Over the years, we have seen a lot of changes take place at Epcot. Many guests have said that the “old Epcot” is slowly fading away and we are ushering in a new era of Epcot, “IP”Cot. IP stands for Intellectual Property and it is everything that Disney owns in this case. For example, Disney characters (likeness, etc), Star Wars, Pixar, Marvel and more. Epcot used to be the park with the least amount of IP and because of this, it wasn’t really thought of as a “kid park”. Here are the pros and cons of Epcot bringing IP into the park.
Epcot’s rides have changed a lot in the past 10 years. They are slowly phasing out older rides and building rides that star popular Disney owned characters. This, in turn, makes the ride a lot more popular and gives it a new life. All of the rides arguably became more popular once they received an IP makeover. Here are some of the IP rides that helped give Epcot a little boost.
Frozen Ever After
Maelstrom in Norway was an old fan favorite, but it just wasn’t bringing in huge numbers and it needed an update. Disney made the decision to replace it with a ride that was centered around the animated blockbuster hit, Frozen. Once Maelstrom became Frozen Ever After, the lines have been consistently long and helped bring the crowd attendance up in Epcot.
The Seas with Nemo and Friends
Another ride that received an IP makeover that made it much more popular was The Living Seas. The Living Seas became The Seas with Nemo and Friends, and it honestly made the aquarium so much more fun. They made a ride starring Nemo, Turtle Talk with Crush and many fans of the Finding Nemo movie love to explore the aquarium looking for Nemo, Dory and friends.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
This highly anticipated ride is set to open Summer 2022 and has created so much buzz and excitement for Epcot. Not only will this be the first Marvel ride built at Epcot, but it will also be the first ride type of its kind: a coaster that rotates 360 degrees and features a reverse launch! Some guests have had some mixed feelings about bringing Marvel into Epcot but I’m confident that the Disney Imagineers will make it work, they always do!
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is the newest ride that opened on October 1, 2021. The ride was built along with an expansion to the France Pavilion at World Showcase. This brought another IP ride into World Showcase. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is another family friendly ride that is sure to make everyone in your party happy. The lines have been so long for this that you have to join a virtual queue or purchase the Individual Ride Selection in order to ride it.
Moana: Journey of Water
This attraction is currently being built and will be a walk-through attraction inspired by the popular Disney movie Moana. Guests will be able to interact with magical water in this attraction and learn about the water cycle and how it helps our world. Moana: Journey of Water will be a part of Epcot’s new World of Nature neighborhood. This attraction is sure to be popular because Moana has a huge fan following.
Character Meet & Greets Around the World
Many adults love World Showcase because they get to “eat and drink around the world”. While that sounds like a lot of fun for adults, Disney wanted going around the world to be extra special for kids too. The addition of the IP rides certainly helped but what makes it even more special for a child, is to see their favorite characters at each of their respective countries. Here are some examples of who you can expect to see around World Showcase
Mexico- Donald Duck, Miguel from Coco
Norway- Anna and Elsa from Frozen
Germany- Snow White
Morocco- Aladdin and Jasmine from Aladdin
France- Belle from Beauty and the Beast
United Kingdom- Mary Poppins and Alice from Alice in Wonderland
There are many places to eat at Epcot now that you can meet some of your favorite characters as well. Two of the best places to grab a bite at Epcot are character dining locations and they are very popular places to eat. First, is Garden Grill in the Land Pavilion. At the Garden Grill, you can enjoy fresh, delicious food right from the Living with the Land ride and meet some of your favorite Disney characters. The restaurant is situated on a slow-moving platform that gently rotates above the Living with the Land ride. While eating your meal, farmer Mickey Mouse, Chip and Dale come by to say hello! Another character dining spot at Epcot that features Disney characters is Akershus Royal Banquet Hall. Here, you will join Disney Princesses for Storybook Dining inside of a medieval castle in the Norway Pavilion. Guests will be treated to delicious Norwegian and American style foods and meet their favorite Disney Princesses such as Snow White, Cinderella, Belle, Princess Aurora and Ariel.
More “Kid Friendly”
Another advantage to having more IP at Epcot is that is has become much more “kid friendly”. By retheming the rides to include Disney owned characters, having character meals and character meet and greets, younger children are able to enjoy Epcot and be less likely to ask their parents if they can leave to go back to Magic Kingdom. Epcot is now a place that everyone from the age of 1-100 can enjoy.
There are very few cons for IP taking over Epcot. To be fair, we should hear both sides of this discussion. There are many die-hard Epcot fans that enjoyed when the park had less IP and was more adult-friendly. Many parents also liked the break from spending the whole week surrounded by characters at the other parks.
Losing its Original Message?
Many adults loved coming to Epcot as their retreat away from all the “magic” and such from the other parks. They enjoyed the break from all the character interactions. Epcot used to be a park about the World of Tomorrow and had many rides focused on learning and technology. Those rides have slowly been phased out and more and more rides are coming in that are purely for entertainment purposes. There are characters everywhere you look now. EPCOT is an acronym for the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow and was designed to celebrate human achievement, technological innovation and international culture. It seems that they are veering slightly away from that original message and focusing a little more on their Disney IP.
Keeping Up with the Times
When Epcot first opened in 1982, we lived in a much different world. We were only on the brink of the internet age. When a child of the ‘80s rode a ride like Horizons, a ride about the future and all its possibilities, they were in awe. Everything wasn’t as accessible in the 1980’s as it is now. Now, a child can open a smart phone and access any bit of information that they could possibly be curious about. The rides at Epcot in the 1980’s gave kids hope, wonder and taught them a great deal. Now kids can learn all of this and more by a simple Google search. Epcot was almost forced to change to keep up with the times. Many educational rides such as Horizons, Innoventions, Ellen’s Universe of Energy and more were phased out because it wasn’t bringing in big crowds like they used to. People today love to be entertained.
Future of Epcot…
Epcot changing and having more IP-driven experiences is not necessarily a bad thing. While it would be nice to bring back more of Epcot’s original feel, it is still nice to see attractions that still quench our thirst for knowledge. No matter how many times I ride Spaceship Earth, I still love that ride and I always make sure to “thank the Phoenicians”. There is still plenty to learn and discover on Living with the Land too. It would be nice to have more attractions that help us learn about our world and get us excited for the future. On the other hand, it is a lot of fun to ride an IP-driven attraction because it is almost always a great time and a thrill coupled together. I loved Epcot before, and I love it now. The future of Epcot seems to be headed more towards the IP-driven direction, but Disney always has a way of surprising us! What do you think of Epcot? Do you like having all the IP in the park now or do you prefer the old Epcot?The Orlando Real on