Big Changes Coming to Epcot Entertainment

Written by Cory Disbrow. Posted in Dateline Disney World, Epcot, Walt Disney World

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Published on September 03, 2014 at 3:00 am with 41 Comments

About Cory Disbrow

Cory likes Walt Disney World so much, he recently packed his bags and moved to Orlando. Cory is a photographer and writes MiceChat's Dateline Disney World columns every Friday.

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  • http://micechat.com Dusty Sage

    I know that a lot of fans are upset about the entertainment changes at Epcot, but I think keeping entertainment fresh is essential. The problem is how it was handled. Instead of swapping individual acts from time to time, they are doing a whole bunch all at once. When folks fall in love with an act, change is hard. This seems to be a case of too much change all at once. But as long as the new acts are good, all should be well in the long run.

  • MyFriendtheAtom

    Thanks for the Maelstrom photos, theres not many of them out there.

    The gentrification of EPCOT is truly sad

    • Co Foo

      Gentrification? Is a low-income community being replaced by a high-income community?

  • SpectroMan

    Thanks Cory, I arrive tomorrow and will be doing the same thing – photographing as much of Maelstrom as possible just in case. The new entertainment could be good, although the current stuff is good, too so even though the spin will be “we wanted to keep it fresh”, I’m sure it has to do with money, too.

    Spice Road – what are they going to do? Beautiful place, great view, and OK food I thought – what does it take to get middle America to try something new for a change? Is it the prices?

    • disneytom

      I think that Spice Road and Morocco is going to have a rough road ahead considering all the ISIS press these days. I’m not trying to be political but you can’t tell me that this isn’t having some impact at one level or another.

      • danyoung

        And I can’t believe that most people give a crap about world politics when selecting a dining location in Epcot.

  • JiminyCricketFan

    While I think that new shows is good, Epcot really needs bigger changes than this. There needs to be a new evening fireworks show. There needs to be more ride options in the park, both in the World Showcase and in Future World. Epcot is a great park, but it needs to feel like something exciting is coming. The small show changes are just not enough. Harry Potter is just more exciting right now.

  • Dan Heaton

    I agree with the previous comment. When I think of keeping things “fresh” at EPCOT, my attention is on Energy, Imagination, the Wonders of Life building, etc. The way they handled the World Showcase entertainment was poor like you mention, and it just seems like Disney is actively trying to anger its devoted fans. That’s rarely a wise idea. They’re essentially the prophets who give them free advertising through blogs, word of mouth, and helping friends plan trips.

  • TheBig2na

    If Disney does nothing they are stale. If they change something there is outrage that a beloved attraction or act is leaving. They are truly in a no win situation in cases like this. Many people could care less, but to others its like their entire trip will be ruined without Off Kilter. It always sucks when something you really like leaves though.

    • Darth Goofy

      The trend is that WDW takes away more than they add lately, And most wonder if these shows will get replaced or disbanded with nothing in return or mediocre replacements. Valid concerns to boot!! Especially when they are must see shows that guests return to with every visit. Hopefully there will be great replacements,

  • Claybob

    The last visit to WDW I spent way more time in EPCOT than in the Magic Kingdom. Even though EPCOT needs help, it still is my favorite park there on property. I just love EPCOT! But…Off Kilter is leaving? Say it isn’t so! They are my first stop in EPCOT…and usually my last stop before night time sets in! It’s a good thing I got all my CD’s and my Off Kilter fix when I did. I’m going to miss them. Disney, you are shooting yourself in the foot!

  • a-mad

    I’ve always thought Off Kilter was extremely talented, highly enjoyable and wildly popular – but I never quite understood how they fit the theme of Canada. The songs they play were more Celtic than anything, plus they wore kilts on occasion too, right? We always complain if something doesn’t fit thematically within a certain land/country in the Disney parks – but then we complain that Disney is canceling their contract and replacing it with a lumberjack show… which certainly fits the theme better….?

    Having said that, I really enjoy the band, and I do believe they will be sorely missed – and I’ve never had an issue with their placement…its just interesting how our reasoning and arguments change depending on the situation.

    As Dusty said – its good to keep things fresh, and hopefully the new entertainment is just as strong, or better, than what it replaced. We’ll have to see…

  • daveyjones

    “Hopefully the ride changes won’t change too much of the merchandise and food locations.” you were being funny here, right? because i found this hilarious.

    • PhonyKingOfEngland

      I whole-heartedly agree. In fact, when this whole project ends, Norway will probably be renamed the Arendelle pavilion.

    • Darth Goofy

      You mean the rumored Frozen Cash Grab overlay of Maelstrom…the merchandise will change drastically..

  • tooncity

    I’ve never heard of this Off Kilter. Not once. It’s just a show, let it rotate out for something new. Just because a show is popular for the same group of people without grow to new audiences then it should go.

    Maelstrom overlay with Frozen. Folks have been chirper about this since the movie came out. Disney is SLOW to remake/overlay/change current attractions to meet market demand. Folks on this site have been wishing for Disney to do this, yet Disney hasn’t created an attraction based on a recent hit movie in 20 years. They don’t do that anymore. Maelstrom. will remain the same, no matter how many people insist that they will. You’re dreaming folks.

    As a paying customer the most your deserve is a meet n greet with are cardboard background. Now, hand over the money in your wallet.

    • Marko50

      Never heard of Off Kilter? I haven’t been to WDW in over two decades and I’VE heard of Off Kilter. Many times.

  • Skimbob

    Does the movie Cars ring any bells. It seems to me there is a whole land based on that movie.

    • tooncity

      Thank you for making my point. DCA is a UGLY, cheap park, that was only attended by *ssholders. That means NO paying customers. In Disney speak, NO WALLETS. It took them 8 years after the movie. That’s a LONG time. Universal, Warner Movie World, FOX theme parks all move much faster to install rides based on hit movies.

      You guys in Dated World, got it really bad. You got a cheap CARS overlay on an already cheap hotel. Big deal. You guys want Cars you have to walk around a hotel…….Really! Are you really satisfied with THAT? Are you really defending THAT.

      Disney doesn’t do anything endless they HAVE too. Do the park number say they have to rebuild and tear out the Norway thing, NO. What BoringCot will get, will be a FROZEN Meet N Greet in front of a cardboard cut out. Lots of shops. Boy they will theme those stores, that’s for sure. Anything to get you to spend money, except actual attractions with some true Magic to them. Better use your Magic Bands Plus for that one. If they do anything to the RIDE (which I doubt) one or two set pieces of NON animatronic figures that are motionless. Oh, I’m sure the theater, at the end will play that new Frozen Short, sponsored by Nestles.

      You guys are DREAMING on this one. But keep going and spending your money. This is all nothing but Fanboy Dreaming Rumors.

      • AaroniusPolonius

        Also indicative of the Disney fan’s lowered expectations, where one is getting excited at an overlay on a dated ride, no less.

      • theEternalNow

        Hey! Could you point to your financial statistics stating nobody ever purchased a ticket to DCA after the opening of Cars Land? Thanks, TDA accountant!

      • Vanellope26

        DCA is not ugly. Even though a higher percentage of people in California are pass holders than Florida, a lot of non-passholders go too. Most of the pass holders are blocked out for the summer. I am one of those non-pass holders who spends plenty of money there. Also, Disney spent $1.2 Billion in DCA. Harry Potter only cost $265 million for the first installment. New Fantasyland cost $425 Million. If you like Harry Potter better, that’s probably because you’re a bigger fan of HP than Snow White and Cars. That’s your opinion, I am a bigger fan of him too. But even though Cars isn’t my favorite movie, I still think the land is really cool and I like it. I’m sure I would like the Wizzarding World better because I am a bigger fan of Harry Potter, but how is that Disney’s fault? It certainly isn’t because they aren’t spending any money, they’re spending more than Universal! There are a lot of themed shops in the Wizzarding World- I am not knocking that, they look really cool, but the point of them is to make money. The point of all theme parks in all the years they operated is to make money. I think people just don’t think about that when they’re young, so when they realize it as an adult they think it just started happening at the point they realized it. Disney stock went up at the highest rate it ever has when Disneyland opened. The next big stock price jump was when WDW opened. The next biggest jump was when all these Marvel movies came out and kept making so much money. Frozen made a ton of money too obviously. If they just want their stock to go up doesn’t it seem kind of obvious that they would add the popular stuff to the parks (combining their 2 big money making events)? The stock performs the worst when the animated movies aren’t doing well and when attendance is down at the parks. (Disney Stock never went down until the early 2000s, or climbed up very slowly until the 80s, so I think it would be hard to identify failing business plans before that) The business people at Disney had to have noticed all this. This, I assume, is the reason Iger said they are going to add only things from popular franchises to the parks. People like all the Frozen stuff because they love the movie. If they put a lot of effort into Frozen-themes park stuff they would expand the Frozen fan base, but it is really large right now…..I would say the popularity of the quickly put together Summer Fun is mostly all about fan dynamics of this particular movie not a case in point for Disney not spending any money in the parks.
        As far as Frozen/Maelstrom goes- A news story in Norway complained that the Norwegian government stop funding the pavilion in 2002 and that the people who work there see it transforming into Frozen and think the government is not doing anything to try to stop it (turn on the English captions on the video) So something is going on there.
        http://www.dailyfinance.com/2014/07/24/frozen-norway-disney-epcot/
        Maybe it’s just a sensational story, but representatives from the government wouldn’t participate in the interview and the reason the pavilion is run down probably is because Norway stopped funding it. I think Frozen probably sends more tourists there than the pavilion, so financially (if not culturally) doesn’t it make sense for them to do nothing and let Disney pay for something that will bring more tourist dollars to Norway?

        Also, Avatar land anyone? They are probably spending a ton on that. Again, I really don’t care about the movie very much, but I’m sure the land will be well done. I definitely question their choice to spend money on that vs. Star Wars, but hey, if everyone only spends half a day at AK maybe that was financially the biggest thing they had to address. We don’t have access to all their financial data.

      • tooncity

        In response to ————theEternalNow
        ”Hey! Could you point to your financial statistics stating nobody ever purchased a ticket to DCA after the opening of Cars Land? Thanks, TDA accountant!”

        Nobody ever said that, read it again. As to YOU being a TDA accountant, that just a plain lie. Nobody who actually READS Miceage would ever claim to be an accountant for Disney. It’s nothing but self- emulation. Accountants for Disney making 200K a year don’t have time to pay around on the internet. So go back to the hole you came from.

        And Yes, DCA is still an UGLY park. BV Street and Carsland, beautiful. Lake with a with a Aircraft carrier ugly. Mermaid grotto ugly. CA screaming with pier ugly. ghetto style cannery row ugly. bugsland monseterland muppet land areas are boring and ugly too. the knots berry farm raft ride with no bears just plain silly. San Francisco district, which is just ONE building turned into a bathroom, isn’t to attractive. This whole park was an accountants wet dream. If half the park is UGLY, then the whole thing is ugly.

        Now to the main point, this FROZEN redo of Maelstrom is just a Fanboy Fantasy! it will never happen Mr TDA Accountant. You’re a FRAUD!

      • Darth Goofy

        DCA has improved its image..however the park lacks the immersive element especially around the area that the Grand Californian Hotel. It is visible from within the park. It looks like they tried to squeeze all the real estate without any thought to prevent this eyesore. EPCOT is has similiar eyesores with the vacant and dated pavilions in Future World. No change in shows will fix that issue.

  • Indy Fan 1

    If it were up to me, Frozen would be banned from all the parks, with the exceptions of meet and greets and merchandise.

    • BlahBlahson

      Lol, good thing it’s not up to you then.

      I’m fine with the Frozen Maelstrom overlay. Almost every ride at Epcot is becoming very dated, including the Maelstrom. I don’t think Disney will be building or is even considering ideas for their parks that are not related to existing franchises, so I’ll take the frozen update.

      It would be great if they used it as a springboard for the next 2-10 years to update Soarin’ to a new film and screen technology, renovate Figment, Get a new show in EO’s place, add an innovation or two to the west side, replace or redo the boring China and Canada films, and maybe just maybe add a brand new signature attraction or pavillion.

      • AaroniusPolonius

        I’ve gotta say that I’ll miss Maelstrom, as it, like Mr. Toad, is one of Disney’s great camp rides, where the history of Norway is reduced to one eyed trolls and magic and then apparently nothing happens until oil.

        Also gotta say that if they’re Hellbent on getting a Frozen attraction into Epcot, they should really focus on a NEW attraction to fill in acres of dead space, rather than an overlay of an existing, open, and popular (albeit because of limited attraction offerings in Epcot,) attraction.

        Honestly, doesn’t it seem as if Disney is trying too hard here, in the “shoe horn Frozen into underperforming parks” way? Norway may be the most appropriate location for a Frozen attraction in Epcot, but it’s still not really right for the park, and don’t even get me started on the ridonk going on at DHS. If Frozen is to be theme park realized, it’s obvious that it’s Fantasyland at MK where it should be, in terms of a fully immersive, Arandelle section. If they do it at Epcot, it’s kind of against the “real world” ethos, unless it’s a Future World pavilion where Frozen characters explore ice or something (or dressmaking, apparently.) I think they could do a great Broadway Lite show in DHS…but the slot for the LAND is MK.

  • PhonyKingOfEngland

    “Off Kilter will also be leaving Epcot when the new entertainment changes take place. They will be replaced by a ‘lumberjack show’.”

    Must resist Monty Python joke. MUST RESIST MONTY PYTHON JOKE!

    • AaroniusPolonius

      I was about to make an [insert repressed homosexuality joke here] snark.

  • EC82

    Each generation gets the Epcot it deserves.

    There was a time of naively optimistic hope when we got a forward-thinking Epcot.

    There was a time of genuine belief in the idea of Disney when we got an expanding Epcot.

    There is now a time of slavish dedication to profits over innovation when we get a “Disney-branded” Epcot that appeals neither to passionate Disney fans, to the intellectually curious, to the imaginatively inspired, or to tech-obsessed young people. It’s nothing but a crass way to make more money off of Disney. Somehow it’s fitting. I will always miss the Epcot that was and could be … but I’m not going to go to Epcot or WDW anymore. There are just too many more interesting options in the world.

    • AaroniusPolonius

      The funny thing is that Epcot could really have a viable, interesting and vibrant future branded as the festival/expo park. Which is to say that if they ran festivals in Epcot eight months out of the year, and expanded out the countries into empty pads, themed to the countries but dedicated to festival and exposition space for the ongoing festivals, Epcot would constantly be offering new things to experience, would cement its place as the adult interest, booze and schmooze park, and would do so without really any new rides or attractions.

      I mean, outside of some of the rides in Future World, does anyone really go to Epcot for the rides?

      So they expand out the countries with themed, dedicated, permanent convention space that ups the ante beyond their current status. They have Food & Wine and Flower & Garden…why not an International Arts Festival? And a Global Holidays Festival?

      Considering their recent offerings, I’m looking forward to Frozen presents Ice Around The World featuring a special preview of Ant Man starring Paul Rudd, but I think that the festival park is a superb thesis for Epcot.

  • Ravjay12

    Maelstrom was a ride I was really looking forward to and it was a big let-down. I won’t miss it and certainly not the average guest. If they want to do a Frozen overlay, that’s fine with me. They also need to redo Future World to Star Wars Land. I still see the the Death Star to replace Spaceship Earth! That would be awesome. Maybe a big laser can shoot out of it to destroy Universal’s new rides.

    • Now We Lustre

      Needs to be the other way round, Son. Disney is Dead. Long live Universal!!

      • Indy Fan 1

        Nope, Universal is dead. Without Nickelodeon Studios, Kongfrontation, Back to the Future, and Jaws, Universal is just a shell of its former glory and I will never set foot there again unless they bring those attractions back.

      • Ravjay12

        That’s why Disney needs a Death Star! Disney is losing to Universal

      • AaroniusPolonius

        To be fair, Disney, to date, may be losing the mind share, intellectual, “best theme park” rights to Universal, but they are most certainly NOT losing the most profitable nor most attended theme parks in the WORLD rights.

        Please STOP distorting facts. That’s why we have politicians.

    • EC82

      Yup. Like I said. You get what you deserve.