19 Attractions That Could “Fix” Epcot
Walt Disney World’s newest attraction, Frozen Ever After and its adjoining area, Royal Summerhus, recently opened in Epcot’s World Showcase Norway (Arendelle?) pavilion. When Disney announced the changing of the Maelstrom to Frozen Ever After, it was highly controversial. I recently wrote an article about why it still it is, but also why I think it’s exactly what Epcot needed. Imagine, if you will, Epcot evolving to include more Disney characters throughout its park; not only in Future World like we’ve seen with The Seas with Nemo & Friends, but also adding other new rides throughout Future World and the World Showcase! It’s a pretty wild idea if you consider what the original intentions of Epcot were all about.
Currently, there are 18 ride and show attractions at Epcot, plus multiple character meet & greets and live entertainment located throughout the park. 12 of those attractions have FastPass+ availability, with 5 being in Tier 1 of the grouping (meaning Guests can only select 1 attraction from this tier) and the rest in Tier 2. This isn’t a terrible thing when you compare it to Hollywood Studios, which has the same amount of attractions for each Tier. However, there is a problem that exists at Epcot specifically. For most of the time throughout the year, extremely busy days being the exception, half of these FastPass+ attractions do not actually need a FastPass to ride/experience in a timely manner. And that number increases if you go to a few other of these attractions at certain times of the day, making you wonder why they even offer FastPasses for these attractions.
The solution? Add a few more Tier 1 rides and many more for Tier 2. Maybe if we’re lucky, Epcot will get enough attractions to do away with the silly tier system and switch to a free for all just like Magic Kingdom! So what could Disney add into Epcot to make the park a bit more enticing for families with children? More rides based on Disney characters! Right now there are six attractions with Disney movie/TV characters interwoven or used as the basis of the experience and two of those are revamped attractions. Future World has 12 of the 18 attractions, so it doesn’t really need too much added to it, but just for fun, let’s begin there.
Future World is meant to explore innovation and technology as well as communication. Most of the main attractions here don’t really need to be touched. Spaceship Earth is great in all its glory, but if Disney really wanted to spend money just because, they could easily update all of the AAs in it. In Future World East, we have Ellen’s Energy Adventure (another that could use updates or replacing), Mission: Space, Test Track, and Innoventions. Then, over in Future World West is The Seas with Nemo & Friends and Turtle Talk with Crush, Soarin’ Around the World, Living with the Land, and The Circle of Life, and finally, Journey Into Imagination with Figment and Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival. For Future World, I would add just five attractions.
- More Character Meets, Innoventions
How often do you actually go inside Innoventions? Did you even know it was a thing at Epcot? Epcot used to house two Innoventions exhibits: East and West. However, these exhibits are/were consistently empty, with the exception of one or two exhibits. The West side closed down not too long ago and was recently turned into new meet & greet experiences for Baymax from Big hero 6 and Joy & Sadness from Pixar’s Inside Out. These are a perfect addition to Epcot and are quite popular. It makes sense to then add even more permanent character meet and greets to the East side.
But who would go here? How about Wall-E and Eve? Audio Animatronic technology is surely getting advanced enough to produce ones that are life like enough. Let’s also bring back Figment and even Dreamfinder! That’d be a nice throwback for fans.
And just for fun, imagine if we could somehow get the rights to Marvel, even if only in part. Universal doesn’t use Iron Man whatsoever at the moment for their parks (There is, however, a rumored Avengers attraction coming). So Disney could build a Starks Lab or the Iron Man Experience just like Disneyland had and show off the Iron Man suits, plus have a meet for Iron Man himself. That’d be perfect and a great use of the space!
- Wall E, Universe of Energy
OK, so I already mentioned Ellen’s Universe of Energy attraction as needing an updating or even being replaced altogether. The current attraction features Ellen DeGeneres and Bill Nye as the ride’s hosts who examine energy resources, history of energy production and in particular, fossil fuels such as coal, petroleum, and natural gas. There is also a brief mention of renewable sources of energy such as solar and hydroelectric. The current version of the attraction is 20 years old, so it’s in much need up an update, and who better to assist with that than Wall-E and all of his friends!
Set after the events of Wall-E, Guests could travel the world and continue to learn about fossil fuels and their histories. The attraction would be hosted by Captain B. McCrea, now showing off an appropriate body weight having adjusted to life on Earth, and Wall-E and Eve would make appearances throughout. The Captain would walk Guests through the history of fossil fuels, how we’ve used them through the years, and also how they can negatively affect our environment. Since we’ve progressed so much with how we use energy and the new forms of energy we’ve created, the attraction would now focus on renewable energy. John and Mary, the two characters Wall-E interacts with throughout the film, would also make appearances throughout the ride and interact with Captain B. McCrea, Wall-E and Eve. It’d surely be a great way to incorporate underutilized characters in a much dated attraction while keeping the education aspect alive in Epcot!
- Inside Out, Wonders of Life
So this is probably the most obvious one to add into Epcot’s Future World and it would be unique because it’d have its own pavilion. The Wonders of Life pavilion has been officially closed since 2007 and has since been opened seasonally to host special offerings for Epcot’s Flower & Garden and Food & Wine Festivals. The pavilion was devoted to health & the body and contained a number of attractions. Most notably was a motion simulator ride called Body Wars where Guests were shrunk down and sent on a mission inside a human body to remove an infected splinter. Among the other attractions were Cranium Command, an AA theater show and film about the human brain, The Making of Me, a short film about the birth and life, as well as other offerings to teach about healthy living and the five senses.
As you can see, it’d be a no brainer (pun intended) to add the Inside Out characters into the Wonders of Life pavilion. Many of the exhibits could be updated to not only discuss healthy living and the senses, but also emotions such as depression and anger. The ride building for Body Wars is still standing, but almost completely gutted due to the need for spare parts for other similar attractions. So Disney could either build a new simulator ride featuring Joy and Sadness as they go on an adventure through the body, or create an entirely new ride all together! And of course, we could create a new show similar to Cranium Command about the brain and its functions hosted by all five Inside Out characters. This would be a great addition to Epcot and fix the ‘waste of space’ problem it’s been suffering from for the past few years.
- Big Hero 6
Back in April, it was announced Tokyo Disney will be adding a Big Hero 6 attraction. While the ride is currently unnamed, the attraction is said to be an exciting whip-style ride set to music, not unlike Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree in Cars Land at Disney’s California Adventure. The ride vehicles will swing Guests around unpredictably while Baymax joins in on the fun. As much as I hate when Disney copies and pastes attractions at their different park, and even more so when they just plop down flat rides, adding this Big Hero 6 ride makes complete sense because Big Hero 6 is set in the near future and is about robotics, plus Baymax already meets in Future World.
- Tron Lightcycle Coaster
Yea yea, I know what you’re going to say. “But Test Track is basically Tron!” True, now. Disney kind of shot us in the foot over here at WDW when they redesigned Test Track with its ‘inside the computer’ look (not so secretly testing out special effects for the new Tron Lightcycle Coaster which just opened at Shanghai Disney) and probably ruined our chances of ever getting the Tron Lightcycle Coaster for fear of it looking to similar. But imagine how perfect it would be. Even if we didn’t put it in Future World and added it into Tomorrowland for Magic Kingdom, we desperately need another thrill ride here at WDW and this is the obvious choice.
Now let’s talk about the more controversial area: the World Showcase. I’m sure, up until now, you’ve been mostly OK with the aforementioned ideas of adding in Disney characters into Future World. But what about the culturally diverse World Showcase? Currently, it has only six attractions.
- Mexico – Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros, boat ride
- Norway – Frozen Ever After, boat ride
- China – Reflections of China, video
- America – The American Adventure, AA theatrical show
- France – Impressions de France, video
- Canada – O Canada, video
The list isn’t too long and it definitely isn’t overly child friendly. I remember my parents taking me around the World Showcase when I was 10 and finding it extremely boring, standing in the Canada and China videos, waiting for them to end; enjoying the Maelstrom to an extent, and completely passing over America all together. So, I think it’s fair to say the World Showcase could use some more family-friendly attractions. (Side note: I still love the World Showcase for what it is, but it needs more. Let’s be honest.) Here’s where it gets trickier. Most of the pavilions are funded in part by the country itself or multiple companies which are based out of that specific company. So any attractions would actually have to be approved by the pavilions sponsors. But since this is all for fun, here we go.
- China – Mulan
In case you haven’t heard, Disney is developing a live-action Mulan film. Ever since Maleficent, I’ve been saying this was a must-do for them. If they can successfully pull it off, it could easily be as great as Pirates of the Caribbean. Since Disney always focuses on synergy in their parks, it would only make sense to develop a Mulan attraction as well. The question would really just come down to whether the ride should be based on the animated film or the new live action. I vote for Eddie Murphy to be in it!
- African Outpost – Tarzan or The Lion King
OK, so if Disney were to completely overhaul Epcot, and the World Showcase especially, the African Outpost would probably be first on the chopping block as I imagine they would want to replace it with a more specific country, even if it were to be an African one at that. But in the meantime, let’s say we add a Tarzan or Lion King attraction into this area. Both have/had shows at one point, and sometimes character meet and greets, but neither have had an actual ride. And with The Lion King being one of Disney’s most popular movies of all time, I think it’s over due. (It took them almost 15 years to give Ariel her own ride…)
- Germany – Tangled (or Snow White)
Germany is a great pavilion. Full of delicious food, beer, caramel, and merchandise! Snow White currently meets here, which is great, but what if we added an attraction? Now, we had Snow White’s Scary Adventure’s in Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom up to a few years ago and now has the Seven Dwarfs’ Mine Train, so while Snow White is a classic character, I think Rapunzel deserves her own attraction now since she’s so popular. Disney usually likes to retell the film’s story with their rides, but it isn’t always a necessity, as seen with the new Frozen Ever After. So why not make a dark ride based on an all new adventure with Flynn, Maximums, and Rapunzel?
- Italy – Pinocchio
This is one of the easier ones to add in. Over in Disneyland, they have their own Pinocchio attraction called Pinocchio’s Daring Journey. It’s one of Disney’s quirky dark rides they’re known so well for. It would be so easy to just bring it over to Epcot and maybe even ‘plus it’ as Walt would say. It’d be a fun, classic addition into Epcot, bringing some of that Magic Kingdom flair over to WDW’s second park!
- America – Pocahontas
Originally, I wanted to add a Princess & the Frog attraction since I think it’s a highly underrated film of Disney’s. But, realizing the American pavilion is set in colonial time, I figured, why not Pocahontas? Pocahontas is one of my favorite Disney films because of its music and overall design. Imagine if we were able to get a canoe-type boat ride to take us around the river-bend and show us the colors of the wind? Yes, we already have two boat rides, but so what? This could be a mesmerizing attraction with its colors and effects! It’d only help tell the rich history we have as a country and during the colonial period!
- Japan – Mount Fuji Roller Coaster (or Big Hero 6)
I already wrote about the Big Hero 6 flat ride attraction which could fit nicely into Future World. It could also possibly fit into the Japan pavilion, however I think plopping down a flat ride would actually look incredibly tacky for the World Showcase. So what if we returned to the original plans and built the Mount Fuji roller coaster? Yes, perhaps it’d be similar to the Matterhorn Bobsled coaster at Disneyland, but so what? It’d be adding a major E-ticket attraction to Epcot and the World Showcase especially. I say, let’s do it.
- Morocco – Aladdin
Now, this would never happen because Morocco still funds their pavilion and has complete say in what happens. If you weren’t aware, the pavilion doesn’t even light up during Illuminations due to religious reasons. So this is a What If moment. In this What If concept, if Morocco decided to stop paying Disney their dues just like Norway did (hello Frozen Ever After), we could very well see an addition of a new attraction. Aladdin already meets here daily, which is a stretch since Morocco is on the West coast of Africa and Aladdin takes place in Arabia/Middle East. However, if we continued with that suspension of disbelief, I see no reason why we couldn’t have an actual Aladdin attraction here!
A quick idea would be a magic carpet ride. If I had my pick, I’d choose to make an attraction similar to Universal Orlando’s Amazing Spider-Man/Transformer’s attraction ride technology. It’d be a perfect way to simulate actual flying without making it a full-on simulator ride, or a basic dark ride! It could bring a whole new world to the World Showcase. But that’s having high hopes.
- France – Ratatouille (or Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Aristocrats, Beauty and the Beast, Hunchback of Notre Dame)
There’s much to choose from for France. A number of Disney classics take place in this country, so really Disney could have its pick. I think Cinderella, Aurora, and Belle (besides meet & greets) belong in the Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland. So that narrows it down to Ratatouille and Hunchback of Notre Dame. I love Hunchback, but it’d be another no brainer business-wise to put the current Ratatouille ride from Disneyland Paris in France here at Epcot. I’ve been saying we needed it since the ride was created. It’s an incredible trackless ride system with amazing sets and visual pieces, and would add a nice, unique attraction into the World Showcase! Ratatouille is a highly underrated Pixar film and it’s time it gets some recognition in America’s parks.
- United Kingdom – 101 Dalmatians (or Lady in the Tramp, Sword in the Stone, Brave)
I think it would be best if we try to keep World Showcase as grounded and far from Fantasyland as possible (even with the add-in of these Disney characters). So let’s leave Peter Pan and Alice to the Magic Kingdom. While Brave and Sword in the Stone could possibly work in the United Kingdom pavilion, their time periods may be a bit too far in the past for when the pavilion is. So how about a 101 Dalmatians roller coaster based on Cruella De Vil’s car? Sure, she’s a villain (and we all want more Disney villains), but I’m sure Disney could work out a storyline suitable to make it make sense! The coaster could either be a children’s coaster or a high speed one, either of which could be in the dark with ample amounts of theming similar to Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster!
- Canada – Brother Bear
No, this movie was not a hit, but if Disney wanted to add an attraction to Canada, this might be their best bet. A simple dark ride featuring the fun characters from Brother Bear. It’s a fun movie with a good story and would make a cute ride for families.
So we’ve covered the countries that we already have, but what about the future? The World Showcase was designed with space left over for future plans of adding in new countries. Disney could add in anywhere from 6-9 new country pavilions. Now, with the addition of Frozen’s Royal Summerhus expansion, that took up one of these existing undeveloped areas between Norway and Mexico. Assuming Disney did add in any number of the aforementioned attractions, they could no doubt take up space in the other undeveloped areas. So what other countries could be added? Here’s my wish list.
- India – Jungle Book
India would be an extremely interesting country to add into the World Showcase for a number of reasons. The food and culture would be an interesting addition into Epcot, as long as we were able to make a clear distinction between it and Morocco. Plus, maybe we could get a forced perspective Taj Mahal. All of those aside, if it was added, Disney should build it with the intention of adding in a Jungle Book attraction. We could get a fun dark ride about the adventures of Mowgli through the jungle with all of our favorite characters and songs worked into it.
- Russia – Anastasia
Earlier this year, there were articles April fool’s Day articles saying Disney bought the rights to Anastasia and would make her a new Disney princess. As crazy as an idea that was, it made me think about how awesome it would be. The movie is so well done, it is consistently thought to be a Disney animated film. If Disney could somehow get the rights for this film and future projects (hello live-action version), it would make for a great dark ride telling the story of Anastasia. And if we can add Star Wars and Marvel to the Disney universe, why not Anastasia?
- Australia – Rescuers Down Under
Hello from down under. Australia is constantly a popular food booth at the Food & Wine Festival at Epcot. I say, let’s add it into the World Showcase permanently! It doesn’t necessarily need an attraction, but if it got one, I’d make it a cute dark ride based on Disney’s first ever theatrical released sequel, the Rescuers Down Under. It’d be a fun throwback and nice way to bring these classic characters back into the Disney parks. Perhaps a slightly thrilling ride based around the gold eagle from the film.
I don’t have anything for this country. Let’s just add it. Every year, we are constantly overthrown with tour groups from Brazil, so if I was an executive, I would be adding this in to make them happy. But, since we don’t have any Disney movies that take place in Brazil (Pixar’s Up being the closest), we could just add a good old-fashion water ride here. Yes, we have Kali River Rapids in Animal Kingdom, but that ride sucks for so many reasons. Disney can do better and theme it after the Amazon River! It’d be an excellent way to cool everyone off at Epcot.
So there you have it; 19 new attractions that could be added into Epcot. Of course, not all of them need to be added in for fear of overcrowding, but the park definitely needs more and Frozen Ever After was the answer for that. What do you think? Would you be ok with seeing Disney characters worked into the World Showcase? Did I leave any off that you would add in? Or should the World Showcase remain untouched (too late) and be only about the countries cultures, etc. Whatever the case, something needs to change at Epcot, and I have a feeling it’s coming soon.