Right now, anticipation is high among Walt Disney World fans, as Disney prepares to announce its full scale reboot of Disney’s Hollywood Studios and work on Pandora: The World of Avatar continues to move along. Though both of these projects won’t be complete for several more years (most insiders agree that Pandora will miss its 2017 target opening date and the reboot of Disney’s Hollywood Studios may not finish by the end of the decade), there is another park that will be getting some serious attention in the coming years: Epcot.
While Epcot isn’t getting a total reboot like Disney’s Hollywood Studios or a defined expansion like Disney's Animal Kingdom, a number of confirmed and rumored projects in development will bring some big changes to this park over the next several years. Here’s everything we know (and everything we don’t!) about the some of what you can expect to see at Epcot over the next three years (and beyond!)
1. A new theater and film for Soarin’
Expected completion date: Late 2016
Construction on the third Soarin’ theater has been underway for more than a year, but it was only recently that we learned that a new film will be making its debut when the new theater opens as well. Though it had been rumored for some time, last week’s Shanghai Disneyland reveal gave us our first look at ‘Soaring Over the Horizon’, which will eventually replace the current Soarin’ Over California film. This new film will fly over famous landmarks, which are expected to include the Grand Canyon, the Great Wall of China and more.
Though Shanghai will be getting this film first, and the edit for this park will feature more Chinese landmarks than the version coming to Walt Disney World, it looks like next year will see Soarin’ finally broadening its horizons. Though an official announcement hasn’t been made, we expect to learn more about this new film in the very near future.
2. An overhaul of the Imagination pavilion
Expected completion date: 2016/2017
Against all odds, Captain EO returned to the Imagination Pavillion this week. However, this return may not be for very long. Insiders have reported that the Magic Eye Theater will be receiving a new film in the very near future, possibly as soon as next year.
However, what will actually go in this theater remains to be seen. Rumors swirled last year that a Guardians of the Galaxy film was being considered for this space, but in lieu of the recent success of Pixar film Inside Out, some have suggested that a film featuring the various emotions from this film might instead be bound for the Magic Eye Theater.
Though a replacement of some sort for Captain EO is a near-certainty at this point, what is less certain is what may happen with Journey Into Imagination With Figment. Disney is said to be looking to extensively refurbish this attraction, but it won’t take the plunge until a new sponsor is found. And as we’ve seen in the past, sponsors can be hard to replace, which puts the future of this ride in doubt.