Sunday, October 5, 2014

World Showcase Makeover


World Showcase Makeover- Written by Jeff C.

Originally, this was to be entitled "World Showcase Rehab," but it is not that extensive.  Some parts are more cosmetic than substantive.  In all, it is a "plussing up" Imagineering exercise.

There is an ongoing discussion (and some of it is heated) about the announced Frozen overlay to the Maelstrom attraction in Epcot's Norway pavilion of the World Showcase.

It is not as if this was unanticipated.  There's even a portion of a prior Blue Sky Idea about it.
 
 
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Yo Ho Yo Ho A Blogger's Life For me!: Blue Sky- The Froz...
I tried to ignore this urge to assess the success of the movie Frozen on various Disney attractions, but I found I couldn't let it go.
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It's not without precedent either. The Mexico pavilion added The Three Caballeros even though Panchito is the only Mexican.  

 
 
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Still, it incorporated an added Disney element without being overwhelming.

Even in Future World, there exists the precedent of placing Nemo and Friends in The Living Seas.
 
 
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 Before


 
 
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  After

In this case, the guests regained the Omnimover ride with the change.  I doubt that Test Track would ever become Cars themed as that would be more likely for Disney's Hollywood Studios in the backlot area.
 
 
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Studio Backlot Tour to permanently close later this mont...
Studio Backlot Tour to permanently close later this month
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It's too bad Tron: Legacy didn't do better in theaters.  Maybe we would have some of their vehicles instead of GM's.


 
 
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So, what if the entire World Showcase were to plus up with Disney elements and themed accordingly?  Some changes are obvious; others are a stretch.  Let's take a walk around the world and see.

China - This is probably one of the most easily done because Mulan already appears for photos here.  It might be time for an extensive live performance of archery and martial arts.

Germany - They never built the Rhine River ride.

 
 
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Rhine River Cruise Mysteries - Imagineering Disney -
Plans for a boat ride called Rhine River Cruise in EPCOT Center’s Germany Pavilion ...
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That leaves a lot of space for Snow White.  Did you know that Schneewittchen (or SchneeweiƟchen) was German?  Maybe it is time to bring back her scary adventures on a much grander scale.

Italy - Speaking of lost rides regained, Pinocchio could have his daring journey restored here.

United States - The US pavilion already has a very large attraction, but that doesn't mean it has to be limited to one.  Sleepy Hollow and Icabod Crane's story continue to be a part of American folklore.  One of Disney's most popular historical characters is Davy Crockett, so have him battle river pirates as he did on film.

Japan - This is a tougher call.  Disney has been involved with the animation of Hayao Miyazaki for years.  Some may not like the edginess, but it may well be worth the risk to add "Howl's Moving Castle" to the pavilion.  

Morocco - This is probably the toughest call of all.  I would say Aladdin, but that's a big stretch.  Arendelle is in mythic Scandinavia, but Agrabah is in the mythic Middle East, not West Africa.  Yet, the Cave of Wonders could have been far away.  I might have to defer to the King of Morocco for this one.

France - There's almost too much to work with here.  Remy from Ratatouille already made appearances and provided another precedent for Disney element incorporation in the World Showcase.

 
 
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Belle belongs to the mythic France of Fantasyland.  The Eiffel Tower in the backdrop of the pavilion suggests the more modern France of The Aristocats, but prior centuries could be represented in the pavilion.  That opens up possibilities for Notre Dame or The Three Musketeers.

 
 
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My favorite thought here is to use the makeover as an excuse to bring back 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.  Remember, Jules Verne was French.

United Kingdom - This is another example of having a surplus of material with which to work.  Peter Pan and Winnie the Pooh already have attractions at the Magic Kingdom.  The UK pavilion has a lot of focus on London.  Installing the never-built Mary Poppins attraction would finally fill a void in her representation. 
 
 
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Even without an attraction, the quiet walking area in this pavilion could be extended to Cherry Tree Lane so that one could visit #17 and Admiral Boom's place next door.  That leaves an opening for an attraction like, perhaps, Cruella de Vil's Wild Ride.  101 Dalmatians was also based in and around London.

Canada - At first, I thought of Brother Bear mainly because of Rutt and Tuke who were basically Bob and Doug McKenzie from Canada's SCTV.

 
 
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They were even played by Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas.  The feature was set in pre-historic North America.  It's another stretch.  Then again, the film Iron Will was definitely set in Canada.  A sled dog race attraction would certainly be more exciting than yet another Circle-Vision film.

Greece - Wait, that's not there... yet.  But, a prior Blue Sky Imagineering article (part 4 of 4) didn't leave out Hercules as the Disney-themed element.
 
 
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Is any of this ever going to be built?  It took a billion dollars at the worldwide box office for Disney to greenlight changing Maelstrom.  It's possible.  But, it's far more likely they would do something cheap akin to installing the tops of buildings poking out of the lake and calling it the new Atlantis pavilion.
 
 
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