Over the week plus that we were gone in Disney World, there has been some news on the Disney front including plenty announced today about Epcot. We’ll save some of the news for our next podcast episode (coming in the next few days) but some can’t wait! In this post we’ll break down the news followed by our commentary.
Soarin’ Over California Back for the Summer in California Adventure
Disneyland Resort announced a few months ago that original Soarin’ was coming back to California Adventure for a limited run. That run has now become a little less limited as it’s been extended through the end of August. This is a move we’ve been hoping for and would like to see it become permanent.
I’m not completely against Soarin’ Around the World but the first version is far superior. The use of CGI and overthought decisions plague the the latest version, while the original focuses more on nature and is nearly all filmed. Along with that, having Soarin’ Over California in the park designed around California makes sense. Bringing back the attraction this summer has seen wait times rise and I don’t see that stopping anytime soon. I’m very excited about this piece of news and hoping that it becomes permanent.
Main Street Electrical Parade Back at Disneyland Again
In a move that we’ve seen over and over again, the Main Street Electrical Parade is coming back to Disneyland for one final (uh-huh, sure…) run. We’ve seen the parade brought back from retirement numerous times and Disneyland is hoping that running it from August 2nd-September 30th will give the resort an attendance bump. Disneyland Resort doesn’t currently have a nighttime parade, as Paint the Night isn’t often used because it’s expensive to run, along with a few other reasons.
I’m far less enthused about this news than Soarin’ being brought back. I remember seeing Main Street Electrical Parade way back in 2016 at Disney World during the final run there and thinking that the parade looked tired and didn’t measure up to other nighttime parades at this point. Yes, there’s a good amount of nostalgia that goes along with this parade and the soundtrack is phenomenal but it is time to let it go. Bringing it back for a limited run at Disneyland doesn’t really hurt anything so there’s nothing to get upset about here, but I’m ready for a new parade to take the mantle at Disneyland rather than a parade that is nearly 50 years old.
New Counter-Service Restaurant Coming to American Adventure in Epcot
Moving over to the east coast, the American Adventure in Epcot will be receiving a new counter-service restaurant named Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue. A name that has seven words, 12 syllables and multiple rhymes could easily find itself on our list of dumbest Disney names. Bad names aside, this should prove to be a major upgrade to the American Pavilion.
Liberty Inn, the restaurant Regal Eagle will be replacing, was notoriously bad with a limited menu and lackluster food. Liberty Inn’s successor will specialize in BBQ, something Disney World has done a decent job of, while offering craft brews. Regal Eagle will be smoking the meats on the Promenade and will have an outdoor patio. All of this should prove to be an upgrade both aesthetically and from a food standpoint.
There is something to be said for going to Epcot and settling on BBQ, which you could find at most Disney World theme parks. Opting for that over excellent counter-service options in Morocco, France, Norway, and Japan, as well as numerous table-service restaurants, is somewhat missing the point of World Showcase. However, I know there are plenty of people who are less adventurous when it comes to eating and having upgraded food in the American Pavilion is a positive for everyone. Epcot’s restaurant scene is getting more and more crowded and this should be a nice addition to that.
Epcot Closures Coming Soon
We saved the biggest piece of news for last as Disney World announced yesterday a slew of closures at Epcot coming later this fall. Here they are:
- Innoventions East (Closing September 8th)
- Epcot Character Spot (Closing September 8th with characters moving to various locations)
- Fountain View Starbucks (Potentially closing November 24th and will be moved to a temporary location)
- Club Cool (Closing September 8th but may also be moved)
- Art of Disney (Closing September 8th and moving to American Adventure Pavilion eventually)
- Mouse Gear (Undergoing refurbishment and will have a temporary location)
- Camera Center (Closing by the end of the year)
- The Pin Center (Closing by the end of the year and moving)
- Fountain of Nations (Closing September 8th)
- Electric Umbrella (Potentially closing November 24th)
I think that’s all of them. That’s a lot of closures! All of this is in conjecture with Epcot’s entrance and central spine redesign. Work has already quickly begun on that project as half of the entrance’s tombstones (Leave a Legacy) have already been removed. It appears that the entire front of the park will be under construction starting September 8th.
Frankly, none of these closures mean all that much to me. The Character Spot is one that will affect people the most but most of the characters will be dispersed into different locations throughout Epcot. Minnie will meet at the World Showcase Gazebo, Daisy in American Adventure, Mickey and Goofy will move to Innoventions West for the time being, Winnie the Pooh will move to the UK Pavilion, and Joy is left in limbo for a while. In other words, this closure isn’t closing much down it just makes things less convenient.
Club Cool has always been a fun spot to stop by but the wording on the Disney World site makes it seem that the idea will still be intact somewhere else in the park. Time will tell on that one. Even if it does close, I don’t think this is a big loss for the park. Innoventions East is in the same boat, as it is past its prime.
The one closure that has some sentimental value is Fountain of Nations. This has been a hallmark of Epcot and I’ll be sad to see it go. On our trip that we just got back from, I watched the fountain show several times and enjoyed it. All that said, I really doubt that the park will be redesigned without some sort of water feature in the spine. I hope that it’s a fountain show similar to the one it will be replacing. Along with that, I’m also hopeful that Epcot’s fiber optic walkways will be brought back with the redesign. Disney is pushing the park forward, ripping out the original theme. Putting in these two little bits of fan-service should be obvious and would help quell some outrage.
Frankly, most of these closures mean very little to me and I’m ready for Epcot to move past it’s current state of waiting. Other have more attachment to some of these closures than I do, most notably the Fountain of Nations, and I’m sympathetic to that. But, I’m eager and somewhat optimistic about the spine redesign. I’ll also be interested in seeing what happens with Spaceship Earth during this project. Expect more to be announced at D23 Expo at the end of August.
That’s all for this edition of the news. What are your thoughts on these additions/closures? Let us know, along with any questions you have have, in the comments below. Thank you for reading Wandering in Disney. If you enjoy our content please subscribe to the blog (via WordPress or email) and like our social media pages. You can find all of those things on the right side of this page. Have a great day!