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Epcot

We’ve spent a lot of time talking about how Disney’s Hollywood Studios is essentially turning into a different park with its numerous attraction closures, removal of the park icon, and potential new name. However, Disney's Hollywood Studios isn't the only park set to go through some major changes in the near future. 

Epcot may not be undergoing a drastic transformation like its sister park, but a number of new projects are transforming it into something that will be quite different than the Epcot you can visit today. Here are three big ways that the new Frozen ride as well as the Soarin' expansion will change Epcot as we know it.    

1. Frozen will change operating procedures at the World Showcase

Frozen

We've talked before about how introducing a fictional character-based ride will change the overall theme of the World Showcase. However, that's not the only modification this ride will be bringing to the area, as it will also change the way that guests enter and get around the World Showcase.

Assuming Frozen fever hasn’t cooled by 2016, the Norway pavilion will likely swell in the same way it did when the ladies of Frozen had their meet and greet in the area, with queues for the attraction spilling over into nearby pavillions. As a result, one of two things will likely happen; either a queuing area will pop up at the entrance of the World Showcase or, as we have predicted before, the World Showcase will begin opening earlier. Either way, the presence of a Frozen ride in the moderately-sized Norway pavillion will necessitate a change in the way the World Showcase operates on a daily basis, and that change will likely be permanent. 

2. Soarin’ expansion will ease Future World congestion 

Soarin'

Though traffic in the World Showcase is about to take off, it looks like the reverse is about to happen in Future World. Not only will the Frozen ride drive traffic away from this area in general, The Land pavilion will also be getting some much needed congestion relief in the form of the Soarin’  expansion. Construction has already begun on a third theater behind the current two, in the hope that giving this attraction a capacity upgrade will help ease congestion in this area and get guests out of the Soarin' line (where standby waits in excess of two hours are not uncommon) and onto other attractions. 

Tests run over the summer seem to hint at the possibility that one of the three theaters could be converted to FastPass+ only, similar to what has been rumored to be happening with the third track for Toy Story Midway Mania over at Disney's Hollywood Studios. However, some poor results from the FastPass+ only test at that very attraction may actually make this a less likely possibility.

Though the new film that is rumored to accompany the third theater's debut will likely spur an uptick in traffic, the increased capacity should be able to handle the crowds and will likely achieve its goal of getting wait times down by significant margins, even as more guests flock to the attraction. 

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Comments

I think it's likely that the Frozen ride will be Fast Pass only. Maelstrom wasn't the most popular ride in Epcot by a long way, yet because it loaded quite slowly the lines could get long quickly. Seeing as the ride mechanism isn't going to change the loading times won't, and without Fast Pass I could see the wait times for Frozen running to 4 or five hours easily in popular times.

I would love to see Journey Into Imagination change back into it's former glory, but maybe with a modern twist, or at least have Dreamfinder and Figment minus Nigel and the whole labcoat setup, bringing back an actual imagination theme again. We want to feel like we're floating around inside the mind, and not mission space style. Epcot needs lots of updates.

More rides in the world showcase. The Rhine river cruise. It would be cool if figment would be made over to Charlie and the chocolate factory. I would love to be able to walk in the pyramid again.

Tests run over the summer seem to hint at the possibility that one of the three theaters could be converted to FastPass+ only, similar to what has been rumored to be happening with the third track for Toy Story Midway Mania over at Disney's Hollywood Studios. --- this is the future of all of WDW attractions.

Instead of putting the Frozen ride in Norway, why not use the vacant Wonders of Life pavilion. I think they would have more flexibility there then in the smaller area in the Norway pavilion. They could make the whole pavilion, even the outside Frozenesque like! Just a thought!

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