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
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
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.