Walt Disney World has denied that it is planning to add a new country to Epcot's World Showcase, following rumors that at least one new addition is planned for the park's 30th anniversary in 2012.
A spokesperson for Disney told Central Florida News 13 that it has no plans to add additional countries to Epcot, and refused to be drawn on the company's plans for the park's anniversary. Despite this, the rumors are likely to persist following several separate recent reports touting the prospect of a new pavilion at World Showcase.
These include a claim from the Orlando Business Journal that an "insider" at Walt Disney World had revealed that Spain would be the 12th country to be added to World Showcase, with the new pavilion being located in the gap between the existing France and Morocco pavilions. In addition, a Screamscape reader claims to have taken part in a survey at Epcot which asked which country participants would most like to see added to the park - and which they would be least upset to see removed. This suggests that any new country may not be a new addition, but a replacement for an existing incumbent.
A more recent claim, also covered by Screamscape, is that Disney is considering expanding the existing Japan pavilion in addition to (or instead of) adding a new country. The Future World area of Epcot is also rumored to be set for an upgrade, with Universe of Energy or the defunct Wonders of Life pavilion being targeted for renovation.
World Showcase opened in 1982, featuring pavilions representing 9 countries - Mexico, China, Germany, Italy, USA, Japan, Morocco, France, the United Kingdom and Canada. Two additional pavilions, representing Norway and Moroccco, have since been added. The World's Fair-style pavilions contain rides, shows, shops and restaurants themed to reflect the culture of each nation.
Walt Disney originally envisioned Epcot as the centrepiece of his Florida resort. Rather than being a theme park, it was to be a utopian city in which people lived and worked developing the technologies of the future. The park's name derives from Disney's original title - the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (EPCOT). Though the concept was scaled back after Disney's death, the park still embraces his aims of celebrating international culture and showcasing cutting-edge technology.
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