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---- THE LATEST BUZZ ----
(7/31/14) Behind The Scenes at Spaceship Earth (MORE...)
(7/15/14) Frozen Takeover Plans Upset Some in Norway (MORE...)
(7/10/14) More Soarin' Expansion Rumors (MORE...)
(7/9/14) Epcot: 2014 Candlelight Narrators List (MORE...)
Ride Rehabs - The following information is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate.
Nothing is known at this time...
General Park News - (7/31/14) Fans of Spaceship Earth wont want to miss this, as Orlando Theme Park News has posted a huge series of detailed photos taken inside the attraction when it was empty of guests by a photographer on foot, including some behind the scenes views of things you have never seen before, including a very special Hidden Mickey.
(7/9/14) Walt Disney World released the partial list of celebrity narrators already booked for this year’s Candlelight Processional event at Epcot. They’ve also opened booking for the official Dinner Package as well if you click here.
Jodi Benson – 11/28 – 11/29
TBD – 11/30 – 12/2
TBD – 12/3 – 12/4
Whoopi Goldberg – 12/5 – 12/6
TBD – 12/7 – 12/8
TBD – 12/9 – 12/11
TBD – 12/12 – 12/14
Sharon Stone – 12/15 – 12/17
Ana Gasteyer – 12/18 – 12/20
Marlee Matlin – 12/21 – 12/23
TBD – 12/24 – 12/25
TBD – 12/26 – 12/27
Steven Curtis Chapman – 12/28 – 12/30
(5/12/14) Disney has announced a long list of performers for Epcot’s 2014 “Eat to the Beat” concert series, part of Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival in the fall, Sept. 19 through to Nov. 10.
Sept. 19-21 – Jo Dee Messina
Sept. 22-23 – Pointer Sisters
Sept. 24-25 – Rick Springfield
Sept. 26-27 – Christopher Cross
Sept. 28-29 – Hanson
Sept. 30-Oct. 2 – Air Supply
Oct. 3-5 – Starship
Oct. 6-8 – Sugar Ray
Oct. 9-10 – Fuel
Oct. 11-12 – Sister Hazel
Oct. 13-14 – (To Be Announced)
Oct. 15-16 – Billy Ocean
Oct. 17-19 – Night Ranger
Oct. 20-22 – Smash Mouth
Oct. 23-24 – Jim Brickman
Oct. 25-26 – Los Lonely Boys
Oct. 27-28 – Wilson Phillips
Oct. 29-31 – Dennis DeYoung
Nov. 1-2 – 38 Special
Nov. 3-5 – Boyz II Men
Nov. 6-7 – David Cook
Nov. 8-10 – Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
(4/23/14) Time to go back in time to what may be my favorite Epcot attraction of all time… a complete POV video ride through of Horizons from 1992. Check it out below!
(4/22/14) The painters at Epcot has been very busy in Future World lately it seems… a little too busy perhaps, as the former Communicore area of the park is now full of color… like just about every color in the rainbow and then some. It’s almost as if they took inventory of the leftover colors that were found in storage somewhere and told to just go find a way to use it. You can see what I mean in the latest update to DaMouse where they describe the paint job as a Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream inspired style. Give it a look and see what you think.
(4/15/14) The Orlando Sentinel reports that a new program will start at Epcot on Thursday called the Epcot After-Hours Wind Down… which will allow guests to stay and linger (and drink) in the park after the nightly fireworks show is over, but for a price. You have to make reservations at one of four possibly locations to extend your park visit from 9:20pm (the end of Illuminations) until 11pm at the Rose & Crown Pub (UK Pavilion), La Cava del Tequila (Mexico Pavilion), Tutto Gusto (Italy Pavilion) or the new Spice Road Table (Morocco Pavilion) and it will cost you $35 per person. The cost will also include ‘small bites with a beverage flight’ and the program will run through to Sept. 19th, ending just in time for the Food & Wine Festival to start up.
(3/17/14) Walt Disney World reports that starting on April 20th, Anna and Elsa (the sisters from Frozen) will be moving from their current digs at Epcot’s Norway Pavilion over to the Magic Kingdom where they will set up a new Meet & Greet experience alongside the other Disney royals at the Princess Fairytale Hall.
(3/13/14) Disney and Marvel are teaming up to release a five-issue comic book series called “Figment”. The new Disney Kingdoms series will reveal the never told origin story of Dreamfinder and tell a new steam-punk style fantasy adventure story with Dreamfinder and Figment. Look for Figment #1 to hit the shelves of comic book shops this June.
(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.
(2/19/14) 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.
(2/2/14) 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?
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 - (7/10/14) Screamscape sources tell us that the office trailers behind Soarin’ have been emptied out and the loading / storage area behind the ride is currently in the process of being cleared out as well. Another rumor going around the park now is that there are two expansion plans, one which would add a 3rd theater to the attraction and a second more expensive option that would add two new theaters to the attraction instead. The later plan would take up much more room however, and require more changes to be made to the backstage infrastructure to accommodate it.
(7/8/14) According to the latest post at DisneyAtWork.com, Soarin’ at Epcot may be ready to begin construction on a third theater that would open by 2016, just in time to launch the new Soarin’ over the World ride film. This isn’t the first time a pitch to add a 3rd theater has come up... it was even said to be brought up and VETOd by Paul Pressler back when it was first built at Epcot. But there is no denying it... Soarin’ could certainly use one as it always has very long lines.
(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 - (7/15/14) Screamscape sources tell us that there is a good chance that the rumored plans to remove Maelstrom and replace it with a new attraction themed to Frozen at Epcot will come to pass. In fact, a news report from Norway has some people quite upset about the idea. If you watch the video below, with English Closed Captions on so you can understand what is being said, they confirm that Disney came to Norway with an offer to either invest $9 million towards a new Norway themed attraction at the World Showcase pavilion, or else Disney will be taking it over to transform the entire area into a Frozen themed area with a new attraction.
There are those in Norway urging the government to work with Disney to ensure Norway’s continued existence at Epcot, rather than be given a Frozen makeover. At one point they interview a man who worked at the Pavilion who says that all big budget refurbishment funds for the Maelstrom ride have already been stopped, and that they expect to see the ride close down sometime between October 2014 and January 2015 to make way for the new Frozen themed ride. He also stated that about 70% of the retail space in the store will be reallocated for Disney’s Frozen themed merchandise, and that some of the buildings in the land have started to get repainted into new colors that will fit in with the new theme.
As the world of Frozen takes place in the fictional world of “Arendelle” and not in Norway, it does make sense why proud Norwegian people might be more than a little irritated is Disney decides to push aside an exhibit based on their true culture in favor of a fictional one.
(6/16/14) I’d take this with a grain of salt for now, but I’m told that those with WDW reservations who try to book a FastPass+ for Maelstrom in mid August or later have been unable to do so, as the system says that the ride is unavailable.
So is it simply time for Maelstrom to undergo an annual rehab (common for water rides due to the excessive wear they see) or could this possibly be a sign of a Frozen themed make-over project? We’ll have to wait and see.
(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.