Monday, February 1, 2010

Random Mouse Ramblings: Epcot's Next E-Ticket

When it comes to the next round of huge additions or changes to the WDW theme parks, I believe Epcot's turn to bat is coming up - and it should be on deck to hit next.

Sure, when it comes to relatively small additions and refurbs, they have certainly been given some attention. Sum Of All Thrills is a great new attraction in Innoventions. The Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure was also a wonderful idea to implement into the World Showcase experience, especially for kids. And they've refurbed Spaceship Earth and the Gran Fiesta Tour, amongst a few other small examples along the way (mostly in Innoventions).

However, the last time Epcot received a monster E-Ticket addition was 2005 - five years ago now - when they opened up Soarin'. Since then, Animal Kingdom received the massive Expedition Everest in 2006, Hollywood Studios added the insanely popular Toy Story Mania in 2008 (and will recieve a huge upgrade to Star Tours within the next two years), and of course Magic Kingdom not only had incredible refurbs done to Space Mountain, Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean, but they are also getting the King of All Attractions in the next two years - the Fantasyland expansion.

That leaves my favorite park, Epcot, in need of some serious TLC. Not only is it logically next in line in the batting order based on what the other parks have received, but there are several things about Epcot as it stands right now, that are obsolete and need to be changed. And the sooner the better.

First is the remnants of the carcass that was once known as the Wonders Of Life pavilion. It now hosts seasonal events such as seminars (and as gift shops) during the International Food & Wine Festival and the Flower & Garden Festival. Talk about a waste of space. The empty Odyssey building near World Showcase would be perfect for those events, and they in fact used it for exactly that purpose just a few short years ago when they were still using Wonders of Life as a seasonal attraction. In a pinch, they could always use the huge and under-utilized World Showplace pavilion as a staging area for bigger needs than what the Odyssey can handle.

The Wonders Of Life Pavilion is massive and could either be re-purposed as is for something new (the less-expensive route), or they could rip the whole thing down and create a huge new E-Ticket attraction (the more-expensive route). As the economy recovers (hopefully), it might push Disney into being more willing to splurge on something massive for this spot. And by the time the Fantasyland expansion is done in 2012 or 2013, they well should have more than enough opportunity to begin implementing something like this for Epcot. By doing this, they will be taking advantage of the space they have to supplement the attractions that will by that time be getting much longer in the tooth (Soarin', Test Track, Mission: Space).

The other area in Epcot that needs serious work is the Imagination pavilion in Future World. As disliked as the "new" Journey Into Imagination is in comparison to the original with Dreamfinder, it doesn't need the same level of attention that Honey, I Shrunk the Audience does at this point. I've hammered on this a lot recently, but with the speculation of Captain EO's possible return, it is shifting the spotlight onto this attraction. And that spotlight is showing how badly this thing needs to go. At the very least, a new 3D film with huge changes to the theming should happen here. And at the very best, the whole thing could be torn down, including Journey, and a whole different take on Imagination could be created for this pavilion - something truly state-of-the-art. An E-Ticket Journey Into Imagination. How awesome would that be?

Epcot deserves this kind of love and it is getting to the point that is needs it, too.

Misc. Ramblings

How awesome is it that they are offering up the opportunity to actually dine inside of attractions as special events? Yes, very, very costly but an incredible idea. First, the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland, then The Great Movie Ride in Hollywood Studios (for Tables In Wonderland customers). I'd love to see Tower Of Terror get a shot at this... If you don't like heat and huge crowds, this is THE time of year to be at The Mouse - at least it's a close race between now and the first two to three weeks of December. From what I've seen, I believe the crowds are slightly smaller now, and the weather cooler...but this is also the time of year for many maintenance refurbs and less opportunity to use your resort's swimming pools, so pick your poison...It's awesome that World Showcase is offering real pizza at its Italy pavilion. The Mouse has always had a problem with pizza. And coffee. Maybe they'll partner with Starbucks next (we hope)...

1 comment:

  1. Great points about the Wonders of Life Pavilion and the Journey into Imagination pavilion. We love EPCOT, too, and I hate to see not only wasted space but time-weary attractions. After our last trip, I am done with Honey, I Shrunk the Audience. It made the Carousel of Progress look downright new (and I adore CoP, btw).

    Oh, how I would LOVE to have a dinner in the Great Movie Ride! The pics AJ showed a few weeks ago were fabulous. My 20th anniversary is not too far away...I would love to talk my husband into a 20th anniversary party in one of the attractions (but I'm not holding my breath, lol)!