Thursday, August 6, 2009

Feasible EPCOT Improvement #2

Finish World Showcase

Since nothing has been added to the World Showcase since 1988, one might be forgiven for thinking that it is finished, that everything planned for that area of the park was realized in some fashion. If that's what you think, click here. And here. As you can see, there were a whole boatload of World Showcase attractions that never saw the light of day. Now, I know that we'll never see a Venezuela pavilion with its aerial tram ride through the Amazon rainforest (although that would be a nice addition to Animal Kingdom, perhaps as part of an South American Rainforest-themed area that could replace Camp Minnie-Mickey), an Israel pavilion would be a huge security risk, and a lot of the stuff planned for Africa was incorporated into Animal Kingdom in some way, shape, or form. However, it would be nice if the attractions originally planned for the countries that already there were actually built.

Now, you're probably thinking that the addition of several E-ticket attractions at once is not a feasible improvement. Maybe you're right, but consider this: in the years since Michael Eisner scrapped most of EPCOT's Phase 2 projects in 1984, Disney has opened two new parks in on the Florida property, and built scores of new resorts there, too. Did they really lack the money to give Japan its bullet train, Germany its Rhine River cruise, and Italy its gondola ride/Roman ruin walk-thru? Is there any theme park anywhere, Disney or otherwise, with fewer attractions per acre than World Showcase? The Disney rumor mill is currently swirling with talk of a massive refresh of the Magic Kingdom's Fantasyland. To be sure, it's much-needed and long-overdue, but even though Florida's Fantasyland is small and anemic compared to its Anaheim counterpart, that small slice of the Magic Kingdom still has more attractions than the entire World Showcase!

Most adults don't seem to mind this very much, since the World Showcase provides dining (and drinking!) options that you just can't find in the other parks, but how do children, a key Disney demographic, fare there? Let's travel back to 1984 and see what kind of fun my sister and I had in Morocco:

There's NO place like World SHOW-case!

No wonder a whole generation of park visitors grew up believing EPCOT to be boring! I'm not suggesting that World Showcase be given the Licensed Disney Character treatment, but adding the rides that Germany, Japan, and Italy were always supposed to have would go a long way toward making the place more kid-friendly. After all,
in a place like Florida where summer lasts half the year, it's important to have regularly-spaced opportunities to get off your feet and out of the heat, especially when there are kids in your party.

Sure, World Showcase has the best live entertainment of any Disney park, but it could use some rides, too. Lots of Disney fans want to see new countries added, but I'd settle for some good attractions for the countries that are already there. They were on the drawing board, once. Isn't it time they became reality?


  1. I've been reading all your suggestions and agreeing with all of them also! You've become, for me, the go-to Epcot "critic" (though you're not really a critic, I suppose...more of a commenter...) Looking forward to number 1...Horizons? ;-)

  2. Wow Scott, that's ridiculously high praise that I definitely do not deserve! #1 is coming soon, and it may surprise you.

  3. I did qualify it by saying "for me". ;-) I always look forward to your entries on Epcot (and other things too) and Epcot Central and Reimagineering seem to be on hiatus again. I don't see too many others doing editorial type posts, and I really like yours. Thanks again.

  4. What can I say? Epcot is a place to spend time with family. The place has many attractive flowers that is surely relaxing.


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