Epcot Parks & Resorts Walt Disney World Resort

BREAKING: First Permits Filed for Replacement of the Universe of Energy at Epcot

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We first brought you the rumor that something was planned for the Universe of Energy pavilion almost a year ago. Although the plans seem to have been delayed, we now are seeing the first concrete indication that something is about to happen at the northeast corner of Epcot. Disney has filed paperwork with the South Florida Water Management District indicating plans to reroute a drainage canal behind Universe of Energy and create two new retention ponds to hold additional runoff from “onsite improvements that will add impervious area.”

It is clear from the filings that this canal drainage modification is just the beginning of a much larger construction project in the works. You can see from the above image that the construction area incorporates not only the canals and a large area of land, but also the Universe of Energy attraction itself.

The western half of the canal area highlighted in red is scheduled to be filled in. This would likely be where the additional “impervious area” is being added. And what exactly will this impervious area be? Likely an additional show building to be used for a future attraction coming to the Universe of Energy pavilion.

In the above image you can see an area labeled “Back of House” directly behind the Universe of Energy and Wonders of Life, where the canal will be filled. The fact that the project boundary outlined includes all of the Universe of Energy show building plus much of the walkways and entrance areas in front of the pavilion, while specifically excluding the Wonders of Life pavilion, likely means that a fairly significant construction project is planned – significantly more than simply an overlay. Expect a complete gutting of the existing building and a whole new entrance area where the existing mirrored fountain now stands.

The above hydrologic evaluation plans show a huge rectangular area behind Wonders of Life and directly on top of the filled canal area that could be the new show building.

Stay tuned to WDW News Today for more information as we receive it.

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About the author

Jason Diffendal

Jason has been a lifelong fan of the Disney parks since his first visit at age 2. His biennial pilgrimages during his childhood accelerated into semi-annual visits by the year 2000, when he also Joined the Disney Vacation Club. Luckily, Jason’s bride-to-be was also a Disney fan, which allowed his infatuation with the Disney parks to continue, and ultimately culminated in their wedding at Disney's Wedding Pavilion in September 2003. Early in 2007, Jason began his involvement with the planning for what became Celebration 25, the unofficial fan gathering to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Epcot®. Soon thereafter, Jason met Tom Corless at a pin trading meet in New Jersey, and became part of the WDW News Today podcast starting with Episode 17. Jason has been involved with the WDWNT Network ever since, and can't seem to escape no matter how hard he tries.

44 Comments

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  • Good news. We get rid of a boring, outdated ride, and two celebs that I can’t stand — Ellen and Bill — all at the same time.

  • The headline is misleading! 😡

    I very highly doubt that they’re replacing Energy. It seems to me that they’re just modifying the area behind Energy so they can add more stand-alone attractions and that they have to modify the land behind it for the water and everything.

    And with Energy being in that zone, I can see Energy getting major updates, not a replacement.

    • I sure hope you’re right. My wife and I love Ellen’s Energy Adventure. It could use some updates, but it is a unique, very well done, and fascinating attraction. There’s nothing else like it, and it fits the Epcot edutainment concept well.

  • I didn’t like the loop coaster for the GOTG, but I am hoping iron man experience like at HkDL. I wish it will be announced at D23 expo 2017.

  • So the wonders building won’t be touched but it appears the entrance is included in the boundary line so does that mean that wonders will not be used for festivals during this construction?

    • That area is only shown in the “construction area” because storm water currently drains from that area into the area where the canal is being re-routed. The permit does not say an actual work will be done in that area.

  • My heart is broken. I love, love, love this ride – and my kids and I have learned something new every time we’ve gone, even though we’ve ridden a dozen times. Love Ellen, love the concept, still think it’s hysterical. Such a sad day for me.

  • Bill Nye and Ellen are wonderful people. How can a person like WDW and not like these two patriots? Oh wait, someone must be a denier of man-made global warming and a supporter of “The Man.”

    • Bill Nye is not a scientist but an actor portraying one. He has no academic recoded to stand for anything of science.

      • If you’re going to lie on the internet, at least lie about things that aren’t easily proven false. A two-second Google search turns up his history as an engineer at Boeing.

        • Engineer =/= Scientist. He has a bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering, and that is the only degree Bill Nye has.

          He is not a scientist and should never be portrayed as one in any situation other than for pure entertainment, as in his show “Bill Nye the Science Guy”. He is an actor.

  • I hope, by a large margin, that it’s the “Tron” ride (I believe Shanghai Disneyland has it)… Yes the original movie Tron was well done (especially knowing it was about computers in the early 80’s) and the redux Tron was not good (IMO), but this ride looks iconic!

  • If the Marvel deal is going to be resolved then a bunch of Marvel related projects could be coming. Both the Universe of Energy and Wonders of Life could be changed and a third base could be built. Avengers, X-men, Marvel Cosmic could each set locations there. Wonders of Life could be Asgard. Universe of Energy could be Knowhere. Back area could be NYC with Stark Tower and the Dr Strange Sanctum.

  • To all the people guessing Marvel: It’s not Marvel. Disney does not own the park rights to Marvel anywhere east of the Mississippi River, Universal Orlando does. And so long as Universal continues to own those rights, anything more than a meet and greet over at Disney World will likely result in Disney getting sued if it’s in the MCU. (I can’t say anything about Big Hero 6 since it’s a Disney animated movie, but the rest I can say with 90% certainty will result in Disney being sued as it’s a violation of the contract that allows things like Spiderman and Hulk to continue to exist over at IoA.)

    • There is a slight misconception that Marvel characters and attractions cannot exist in a WDW park. Only the characters originally contracted by Universal are excluded from Disneyworld. You will not see any attractions or meet and greets with the Fantastic Four, X-Men, Spider-Man, select members of the Avengers (Cap, Thor, Iron-Man, Hulk) and a number of their respective villains; Dr. Doom, Green Goblin, etc. However, Disney can utilize other Marvel properties not included in Marvels original agreement with Universal. So you could see attractions based on GOTG, Dr. Strange, Ant-Man & Wasp, Captain Marvel, the Inhumans, etc. Universal can never add any additional characters, nor can they change or update the look of the characters or add to the Marvel-themed attractions they currently have without permission from Disney, which they will never get. The Marvel Universe is as big as it will ever get at Universal and Disney will have to develop attractions around Marvel properties until such time (if ever) that the current agreement is amended or dissolved.

      • Universal updated the looks of the characters just a few years ago… Please stop pretending like you know anything.

      • You wouldn’t see Fantastic Four or X-Men even if they did have the right to build the theme parks over here. Disney does not own the rights to either of those heroes (that’s Fox), it’s why Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver had their backstories changed for Age of Ultron, and why the characters are Inhumans, rather than Mutants. (I’m getting all of this off my Marvel obsessed sister, btw.) That being said Universal is constantly updating things. They had the Incredible Hulk coaster down for a year in order to redo it, with updated everything and a Stan Lee cameo in the queue for Hulk. They also have gotten permission in the past, including stuff with the characters from the Disney exclusive Marvel movies like Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant Man, and Doctor Strange.

        Please look into Universal’s history with Marvel more before accusing me of not having my information straight. Thank you.

        • Sorry, your information is close, but not perfect. The Fantastic Four and X-Men deal your sister spoke of only applies to the movies. Marvel still owns the FF and X-Men characters and could conceivably use them in Disneyland. Of course, since Marvel stands to make the most money off of the characters they haven’t licensed to Fox, we’ve seen a huge drop in publicity for the X-Men and Fantastic Four in the last ten years.

          • I actually forgot about the comics part in the deal, since I was referring only to the movies. Thanks for the correction!

  • Some time back it was reported that Disney had sight line surveying balloons afloat. I’d expect something reasonably tall coming in. A coaster-like ride would not be out of the question.

  • Will not happen. GOTG cannot legally be in WDW. They will be in Infinity War and that will break the contract with Universal. More likely Disney sells off Marvel for billions and restores Tower of Terror to its rightful place in DCA. #makedisneygreatagain

    • Universal only has the theme park right to some characters, not all. That’s why gotg characters appear at Hollywood studios, and you can meet Baymax at Epcot.

    • This is a grey area in the contract. The contract isn’t specific about what constituted being part of a character “family” so it’s very possible that just appearing in a movie with the Avengers isn’t enough to make the GotG characters part of the Avengers family. The contract also mentions a document, which is not publically available, that lists all the character families at the time the contract was written. It’s possible that the family relationship was set at that time and future movies/comic books did not changit.

    • So Guardians of the Galaxy, which is a Disney property has no place in a Disney park, but a CBS/Paramount property does? What would Walt do? Use an in house property. Why don’t you cry some more and say “This isn’t what Walt Wanted!”

  • So interesting i think we can all agree It is time for more attractions on that side of Future world and by attractions i men E tickets or 1 nice D (Maybe a family ride). Its cool to know that maybe we will get 2 rides in that spot and i can hope Epcot gets it love soon. And maybe epcots new stuff anonceing at D23. #Epcotlove #finalysomethingamazing

  • A couple things to note about this permit. These permits often use vague language but this one seems to use it more then most that I have read. There are lots of uses of phrases like “possible future changes” and “possible future impervious areas” so I think they are planning to do something back there but might not have 100% locked down the details.

    The work are shows the pavilion because that area drains into the area where the canal is being modified. From the permit:

    “The “offsite” areas are simply areas beyond the proposed area of construction and whose treatment volumes are provided for in Pond-20.”

    Since this is a water management permits it would not needed for any interior work in the pavilion.

  • Can’t see anything from Marvel going into EPCOT. Not related to the basic idea of EPCOT. Frozen taking over Norway was a stretch to me but any Marvel is so off the edge. And would be very disappointed with Disney if they did.

  • I wish to be Guardians of the Galaxy! Epcot need some love too! I hope to be Guardians of the Galaxy attraction announcement in EPCOT!

  • All this talk about GOTG a mid-level hit and only in the United States while Disney World attracts visitors from well the world! This would yet be another stupid idea that will only appeal to a niche fanbase!

    If any film should get something it should be Zootopia! It unlike GOTG was completely original, was a huge unexpected hit world wide, and won multiple awards in a very tough year including the Academy Award! It is also the second highest grossing Disney Animation Studios Film in history and has sold over 100 million home dics! So yeah if anything deserves something it’s Zootopia!

    • At this moment, GOTG2 has made 797 million and 57% of that was foreign according to boxofficemojo. It’s going to be the 31st film ever to break a billion dollars worldwide. I would not define that as a “mid-level hit”.

  • Awesome news! Anything new, that isn’t just more year round festivals and drink/food stands at Epcot is welcome IMO!

  • I hope that in D23 Expo to make announcement about replacement for Universe of Energy! I hope it will be Guardians of the Galaxy!

  • This is definitely not a new ride. It is only rerouting water since the drains currently fill up to capacity with huge rain storms.

  • I’m fine with gaurdians if it looks like tron in shanghai, but if it looks like that godawful collector tower in california I will lose all respect in DI.