Epcot improvements...just a thought or two...!

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Sid Man's picture
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Epcot improvements...just a thought or two...!

So, based off the 'Should Epcot get a new thrill ride' thread that I semi-hijacked with the talk of Marvel integrating into the park, I wondered whether the spread of licences that Disney owns is fair within the parks or not.

As I understand, the parks are this way:

Magic Kingdom: primarily Disney properties with no external licences
Animal Kingdom: Lion King, Nemo and Avatarland (Fox agreement)
Disney Studios: primarily Lucasfilm and Pixar properties, some TV-based licences
Epcot: Nemo (again), some Disney references throughout the World Showcase. Tron-like Test Track, but otherwise nothing major in terms of Disney

Is this correct? Should a park like Epcot remain mostly Disney-free? To me, its the park that has seen the least number of updates, almost as if they built the park to commemorate Walt's dream but then didn't know what to do with it?

In my mind, it should be:

Magic Kingdom: primarily Disney properties
Animal Kingdom: move Nemo and the Living Seas here from Epcot, Avatarland
Disney Studios: Lucasfilm and Pixar have a decent home here. Maybe expand the Star Wars element as they did with Pixar
Epcot: Marvel in the Future World. Expand the World Showcase to include more countries from around the world

There are parallels in having a World's Fair being based in a (comic) fictional world. Ok, there is the shadow of the agreement with Universal and people could debate whether one place or the other should have dominion over what is essentially marketing of a label now owned by a rival. To me, Disney owns the Marvel branding and everything within it, so would be entitled to use at least some elements of what they own.

So, in an effort (and it takes a lot sometimes!!), and almost completely ignoring the fact that Universal has a contract, I thought I'd have a think about how to incorporate the Marvel universe into Epcot without actually mentioning Marvel...After all, the park needs a massive revamp!

Originally I came up with a suggestion that Tony Stark and Pepper could narrate a trip through invention and innovation. However, since these two are mainstays of the comic book line, how about Howard Stark and Agent Carter and spinning the ride into a trip through Shield's history. Heck, even Fitz and Simmons could turn up at some point through the ride and they, as far as I know, were creations for the ABC show, not the comics. Shield, after all, should have a cache of inventions hidden somewhere...

Since Fox is in negotiating mood, how about a Fantastic Four revamp of the Universe of Energy. They could use the Fantasticar to travel through time to show how energy is made...and have an adventure or two along the way.

The Watcher could preside over a revamp of Spaceship Earth, watching Earth's development through the ages. He is The Watcher, after all...he would have seen the whole history of the Earth unfolding before him.

As it's almost all the way there, rebrand Test Track into a Tron attraction and build more of a world around it. 3D gaming, virtual worlds...it's all there to be played with. Audiences are drawn into Tron's world to help him rescue it from the MCP...

Namor could guide an audience through the oceans toward Atlantis - or even using elements of the Atlantis movie with Namor...or 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea? That's a Disney property that is sorely missing around the parks.

Falcon could be the host to Soarin' as you fly in a machine with his wings around the world.

You could then present a properly fictional view of what a modern World's Fair would look like - fantastic buildings, things to stop and play with. Marvel's name wouldn't have to be plastered everywhere but I think you'd be able to use some of the lesser known characters to host revamped attractions here. It should be a place that would inspire young children (and even adults) to want to better themselves. All of the innovation and invention should have a grounding in reality despite the use of comic book characters or licences.

For the World Showcase...how about Spain, Russia, Australia or India? There are huge holes in the make up of the showcase. I know there are more countries that could go in, but to ignore Russia which America has a huge history with, especially in the space race...? The whole world has a culture and none of the world exhibits should stay static - every country changes over time and these changes should be captured so that families and children who might never get the chance to visit these places get a better view of their culture and not an almost stereotypical view - 'oooh, look! Chinese acrobats!' or 'alright guv'nor, mind yourself up them apple and pears!' Would you incorporate some of the other pop culture elements from each country? For example - to use the Dr Who property in the British showcase, for example?

I just feel that Epcot could be so much more and better for it because of Disney's support, not despite it. So, what say you all - am I just blue-sky dreaming...could it happen, should it happen and what else would you do? Is the absence of Marvel (now owned by Disney) the be-all-or-end-all of Epcot's future?

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Mandy's picture
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I agree with most of what you said. I had a friend that worked in Japan or China and said that the costumes they wear in the pavilion are out dated. They said that no one wears it unless it a holiday or special event. I think those are some really good ideas.

There were rumors of Journey Into Imagination with Figment turning into a Phineas and Ferb themed attraction. I feel like Figment needs to stay because I think most people love Figment but they also want to bring back Dream maker if they do keep Figment.

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Great ideas overall. I do believe with New Fantasyland and Avatarland projects addressed, now should be the time to address Epcot and the Studios. I don't know about Russia in World Showcase. Russia is a polarizing country and the mass media only enforces that belief with so much emphasis on political tensions. In terms of new countries, I'd go with Greece, India, Egypt (Might be a problem given the political problems at the moment.), because of their rich history and the potential for attractions with their architecture. That's just me though

Other than that, I can only hope Tom Fitzgerald finds this, bring it to attention and then have the project greenit.

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I'd like to see Epcot go back to being something more like a permanent World's Fair/Expo, which would mean cutting back on the Disney influences and definitely not adding more Disney, Marvel, or anything else fictitious.

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I have no problem with Disney characters in Epcot as long as it fits, as Disney has had a long tradition of using their characters for educational purposes, most notably Jiminy Cricket and Ludvig Von Drake. Now, admittedly, some of the characters added haven't been properly utilized to teach (Nemo, looking at you), but generally, characters appear where they'd be thematically appropriate (barring the occasional surprise appearance at the International Gateway).

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So I thought in would just add a few bits to this,

Firstly your park breakdown is a little wrong

Magic kingdom: the park does not have nearly as mainly character ties as you may think adventure land, frontier land, most of liberty square and Main Street have no disney character reference apart from the Aladdin's carpets, and splash mountain (which to most isn't recognisable as a disney movie) most magic kingdom characters are original, I would even go as far to say jack sparrow being in pirates isn't really a movie tie it as the attraction was there first. Tomorrow land has two attractions featuring disney and Pixar characters, fantasyland how ever is based around the characters.

Hollywood studios: this park is a lot more then Pixar and starwars and should be, although I would add more of both the experience at this park is a behind the scenes feel.

Animal kingdom: lion king and memo are here And yes avatar is coming

There are a few holes in your plan, one is you can't move the seas with nemo to animal kingdom as it's on of the biggest tanks of its kind and it doesn't really fit with the theme of animal kingdom, unless the seas had it's own land and after what blackfish has done to sea world I believe disney would avoid this at all costs.

Second is the marvel chapters can no feature in a disney park on the east coast as universal own the license, the contract is worth billions and although you may say "that's nothing to disney, it's not about money, disney love universal owning the license because a) if they buy it back it will free up land space at IOA something universal don't have a lot of and at the rate they build things this is something disney are very glad of and b) disney as selling a lot of merch at IOA, disney know tourist will go over to universal and while your there they would love you to buy marvel stuff or for a kid to get introduced to the character, buy the comics see the movie ect. It's basically free advertising.

I love fan ideas for fixing the parks but I'm not sure character injection via marvel is the way to go, I do how ever think Pixar and disney are working on something bigger you may have noticed all the Pixar films fit in to the original pavilions

Bugs life- the land
Monsters inc - universe of energy (think about the plot)
Finding nemo - the seas
Cars- world in motion
Wall-e- horizons
Ratouille- kitchen cabaret
Inside out - wonders of life

Up, the incredibles and brave don't really fit

I'm not saying they should be introduced but it seems weird the themes if Epcot centre are captured

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UP - for me anyway, is dreaming big and believing in the the power of emotion AND self. That could be very powerful addition to the future world. How do you push past the doubts of yourself and others, bond with new people and ideas, if you don't pull yourself up (sorry) and move forward? ( a lesson in failure isn't always bad)

There have been many discussions about adding new worlds, and while there are a few I would love to see, I would in fact love any additional countries. BUT don't the countries have to participate in this? There in lies the rub.....

I suppose if they will come for F&W they might come on a more permanent basis.

Brave is a Princess connection but can also be just a character meet and greet, like Mary Poppins and such.
I still maintain (and probably in the minority) that while Disney has freely taken books from other countries and made them their own, few know these BOOKS from these countries and THAT is a powerful connection to the world.

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designedbydisney's picture
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Yes! Winnie the Pooh, Alice and Mary are great in the uk as are the Grimm princesses like snow white in Germany and the French princesses in France. Makes perfect sense is educational and great for the country's.

But I have to say story's like frozen and Aladdin don't work in the world and really don't help out the disney 'racist' issue. Aladdin is not from morocco, Anna and elsa are not from Norway. Hans Christian Andersen is Danish

Now I remember a TV special mr Michael Eisner (boo) did in the 90s just after lion king came out where he was saying 'this is a great African story (it isn't it's Japanese) and we are going to do story's for every country in the world."

And disney has a look of story's from all over the world it could add it but will it....... Probably not

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I think EPCOT needs an overhaul in a few areas. The countries are fine but the ones with movies DESPERATELY need to be updated. This would include France, Norway and China. These 3 have not been updated in at least 25 years and they are obviously very outdated. Canada was updated a while ago, but they still kept a lot of it, just changed the narration and added Martin Short.

The other thing I don't quite get is Innoventions. While some of the things are cool, it just seems like random things thrown together without any rhyme, reason or theme incorporated. It's a nice space to go and cool off for a while with plenty of seating and open areas, but it really doesn't make much sense to me. I like the make your own roller coaster ride but the line moves slow. Some of the "attractions" have been there for a very long time, again without being updated much. To me it seems like the space could be used more efficiently for something bigger.

Lastly, I never quite understood the big building between future world and World Showcase on the lake, I think it's called the Odyssey? We went in there to change our annual passes over one year, and there's lots of space, but again it seems so under utilized to me. I think there is or was a character greeting in there at one time, and a long time ago I remember it being used for corporate banquets, trainings or conferences. It seems like a great place for a nice restaurant or some better use of the space. Maybe I don't know the whole story but that's my perception.

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Disney is severly restricted in terms of what it can do with Marvel in the Orlando parks. That purchase was made primarily to get the movie business.

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The only things that Epcot needs are:

Update universe of Energy with same actors ( they are all still alive)

do something with wonders of life other then the events center

add a few more countries preferably Greece, Brazil and some African country

import the ratatouille ride from Disney Paris and put It in a side building between France and the international gateway.

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All that sounds good but Epcot is doing record numbers so they probably won't do anything for a while. They have their hands full with AK and DHS and DTD plans. They are also waiting to see the returns on new fantasyland and the magic handcuffs. And they are finding it harder to get sponsors for these things. I may be wrong, but I don't see anything happening at Epcot for a while.

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The Colonel wrote:
magic handcuffs

rolling rolling rolling

I had heard a report a few months ago that a major Imagineer was reassigned to EPCOT and it was suspected that his purpose was to overhaul Future World. We'll see if anything comes of that. From the rumblings I've heard around the web, I think a Star Wars takeover of some of the newly shuttered attractions at DHS is most likely the next big thing after Avatarland. If something is happening at EPCOT, I'm thinking that it's a longer-range plan, possibly featuring characters and concepts from movies that haven't even been released yet.

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It does appear that every park has or will be getting a major new component except Epcot. Future World does need some work. I would like to see more Marvel at Disney myself, my Universal was smart when designing the Marvel area of Islands of Adventures. They got Marvel to sign a forever contract saying no Theme Park within two hundred miles could have any type of Marvel attraction. Even when Disney puts movie advertisements on their Monorails for Marvel movies, the monorails cannot use the track that goes through Epcot. So far now, every other nDisney park can and is using Marvel, but as big a empire as Disney World is, they cannot.