If you didn’t know already, Disney’s well known D23 convention took place this past weekend in Anaheim, California. D23 is a convention that happens every two years and is where the Walt Disney Company announces a lot of their upcoming plans for resorts, theme parks, TV, movies, etc. The biggest takeaway from this year’s D23, you ask? The complete and total overhaul of Disney World’s EPCOT.
If you have visited EPCOT at all since it’s opening in 1982, you will recall that the theme park was split into two distinct lands; Future World and World Showcase. Future World was painted as a land to celebrate technology and innovation while World Showcase was a place to teach guests about other countries history and culture. While World Showcase has held true and strong since opening day over 35 years, Future World has naturally become outdated. Those of us who once visited places like Innoventions and marveled at the exhibits inside are now uninterested in the outdated technology.
EPCOT is changing the Future World area and dividing it into three different sections; World Nature, World Celebration and World Discovery. World Nature will take over the area containing the Land and the Sea pavilions. Naturally (pun definitely intended) this takes over to celebrate the beauty of nature and teach guests the importance of nature in the world. Also in this World Nature land will be a brand new attraction themed to Disney’s Moana. If you have not seen Moana, it is an absolute must-see Disney animated movie for me. It rivals Frozen, and even for some wins out completely, as the best modern day Disney animated movie. This attraction fits perfectly with the Land and the Sea pavilions and fulfills Disney’s need for a Moana themed attraction. I’m sure a lot of Moana fans have been patiently waiting for their day to celebrate a Moana attraction, and today is finally their day!
World Celebration will be housed in the central portion of EPCOT’s current (soon to be former) Future World. World celebration seems to be somewhat of a prequel to what guests will experience in World Showcase. The main attraction in World Celebration will be EPCOT’s famous Spaceship Earth, which we all know and love as EPCOT’s iconic attraction. However, the Spaceship Earth we all currently know and love will be no more. Disney will be changing scenes and altering the ride to give guests a look at storytelling and how that has shaped our history and culture. As usual, this will not be a popular opinion among all Disney World fans. However, like I discussed earlier, Spaceship Earth has already outdated itself. Spaceship Earth is meant to be about the rise of communication. But communication has already largely surpasses where Spaceship Earth ends, and keeping up on the continued progression of technology and communication in this day and age is very difficult. At this rate, Spaceship Earth would have to change it’s scenes every few years to truly keep up with the constant progression of communication and technology. Change isn’t always easy, folks. But not everything can last forever, and I trust Disney World with keeping the nostalgia of Spaceship Earth while updating it to fit the theming of World Celebration.
Lastly, World Discovery will take place of the last piece of Future World. This will include current attractions like Test Track and Mission Space as well as future attractions like the new Guardians of the Galaxy Roller Coaster. I have to say, when we really got to hearing more about the Guardians coaster, my head did kind of tilt and wonder how exactly Guardians fits into “Future World.” For those of you who may not be hardcore Marvel fans (let alone someone like me who considers both Guardians 1 and 2 in her top 5 favorite Marvel movies) you may not know that Guardians is not set in the future. All Marvel movies are set in the current time, unless otherwise indicated. So while the movie is set in space and does seem futuristic, this isn’t completely accurate to the future at all. Guardians, Mission Space, and Test Track, along with the new Space themed restaurant, will make a perfect home in World Discovery.
Change is quite difficult to grasp and hang on to, especially when it is coming with such full force. Other additions coming to EPCOT include a new entrance, new firework show, Ratatouille attraction in the France Pavilion, new circle vision 360 movies in both China and Canada, and a Mary Poppins attraction in the UK pavilion. EPCOT is really changing, and with so many big changes likely comes some big concerns as to how this will affect the Disney World we know and love. How I choose to rationalize is that 1) Change has to happen. For those people who visited Disney World back on opening day, Magic Kingdom is nothing like what it is today. And I’m sure those initial changes did not come as a popular choice for Disney World fans of the 70’s. However, that “new” Magic Kingdom is now the Magic Kingdom I grew to love. Disney’s Hollywood Studios has changed incredibly since I first grew to love Disney (beyond just changing the name a million times.) What used to be a look into movie making has now become guests way into the movies themselves. The Back Lot Tour and Great Movie Ride’s that gave guests a look into movie making have now turned into Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land, making guests feel like they are a part of the movies themselves. This change has been fantastic and something I can definitely get behind, and I believe the same will hold true with the EPCOT changes.
I’m glad I have all of my childhood (and recent) memories of the Disney World I grew up with, but I am excited to see what they continue to do in the future to improve the parks, resorts, and experiences. Change is hard, but change is a great thing.