2016 is going to be a pretty good year for Epcot, as it will see the opening of three new attractions: Frozen Ever After, the Royal Sommerhus meet and greet, and Soarin' Around the World. Though we know that there have been discussions about a full reboot of this park (similar to what's in the works for Disney's Hollywood Studios, we're not quite there yet. 

However, while we're waiting for the future to hurry up and get here, some changes are being made around the park that could signal the direction Epcot may take in the future... 

1. Putting the past in Future World 

Image: Disney

Last year when the controversial decision was made to give the World Showcase's Norway pavilion a Frozen makeover, fans blasted the move as contrary to the World Showcase’s intrinsic function as a non-fiction representation of different cultures. Though fans can debate endlessly about whether or not this move will be good for the park long-term, the fact is that when Frozen Ever After and the Royal Sommerhus open next year, they will fundamentally change the dynamics and theme of the World Showcase forever by essentially turning Norway into the fictional land of Arendelle. Like it or not, the success of this move will open the door for more character implementation around the World Showcase, and we wouldn't be surprised if the next phase of Epcot reflects this shift. 

However, though we’ve had over a year to digest the changes to the World Showcase, a recent move by Disney in Future World suggests that some theming changes could be coming to Epcot’s front half in the near future as well.

Several days ago it was announced that the long-running Captain EO tribute would be ending its run at the Imagination pavilion this December. While that move isn’t terribly surprising, the confirmed replacement for this film, a collection of Disney and Pixar Short Films, was definitely unexpected. 

Though Captain EO presented guests with a vision of space travel that was uniquely tied to the 1980’s, it still fit in with the Future World theme, taking guests to a far off planet via space travel. However, the forward-looking perspective which is soo integral to the Future World theme simply isn't present in this new attraction, which essentially recycles old shorts and puts them in front of theme park audiences.

This unprecedented move brings characters to Future World in a way like never before, and brings up questions about how Disney could possibly transform Future World. Could this area, much like the World Showcase, be heading towards a synergistic character-infused future? This new attraction seems like a test of this idea, and we’d wager that if it proves popular, the “reinvention of Epcot” we keep hearing abou may transform the park into something a lot different than the Epcot we know now.  


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