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(3/4/14) Epcot: Flower & Garden Festival Preview (MORE...)
(2/21/14) Another Look At The Proposed Africa Pavilion (MORE...)
(2/20/14) New Special Food Items Coming To Flower and Garden Fest
(2/19/14) Remembering the Equatorial Africa Pavilion (MORE...)
Ride Rehabs - The following information is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate.
Nothing is known at this time...
General Park News - (3/4/14) Today we can virtually venture into Epcot for a preview look at the 2014 Flower and Garden Festival, as shot by OrlandoParksNews.
(2/21/14) The second half of Disney & More’s look back at the once proposed Equatorial Africa Pavilion is now live. Not only do they give us a final look at this pavilion that was never built, but go into great detail about the fascinating Heartbeat of Africa show.
(2/20/14) The Disney Parks Blog shows off several new special food items that will be available inside Epcot during the Flower and Garden Festival.
(2/19/14) Over the years Epcot guests may have crossed over the bridge in World Showcase from China to Germany and wondered what the deal was with the African themed hut / snack stand. What you are looking at was the only placeholder structure built for the intended “Equatorial Africa Pavilion” that was intended for that site.
The latest update to Disney & More is Part One of a two part update that shows off a lot of concept artwork and gives away details about how this legendary pavilion would have been laid out, if built as intended to open in Epcot’s second year.
(2/17/14) MouseSteps takes a photo tour around Epcot as the park to look over the preparations for the annual Flower & Garden Festival which begins less than three weeks from now. The 2014 Flower & Garden Festival begins on March 5th and runs through to May 18th.
(2/2/14) Anyone else out there buy a Leave A Legacy photo tile placed on the massive monuments at the front of Epcot? A posting about a couple’s tradition of visiting theirs on the Disney Insider reminded me of the story behind my own.
My wife Kerry and I had only been married a few days in December of 1999 when her Grandmother in Florida was killed by a horrific car accident. We were living in San Diego at the time and the last time we saw her was morning after our wedding in Vegas when we put her into a Lincoln Towncar at the hotel to take her to the airport. With heavy hearts, any plans for a true Honeymoon were canceled as we made last second travel arrangement to fly to Florida for the funeral and to be with her family.
Born and raised in Florida, Kerry was an avid Disney fan that often enjoyed coming to the parks with her grandmother before she moved away to marry this California boy. So the day before we flew home we ended the trip with a day-trip to Epcot, with her grandmother in spirit, to visit her favorite park. The Millennium Celebration had just begun and we documented the visit and our newlywed status with the purchase of a Leave A Legacy tile.
In Fall of 2000 we moved to Orlando and used to visit it often, but after moving out of state in 2006, it has unfortunately been several years since we’ve been able to visit the spot together again. But I still keep the locator paper they gave us folded up in my wallet to this very day, just so I can find it when the time comes.
Anyone else have a memorable Leave A Legacy story of their own?
(12/19/13) The latest episode of CoasterRadio interviews Neil Patrick Harris on site at Walt Disney World about his hosting of the Candlelight Processional at Epcot and preparations to host the Disney Park Christmas Day Parade. Give it a listen here!
(11/4/13) Attractions Magazine reports that Disney and Coke have revised the Club Cool attraction at Epcot and introduced an almost entirely new line of global soda flavors for you to try. The only old flavors that were kept were the bitter Beverly (Italy) and the passion fruit flavored VegitaBeta (Japan). New flavors include Fanta Pinapple (Greece), Fanta Melon Frosty (Thailand), Bibo (South Africa), Sparberry (Zimbabwe), Inca Kola (Peru) and Guarana Kuat (Brazil).
(11/4/13) The new Frozen themed Meet & Greet area at Epcot has now opened, featuring Anna and Elsa. You can see some good pictures of the characters and their set up in the Norway pavilion’s Puffin’s Roost building over at MouseSteps this week.
If I may take a moment, I’ve got to say that I’m really admiring how Disney has stepped up their game with their character Meet & Greets over the past year or so. For so many years guests would just stand in a big line just to get a picture taken with a big silent rubber-head character in a room… sometimes themed… sometimes not… and that was it. The experience of the meeting wasn’t special, quickly forgotten by most kids, and left to recall mostly in photographic form.. if the picture was any good. Over the last year or two Disney began stepping it up… adding themed environments and characters that not only talk (even a rubber-head Mickey!) but act like the real characters. I remember taking my daughter (then 3) along with her brothers to see TinkerBell and her sister Periwinkle last Christmas at the Magic Kingdom and she still talks about it to this day. On the West coast, Disneyland guests only got to virtually dress up as Iron Man earlier this year, but now they are being transported to Asgard for a meeting with Thor himself and given a chance to try and pick up the Thunder God’s mighty hammer Mjolner. They can’t… but Thor has no problem with it. Meanwhile in Florida’s New Fantasyland guests have been able to explore Belle’s house, witness magic and meet her for the past year, and now New Fantasyland has opened the Princess Fairy Tale Hall with even more characters.
Unlike the quick flash pictures taken in little rooms with silent characters, these interactions with larger than life characters in themed environments are being written to long term memory, which I think will rake in some great long term effects for Disney as well in the years to come as these kids grow up. I’ve seen it in my daughter and I still remember how it affected me as a kid when I swore I heard Little Leota call my name as I left the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland and asked me to “Hurry back! Hurry back!!!!”
Late 2013 - Spice Road Table - (1/16/14) MouseSteps stopped by the Spice Road Table with a camera and appetite and pulled together a good review and visual tour of Epcot’s newest restaurant.
(1/14/14) Pictures of the new Spice Road Table, now soft-open, at the Morocco Pavilion at Epcot can be found at the OrlandoSentinel.
(12/18/13) You can get a sneak peek at some of the new dishes to be served in Moracco at the new Spice Road Table restaurant early next year at the Disney Parks Blog.
(11/24/13) Disney has posted concept art and released some new details about the new Spice Road Table restaurant under construction in the Morocco Pavilion at Epcot. The restaurant is said to feature a fantastic viewing area for IllumiNations, and a large assortment of Moroccan small plate dishes and new specialty drinks. The indoor dining area will seat 60 while the outdoor terrace will seat 120 more.
According to the description, “the lounge is a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds, say the designers. There’s an array of small plates: zesty harissa chicken drumettes; a Mediterranean omelet with sausage, potatoes and caramelized onion; mussels with preserved lemons and tomato sauce baked in an earthenware tagine pot; Moroccan merguez sausage with a fresh tomato salad; garlicky jumbo shrimp in a spicy chile pepper sauce.”
(11/5/13) OrlandoParksNews returns from Epcot with a new update, this time showing off the new restaurant construction site shaping up at the Moroccan pavilion.
(10/1/13) DaMouse has posted a new update this week from Epcot, taking a look around the Spice Road Table’s construction site in Epcot’s Morocco Pavilion.
(7/30/13) A new construction update from the Morocco Pavilion in Epcot has been posted to DaMouse showing off the progress on the new Spice Road Table restaurant site.
(4/3/13) Disney has confirmed the rumors that a new waterfront restaurant will be added to the Morocco Pavilion in Epcot by the end of this year. They will call it Spice Road Table and it will offer both indoor and outdoor seating options.
(1/3/13) According to the Disney Food Blog, Disney is preparing to expand and build another World Showcase restaurant in 2013, this time in the Morocco Pavilion. Groundbreaking is expected to take place this month in a site close to the waterfront on this new eatery that will serve meal options with indoor / outdoor seating options.
2015 - New Attraction - Rumor - (3/22/13) In a new interview on the Season Pass Podcast with Disney Parks Dir. Jerry Rees, he mentions a new mystery project is in the works for Epcot that will open in 2015. I’ve yet to hear anything solid on what this could be just yet, but I’ll make a couple of guesses.
I’ll be surprised if they are working on any new ride or major attraction in World Showcase, so lets leave that half of the park out for now. There are two obvious points that should be address in Future World at the moment however... either a new attraction to replace Captain EO once and for all (which is always a benefit, as they can clone it out to the other Disney parks who also have the same need), or to finally put something new into the old Wonders of Life pavilion. It’s got to drive Disney management crazy to have a big pavilion like that just sitting there empty, along with the fact that it was once home to a couple of popular attractions: Cranium Command and the Body Wars simulator ride. Since Body Wars was based on the Star Tours hardware, I’d love to see it get upgraded and put to use again as well... assuming any of the cabins are still in there and weren’t scrapped for parts long ago. As a third guess... I’d throw a much needed upgrade or transformation at the Universe of Ellen...err... Universe of Energy into the mix as a possible concept too. Anyone else know more?
2016 - Soarin’ Over The Horizon - Rumor - (7/26/13) I’m not quite sure how true this is, but according to one possible source the new Soarin’ 2 ride (aka: Soarin’ Over The Horizon) may borrow a little technology from the Star Tours 2 project. This would be more than the switch over from Imax film to Digital (each has it’s own merit), but a switch to digital would also allow for the possibility of using a randomizer to include different possible ride scenes to be shown during each visit.
Now while I can’ verify that this will happen, the simple fact that there are really far too many incredible places in the world worth Soarin’ over, more than would easily fit into a quick 5-6 minute ride film, this would be a great way to add them all into the mix of possible locations. In fact… they could even incorporate some of the great scenes from Soarin’ over California into the mix, ensuring that some of the existing ride lives on into the next generation.
However, I’ve always have one major complaint about the Soarin’ ride setups in California and especially in Florida at Epcot. The line is always… ALWAYS… way to friggin’ long! This is because Soarin’ only has two theaters, and I think it really should have had 3 or 4 to keep the line moving. If they do add this random scene concept, creating an even bigger urge for guests to ride this over and over they are really going to need to add two more theaters somehow. Lets hope they are looking into it at least in Florida because I don’t think they have the room to do anything in California.
(7/17/13) According to what I’ve been told, if Disney were up “upgrade” the Soarin’ ride system to use a 4K style digital projection system, it would actually be a downgrade from the current resolution achieved with the current IMAX film system used for Soarin’. From what I’m told, there really is no digital projection format yet that could replace the image quality achieved from IMAX.
(7/14/13) Disney and More has posted some great news this week about the future of the Soarin’ rides at California Adventure and Epcot. While the new Soarin’ Over The Horizon ridefilm is still expected to launch at both parks in 2016, they report that both of the US Soarin’ ride systems will receive projector system updates in 2014 that will bring the ride to life in new vivid HD style clarity. I’m guessing they’ll be upgrading the system up to the new 4K style projection systems.
As for the new ride film coming in 2016… while there will probably be a few more changes this new global Soarin’ concept is expected to shoot new aerial scenes in England, France, Italy, Egypt, India, China, Japan as well as in new locations in the USA like New York City and in the Grand Canyon.
Disney and More goes on to guess about the possible filming locations, but that is all just speculation. Some are obvious as any filming in India would likely involve the Taj Mahal and any footage of Egypt would have to include the massive Pyramids. Make the jump to see what world icon’s they think would be ideal in each location.
(5/22/13) After doing a little more digging about the concept of the blending the Soarin’ Over the Horizon ride concept with the new Planes movie, I realized one very important thing. The two concepts, while being slightly complimentary, are materially foreign enough to each other to keep any kind of Planes theming down to a minimum. In other words... IF there is any kind of true Planes tie-in at all made there, look for it to be restricted mainly to the queue and pre-show experience.
After all, the entire point of the Soarin’ ride is to show us REAL footage of the beautiful sights, landmarks and wondrous natural terrain of the earth itself. If the ride concept were suddenly given a full treatment to become themed to the world of PLANES (which is really the world of Pixar’s CARS) then the ride film would have to be computer animated and show off the false landscapes as seen in the films, rather than the majestic real-world scenery that we enjoy in the current version of Soarin’.
That news should make a number of people feel more at ease about the concept of the next Soarin’ ride, which would essentially sideline any kind of PLANES themeing to serve as pre-ride entertainment in the queue or hosting for the pre-show safety videos instead. Of course, we’re talking about something that isn’t expected to hit the US parks until 2016... and unless PLANES is a huge hit, or something worthy of it’s own sequel or ongoing TV series on the Disney Channel, the general public might have forgotten entirely about it by mid 2016... nearly 3 years after the film hits the silver screen.
So in other words… the chances of a Planes / Soarin’ crossover are not very good at all.
(5/20/13) Disney & More reports that the top secret new version of Soarin’ opening at Shanghai Disneyland in 2015 is expected to be called Soarin’ Over The Horizon, essentially a Global version of the Soarin’ concept featuring famous icons and landcapes from around the world. This same new ride will also come as an update to the existing Soarin’ rides at Epcot in Walt Disney World and to Disney’s California Adventure at the Disneyland Resort in 2016.
That said… there may be a slight twist to this entire plan as new details about the upcoming PLANES animated film are slowing comingout. The film, once planned as a direct to DVD spin-off from Pixar’s Cars films was upgraded to a full theatrical feature film release last year. (It is also interesting to note that PLANES is from Walt Disney Animation and not Pixar.) The story behind PLANES involves air races at famous locations all around the world… a storyline that might tie in nicely with this new Soarin’ ride concept as well.
???? - France Renovation - Rumor - (10/11/12) Is France preparing to get a new attraction soon? According to a trusted Screamscape source, they were at Epcot this past week and upon exiting the Impressions de France film attraction in World Showcase, they were approached by a survey taker to get their opinion on the aging attraction. Other than The American Adventure, I believe Impressions de France is the only other surviving original World Showcase attraction left untouched.
The following is just a bit of speculation on my part, but due to it’s location, I believe the backstage area behind the France Pavilion has a bit more extra space available to it that could be used for a future attraction if needed. Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing a copy of the Ratatouille dark ride under construction in Paris be installed here. With the Paris theme and restaurant, there could be no better location.
???? - New Illuminations Show - Rumor - (7/6/12) The latest buzz flying in about what we may see from the next version of Illuminations seems to indicate that we may see a little bit of what Disney has learned from building World of Color at California Adventure and the newest version of Fantastmic at Tokyo DisneySea. As mentioned before, the video globe will be retired, but new projection water screens and arrays of colored water fountains may be placed at select locations around the lagoon instead.
(7/2/12) According to the latest whispers around Epcot, there is early talk about a possible new version of the nightly Illuminations show in the works. According to some of the rumors, the current Reflections of Earth video globe will be retired, but the new show will feature even more fireworks than the current show. Going back a bit to the roots of the original Illuminations show, the new show is said to tell the unique stories from the different cultures around the World Showcase pavilions.
???? - New Country - Rumor - (6/26/13) This is a small and very early rumor, but we have heard that the rumors of trying to add a Brazil pavilion to Epcot’s World Showcase are still alive. Sounds like there may be some negotiations going on behind the scenes. There is a lot involved in adding a new country to World Showcase as far as having a sponsor and an agreement with the actual country in some fashion, so there is a reason why new additions almost never seem to happen, so forgive me if I remain very skeptical until we see the first shovels hit the dirt.
(4/23/11) According to this report, Disney is said to have approached the Brazilian government about the concept of adding a Brazil pavilion to Epcot.
(8/13/10) Apparently the sudden push to add a new country to Epcot was stirred up as an idea to add something for the park’s 30th Anniversary, which will begin Oct 1st, 2012. I’ve also heard that there is still talk about doing some kind of expansion to the Japan pavilion as well. Previously we’ve seen two big ideas get designed but never go anywhere, a Ginza shopping district style area and the former Mt. Fuji coaster idea, inspired by the Matterhorn at Disneyland, but evolved to become Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom. Anyone have a clue just what may be in the works now?
I’m also starting to hear rumors of activity for Future World as well once again with the focus being on sprucing up one of the oldest attractions there (Universe of Energy) or bringing the old Wonders of Life pavilion back to life as something new. Chances are they’ll opt for the later due to the huge cost savings of reusing the existing structure.
(8/12/10) The Orlando Biz Journal reports that Epcot may once again be preparing a possible new country for World Showcase. This time around the popular rumor is Spain. Anyone know more? Is there any truth behind this rumor?
(3/29/10) A Screamscape reader was stopped in Epcot in World Showcase’s Outpost area by a CM and asked to take a brief survey. Just three simple questions, starting with a “How many times have you visited Walt Disney World?”. The next tow questions however are far more interesting. First was a multi-choice question asking which country you would most like to see added to World Showcase: Australia, Brazil, South Africa, Russia or an Other choice to name something else. Following this the next question asked guests which country would they be LEAST upset to see removed from World Showcase.
While this doesn’t mean that Epcot is ready to add a new country just yet, it is telling that they are interesting in getting guest feedback about the possibility. Even more telling is the fact that they are considering doing it as a replacement for an existing country rather than build a new one entirely from scratch. While guests could pick any country they wanted as the preferred one to remove, I would think that perhaps the pavilions without a major attraction inside would perhaps be the most at risk. That list would include: Germany, Italy, Japan, Morocco and the UK and possibly even France, though each of these counties have fairly popular restaurants as well so anything is possible.
???? - Frozen Attraction - Blue Sky Rumor - (1/3/14) This could just be a fanboy rumor, but according to an email sent my way, WDI has been given the initial nod to do a little Blue Sky dreaming to determine just how they could transform the Maelstrom ride in the Norway Pavilion into a new Frozen themed attraction concept. (Credit to “Allen W” for the tip…)
Since this is Blue Sky phase, they are looking at all budget levels here, from a simple rethemed of the existing boat ride system and layout, to the installation of a new kind of flume ride system, possibly the one rumored to be put to use on the Pirates ride at Shanghai Disneyland. Given a big enough budget, the entire current ride structure could be demolished to make way for a new trackless ride system concept. Given the cold snow and ice theme of frozen, I would love to see trackless ride cars used, themed as a sleigh ride through the wilderness, scooting across the frozen landscape.
Just remember… a new ride has not been approved. WDI was only approved to do some initial Blue Sky dreaming to see what might work best in response to the stellar box office results Frozen has been bringing in, as well as guest reactions to the Frozen character meet & greet already in Epcot.