There are many things happening across Walt Disney World. Magic Kingdom is still working on projects green lit some time ago such as the Central Plaza expansion. Construction on Avatar is looking impressive. And lots of rumors exist about Disney’s Hollywood Studios with respect to the additions expected to go in there. But what about Epcot? Disney at Work was the first to report last summer of an additional theater coming to Soarin’. And there’s much to do about what’s happening in Norway with Frozen coming in. But what else? What about the future of Innoventions at Epcot?
Innoventions West was shut down at the beginning of the year. That leaves Innoventions East, half of which has been shut down as well. Gone is the House of the Future. It is uncertain to me what will go in that space. On the other side the Test Your Limits attraction, sponsored by Underwriter’s Laboratories has also closed. Currently all you see is a painted fence with signs like this:
What does it mean? Well, my sources tell me that Glidden is sponsoring a new exhibit for Innoventions. It’s an exhibit about paint, and it’s tied to the relationship Disney has with Glidden in offering exclusive palettes and paints styled to different Disney themes. If an exhibit around paint sounds a little weird, remember that one of the very first exhibits that ever opened in the first years at Disneyland was the Dutch Boy Paint Gallery. Good news for you is that this exhibit is a lot more sophisticated than that earlier park filler. Remember the little piggies from the The Great Piggy Bank Adventure over at Innoventions West? Instead of carting around piggy banks, you’ll be hauling interactive paint cans that will allow you to build color creations. While Disney has not yet announced this formally, construction suggests that you will probably see this come as early as late Fall.
So what about the West side? This week they put up a “lounge” area called the D-Zone. The comparison was made to the Tangled area of Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom where guests can sit down, take a break, and get their mobile devices recharged. Guests are always looking for a place to relax while recharging their batteries. What better place than this location, which has largely gone empty for so long?
The good news is that there are new tables and chairs. So there is a place to sit and relax. There are also menus pointing you to a nearby makeshift refreshment stand. I’m all good with trying out new ideas, and if having a refreshment post helps counter the cost of new furniture and electrical outlets I’ll go with it. But this location sits between free drinks at Club Cool, and favored/preferred beverages next door at Starbucks. I’m not sure what corner of the liquid refreshment market they are trying to capture.
But that isn’t the worst of it. Where the chairs and tables are, you can’t connect up to any electrical sources. Those are on the opposite wall, where they have purposely kept the chairs and tables away. To add salt to the wound of not being able to charge your phone and sit at the same time, they have assigned a Cast Member to walk around the area and hawk (in the nicest Disney way possible) a mobile phone battery charger, available next door at Club Cool for a “real decent price.”
So the D-Zone is more a miss than a hit. What about the Innoventions West area itself? That’s where things get really interesting. My sources say that Entertainment has actually wanted to take over that space. I initially thought that a show that would tie to Big Hero Six might be in order. Disney had a major exhibit themed around robotics years ago. And anything health related would also be prime. With Baymax and Hiro now leaving the Magic of Disney Animation attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, could this be a possibility?
Then Pixar’s Inside Out came along, and I wondered if entertainment might use that space for a show. Using the technology found with Monster Laugh Floor would make a very entertaining show. It could be a comedy improv of reading people’s minds. But I also thought that a 3D show from Inside Out would be a great replacement for the theater that has long housed Captain EO. Yes, EO is returning once the preview for Inside Out goes away. But something will eventually need to replace it. And a great show based on Inside Out could be used in other parks globally as well.
Unlike my inside scoop on Glidden, it’s still unclear what will go on in either of those two spaces on the west side. But clearly Disney has some successful intellectual properties that would fill those spaces and provide great entertainment. There’s been a lot of controversy about whether Epcot should host more intellectual properties. Many fans aren’t big on Frozen replacing Maelstrom. But could it be done in an educational, fun, and inspiring way?
What do you think about the future of Innoventions at Epcot? Will you want to check out the new Glidden exhibit when it opens? What would you like to see go in there? Are you open to other IP properties like Big Hero 6 or Inside Out going in?
Looking for more great insights on Epcot? Few books have ever been dedicated to this incredibly unique park. I offer Lessons From Epcot: In Business, Leadership & Life. Available only on iBook. Check it out!