Back in September I told you about all of the exciting changes coming to Epcot at Walt Disney World over the next few years. This is the first, in what I think will be several What’s New at Epcot posts. As new attractions, and the new neighborhoods are unveiled, I’ll be here to tell you all about it.
Currently, Future World (soon-to-be World Discovery/World Celebration/World Nature) is a maze of construction walls but have hope, I heard lots of guests complaining they had no idea all the construction was taking place. A few that I chatted with were very frustrated. I asked them, “Didn’t your travel agent inform you of the construction?” Each of them said they booked their travel themselves. I told them, as a Disney travel professional, I inform all my guests of things like construction and ride refurbishments that will be taking place during their vacation so that they can know what to expect when they arrive. Some of them added my info to their phones for future vacations!
On Friday, January 17, 2020 three new movie attractions opened in Epcot, it was also the opening day for the 4th annual Epcot International Festival of the Arts. Ron and I spent the day in Epcot so that we could share everything that is new with you.
“Awesome Planet” in The Land pavilion explores the spectacular beauty, diversity and dynamic story of Earth. In collaboration with the Disney Conservation Fund, the 10-minute film uses in-theater effects (including wind, scents and water) to tell the story of life on this planet and why it’s vitally important to care for it. “Awesome Planet” features narration by Ty Burrell, star of ABC’s “Modern Family,” and an original musical score from Academy Award-winning® composer Steven Price.
“Awesome Planet” takes place in the Harvest Theater in The Land pavilion, located next to the Garden Grill restaurant. We hadn’t been in this theater in many, many years. If you do not handle stairs well, like me, ask to go in the wheelchair line which is to the right of the waiting area. I had forgotten about the steep stairs in this theater. I survived the stairs going very slowly. The theater is large so seating should not be a problem.
The movie, which plays like a real estate selling a home features stunning visuals and some nice special effects. As we expected, it did include the usual Disney evolution/global warming/conservation rhetoric we are used to. I am happy to say that the evolution and global warming was more subtle than expected and the conservation message was well handled and not as preachy as others in the past have been. For us this is probably a one and done, don’t need to see it again unless we are traveling with people who want to see it.
Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360
“Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360” in the Canada pavilion is an update to the previous “O Canada!” film with new scenes, a new musical score by Canadian composer Andrew Lockington and new narration by award-winning actors Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy.
“Canada Far and Wide” is another stunningly beautiful travelogue of Canada which breaks this vast country down into regions and has us travel from east to west learning about some of the cities, crops, and lifestyles of each area. The movie still ends with the song “Canada (You’re a Lifetime Journey)” which was nice. We missed the humor that Martin Short brought to the 2007-2019 version of “O Canada!” and circle-vision 360 movies make me queasy so it will be a while before we see this again.
Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along
“Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along” in the France pavilion’s Palais du Cinémais directed and produced by Don Hahn, producer of the animated and live-action “Beauty and the Beast” films, and invites guests to participate in a twist on a tale as old as time. It also features narration from Angela Lansbury, who played Mrs. Potts in the original film.
I was so excited when this sing-along was announced because I LOVE For the First Time in Forever a Frozen Singalong Celebration at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Then I heard that the “Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along” was just going to be a movie with no live characters, and that made me sad.
When we entered the Palais du Cinémais on Friday afternoon, there was a large crowd of mostly adults. It sounded to me like most of the crowd did sing, as did we. Unfortunately, it felt like the story was rushed and the “new twist” just didn’t feel right. It was funny but not believable. They cut most of the “Belle” song out, and left out the “Mob Song” in it’s entirety, which just isn’t acceptable.
I left the theater feeling uncomfortable. The new twist didn’t add to the story in a positive way, it felt more like one of Disney’s direct-to-video sequels on the late 1990s-early 2000s than a proper homage to an absolutely magical and beautiful movie. I’ll see it again, because I love a good sing-along, who knows, maybe it will grow on me.
What’s New at Epcot Recap
- “Awesome Planet” in The Land pavilion
- “Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360” in the Canada pavilion
- “Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along” in the France pavilion
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