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(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 (MORE...)
(5/6/13) A combination Limited Time Magic event mixed with Cinco de Mayo celebration is happening at Epcot all this week (MORE...)
(4/29/13) Epcot’s Flower Power Concerts and a new tasty dessert option are coming. (MORE...)
(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 (MORE...)
Ride Rehabs - The following information is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate.
Fountain View Cafe - March 2013 through Mid-Summer 2013
General Park News - (5/6/13) A combination Limited Time Magic event mixed with Cinco de Mayo celebration is happening at Epcot all this week as the San Angel Inn and La Hacienda will offer special menus with new authentic drinks, appetizers, entrees and dessert options, along with appearances by the Three Caballeros and other special live entertainment options.
(4/29/13) Epcot’s Flower Power Concert Series will take place this May and feature the following acts:
May 3 – 5: Tommy Roe
May 10-12: Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone
May 17-19: Starship starring Mickey Thomas
All concerts will take place in the America Gardens Theater at 5:30, 6:45 and 8:00pm each Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening.
Also coming to Epcot in June is L’Artisan des Glaces, a new artisan ice cream and sorbet shop in the France pavilion that will feature 16 different flavors to choose from, all made in-house with fresh ingredients. For those of your with a taste for something more “adult”, ask for a shot of flavored Liquor on top and have it served in a martini glass.
(3/25/13) OrlandoParkNews reports that while the Odyssey Restaurant is being used as a processing center for WDW Passholders to convert their old paper passes to the new RFID (MyMagic+ enabled) passes, they have also set up a small area inside the building to serve as a sort of mini museum display showing off several examples of Disney technology and display items from past attractions.
Now if only they would reopen the Odyssey as a Restaurant. Back in the early ‘90s I used to love to eat lunch here when visiting Epcot for some reason. Not that any particular entrée sticks out in my mind… though they did have a mighty fine French Silk pie offering for desert.
(3/11/13) MouseSteps has posted a huge 300 photo update from the opening day of Epcot’s 2013 Flower & Gardens Festival. Check it out.
(3/4/13) Epcot fans may be interested in checking out a new’ish website called Theme Park University, which is home to Ron Schneider, the author of From Dreamer to Dreamfinder. This week TPU post an opinionated piece on the Imagination Pavilion’s 30th Birthday. As Ron puts it best, “That amounts to 15 years of charming and inspiring Epcot guests… and then another 15 years of confusion and disappointment.”
Putting my own take on it, I think I’d have to complete agree with Tony Baxter’s comment that, “I don’t think the Imagination Pavilion works anymore.” I can’t argue, because it is so true. I’m lucky enough to have ridden all three versions of the attraction, and recall that way back in the day the original Journey into Imagination ride used to always have a line, as well as all the interactive fun stuff that used to reside in the Image Works on the second floor.
These days the ride seldom has a long line, you don’t walk away with the voice of Figment still singing “Imagination” in your head for the next hour, the Image Works has long been abandoned, and the Magic Eye 3D theater has been suffering along with the Captain EO “Tribute” since Summer 2010 and is in need of retirement. In fact… that pretty much sums up what is really the best course of action here… the entire pavilion really is in need of being retired… for good. Even Kodak has fled the sinking ship.
Any guest who rode the original ride simply can not experience the new version without remembering how much better the original one was. Meanwhile, guests who never rode the original leave without the same fond memories and attachments and likely will never miss it. The end result is that all guests leave the pavilion either with a neutral or negative feeling… which really isn’t a good thing for any Disney attraction.
So I think the only clear course of action now is to literally “pull the plug”. Don’t try to repurpose any of the existing structure either, as it will only serve up more memories of the past and what once was. This is where Disney got it right with Horizons… because they wiped it clean off the face of the Earth… leaving it’s memory intact in those of us who experienced it. So much like how Mission: Space cleanly replaced Horizons… I do think the time has come to replace the Imagination Pavilion with a new and completely different experience.
(2/18/13) Pop on over to MouseSteps this week to get a peek at the new Oz The Great and Powerful elements being set up inside Epcot for the Flower and Gardens Festival.
(2/4/13) Two more special new themed drinks have been added to Walt Disney World this week with the introduction of the Doofenslurper, themed after the evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz from Phineas & Ferb and served in a cool looking mad scientist lab flask. There are actually three different flavors on sale, in three different locations around World Showcase.
American Adventure at the Fife and Drum Tavern you can get the frozen blue raspberry version topped with passion fruit sorbet foam.
Promenade Refreshments sells a frozen lemonade version topped off with passion fruit sorbet foam.
Cool Post in the Africa area has the frozen strawberry version topped off with the same passion fruit sorbet foam.
As far as I know, these are unique creations for Walt Disney World and not one of the many custom beverages made for Cars Land in California and imported in, which was the case with LeFoe’s Brew at New Fantasyland which was known in Cars Land as Red’s Apple Freeze.
I’ve got two thoughts on the subject though.
1) I’ve got to wonder if they sell a test-tube side-car full of rum for these things for the Adults?
2) Shouldn’t they have added “inator” somewhere into the drink’s name? Maybe call them Doof’s Slurp-inator? Drinkinators? I dunno, just a thought…
(1/31/13) Remember those Dole Whips I mentioned yesterday coming to the Flower and Garden festival? Well… I was close. I’m told that it will actually be Dole Whips with Spiced Rum.
(1/30/13) Fans of Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival may take a little more interest in Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival this year. I’m hearing that Epcot will roll out a few extra kiosks to offer a collection of special items: the Hops and Barley stand in the American Pavilion will feature BBQ and Beer, over in Ireland they will sell some special desserts and tea, Craft Beers in the garden area between Imagination and World Showcase and there appears to be plans for a “Dole” kiosk nearby as well. Whips anyone?
(1/28/13) Disney says they will build an OZ themed garden area in Epcot this year for the 2013 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. It wont just be a garden however, it will also feature an interactive play area and the chance to play carnival games in a midway area full of red and white tents before your sent off to the Land of Oz Play Area. The Flower & Garden Fest will start on March 6th.
(1/21/13) Orlando Parks News has posted a new report showing off the reopened Habit Heroes exhibit at Innoventions East which has undergone significant changes since the original version closed in 2012 following critical guest complaints.
(1/16/13) Fun changes at Epcot for Foodies this week as the new bakery has opened at the France Pavilion, and Canada’s excellent Le Cellier Steakhouse kicks off a new All-Day Menu. Unfortunately, the new menu has chosen to remove the very popular Grilled Angus Chuck Burger, often referred to as the best burger in all of Walt Disney World. Maybe with a little pressure, persuasion (or a choke hold) they could be convinced to bring it back if the public demands it.
(11/12/12) Disney has confirmed that the first of the previously announced Starbucks location coming to the Walt Disney World parks will open in early 2013. In the Magic Kingdom the Main Street Bakery will close in January 2013 and reopen as WDW’s first Starbucks location at the start of the Summer. In Epcot the Fountain View café will close in March 2013 and reopen as a Starbucks location in Mid-Summer 2013.
Both locations will offer the full range of signature Starbucks beverage items, breakfast sandwiches and a selection of baked goods. The locations on the way to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom will likely be announced once these first two locations open.
Also, for those worried about losing the Main Street Bakery or Fountain View bakery locations, Disney has confirmed that a selection of each location’s favorite baked goods will still be made available to guests when they reopen as Starbucks. The final menus have yet to be chosen however, so if you have a favorite item you think should stay, it may be worth voicing your opinion to Disney.
Fall 2012 - Test Track 2 - (3/11/13) Screamscape sources tell us that the queue for Test Track is likely to undergo some modifications in the future in order to allow the FastPass queue to pass through the same “design studio” area that the StandBy queue uses so that both queues will get the same full experience.
(1/31/13) One of our readers, armed with a low-light HD video camera took a spin on the new Test Track 2.0, and posted a video full of amazing colors that it worth checking out. Incredible stuff!! This is by far the best video of Test Track 2.0 that I’ve seen yet and is damn near flawless in showing off all the incredible new details.
(12/10/12) A new video from InsideTheMagic shows off a new look at the ride’s new queue area and what takes place on these design kiosks. Check it out below, starting with the queue, design kiosks, the ride and post-ride experience.
(12/7/12) A Screamscape reader sent in an interesting tidbit to crunch on regarding the new Test Track experience. According to our source, those who choose to take the FastPass or Single Rider line will not be given the opportunity to fully design your own SimCar as you would when waiting in the normal (Stand-By) queue. Instead Fast-Pass and Single Rider guests are offered a chance to select one of few pre-built models, however I’m told that none of these pre-built models are designed to get high rankings in the test results at the end of the ride.
Since the average guest in the Stand-By line spends approximately 9 minutes designing their custom SimCars, there simply isn’t time in the shorter lines. So if you want the full experience of designing your own SimCar, you will have to wait in the Stand-By line.
(12/4/12) Disney and More mentioned in their update on Test Track, what I had been thinking, but decided not to say last night. Much like now the new Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow attraction at the Hollywood Studios park is seen as lifesized “Proof of Concept” for some new technology intended for the Pirates ride going into Shanghai Disneyland, the obvious Tron inspired comparisons with the new version of Test Track is also very likely to be intentional. Think of it as a giant sandbox experiment for Disney Imagineers to test out just the right way to take park guests into the world of Tron, which is the themed of a rumored Tron Light Cycle coaster heading to Shanghai Disneyland in place of a Space Mountain. Given the videos I’ve seen so far, I think they’ve managed to capture the look of Tron perfectly within Test Track.
(12/3/12) Orlando Attractions Magazine has posted a unique side by side comparison video showing off the original Test Track experience alongside the new 2.0 experience which you can find here. While the overall transformation is quite cool looking, after a few viewing, I do have one issue with the former Barrier Test room.
The new room doesn’t set up that mental idea ahead of time that you might slam full throttle into the wall.
While the concept is still there for all of us who rode the first version of the ride, for those experience the 2.0 version first, having never ridden the first incarnation of the attraction, I think the great tension and anticipation of that moment has been lost in this new version as the lead-in to the barrier door effect is simply a bit too peaceful.
(11/16/12) Disney has released a few more details about the pre-ride experience on the new Test Track. They describe a streamlined creation process where guests will enter into the “Chevrolet Design Center” where they will create a virtual custom car concept at a kiosk. Here you will draw the basic shape, choose an engine type, paint, graphics, wheel sizes and more. From here your choices will be loaded int the SimCar with you, so you can see how your design choices compare against the SimCar in the different tests on the track in four categories: Capability, Efficiency, Responsiveness and Power.
Exactly how this will all work out once your loaded in the ride car with five other riders, who have each made their own custom car design, is anyone’s guess at this point.
(1/9/12) Disney has confirmed at last that not only will Test Track shut down for a very lengthy rehab in 2012, but that we will see a re-imagined version of the ride when it reopen this fall. The new version of Test Track will indeed be sponsored by Chevrolet and see the queue / preshow area transformed into the “Chevrolet Design Center at Epcot”. While here, guests can try a hand at creating their own custom vehicle designs before being given the chance to buckle into one of the six-passenger “SimCar” ride vehicles to “test out their design on the challenging track of the Test Track course.”
2013 - IBM THINK - Now Open - (3/18/13) A nice video showing off the details of what you’ll find inside the new IBM Think exhibit at Epcot has been posted to YouTube by DaMouse. Check it out below.
(2/22/13) As rumored for the past six months the IBM THINK exhibit has finally come to Epcot and opened to park guests this week. The 6,600 square foot exhibit will include a 40 foot long data wall that will constantly post various facts and figures such as traffic visualizations, current quality levels and more.
(8/6/12) Epcyclopedia reports that IBM’s THINK exhibit that was on display in New York in 2011 will be installed at Epcot in late 2012. One of the more stunning aspects of the THINK exhibit was a large 123 foot long digital wall that would display live real-time data on a variety of things like traffic, solar enegery levels, current air quality, weather reports and much more. Make the jump to see more about the THINK exhibit.
Late 2013 - Spice Road Table - (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 - (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 - (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.