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Though the Universe of Energy pavilion has been around since Epcot's opening in 1982, this pavilion has changed a lot over the years. Currently home to the sparsely-attended Ellen’s Energy Adventure, many have wondered if Disney could be considering making some changes to this pavilion in the future to bring guests back to this area of Future World (which is also home to the former Wonders of Life building, which is now only open for half the year as the Festival Center). 

Just last year, rumors began to circulate about a potential plan to demolish the Universe of Energy to build a Guardians of the Galaxy attraction of some sort. And while we have no idea if this is still a viable option, it looks like plans are finally coming together to replace this pavilion with…something

It all started with a permit

Like with pretty much every major Walt Disney World project, this new project has been quasi-confirmed via a permit. Local news source WFTV is reporting that The Walt Disney Company has filed a permit application with the South Florida water management district that covers 1.2 million square feet in this part of the park, including the attraction building itself, as well as the area directly behind it. And though the permit doesn’t have specifics about the project, it does detail a plan to to fill in a canal and pave part of the forest directly behind the attraction on the eastern edge of the Epcot parking lot.The drainage design documents that were filed state that the purpose of this project is “to provide a more-contiguous area for possible future changes to parking capacity and back of house areas.” The plans do not mention any demolition to the existing structures.

And while these developments may make you feel a little skeptical about this project, there's a bit of a smoking gun here as it has been reported that an official Walt Disney Imagineering email is included in the application documents. So what could Disney be planning for this area? 

Could Disney be preparing for a big "plus"?

One of the biggest things we noticed in the original permit application was the fact that Disney is looking to build out the current Universe of Energy building, but interestingly there aren't any plans to actually demolish it. With this in mind, it looks increasingly likely that Disney will be trying to keep the current Universe of Energy building in tact while they make improvements and expansions to the structure for whatever attraction they end up putting in this spot. 

This type of strategy is actually in line with other recent Disney projects like Frozen Ever After and Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission BREAKOUT, which both also made changes to existing structures to deliver "new" ride experiences. And considering the Universe of Energy show building is huge (despite its diminutive entrance) Disney would have plenty of space for an ambitious project here, especially if they are looking at expanding this building for whatever they are planning here. And speaking of... 

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Comments

... still waiting for that wonders of life to reopen... from ten years ago. Or horizons??? Where is that replacement? Once Epcot closes something, it is unlikely to return.

Something is going to happen, but maybe not for a few years. MK got a new fantasy land; AK got Pandora; DHS is getting Star Wars and Toy Story lands reportedly by 2019; therefore it's likely an overhaul of EPCOT will happen next.

For an attraction called "Universe of Energy", it's ironic that I'll probably miss the air conditioning the most. I appreciate the sentiment and message of the ride, but it definitely needs an upgrade to both the film and dinosaur diorama.
I still believe replacing UoE with Guardians shouldn't happen. It'd cost hundreds of millions to convert the building into a thrill ride - money that Disney currently has invested in developing Star Wars and Toy Story. Also, a Guardians ride would ruin the themeing of EPCOT/Future World as well - far worse than Frozen or Finding Nemo have. The Norway and Living Seas pavilions still exist after their ride redesigns, whereas Guardians would completely gut the theme of its pavilion entirely!

This pavilion needs some love. A simple overlay won't do, because the biggest problem is that it is too darned long. If the ride had been, say, five minutes of dinosaurs and ten minutes of lecture, it would have been way more popular. Roughly forty-five minutes to be dragged past middle-school level science lessons is too much to ask of people on vacation.

While I adore Guardians of the Galaxy, I agree that it really wouldn't fit in with the Future World theming. Now Tron, on the other hand, would be a better fit. Since the Tron world takes place inside computers and the internet, it has enough of a science link to make a case for it.

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