Disney Drops a Huge Part of Epcot’s Expansion

Disney’s plans for an anticipated major expansion at Epcot has been scrubbed.

Walt Disney Co.  (DIS) – Get The Walt Disney Company Report theme parks have been busy expanding with the addition of new rides, as well as the refurbishment and reinventing of existing attractions.

Disneyland has several attractions that have been closed for refurbishments. Mickey’s Toontown land has been closed since March 9 for an overhaul and will reopen in early 2023 along with a new ride that already operates at Disney World’s Hollywood Studios, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway.

Tarzan’s Treehouse in Disneyland’s Adventureland closed in September 2021 for retheming, but a reopening date has not been set. However, Disneyland fans have another popular ride to line up for as the Matterhorn Bobsleds reopened on Oct. 14 after closing Aug. 8 for refurbishment.

Disneyland will close the “it’s a small world” ride Oct. 24 through Nov. 10, as it does every year to redecorate the ride for the holidays. Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, however, does not redecorate “it’s a small world” at that park for the holidays. 

Splash Mountain at Disneyland and Disney World’s Magic Kingdom will soon close and be transformed from its longtime “Song of the South” theme to a “Princess and the Frog” theme that will be known as Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. No definite closing date has been set at either park, but D23 Expo said that the reimagined ride will open at the parks in late 2024.

Qilai Shen/In Pictures via Getty Images Images

Disney’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando has been the site of construction and test runs of the theme park’s much anticipated Tron Lightcycle/Run roller coaster ride that has been rising in the park’s Tomorrowland area, which is expected to open in spring 2023.

Wonders of Life Pavilion at Disney World’s Epcot, an attraction dedicated to health care, physical fitness and taking care of the human body, closed in 2007 after operating since 1989. It had been sponsored by MetLife, which ended its sponsorship in 2000. The attraction is located between Mission: Space and the new Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind ride.

Disney Had Big Plans for Epcot Attraction

The health care attraction has remained closed for the past 15 years. In 2019, the attraction got new life with plans for the new Play! Pavilion, an interactive city with games, activities and experiences that would connect you with friends, family and beloved Disney characters, both real and virtual. Disney introduced the attraction concept asserting that as part of this new pavilion, guests will have the chance to help legendary fashion icon Edna Mode on her quest to rid the world of uninspired style, or make a splash competing in a water-balloon fight hosted by Huey, Dewey, Louie and Webby.

The new attraction originally was planned to be completed in 2021 in time for Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Celebration. But the covid pandemic delayed all plans. The redevelopment project was quiet until July 2022, when Disney filed for a permit for the project with an expiration date of Dec. 31, 2024. Those plans meant that the attraction wouldn’t open until maybe 2025.

Disney Goes Back to the Drawing Board

Now comes word that the Play! Pavilion project has been shelved, inside sources have told Theme Park Insider. Disney had completed some preliminary work on the project, including repairs and reinforcement to the basic structure of the building and plugging some leaks in the roof.

But now it seems like it’s back to the drawing board for that vacant Wonders of Life Pavilion space at Epcot.

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