Disney confirmed a major update is coming to Epcot late last year, but has since been tight-lipped on what those plans would include.
Early speculation included varying updates throughout Future World including a possible Guardians of the Galaxy thrill ride, updates to Mission: Space, a complete redo of the Imagination pavilion, and new landscaping.
Over in World Showcase, the rumours mostly circled around the Ratatouille trackless dark ride currently at Disney Studios Paris being cloned in the France pavilion, Pixar’s new movie Coco being overlaid on the boat ride in Mexico, and updates to China.
Now we’re getting more details on what else we can expect as part of this update to make Epcot “more Disney, timeless, relevant, family-friendly.”
Both industry insider Jim Hill and numerous (mostly) reliable leakers on the WDWMagic.com forums have aligned their stories in recent days regarding rumours of two new pavilions coming to World Showcase.
The stronger of the two is Spain, based in part by the new Walt Disney animated film Gigantic. On a recent episode of the Disney Dish podcast, Jim Hill explains, “The only reason why Spain has gone from an “if” to a “when” is Gigantic. They know that this is a film set in Spain, and it’s a fairytale, and it’s the Frozen people, it’s the Tangled people. It’s sure to be popular.”
The music for the film is being done by the duo behind “Let it Go” while the movie is being co-directed by the writer of Inside Out and the director behind Tangled. Few details have been leaked regarding the new pavilion, other than an attraction based on the animated film.
Spain was actually one of four countries that were announced prior to Epcot opening in 1982. On opening day, there was even signage in the parking announcing the future site of the pavilion. But just like the other countries that were announced prior to the opening, Israel, Venezuela, and Equatorial Africa, Spain was never realized.
The second rumoured new pavilion is Brazil. Dusty Sage, the Executive Director of both the Walt Disney Birthplace and the Dick Van Dyke Foundation, gave hints of a South American country being added to the World Showcase line-up on a recent episode of the MiceChat podcast. While talk of Brazil being added has heated up in the past few days, the rumours date back to 2011 when a Brazilian newspaper ran with the story.
Brazil was back in the spotlight in 2014 when a well-known Disney insider leaked supposed concept art of the new pavilion on the WDWMagic forums. In that image, we see what looks to be a carnival celebration with a model of the Christ the Redeemer statue in the background.
Other reported updates to World Showcase include a new family-friendly experience in the United Kingdom and the gondola station just outside of the International Gateway entrance. A new secondary entrance may also be constructed near China connecting the park to the Caribbean Beach resort across the street.
According to WDW ThemeParks, who tracks Disney World rumours, the Epcot timeline could stretch over many years with the first major updates opening in time for WDW’s 50th Anniversary in 2021.