UPDATE: At D23, a lot of game changing stuff related to Epcots’ transformation. Here is a link to my new post about what was announced: https://thedisneyjournal.com/2017/07/15/epcot-overhaul-everything-that-was-announced-at-d23/
It’s no secret EPCOT is long overdue for some updates. An outdated Future World and a World Showcase in need for a new pavilion, EPCOT needs some changes, and it needs them soon. Bob Chapek, president of the Walt Disney World resort, confirmed last year that EPCOT will be overhauled soon. But he didn’t say what Disney planned to to to the 6th most visited theme park in the world. That being said, rumors have been circulating for the past few years about what an overhaul of Epcot would look like, from small changes to major demolitions, renovations, and replacements. I will be taking a look at these rumors in this article, starting with the demolition of the Universe of Energy.
DEMOLITION AND REPLACEMENT OF UNIVERSE OF ENERGY
The current tenant of this pavilion is a 45-minute ride named Ellen’s Energy Adventure. Tucked back in the corner of the park behind the semi-abandoned Wonders of Life pavilion, Ellen’s Energy Adventure is one of the least popular rides at Epcot, if not the entire Walt Disney World resort. Personally I enjoy the ride, but I understand that people don’t want to wait a long time so they can ride a 45-minute long show/ride starring young Ellen DeGeneres and Bill Nye. It is rumored that with the coming overhaul of the park, Ellen’s Energy Adventure and the entire Universe will be demolished and replaced.
UPDATE (5/20): First reported by WDWNT, permits have been filed for the rerouting of a canal behind the UofE pavilion, and the affected area includes the show pavilion. It is very possible that an expansion will be added to the current building and that will take up a huge area, most likely housing a new attraction. It’s very likely that Ellen’s Energy Adventure will be removed, but the building may still remain, though it will be gutted.
The strongest rumors have all pointed to a Guardians of the Galaxy themed roller coaster taking the land the pavilion inhabits. Blueprints and possible tracks for the ride have leaked, which seem to give this rumor some strength. Take a look at this post from WDWNT to judge for yourself: http://wdwnt.com/blog/2016/09/rumor-vekoma-constructing-revolutionary-flying-roller-coaster-epcots-guardians-galaxy-ride/
Other rumors have pointed to a clone of the TRON coaster at Shanghai Disney, but that coaster is all but confirmed to replace the Tomorrowland Speedway at MK.
In my opinion, the GoTG ride is one of the worst ideas ever thought up by Imagineers. While the UofE isn’t the greatest pavilions, and is in desperate need for an update, a Marvel themed roller coaster is not the way to do it. While the coaster itself is innovative, it doesn’t represent what Future World represents: the future. It takes what’s left of the original EPCOT and ignores it, instead vouching to cash in on a current trend. I really hope this rumor proves untrue, or the concept gets moved to a different park, or maybe a new Marvel themed park altogether. It doesn’t belong at EPCOT, a park devoted to the world and the future.
I’m more okay with the TRON Coaster. While it isn’t original, creative, or educational, it fits the theme of Future World at least.
REPLACEMENT OF THE IMAGINATION PAVILION
The Imagination Pavilion is another pavilion at EPCOT that needs a lot of work. An almost completely abandoned upper level, a subpar ride, and a dated color scheme are all reasons this pavilion are on Disney’s radar when it comes to updates. The main attraction, Journey into Imagination with Figment, is a shell of its’ former self, Journey into Imagination. The only good thing about it is Figment, the mascot of EPCOT. Plans to demolish the Imagination pavilion were leaked to the public in 2008, but nothing came from that. It does show that Disney wants the pavilion gone.
Unlike the Universe of Energy, not as many rumors have circled about what will replace the Imagination Pavilion. Some suggest that the building will simply be gutted, while others say that it will be completely demolished and replaced. The strongest rumors say that it will be replaced with an Inside Out themed attraction, which kind of comes from the Imagination theme that the pavilion represents. No blueprints have been leaked for this, so it just remains a rumor.
My opinion: While I don’t like the concept of Disney IPs coming to EPCOT, a theme park not meant for that, I could live with this attraction. Journey into Imagination with Figment is a subpar attraction which needs to be upgraded, and this isn’t the worst way to do it. Figment probably wouldn’t have his own ride if this were to happen, sadly.
SOMETHING WITH INNOVENTIONS
Innoventions is probably the saddest thing in Epcot. The two buildings used to house dozens of attractions which showcased futuristic inventions and innovative products. Over time, it has slowly been reduced until only one attraction remains today: Colortopia. This is located in the west side of Innoventions. The east side is used as a character spot, a Starbucks, Club Cool, and also is left abandoned. No rumors have been leaked for what will replace Innoventions, but we do know that something will happen to it.
REPLACEMENT OF ILLUMINATIONS: REFLECTIONS OF EARTH
The nightly show with fireworks, music, and projections is rumored to be getting a replacement soon, maybe during the renovation or maybe even before. The show has been running since 1999 and features three parts and a finale sung by Kelley Coffney. With Disney replacing so many shows such as Wishes, the Electrical Parade, and the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, it seems logical the IllumiNations will be getting a replacement.
A replacement for the show is largely unknown, but most agree that it could/should be an update to IllumiNations, much like what RoE was to the original IllumiNations.
NEW COUNTRY IN WORLD SHOWCASE
The last World Showcase country that was built was Norway, built in 1988. So it’s safe to say that it’s long overdue for a new country. It’s rumored that this may happen in the refresh of Epcot, but the country that will be represented is unknown. Strong rumors point to Brazil being that country, which is one of the most likely changes to occur to EPCOT. WC needs a new Country.
6. RATATOUILLE RIDE IN FRANCE
One of the strongest rumors to have surfaced came once again from WDWNT, and that is a Ratitiouille ride coming to the France Pavilion. To be located on an expansion plot near France, the plot of the ride is largely unknown though it may be a clone of Ratatouilles’ ride in Walt Disney Studios.
6. MORE DISNEY CHARACTERS
The biggest change coming to EPCOT is the addition of more Disney characters, since the apparent target demographic to EPCOT is seven year olds. These changes may include a Disney character narrated Living with the Land, a Mulan ride or show replacing Reflections , and more Disney throughout, as well as the aforementioned new rides.
Honestly, I hate this. EPCOT was designed to showcase the world and the future, not the latest Disney characters. If they are to be added, they shouldn’t be shoehorned in like it seems they will be.
Interestingly enough, no rumors have been leaked that discuss the future of the Wonders of Life pavilion, a largely abandoned pavilion near the Universe of Energy. It might continue being used two months out of the year for festivals, or it might be demolished to make room for the GoTG ride.
These are the major rumors that have been circulated around the internet as to what the Epcot renovations will look like. I’ll update this post with any major new rumors or confirmations. Hopefully next week I’ll post a new article which incudes what I want the Epcot renovations to entail. If you liked it, share it with your friends, and follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DisneyJournal!