A Look Around Future World at Epcot (Before They Level It and Start Over)

Back in November, Bob Chapek, the Disney Parks Chairman, announced that Epcot will be getting a "major transformation" that will be making the park "more Disney, timeless, relevant, family-friendly" while also keeping the original vision alive. He told his team of Imagineers to "dream big" when thinking of ideas. As many blue sky bloggers have been openly wishing for for years, we may actually see Epcot be fixed in our lifetimes. Rumors have the budget for this park-wide update to be something like $300-400 million, with a large part going towards Future World in particular.

Future World is in a strange place right now. Rides that were originally informative have become thrilling. Buildings that were meant to show off technologies of the future have become business sponsored expo halls and character meet and greets. The Health Pavilion is rotting away, only being used a couple of times a year for festivals. And Universe of Energy wins the award for most awkward ride re-skinning of all time, forever trapped in 1996, and featuring an outdated 1970s view of dinosaurs.

Last September "The Sum of All Thrills" closed at Innoventions, the last fun thing left to do in that building. Innoventions West is permanently closed already, and East has only two small exhibits remaining. It's only a matter of time before they close as well and the original CommuniCore buildings are completely gutted to make room for something, who knows what. Check out the video and photo report below for the current state of things as well as some of the many rumors floating around the Disney-sphere about what we might see materialize in the near future at the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.

Welcome to Epcot!
Land of Headstones with creepy faces
If they ever manage to get rid of (or relocate) the Leave a Legacy monoliths, I'd like to see how their new entryway and updated fountain would look. Rumors are they have a plan, its just a matter of time.
Epcot is also land of locked doors and closed entrances
Sorry, but this is the first thing you see when entering the central Hub of Future World now
The Innoventions/Communicore/Central Hub buildings all recieved a new coat of paint a couple years ago... I think they were going for paint swatches style. or perhaps just couldn't decide on a color scheme, so picked them all! Either way, somehow re-painting the area made it look even more retro like the 1980s.
Not long ago the ice cream parlor was turned into a Starbucks. This will most likely see an expansion as it's one of the more successful changes at Epcot
Do what you must to the park, but do NOT get rid of my free soda!
I'll walk by here five or six times a day to fill up on 12 little cupfulls of weird soda
You can get ride of Beverly though... On second thought, leave it, so I can watch others taste it for the first time.
I wonder if they'll do something with the Electric Umbrella restaurant? At very least it needs a new menu.
Welcome to Electric Umbrella, the best place to get the worst theme park food, in a park that happens to also serve the best theme park food in the world.
And of course there's the centerpiece to the central hub... Pin Trading stand! With weird awnings that offer no actual shade.
There's the MouseGear store
A gift shop so massive you'll need a map to navigate your way out
I haven't yet heard any rumors as to what will replace the stuff in the hub, only that the buildings themselves are in desperate need of some attention. Wiring and plumbing need to be replaced, in some cases having not been updated since the park opened in 1982
Rumors are strong that a new attraction based on a property like Pixar's Inside Out will be replacing the Imagination pavilion.
Personally I'd like to see the ride get (another) update that brings back Dreamfinder. A new Inside Out 4D movie would work well in the theater as well as a more permanent meet & greet location. If the ride goes, I want at least to see Figment and Dreamfinder come back as walk around characters, preferably at the park entrance, and Figment should remain the park's mascot, with or without a ride!
Things like The Land, Living Seas (with Nemo and Friends) and Test Track will probably remain untouched -or barely updated- as they've been given some attention lately that's helped to keep them popular
Mission: Space is due to get a new film and some folks are throwing around the idea of a Guardians of the Galaxy theme for the new version. I'd believe that before a coaster, especially since they can more easily swap out a ride film if Universal threatens to sue than remove an entire ride. Either way, the ride system will remain with the profile and film updated (and probably sooner than the other changes on the "horizon")
I know some people think this is a prime target to bring something new to the park, but from what I've heard, the old Health Pavilion will not be touched and will continue to be used (rarely) for festivals and private functions
Universe of Energy is going to be completely demolished. This as much as we can know for certain. The building is not worth keeping. I know rumors were abound recently for a Guardians of the Galaxy roller coaster, but I've more recently been hearing that the Tron Lightcycle coaster from Shanghai may be the winner. That ride feels futuristic, has already garnered great interest, looks amazing at night, and like Test Track did when it opened, can really add a dynamic feeling to a fairly dreary part of the park.
We may have seen height balloons over this building last year, but in no way does that prove that Guardians of the Galaxy is coming, only that Universe of Energy is going.

Checking out the last bit remaining of Innoventions
Even during the busy holiday crowds, this area was pretty quiet
There's only two exhibits currently available inside
Take a Nanooze Break offers hands on ways to look really really really close up at stuff
And Colortopia presented by Glidden makes you wanna buy paint and brushes real bad
Walking through the rest of the building... and there's nothing else
You can still see the Sum of all Thrills sign in the distance behind work walls, an actually fun attraction that closed September of last year
You said a mouthful
Looking outside of Future World and into the World Showcase, I think it's pretty clear that every country will be receiving some sort of Disney branded intellectual property added in some way. Bringing Anna and Elsa into Norway was a huge success.
And I really gotta hand it to Disney for bringing them in in such a respectful way. The overall look and feel of the area has not changed. It didn't suddenly become Fantasyland part 2 when Frozen Ever After opened. (It just got a little busier is all.)
Mexico's ride has already gotten the character treatment with the addition of Donald Duck and friends to the now titled Gran Fiesta Tour. With the new Pixar film Coco, inspired by the Mexican holiday Día de Muertos, due out this November strong rumors say the boat ride could once again get an update, again.
And of course, long before anyone ever announced that Epcot would be receiving funds to add more family friendly things to do, I have been begging the theme park Gods to bring the trackless Ratatouille ride to France in World Showcase. This ride, currently only in Disney Studios Paris, will fit in perfectly here.
The best news is, there's actually lots of room for a new ride in an unused expansion pad behind France, meaning it can be added without interfering with current offerings!
Epcot can only get so far by adding more Meet & Greets to empty buildings...
Or by adding enough festivals to cover every day of the year...
Epcot needs to offer something for everyone, have more re-ridable rides, get back to their roots and offer positive visions of the future in some capacity... and by all means, get rid of all the stupid fabric awnings that don't actually offer shade. Geez.

That's all for this update. Check out the recent Star Wars/Toy Story Land update as well as the last Avatar Land update and subscribe on YouTube to get new ride videos, construction updates and more every week!

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