this year? I just doubt it. This Mission: SPACE update will just be a new coat of paint. Don’t expect anything spectacular just yet.
Inside Out Replacing Imagination
The classic character Figment is rumored to be in this new attraction alongside with characters from Disney-Pixar’s Inside Out. Figment was an easter egg in the original film. Journey into Imagination needs some TLC. So anything can help it out at this rate. Especially for the kids these day will instantly connect with Joy and Sadness. Maybe Disney uses the emotion based patent for this ride. Now that would be creative!
Nothing major will be happening at The Land. Except some minor changes that include upgrades to Living with the Land and replacing Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable. Those two can be expected.
The Seas with Nemo and Friends
This is rumored to be remodeled into the Marine Life Institute from the wildly popular Finding Dory. Turtle Talk with Crush (my Dad’s favorite show in all of Walt Disney World) got updated with Finding Dory characters. No information has been given on the possibilities of what this redesign would entail.
I would like to include all though it pains me. Our very own Traveling Salesman thinks that Test Track may receive a Cars 3 related overlay. Due to the Jackson Storm character looking so similar.
Now we check out more rumors for D23 on the World Showcase side of the park.
World Showcase Pavilion
Disney has always looked at the idea of adding new countries into the World Showcase. Most end up on the Disney never built list. Rumors of Puerto Rico, Brazil, and Spain coming to the World Showcase have always been popular. Puerto Rico might be more unlikely especially with its bid to become the 51st state. Spain has always been rumored. Spain might have a case to join the World Showcase. Disney’s animated film Gigantic will be based in Spain. So the possibility of a Spain pavilion could become more achievable.
Coco Replacing Gran Fiesta Tour?
This is the one rumor I can’t get behind at all. Coco could replace Gran Fiesta Tour if it does well at the box office. It would give a larger wait time than the Gran Fiesta Tour. The early consensus of Coco is that it doesn’t look like a traditional Pixar film and it might not live up to the hype. I also don’t think Disney has the confidence in the IP. They had to put Olaf’s Frozen Adventure (A 21 minute short film) in front of Coco. They had to use Frozen fever to sell and market their latest film. I don’t think they would be confident enough in it. Remember some of these characters come and go but Donald Duck lives forever.
Mulan Circle Film
The comedic dragon voiced by Eddie Murphy may tell the history of China in the circle vision film Reflections of China. This strategy worked with O’Canada featuring Martin Short. So this would be a nice upgrade and would get a lot more foot traffic in the China pavilion.
The trackless Ratatouille ride from Walt Disney Studios Park in Disneyland Paris is rumored for Epcot. Maybe Disney adds Gusteau’s Restaurant into the pavilion? The World Showcase desperately needs more attractions. So this would ultimately make sense.
U.K, Germany, and Japan Pavilions
If the Great Movie Ride does shut down this could open the door for a Mary Poppins ride in the UK pavilion. One of the more famous Imagineers of all time Tony Baxter actually designed a Mary Poppins dark ride. We could also get a ride based off of Mary Poppins Returns which stars Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins and Lin-Manuel Miranda as Jack. Although many would prefer based off of the original Mary Poppins.
Rapunzel is a German fairy tale. Yeah having Tangled in the World Showcase would be pushing it, but I did include Tangled on my list of Disney animated films that deserve dark rides. They built show buildings for the Germany and Japan pavilions but they were never used. Maybe they will be used now? Especially Japan could use Big Hero 6. Although, Big Hero 6 was my franchise bet to replace Innoventions. Looks like Disney is going in a different direction with Innoventions. I would still love to see Big Hero 6 end up in the parks somehow so having it included in the World Showcase would be cool.
The rumor that will break my heart is if they replace Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. It would make sense to update the show to include the character influx coming into the World Showcase. For now these are just rumors and we will have to wait to see what Disney Parks and Resort Chairman Bob Chapek says at D23 Expo 2017. The five year overhaul does make sense. As Epcot needs some new attractions and just overall updating. This years D23 should reveal what new attractions will be coming before WDW’s 50th and hopefully they discuss Epcot’s 40th in 2022.
I know I am in the minority on this but I’m ready to see Epcot evolve. I want a better park and more attractions. I would love to see it keep its original theme. Yet if Disney can get its characters to inform and educate the promise of Epcot will still work.
Zach Perilstein is the Editor-in-Chief at the Boardwalk Times.