Disney has gotten a lot of criticism in recent years (and perhaps deservedly so) for taking out original park characters and content and replacing them with attractions and/or overlays based on movies (see Frozen taking over Maelstrom or Stitch's Great Escape replacing Alien Encounter). However, it looks like, in at least one upcoming instance, Disney is actually doing the opposite, replacing a long-running movie tie-in attraction with an original experience created just for Disney Parks!
As some Disney parks fans may recall, The Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable was a film that played in The Land pavilion for over 20 years. While this short film was effective at getting its message of conservation across in a kid-friendly way two decades ago, many complained that the 70mm film was outdated, and in 2018, Disney closed this attraction forever, with many reporting that the theater space that formerly housed this attraction was going to be converted into backstage Disney performing arts rehearsal space, which would be permanently tucked away from guest view.
However, though we thought this was the end of the story for this under-used Epcot theater space, Disney surprised us this week by announcing that a new original film for The Land pavilion's Harvest Theater is being produced and will be coming to the park soon!
Introducing Awesome Planet, coming soon to Epcot
Earlier this week Disney announced Awesome Planet, a brand new original film especially designed for Epcot, which is officially described like this:
An on-screen exploration of the realm we call home, showcases the spectacular beauty, diversity and dynamic story of our earth with all the grandeur guests have come to expect.
With spectacular nature photography, immersive in-theater effects, and space sequences created by none other than Industrial Light & Magic (which provided the cinematic foundation for the Star Wars franchise), “Awesome Planet” will stir Epcot guests and deliver an environmental message that will resonate far beyond its final scenes.
Of course, this description is fairly general and vague, but the concept behind this new film still sounds really interesting and the ecologically-friendly message in Awesome Planet is definitely something that will align with the overall theme of the Land Pavilion, but will hopefully feel more up-to-date than its Lion King-themed predecessor. We're also excited about the prospect of the Harvest Theater being upgraded to facilitate the special effects detailed above in the description of the new show.