We all know that Walt Disney World has a lot of projects in the pipeline. Though some of these projects have been in the works for some time, Disney has made an effort recently to capitalize on current IP trends to try and bring new experiences to the parks faster. For instance, the timeline for Star Wars Land was moved up to help capitalize on excitement for Disney’s new series of films. Toy Story Land was announced as a quick way to get more attractions into the downsizing Disney’s Hollywood Studios (and help promote the upcoming Toy Story 4 film). And of course we all know that Frozen's status as a mega-hit is directly related to the decision to quickly overlay Maelstrom, instead of taking the time to build a new attraction.
Though these three attractions are being developed and constructed as quickly as possible, Disney's efforts to speed up construction did not come without consequence. Because all of these projects are going on at once, some long in-development projects have had to have been delayed or shelved indefinitely. Though we might see some of these in the next decade, others could be delayed indefinitely...
1. A new nighttime show at Epcot
It may be hard to believe, but Illuminations has been lighting the night sky at Epcot for over 15 years now. Though this show continues to win awards, many feel that Illuminations is getting a little outdated, and isn’t keeping guests in the parks late into the evening in the same way it used to.
Late last year, rumors surfaced that a new fireworks show was in the works for Epcot that would combine new drone technology with pyrotechnics and light effects for a high-tech show that could give guests a truly unique experience. Though original reports indicated that this new show could make its debut in the next two years, ongoing construction at the parks (as well as the Rivers of Light nighttime show, which will debut at Disney's Animal Kingdom in 2016) have given this project a longer development window, possibly extending all the way until the resort’s 50th anniversary in 2021.
That date is also especially likely, as Toy Story Land, and more importantly Star Wars Land, should be completed by 2021 which will allow Disney to really focus on creating the best successor to Illuminations possible. Though it's certainly tough for Epcot fans to wait for this new show to appear, at least those that enjoy old school Illuminations can rest easy knowing that this show is safe for the next five years, at least.
2. Imagination pavilion overhaul
Even though the Illuminations nightly spectacular still holds up well after 15 years, one area of Epcot that is really starting to show its age is the Imagination pavilion. From the poorly-maintained Journey Into Imagination ride to the outdated Captain EO tribute film at the Magic Eye Theater, almost every inch of this pavilion needs to be refurbished.
Supposedly, there were plans to refresh this pavilion in the works as recently as several months ago. A new film based on either Guardians of the Galaxy or Inside Out was strongly rumored for the Magic Eye Theater, and a massive refurbishment was supposedly in the works for the Journey Into Imagination ride that would update the storyline and get rid of some of the ride’s more outdated elements.
However, there are two factors working against this project. First up is the aforementioned other construction projects happening around Walt Disney World, which have put a strain on Disney's resources and moved this project to the back burner. But perhaps more importantly, Epcot is reportedly looking for a sponsor for this pavilion, and won’t move forward on any improvements unless one is found.
The latter development might seem ridiculous at first (it's not like Walt Disney World is hurting for money), but it does makes sense, especially since Disney is spending a lot of its own money on development around the resort. If Disney can get a sponsor to cover the costs of fixing the Imagination pavilion, it will help offset the massive development costs incurred by their other projects currently happening around the resort, and will help keeps the parks at a healthy profit.