New permits imply changes coming to Epcot

Posted Friday, June 23, 2017 8:06 AM | Contributed by Jeff

The South Florida Water Management District issued a new permit this month for canal modifications that allow Walt Disney Parks and Resorts to build and operate a new stormwater management system on the northeast side of Epcot. The plan is to reconfigure an existing canal to “to provide a more contiguous area for possible future changes to parking capacity and back of house areas within Walt Disney World's EPCOT Center,” according to a staff report included with the permit.

Read more from The Orlando Sentinel.

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Friday, June 23, 2017 8:09 AM
Jeff's avatar

I don't know if he posts here anymore, but Rick's columns sure do engage in hyperbole and linkbait headlines lately (mission accomplished, I guess). Epcot hardly needs "saving." I'd love to see some new things there, but come on, the crowds during the festivals are insane. People seem to dig it just fine.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Saturday, June 24, 2017 1:56 AM

He's become unreadable. You chastised him earlier this year and his columns have only gotten worse.

Must be an editorial decision

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Saturday, June 24, 2017 9:33 AM

So what if Epcot's attendance figures get surpassed by Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios? The four Disney parks are not in competition with each other. Rick's article makes it seem like changes at Epcot are right around the corner. The permit Disney filed expires in 2022.

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Saturday, June 24, 2017 10:39 AM

I'm with Jeff on Epcot; and I'm not sure where some of this doom and gloom is coming from.

Epcot to me isn't about the rides. And while it's always fun to take a spin on Soarin or a loop around Spaceship Earth (one of my favorites), I've gone to Epcot plenty of times and didn't ride a thing. Love me some Food & Wine and even Flower & Garden has grown on me a tad since it is basically a F&W lite.

I'm sure that there will be additional expansion there at one point, but Epcot is my favorite park and I have no real complaints other than the drink prices keep on rising.

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Saturday, June 24, 2017 12:53 PM

I think the idea is that while Adults are loving F&W and F&G festivals, there is a decided effort to keep Epcot from completely turning into the Drinking park. (those are my words). At this point it seems like the decision has been made (and probably rightly so) to put characters in the park and "disney" it up. After 35 years of trying to convince us it's a World's fair, I can see where that conceit has reached the end of the road. While adults may love Epcot, it's still a hard sell for little kids, boys especially, who don't care for Anna and Elsa. Let's not forget that Disney is in a very serious battle with Universal now to capture guests and heads in beds, which is now bumping up on the maximum number of days a family can spend in the parks on a typical American vacation. With Universal truly becoming a 3 day resort (4 if you include their new water park), and with them seriously amping up the number of hotel rooms they have, you don't want to be in the position of having one of your four parks not appeal to the younger set who are going to be screaming for Harry Potter and Mario, and thus you need to do whatever to make sure that that your combination of parks/hotels is the winner in the family discussion of "well we can't do it all, so let's choose."

Honestly I haven't been to Epcot in probably 10 years, so I haven't kept up with it, but it seems like there is a lot of underutilized current infrastructure/dead space, and we all know there is plenty of expansion space.

Given the size of that park, and the volume of people that it "could" hold, it's obviously primed for expansion that will help utilize infrastructure that is sitting idle. You've got the entire communicore/innoventions area that are essentially wasted space, within the confines of a very large park, and Imagination and Wonders of Life are, well, at this point, almost embarrassments. Aren't there also some F&B outlets that are "seasonal" (the old Odyssey)?

You can absolutely believe a new Illuminations show is coming. And after World of Color's success, and the history/importance of Illuminations, you can be assured that it will be a big production. I would venture to guess that it's going to be a 9 figure investment. Yes, you read that right. After that will undoubtedly be a drop in of an attraction for the France pavilion, (the current worst kept secret in Florida), something Guardians to replace Ellen, removal of the tombstones and something to make the entrance no longer look quite like the Future as designed by Republicans in 1977. Ripping out the the entire former Communicore/Innovention frees up a ton of space, even it's only used for F&B, retail, or other "placemaking".

Epcot is a huge canvas, and while it's not a "failed" park like California Adventure was, it's obvious that there is a lot of money left on the table there, and after the other three parks have had their expansion and upgrades, it's time for Epcot.

Edited:

Last edited by CreditWh0re, Saturday, June 24, 2017 1:18 PM
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Saturday, June 24, 2017 1:50 PM

It looks like everyone is talking about a Ratatouille ride again.

Personally, I would love to see this ride come to Epcot and it certainly does fit well. Especially since they are starting to bring more and more IPs to the park.

(Note: aside from the Frozen overlay at the Norway pavilion, I heard somewhere that the new Coco film coming out this fall will lead to major changes at the Mexico pavilion).

Just for the sake of fun, here is a list of possible IP's for the rest of World Showcase:

Mexico: Coco (rumored)

Norway: Frozen (done)

China: Mulan

Germany: Tangled / Snow White

Italy: Pinocchio

America: Muppets? I think that would be the best fit

Japan: Big Hero 6

Morocco: Aladdin

France: Ratatouille (rumored)

UK: Alice in Wonderland (Please!!!!)

Canada: I can't imagine Disney would dare to, but from the theming of the land, I'd say Pocahontas.

I would be a little sad to see the old charm of these pavilions go, but to be fair, they really need a refresh right now... Anyway, regardless of what happens, Orlando's future looks bright!


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Saturday, June 24, 2017 3:40 PM

Brother Bear was a 2003 Disney film with a Canadian environment and characters. (Anyone?...anyone?...)
Also Zootopia featured a Canadian character, Peter Moosebridge.

Ok, let's go with Pocahontas...

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Saturday, June 24, 2017 4:07 PM
TheMillenniumRider's avatar

I always liked Epcot because it wasn't loaded with IP. However, future world is a difficult park section to maintain because the future is constantly changing, by the time you refurbish its already dated.

I enjoy the greenhouse tour in The Land, I like Soarin, Test Track, Mission Space, and Spaceship Earth. However I guess that with Universal seriously upping their game as of late (Enough to grab a four night hotel stay and park tickets from me this August), Disney needs to compete also, which is a benefit for all of us in the end anyway.

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Saturday, June 24, 2017 5:00 PM
slithernoggin's avatar

I love me some Epcot, but aside from a quick detour to Soarin', I speed through Future World to get to World Showcase. Especially during the Food & Wine Festival. It could stand to be updated.


Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
-- Groucho Marx

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Saturday, June 24, 2017 9:07 PM

Brother Bear?! Why Rutt and Tuke of course ! (beauty, eh) Out looking for some tasty twigs and moosettes.....

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Saturday, June 24, 2017 9:55 PM
Jeff's avatar

How is Disney battling with Universal? If you believe the TEA/AECOM report (I'm skeptical, knowing genuine numbers at various points), attendance is slightly down, but there is no question that per capita spending and room rates are up. Double digit growth at Universal has mostly coincided with growth at Disney.

I also don't get the constant expression of fans that Epcot needs to be fixed. Yes, Future World is a little weak, sure. I'm still willing to bet that Epcot not only has the best per caps, but also the highest margins. They had the largest lot (before the speedway was removed), and they have still had to park people in the grass part of the year. It sure is busy for a place that isn't popular.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Sunday, June 25, 2017 12:26 PM
TheMillenniumRider's avatar

I wouldn't say battling in the traditional sense, they have an odd relationship. If one park draws in visitors it can help the other, since if you spend a week in Orlando, why not check out both? However for those who are not taking a full week, or are taking on a few nights at the end of a cruise it is a bigger competition. For these shorter trips, it will generally be one or the other. Universal is not a full week resort yet, however with their opening of VB they can be a solid 4 day resort, maybe 5 depending on the group, they can also be seen in fewer days, so Universal is the logical choice if you are on a time constraint and want to see everything.

Universal is certainly the better choice for older kids, however for adults either can be great. Small kids goes to Disney hands down.

Many travelers look at Disney as a premium product, something to do right, and not very often. They take a longer term vacation and spend the time to see all of Disney.

I believe Universal and Disney are in direct competition for short term stays, and those with older kids. I think Disney is in a totally different market for those families with young kids, and looking to spend a week+ at one place with a resort feel.

Locals can change the game significantly as I don't think either park is in competition for the local market, there are plenty of visitors and often they hold passes to both resorts.

Last edited by TheMillenniumRider, Sunday, June 25, 2017 12:27 PM
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Sunday, June 25, 2017 12:45 PM
OhioStater's avatar

So, our first trip in decades to WDW was 3 years ago, with a follow-up trip last year, just missing the Frozen ride opening by about a month. On the previous visit, we had done all 4 parks, and on the last visit we actually chose to focus on just Epcot and Magic Kingdom (we were staying for 4 days, so 2 days in each park); the flower/garden festival was starting, so it was a great time to focus on more Epcot.

The countries are just glorious. Now that the Frozen ride is in full swing, I suppose if anything I could see maybe one more nice-sized "tier 1" attraction getting added; perhaps Ratatouille in France or something similar; if only just to add some balance with regards to attractions on that side. Other than that, I would say leave it alone. The food, music, entertainment, atmosphere...all wonderful.

But, on the other side (future world)...

I would say it's more of a "face-lift" that's needed more than a total overhaul and expansion, with upgrades in existing locations. Ellen has to go (sorry, Ellen)...Coral Reef restaurant could use a refurb to bring it out of 1987, Figment's imagination area...well...that could stand to simply to redone entirely....but that's about it. So Ellen (which is obvious) and the Imagination area (which is just my opinion).

Last edited by OhioStater, Sunday, June 25, 2017 1:09 PM
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Sunday, June 25, 2017 1:48 PM

Jeff said:

They had the largest lot (before the speedway was removed), and they have still had to park people in the grass part of the year. It sure is busy for a place that isn't popular.

Nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded.

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Friday, June 30, 2017 7:39 AM

Jeff said:

How is Disney battling with Universal? If you believe the TEA/AECOM report (I'm skeptical, knowing genuine numbers at various points), attendance is slightly down, but there is no question that per capita spending and room rates are up. Double digit growth at Universal has mostly coincided with growth at Disney.

I also don't get the constant expression of fans that Epcot needs to be fixed. Yes, Future World is a little weak, sure. I'm still willing to bet that Epcot not only has the best per caps, but also the highest margins. They had the largest lot (before the speedway was removed), and they have still had to park people in the grass part of the year. It sure is busy for a place that isn't popular.

Personally I love Epcot. Yes, the 'local' merchandise in the world showcase is hugely marked up, but you expect that in a theme park. Doesn't stop us buying at least one thing every visit. Nothing nicer than a stroll at dusk around world showcase.

It's no secret that the competition going on between disney and universal is a friendly one, as what brings guests to one inevitably brings guests to the other. Shoot me for saying it, but it wouldn't surprise me if more UK guests visit than US ones, and we stay for longer because a) over here we are guaranteed a minimum of 20 paid vacation days per year so there's no salary sacrifice for not being at work for 2 weeks and b) airfare is damn expensive and jetlag is a biatch so we make the most of it and stay longer. As a result disney, seaworld, universal and busch offer some great UK only deals and with the right package we get unlimited access to all parks for the entire two week trip.

My wife gets 32 days paid holiday per year, and while I only get 20 i'm allowed as much unpaid as I like - as a result we normally go to florida for three weeks each year (although this year we did 2 weeks in LA. never again.). Because we're regular visitors we tend to float around the parks as and when we feel, never do a full day from gate open to gate close and often do multiple parks in a day.

Last year we didn't even go to Universal simply because their over-zealous loose articles policy we encountered in 2015 which meant anything at all in your pockets had to go in a locker including your wallet. Then the CM's opening up lockers for people who had overstayed their time and needing to get to their wallet to pay for it, but not asking what was in the locker as a proof of content ownership. Anybody could have taken my rental car keys, phone, wallet, passport, and most shocking of all, my overpriced bottle of coca cola. Unless they've changed this we won't go again, as it certainly was nothing like that in prior years. We may consider a morning or afternoon if and when they open something worthwhile losing half a day to but it's no longer on our must-do list, even with a couple of great rides in each park (love me some bilge rat barges on a hot day)

We go to Seaworld (the "don't forget me guys" park) and Busch (the "brooding goth teenager" of the florida family) regularly - SW has some great rides and is an easy drop in park when you want a quick coaster fix, especially later in the day.

Pretty sure I've gone off on a total tangent from my original point.... yay epcot?? Ratatouille in Paris is a blast, it would be great to see something like it here. Tron from Shanghai could go into Future World quite happily, or even go ultra-meta on it and put it in China. Pocahontas I doubt they'd do as it would inevitably be another dark boat ride...

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