Epcot rumors! Let’s take a look at the park we all love and see if there’s anything to rumors about the Imagination pavilion at Epcot, as well as the current state of the attraction, and some other Future World news. We have lots of photos for you this week, so let’s get started!

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[img]http://datelinedisneyland.smugmug.com/Other/DDW/i-vbVkdkc/0/O/epcot-1.png[/img]

Welcome to Epcot!

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld07252013-IMG_4810.jpg[/img]

The turnstiles are still being installed in the center of the entrance.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld07252013-IMG_4808.jpg[/img]

This snack stand has returned after going behind walls, but it still wasn’t open.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld07252013-IMG_4811.jpg[/img]

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld07252013-IMG_4812.jpg[/img]

Over at the Starbucks construction, there really wasn’t anything new to see, either on the inside or outside.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld07252013-IMG_4813.jpg[/img]

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld07252013-IMG_4814.jpg[/img]

This past week, there have been some wild rumors about the Imagination pavilion.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld07252013-IMG_4815.jpg[/img]

I’ve heard multiple stories, but they all seem to agree on the fact that the pavilion will close in early January for a large scale refurbishment. Whether or not this means changing the dark ride portion of the show remains to be seen, but all the different rumors also seem to agree that Captain EO will see its final showings later this year.

I thought it would be fun to take a bunch of shots of the pavilion, especially inside the Imageworks play area, just to show how it is a shell of its former self, which is kind of an indicator that they might be doing something here soon.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld07252013-IMG_4819.jpg[/img]

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld07252013-IMG_4816.jpg[/img]

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld07252013-IMG_4817.jpg[/img]

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld07252013-IMG_4818.jpg[/img]

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld07252013-IMG_4820.jpg[/img]

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld07252013-IMG_4821.jpg[/img]

This area that used to print photos is basically gutted.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld07252013-IMG_4822.jpg[/img]

You can still get some Figment merchandise here.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld07252013-IMG_4823.jpg[/img]

But, most of the area is now occupied by Nerd Mickey and the Muppets.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld07252013-IMG_4824.jpg[/img]

Hopefully, if a refurbishment is happening, we’ll someday get to go up these steps again.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld07252013-IMG_4825.jpg[/img]

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld07252013-IMG_4826.jpg[/img]

The jumping fountains still draw a good sized crowd.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld07252013-IMG_4827.jpg[/img]

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld07252013-IMG_4828.jpg[/img]

Imagination is the classic monorail photo pavilion.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld07252013-IMG_4831.jpg[/img]

This sign barely ever gets adjusted.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld07252013-IMG_4832.jpg[/img]

I do hope that if they do this refurb that they lose the ultra bright colors and go back to something more like what the pavilion opened with.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld07252013-IMG_4833.jpg[/img]

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld07252013-IMG_4834.jpg[/img]

I enjoy this pathway that is now permanent thanks to the butterfly garden from Flower and Garden. It is pretty and there’s a nice Imagination photo op from a slightly elevated perspective here.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld07252013-IMG_4835.jpg[/img]

The exterior work that was being done on the Port of Entry shops is all finished now.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld07252013-IMG_4838.jpg[/img]

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld07252013-IMG_4839.jpg[/img]

This bag is pretty cool.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld07252013-IMG_4840.jpg[/img]

Hidden EPCOT30 merchandise in this location.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld07252013-IMG_4841.jpg[/img]

Right next to some interesting Mater plushes.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld07252013-IMG_4842.jpg[/img]

In between the two shops, there is still a wall with some work being done.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld07252013-IMG_4843.jpg[/img]

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld07252013-IMG_4844.jpg[/img]

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld07252013-IMG_4846.jpg[/img]

Since AP conversion is all finished now, the Odyssey is once again roped off. Sad, really.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld07252013-IMG_4847.jpg[/img]

I haven’t seen this open since Test Track reopened.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld07252013-IMG_4848.jpg[/img]

Remnants of Test Track 1.0.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld07252013-IMG_4849.jpg[/img]

Test Track had a 140 minute wait when I walked by. That is a lot.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld07252013-IMG_4851.jpg[/img]

Especially considering that right next door, Mission Space was 5 minutes for green and 15 minutes for orange.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld07252013-IMG_4852.jpg[/img]

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Universe of Energy also had almost no wait.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld07252013-IMG_4855.jpg[/img]

Innoventions has some interesting things, and the AC was on full blast this week, which was much needed.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld07252013-IMG_4856.jpg[/img]

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld07252013-IMG_4857.jpg[/img]

Sum of All Thrills had a 30 minute wait, which is so interesting seeing as it is an attraction that gets no advertising whatsoever.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld07252013-IMG_4858.jpg[/img]

I mention all these things because I feel like one of Epcot’s problems is its lack of big draws. Test Track and Soarin’ get humungous lines, and then everything else can basically be a walk on at any time of the day. For this reason, I hope the Imagination project is a go, and I hope it adds something that people really want to see to help distribute crowds throughout Future World. World Showcase does fine on its own with restaurants and liquor sales, but Future World very much feels lost.

This leads me to the last photo of the day. This is all the way to the left of the Epcot entrance, outside of security even. If you go there, you can quietly hear the background music playing, there is no sign of any Pixar characters, and it almost feels like the old school Epcot that many super fans pine for. If you ever want to get that feeling, check it out.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld07252013-IMG_4859.jpg[/img]

WAKEFIELD REPORT

We invite you to listen along to the latest Wakefield Report podcast on the MicePod . Chris discusses the top news nuggets of the week.

Well, that wraps things up for this week’s column. What are your thoughts on a possible Imagination refurbishment? Let us know in the comments!!

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If you enjoyed the column, especially the photos, and you want to check out more photos and tutorials on Disney photography, please check out my photo site, [URL=”http://www.DisneyPhotographyBlog.com”]Disney Photography Blog[/URL]. And if you like listening more than reading, you can hear us talk about Disney and photography on my podcast, [URL=”http://www.ISO5571.com”]ISO5571[/URL]