Epcot Walt Disney World Resort

Epcot’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” Ride will be a Roller Coaster Attraction

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I wish I had better news, but it seems the replacement of the Universe of Energy at Epcot in favor of a “Guardians of the Galaxy” ride is indeed imminent. Today, we are finding out more about what exactly guests may find instead of a slow-moving ride through Dinosaurs and film clips when the blockbuster MARVEL property breaks into the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (if that even still means that anymore).

Guardians of the Galaxy
Guardians of the Galaxy

Rumor has it that the Guardians of the Galaxy ride at Epcot will be a roller coaster attraction. This attraction would already be historic as it would be the first Future World attraction to break way from the fundamental “edutainment” theme the park has had for nearly 35 years now. However, it could now be an even more profound statement as it would be the very first roller coaster in the park’s history and only the 6th ride that could be categorized under “thrill”.

Apparently the ride would feature both elaborate scenes and a long roller coaster portion, very similar to the rumored plans for a Captain America roller coaster once-slated for the new land at Disney California Adventure. The existing Universe of Energy building and attraction would be demolished.

The one interesting wrinkle is that the words “MARVEL” nor “Guardians of the Galaxy” appear in any renderings of the attraction that exist so far. This is of course a product of the legal restrictions still in place on Walt Disney World by the parameters of the MARVEL/Universal Studios theme park deal.

Sources seem convinced that this attraction will be announced before the end of 2016, possibly by Bob Chapek at the upcoming Destination D event at Walt Disney World. With that being said, it does sound like the project has been approved and will be moving forward barring any unseen problems.

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About the author

Tom Corless

Tom has been regularly visiting the Walt Disney World® Resort from the time he was 4 months old. While he has made countless visits in the last 28 years, he did not become a truly active member in the Disney fan community until the summer of 2007, when he decided to launch the WDW News Today website and podcast. Tom has since become an Orlando-local and is a published author on Walt Disney World.

73 Comments

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  • Who’s to say that it WON’T have an educational component? This is Disney we’re talking about, not Universal. They’re aware of their legacy. They aren’t going to just shoehorn in characters without tying it into the existing theme or intention of the park. And EPCOT needs a shot in the arm. I could totally see them making this a ride/show about the wonders of outer space. A planetarium visit that turns into a roller coaster THROUGH space, which would be amazing. They get the benefit of the doubt from me.

    • Idk, the frozen ride isn’t very educational. It belongs at magic kindom, in my opinion. While I’ll admit it’s technology is pretty cool, the ride is an abomination to the Epcot name. But I am hopeful that guardians of the galaxy can be educational.

      • The ride is not an “abomination,” to the Epcot name, and if you think it is you’re missing the point. Epcot is dedicated to the explorer in all of us, the world showcase is focused on sharing the culture, as in food, language, customs, etc. Of each country represented. Tell me, what did you ACTUALLY learn from Maelstrom? What literally did you learn? Because the ride told you the facets of Norwegian people ends with trolls and Vikings. The ride tells you there’s oil rigs in the north sea. There was nothing educational about Maelstrom, it was just pretending to be. The cast members were being likened to a bunch of violent pillagers. No one asked about Norway, because they thought they knew all there was– Vikings and trolls.

        With FEA, guest are asking cast members if the ride is like home! How similar Arendelle and Norway are, they’re finding out there’s a town called Arendal in the south of Norway, you should look it up it’s beautiful. Turns out Oaken’s not far from reality! Apparently saunas are a huge thing in Norwegian culture! And even today, Norway has the best chocolate in the world in terms of taste and purity. So buying some chocolate where that notorious chocolate lover Anna comes from isn’t a bad idea right?

        In the Royal Summerhus, it is as Norway as it gets. They have the décor down to a tee. The Norway cast say it’s like walking into their grandmother’s house. Don’t believe me? Ask them! Which…wait…is the point of Epcot’s World Showcase.

        It all comes down to the fact that people are never happy with progress until that too is changed. Trust me I’ve never stood out front of Maelstrom and needed to adjust for a 120 minute wait. The parks need new attractions to breathe and stay fresh, if you can’t see through to “the point,”, I can’t help you.

        • yeah, but last I checked trolls and the such were part of Norse mythology, and “frozen” is just a fairytale loosely based on the fairytale “the snow queen”, which is loosely based on some norse mythos. Look, I get it though. Epcot needs a shot in the arm. The ride is enjoyable. My daughter enjoyed it tons. But, the ride would have made more sense in fantasyland. This is my opinion. You can’t sway me.

          • Is there no value in spreading things around a bit? FEA would be a fine attraction in Fantasyland, but that’s a land that just got a huge overhaul within a park that is already loaded with these types of attractions. Does anyone really need another reason to bring small children to the Magic Kingdom? I think Disney was wise to leverage a globally successful IP with the existing Norway pavilion to draw more families to Epcot.

            Frozen is based in Norway, and Disney put it in a space in Epcot dedicated to Norway. Is it perfect? No. But is it completely shoehorned without any consideration for the land? No.

            Was it the perfect opportunity to help spread crowds? Yep.

  • We should be honest with ourselves here and admit that Future World has not been focused on “edutainment” in many years. Starting in 1996 with the closing of the World of Motion to create Test Track, through the demolishing of Horizons in favor of Mission:Space, the virtual abandonment of the Wonders of Life, the overt branding of the Living Seas, and the sad state of Innoventions over the last few years (plus the addition of The Sum of All Thrills within), it’s clear that Future World has been evolving into the sort of park where a branded thrill ride could fit in. In fact, I don’t think a coaster would be out of place in the Universe of Energy location. The whole (operational) east side of the park will be thrill rides, and I think that’s ok.

    • I think it’s a bad thing because edutainment is what set Epcot apart form the rest. There are plenty of places to go for thrill rides. You go (or used to go!) to Epcot for a different type of fun–for the sense of optimism for the future. The “future” happens so quickly now, I can imagine it’s difficult for Disney to keep up–but I don’t think roller coasters are the answer.

      • I agree, its a shame what is happening to Epcot, but Epcot is so far gone, they really need to reimagine it. I used to go in the beginning, I thought the park was incredible, World showcase not so much at my age then, but a park about the future gets old really quick when technology moves so fast. I think all of future world should be changed to thrill world and built up with serious rides that will rival the worlds other thrill parks. This is something sorely missing at Disney. Teenagers want to go to Busch Gardens and Universal and a reimagined Epcot could change that.

  • “Communities Of Tomorrow” need thrill rides too. Besides, Guardians dates back to the era of the ghost town known as Future World. What’s old is new again

  • Sounds great. Too bad a lot of Disney nerds can’t get over their childhood and accept change and new things. Have fun crying in your Dole Whip while I enjoy what will probably be a very entertaining ride.

    • So because “Disney Nerds” have an opinion about this that differ maybe from a “Marvel Nerd” or anyone else, it’s wrong? Gotcha….

  • Freaking fantastic! I am excited for this. People need to get over their attitudes. More thrill rides and more roller coasters are fantastic. You can keep the same damn park for 40 years, you have to change and innovate to keep crowds coming in.

  • I’m super excited about this. Times have changed. Yes I will still be nostalgic about the old Epcot but let’s embrace what’s new and refreshing.

  • Cool idea and news break on the site, and since cross promotes, it might happen. If they’re not making money, this rumor is a bust. The parks are busting at the seams. Uncomfortably. Update universe of energy and expand Epcot for some more foot space if you ask me. I know profit is all that matters and they could care less how fun it is, but it’s starting to suck at the parks with the overcrowding, and them shutting areas down for constant refurb, rather than any growth. Disney Dole Whip line at 40 minutes yesterday with one of 4 registers open….or J, I’d buy some for you to cry in. LOL

      • Great find..I didn’t know this!! Once, not long ago, Fun Spot was a laughing spot for locals like myself. Now, it and Universal are higher scoring in satisfaction than Disney. Amazing how times change.

  • I think this will be good and can become a big part of EPCOT in the future. With Innoventions pretty much closing as well I can see an entire Marvel land forming in future world as I see the Marvel property being a big part of the Walt Disney Company’s future.

    • A lot of Marvel restrictions west of the Mississippi. When they bought it, Universal Orlando (Comcast) maintains rights for decades for the characters and Marvel rides. Disney wanted Marvel movies, which one good movie makes a month at the parks profits look silly in higher profit from toy sales alone. Disney doens’t care as much about theme parks, rides or attractions (in recent history) as Comcast. They signed agreement with no pushback on the heavy restrictions on rides.

    • The wonders of life pavilion has become a glorified function space. The can rent it out or hold events there. They also use it for food and wine and the flower show. Why would they reopen it when they can keep it closed and still make money off of the space and not have to staff the building every day.

  • Could be cool. I love Guardians but I am a little sad to see the edutainment go. Here’s hoping Chris Pratt talks to me about the speed of light or something. I would prefer that they do something with wonders of life first, though. I also think that Mission Space is an unpleasant abomination that should be erased from existence before anything else, except for an imagination refurb. Hopefully they are at least able to create references to the style of the former attraction in the new one. I will be very sad if they demolish imagination though, I just want them to build a good high capacity dark ride; why is that so hard? I don’t even necessarily need it to be figment related.

  • Though I’ll miss it, the Universe of Energy is outdated & Disney needs to overhaul it some way. I have no problem adding a roller coaster (even though I don’t ride them). My feeling is the Guardians belong in Hollywood Studios & Frozen should be in MK. Each park has a distinct “flavor” & now that the lines are blurring, I feel something is being lost. Chapek is clearly sticking to his merchandising roots.

    I’d rather see a roller coaster where you’re shrunk down to the size of an electron & the ride is about energy/energies, etc. And if you used Guardians, have it where they guide you though that particular journey (like Seas with Nemo). Whether I actually learn anything valuable isn’t the point, the point is keeping the feeling and thought of Future World alive. It’s what makes Disney parks different (IMO) where any old amusement park can be stuffed full of thrill rides of varying levels and an overarching theme isn’t necessary.

  • I think it’s absolutely possible to mourn the (further) passing of EPCOT Center of old, and be excited for a new ride. The two aren’t mutually exclusive. I accept that things change, and I bet the ride will be cool – still, there’s a part of me that loved how EPCOT was different from other theme parks.

  • It’s ONE ride. Some of you are acting like they’re demolishing all of EPCOT and starting over haha! Calm down. The EPCOT is all about learning and innovating, and when it actually innovates itself, you get mad. It’s not like they’re putting the coaster inside Spaceship Earth. That would be something to have a meltdown over!

    • If Spaceship Earth didn’t have $$MILLIONS behind it from Siemens, you BET it would be on the cutting block. It was facing closure when phone company (as I recall was AT&T) dropped it. If it doesn’t directly profit or heavily cross promote other Disney products, based on the last decade of activity,I wouldn’t form an attachment to it.

      Higher efficiency. Lower individual guest concerns. Higher profit margin are now requirements. I’m all for updates and change. These just aren’t being done with a ‘happy guest’ in mind. At all! There’s tons of other space for expansion and contractors availble to update attractions concurrently if that was the goal.

      • Saying Spaceship Earth was facing closure is patently false.
        Saying it could end up on the cutting block again is just stupid.
        Those are things that trolls like yourself love to spit out despite serious Disney Insiders denials.
        Don’t let your overtly negative attitude towards Disney make you fall even further out of touch from reality.

    • EPCOT was fully demolished the day Walter Elias Disney died…. as far as rides being replaced, walt always said disneyland will never me finished and he intended it to be the same with EPCOT.

    • That’s already been done!!!
      Look at Eurosat —>
      http://www.themeparktourist.com/features/20140415/17544/10-most-blatant-knock-offs-disney-theme-park-attractions?page=1
      Don’t think Disney won’t do it too!
      It’s VERY EXPENSIVE to maintain that very old ride system & all those animatronics.
      Disney always actually wanted his parks full of coasters? Didn’t he?
      Most of the coaster route(downward) doesn’t even need electricity!
      THINK about it. & i BET Disney is comparing ridership of the 2 rides!
      Guess who loves roller coasters & would hate the New York World’s Fair if they went back in time.
      & they don’t care that the coasters are less than 3 min long vs. 20min for Spaceship Earth & or even 45 min for Ellen’s Energy adventure.
      I would have bet Carosel of Progress would die b4 Energy Adventure.
      “They” don’t want to learn ANYTHING at these parks – they just want a cheap thrill.
      Am I wrong?

  • Because of what is going on in Tomorrowlnd with the eh new Wreck it Ralph ride they should retheme mission space to Stitch and make Universe of Energy along with Innoventions Marvel which with these changes would bring a whole new demographic of younger thrill seeking IP loving visitors as well as making Epcot an all day park for kids with younger children because let’s face it, most young kids don’t walk around world showcase and all they do is Nemo, Figment, Frozen and maybe Soarin’ and Test Track

  • It’s interesting how Disney tries to avoid breaching the Universal-Marvel agreement. Now, they avoid saying the Guardians of the Galaxy name. The agreement gives Universal an exclusive. It says nothing about Marvel using their own non-Universal characters in their own theme parks. It’s a big loophole in the agreement. I would think that if Marvel did own its own theme parks when the agreement was drawn up, Universal would never do the license as written with them knowing there is competition. Then again, it’s interesting that Disney allowed Star Wars to be installed in Lego-Land and Star Wars is clearly being advertised by Lego-Land. Disney will advertise the ride as a concept and maybe feature the characters: Star-Lord Breakout!!! Will this pass the test? Maybe this is like Splash Mountain. Featuring characters from the movie that we should never say its name.

  • Let’s be REALLY real here, the pure vision of the Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow died with Walt. He didn’t buy up over 40 sq. miles (give or take) of land to build amusement parks. Yes, he did want to include a Version 2 Disneyland with improvements on his original creation, but EPCOT was to be the focus. Once he was gone, the infighting over EPCOT’s purpose got us two ideas shoved together but yet both still amusement parks, however “educational” they may be. Walt was planning to build an ACTUAL city, like with schools and hospitals, and homes. He wouldn’t have been impressed by the compromised EPCOT that was built anyway. I am a LIFELONG, BLEEDING HEART Disney fanatic. I am also a child of the 80’s. I always loved the vibe of EPCOT back in the day. Disney isn’t “killing” EPCOT, the internet is. No one is even REMOTELY fascinated by Innoventions, or any of the Future World pavilions as they were originally purposed. The problem with building a futuristic theme park is that it constantly goes out of date. If EPCOT were an ACTUAL city, it would evolve more naturally, but it’s not, at the end of the day it’s an amusement park. Tomorrowland is a prime example. We currently have Monsters Inc., Stitch (soon to be Wreck-It-Ralph), and Buzz Lightyear attractions that have nothing to do with “tomorrow”. When I first heard wind of “Non-Education” rides creeping into EPCOT I was up in arms too. For the record, Frozen Ever After seems like a rushed decision to draw visitors without a purpose. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind integrating characters into their “homelands”, but the characters could have been used to educate people on Norwegian Folklore and its importance to their culture, or something more than a handful of disjointed scenes built to work around Maelstrom’s existing configuration. World Showcase still has GREAT opportunity to be educational! History is something that doesn’t have to be updated nearly as often as the future. Although one could argue that movie franchise characters belong in Hollywood Studios or Magic Kingdom, with the proposed size of Star Wars and Toy Story “lands” and the fact the James Cameron is moving his movie franchise right into the other “educational” park, I actually don’t mind the idea of Future World becoming “the Marvel Universe” This way each park has some movie character draw AND still some educational opportunities… Instead of EPCOT just being OUR community as we realistically experience it in day to day life, it can EVOLVE into a community of both the “real world” (World Showcase) and the “fantasy world” of Marvel… Also, would’t be crushed at all if they reskinned Mission Space as something else or turned Test Track into a Tron ride… just sayin’…

  • As sad as it is to see one of the last “edutainment” attractions close down, Ellen’s Energy Adventure has been looking sad and in desperate need of an update/replacement for at least the last decade. To be fair, Epcot moved away from the full-on edutainment of EPCOT Center around the same time as the actually dropped the acronym – World of Motion became a thrill-ride (once it eventually opened), Horizons was flattened to make a thrill-ride, Imagination is a joke (and not a funny one – as tired as the original Figment might have been, it at least encouraged kids and adults to use their imagination, and not just chuckle at fart jokes), and the rebranding of The Living Seas to Nemo’s playhouse is just as atrocious.

    Both wings of Innoventions are now closed/closing, resigning a large portion of Future World to a character meet-and-greet, and…nothing but a giant empty building. Just like the Wonders of Life pavilion. Epcot needs help to keep people coming back, and while I don’t agree with the distance it has fallen from it’s 1982 mandate, I also have to accept that this is the way things are in the world (of amusement parks) today – there is a bottom line, and profit must be made for shareholders, or else things have to be shuttered. Hopefully whatever version of Guardians is brought to Epcot will provide SOME connection – even tangentially (like Mission: SPACE or Soarin’) to real-life science/history. Much like Tomorrowland has become a “retro-future”, the pace of technology is almost impossible for a theme park to match – no matter what kind of ride would replace anything in Future World, it will be almost immediately obsolete the day it opens.

    Would I rather a Guardians of the Galaxy attraction end up at the Studios instead? Of course. Just as Frozen Ever After technically is more at home in Fantasyland. That being said, turnstiles need to keep turning, and for that to happen, something new and exciting has to be added to Future World, otherwise, attendance will continue to dip. Ride refurbs and park updates go hand in hand with park attendance – if people stop going, there’s less incentive to update what desperately needs to be updated, but if things aren’t updated/replaced, people will stop going.

    • Talk about every negative thing you just said, especially your slam against The Seas with Nemo and Friends, which is not atrocious in any way! ?

  • “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (if that even still means that anymore).”

    It stopped meaning that once the Disney board decided not to build a prototypical community and instead built a theme park around the theme of a World’s Fair and named it the nonsense word: Epcot.

  • I grew up with EPCOT Center and there are things about it I wish never would have left. Funny thing is I’ve heard a lot of adults 21 and up actually say EPCOT is their favorite park. Why? Because of the Alcohol sales aspect and the smaller amount of kids compared to the other 3 parks. Sadly, that is what EPCOT has become in the last 20 or so years and yes that was the direction the company went with 20 years ago. They focused on Festivals and drawing in large convention groups for alcohol and food sales. Now we come to today and the company is starting to focus on energizing Future World and it does look to be that the Marvel name is a major part of this. That being said I’m THRILLED about this! Why? Figment has become a successful Marvel Comic Book series and this gives me a lot of hope for a new Imagination ride that is based on the Comic. I’m hoping for a Kueka ride system (Sum of all Thrills, Harry Potter Forbidden Journey) to take you through the journey with Dreamfinder and Figment. Wonders of Life, I believe could still keep the health theme and have multiple attractions that are hosted by the characters from “Inside Out” and “Big Hero 6”. Personally I would have much rather them put the Tron Coaster instead of GOTG but, I know they are not wanting to clone rides in multiple park locations as to why Cars Land didn’t come to Studios. I’ve said this some time ago when it comes to why more and more characters are being used now. Remember back in 1982 Disney Animation Studios was not what it was today. Not a lot of average people could name a single Disney movie from 1977 up to the time The Little Mermaid came out. Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King is considered a Golden Era for Disney Animation. The money and the draw is now in characters and those characters create the connection to children and therefore create the draw of the kids to want to go to the Theme Parks to see those characters.

    • Your analysis of Epcot is spot on. If not for Frozen and the festivities this year I think the Epcot attendance would be similar to that of Hollywood Studios. For Epcot to keep up in the theme park business they need to evolve things that the older generation of Disney visitors may not like but in the end it’s a business of profit and cross promoting. Losing one pavilion is not a huge deal because there are still so many thing that make this park different from and educational aspect and have kept people coming back for that past 30 years plus.

  • More malarkey from the rumor mill. Nothing is gonna happen and Disney needs new management who will turn EPCOT back into an educational park and remove all Marvel from their parks giving them to Universal. Also management needs to realize that DC is better than Marvel in every which way possible and even Batman & Robin is far better than that horrible GOTG movie. Chris Pratt is the worst actor on the planet and Arnie, Clooney’s, and Chris O’Donnell are far better.

        • but thats all you are doing :) you are a troll, its ok you’re allowed to be a troll, just don’t get too defensive when you get called on it, makes it a bit worse.

          • I am not a troll, I am a real Disney and comic fan who actually has an education and knows what a good movie is. Plus it is a fact that this site makes up rumors to get attention. There is no GOTG ever coming to Epcot and by 2020 when Iger is gone, the next CEO will sell off Marvel and Lucasfilm and remove them entirely from the parks. Hope whoever takes over is a spy for Warner Bros. and Mickey finds himself under attack from Bugs Bunny.

          • WDWMagic needs to go the way of the dodo, too. That WDW1974 is a bully and coward hiding in a basement who makes up rumors for click bait as well. Disney needs to find out who he is and ban him, his family, and all his future descendants from Disney property.

  • This continual infatuation with forcing Marvel – especially GotG – into the parks at any cost is ludicrous. And forcing them in just anywhere makes even less sense. You don’t pay top dollar to spend a week at Cedar Fair. I’m continually disheartened with the lack of forethought or respect to the park’s legacy and of the IP built around the parks themselves (each park’s brand, their themes, lands, etc.)! It’s like the company itself doesn’t understand that they already have built-in IP that they could build upon. Seriously, where the heck is WALL-E? Perfect example of IP created by Disney, that would mesh perfectly with EPCOT’s IP – especially in UoE. Like the response from Cappy (above), I could go on and on about concepts that make too much sense to obviously be actualized – Innoventions as a new interactive children’s museum, Future World in general housing World’s Fair-esque exhibits of modern tech (from the likes of Apple, Tesla, etc.), more countries in WS with actual dark rides as they were concepted, etc. I also don’t think they understand that people care about this because we want desperately to go somewhere that provides extreme escapism and that makes complete sense (in theme, layout, story, and environment) – and people go to Disney because of this.

  • […] Walt Disney World News Today is now hearing that the building and slow traveling theater ride system will be replaced with a Guardians of the Galaxy roller coaster which would feature “both elaborate scenes and a long roller coaster portion.” A similar concept was supposedly in the works for Disney California Adventure’s upcoming Marvel Land, which has drawn comparisons to Harry Potter Escape From Gringotts ride which recently opened at Universal Studios Florida. The site’s sources believe the new attraction will be announced before the end of 2016, possibly even as soon as the upcoming Destination D event at Walt Disney World. For now, I remain skeptical — I’ll believe it when I see it. […]

  • This is great news.
    While I used to love Universe of Energy (like 20 years ago), it’s now simply outdated and not a priority anymore.

    On my upcoming trip I’ll be spending 3 days at Epcot, but seriously doubt I’ll bother with UoE. I’m just not tempted to go in there.
    It’s very similar to how I feel about the Great Movie Ride.

    And a massive refurb won’t do the trick.
    We need a new attraction.
    We need this Coaster.

  • Guardians would be cool. Another park with closed areas will suck. The Disney parks are TOOOOO crowded and in disarray. How about building new areas too??? There’s a lot more land to use, and they keep building more and more and more and more resorts and stores. Not enough attractions. Seems they’d be able to better update Universe of Energy than a tear down.

  • Can’t they does this at Hollywood Studios? Makes a bit more sense to do it there, you know, being it was a movie… Made in Hollywood… at a studio…

  • I completely agree with several on here. EPCOT needs to evolve. It’s foolish to think that Disney wouldn’t bring in more of their stories eventually. When I was a kid, I really couldn’t stand the park. It was boring compared to the others. Yes, I have since learned to appreciate it for the culture etc but I am thrilled they brought in characters. And they didn’t just bring in the characters, they put them in their respective lands. I am completely ready for there to be another attraction in EPCOT. It deserves it! Besides, after they changed the voice over in Spaceship Earth i’m really not as attached to anything in Future World anymore :)

  • I’m personally sick of roller coasters in WDW. Space Mountain was a novelty but now it’s a knee jerk reaction for the ‘Imagineers’ to throw in a coaster. EPCOT was best when it had Horizons, World of Motion the original Figment ride. Rides that were educational, fun and a glimpse of what could be possible. You know, using your imagination.
    Soon WDW will be another Six Flags.