With the return of Captain EO, EPCOT’s Imagination pavilion is once again the subject of rumors. Cast members working at the pavilion have been telling people that Kodak’s 28-year sponsorship is coming to an end, and this rumor is being repeated on more than one message board. Others speculate that Captain EO’s return might refocus attention on this otherwise neglected pavilion, perhaps leading to that long-awaited fourth refurbishment. What’s really happening? I haven’t the slightest idea; as I’ve said in the past I’m not a Disney insider, just a blogger with opinions. That being said, here are my opinions:
Whenever an EPCOT pavilion loses its corporate sponsor, there are always fears that it will close. It happened to Horizons and Wonders of Life, after all. Other pavilions have simply been ignored. After AT&T left Spaceship Earth, for example, the post-show area was left vacant and maintenance was badly neglected. So, will Imagination close if/when Kodak leaves? Personally, I think that the 3-D theater will remain open, but the ride-thru attraction could very well close. It’s not like Dr. Nigel Channing has a devoted fanbase.
However, it must be noted that EPCOT’s busiest pavilion, The Land, is sponsorless, yet it continues to be well-maintained. And lackluster though it was, the fact is that the Seas pavilion was refurbished without a corporate sponsor. Universe of Energy, too, lacks a corporate sponsor yet continues to operate. It even receives regular maintenance (although there appears to be no update on the horizon for its woefully-outdated show). So, it’s not inconceivable that the Imagination pavilion could get its sorely-needed rehab even if Kodak leaves.
However, Disney World is currently in the midst of a huge addition to the Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland that won’t be completed until around 2013. Over at the Studios, Star Tours is finally getting its first upgrade ever (please no Jar-Jar cameos!) and the rumor mill strongly indicates that a new Monsters Inc.-themed coaster will be moving in next to Toy Story Midway Mania. Where does that leave our poor neglected Imagination pavilion? Who knows? If we do get Imagination 4.0, it probably won’t be until sometime after Fantasyland is finished. Until then, my personal outlook on the situation is decidedly pessimistic.
Nevertheless, I will make this promise: IF Imagination 4.0 is ever officially announced, and IF enough confirmed details about the project emerge to lead me to conclude that it will definitely be a worthy successor to the 1983 original, then I will react to the news something like this:
. . . and the ridiculous scene I make will be recorded and posted on YouTube for all the Internet to see. Of course, I will also link to the video on this blog and on the message boards I frequent.
So there you have it, Team Disney Orlando. Do you want to see me jumping all over the place, hooting and hollering like a fool? Then you’d better get cracking on Imagination 4.0!