Epcot Re-Imagined Part 3: Innoventions

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Editor’s Note: This series is a look at how one staff member would re-imagine Epcot pavilions. Previous articles in the series can be found here.

We now move away from Imagination to the center of Future World, where there has been a noticeable absence of kinetic energy in the area, ever since Innoventions East and West were mostly closed down.

This absence has been felt for quite some time now, ever since Disney opened Epcot Character Spot in 2007, which took up a significant chunk of what used to be space taken up by Communicore, an original Epcot attraction which lasted until 1994 when it was replaced by Innoventions.

Now, since it is permanently closed, Innoventions is just empty space in two giant buildings, hence the reason why in the new renderings for Future World that were revealed to the public at the Parks & Resorts Panel at the D23 Expo showed the two pavilions completely destroyed.

This also included MouseGear, the flagship Epcot store, and Electric Umbrella (one of two counter-service restaurants in Future World), Club Cool, the Fountain View, and Innoventions Plaza, which includes Pin Central and the wait time boards.

Most importantly, the plans might spell the end of the Innoventions Music Loop, one of the greatest compilations of Disney Parks music ever!

Before that area is no more, I’d like to throw an idea of mine into the mix, a plan that revitalizes Innoventions and the surrounding areas. The two attraction/exhibit buildings would continue to be called Innoventions, since it still sticks with the new theme.

The facade of both structures will be given a facelift, with a completely new color scheme, with blues, greens, purples, blacks, and neon, similar to that of Test Track, shown below.

The internal building structure will be unchanged, but the new color scheme and logo will be very noticeable throughout both buildings. The logo from the original Innoventions, the hand holding the lightbulb, will be re-used, but instead of having two colors for East and West, the blue color wave will be the only one used.

Tom Morrow 2.0 will not be returning to this version of Innoventions, unfortunately, but instead, a new version of SMRT-1.

The exhibitions in the new Innoventions will take up the existing attraction space in both buildings.

As for the attractions themselves, there will be many new exhibitions with the biggest corporate sponsors currently: Tesla, SpaceX, Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Amazon, etc.

Much like my idea for the new Wonders of Life, incorporating the newest technologies into said exhibitions would attract so many people. Things like VR, smartphone technology, augmented reality, robotics, and touch screen demonstrations would do the trick. I mean, if kids could be entertained by a human art farm exhibit, these ideas should surely bring in more guests.

It’s really tough to specifically think of every new exhibition that will be included. However, with the sponsors that were previously given, you should be able to get a good idea of what will be coming into the space.

One thing I distinctly remember from Innoventions was the video game wall right near it where the former Segway exhibit. The new Innoventions will keep the video game wall, with updated Xbox One, PS4, VR, and Nintendo Switch titles.

There will be subtle nods to Communicore in both buildings, with the original logo incorporated in mosaics and collages, very similar to what was done with the World of Motion logo in the new Test Track.

As for the rest of the space taken up by the two buildings, MouseGear will be given a facelift, with a completely redesigned interior and a new logo.

Club Cool and Fountain View will be left unchanged because riots would ensue if Disney got rid of a Starbucks and Beverly, specifically Beverly.

The Electric Umbrella will also be completely re-designed, but the 2nd floor and the wall carpet will be untouched and will stay off-limit to guests, out of nostalgia.

The space that was previously taken up by the Epcot 25th Anniversary Gallery will be replaced with an art gallery celebrating the past, present, and future of Epcot. Pieces within the gallery will circulate and be replaced from time to time. The timeline will stay and will continue to be updated.

Pin Central will be kept in its current location, but the wait times boards will be removed as they are no longer a necessity.

Last and most importantly for families, the Epcot Character Spot will stay in its current location, and character meet-and-greets will change periodically as new movies, TV shows, and other events happen.

Unfortunately, this idea is not going to happen with the Future World renderings shown at the D23 Expo, but it’s always fun to dream.

Next time, we will take a trip to try to solve the mess that’s been going on with The Land.

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About the author

Alex Murphy

Alex is a sophomore multi-platform journalism major at the University of Maryland. He has frequented the Disney parks since he was a child. He is also way to obsessed with Wonders of Life. Feel free to contact Alex at [email protected]

10 Comments

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  • I can’t believe Club Cool might be taken out! I always have enjoyed going there every time I went to Epcot and I’m sad to see or hear that it might go

  • Absolutely without imagination. You merely want to keep the stale look of the Communicore buildings that are long outdated and serve no use. They are largely abandoned as in Abandon Land. Look it up in YouTube.

    Innoventions was supposed to appeal to kids and teenagers and give them some education. The fact is Disney couldn’t keep up with how stale they end up looking in a mere few years and they couldn’t find enough corporate sponsors (or suckers) willing to give Disney free money for questionable marketing advertisements. Siemens generously offered Disney a new monorail set, but Disney rejected since they couldn’t fathom competing corporate advertisements.

    Innoventions occupy a lot of space that is better realized as an entirely new kids play area with character infused flat rides. This will attract kids to a park that sorely needs new things to keep them interested like the Frozen ride after boring them with Imagination.

    Of course, the reality is Disney intends to replace it with a new forested area with new water features that will serve as a backdrop to more food and wine events or home and garden festivals. Oh well. Goodbye Innoventions. You’re a waste and we won’t miss you.

    • I just read this post now and was about to comment the same thing until I read yours. So thanks for covering that.

      The idea of a “permanent world’s fair” must have sounded good in concept but didn’t work well at all in practice. After Walt and Roy died, Disney leadership naturally wanted to build off the success of the ’64 World’s Fair. But there’s a very good reason that actual World’s Fairs only happen for a few weeks every 3-5 years.

      You’d think that by the late 70s, Disney would have realized how hard it was to have Tomorrowland “keep up with the future.” Kind of a shame that it took the 2008 recession to finally kill off Innoventions. Eisner should just ended CommuniCore instead of giving it a cheap, tacky, corporate rebrand.

      But the one great thing about adding these green spaces, kids parks, and fountains is they’ll be an unofficial exhibit for modern urban planning. So ironically, by removing this “future technology” showcase, Epcot will come closer to Walt’s original vision for a city of the future. With all of the “IPcot” plans underway, we should all be celebrating this return to Disney basics instead of lamenting that Innoventions is no longer justifiable.

    • The new Guardians of the Galaxy attraction in the Universe of Energy pavilion will be a launched indoor thrilling family roller coaster. The attraction building will be used for the queue, pre-show, and load/unload areas – the ride building is being constructed next to it.

      Honestly, the Innoventions footprint isn’t suited to a single new attraction, as it’s split in half by Spaceship Earth. Tearing it down to open up the area with green spaces, benches, kiosks, live entertainment, futuristic art and fountains is exactly what the center of Future World needs. It needs to “exhibit” the future of urban design, more like what Walt originally envisioned. So I seriously hope the blue sky concept art we see is mostly what we’ll get.

  • I’d actually be disappointed to see them tear down the Innovention buildings as they were such a part of the early days of Epcot and I think they could serve another purpose without removing them. I also hope they keep Club Cool since it’s a fun respite for guests when it’s hot outside. I remember when Club Cool used to be an igloo that was freezing inside with lots of piped in smoke to make it seem like you were really in the arctic! Last but not least, the Fountain View is another staple that has changed hands a few times and I always loved the futuristic look to the building. It is the perfect place for the new Starbucks since guests can get their breakfast as soon as they walk into the park early in the morning.

  • There’s a major problem with the IT companies you proposed as sponsors. Ironically, their products and services have destroyed Innoventions’ business model. Native advertising, corporate digital journalism, and micro-targeting are far cheaper, far more effective paths for PR than sponsoring a Disney attraction. Also, some of these companies have sponsored Innoventions exhibits in the past and pulled out over a decade ago.

    Think about it. If Facebook, Google, and Amazon thought that buying Epcot exhibits made business sense, they would have BEGGED Disney to keep Innoventions going. They would have dumped money into overhauling the exhibits 5 years ago. But they didn’t, because there’s no point in dumping millions of dollars into an exhibit that gets outdated every 2 years. Real World’s Fairs only happen for a few weeks every 3-5 years for precisely this reason.

    Also, the world’s most valuable companies are household names. They don’t need to sponsor exhibits to tell people they exist, like a lot of the smaller companies and labs that have sponsored most Innoventions exhibits.

    And STEM outreach is much more popular today than it was in the early ’80s. It’s no longer a niche interest, so it’s better to engage kids with electronics and software locally through robotics teams than by seeing a robotics exhibit at Epcot. Lots of parents across the country want their kids to pursue STEM jobs, so local science museums are cheaper, more effective places for companies to sponsor an exhibit than Disney World.

    Like it or not, “IPcot” is the future of this park. People pay thousands of dollars to visit Disney World so they have uniquely immersive DISNEY experiences. The challenge Imagineers will face is balancing the entertainment factor of Disney IPs with the educational value of the attractions they’re replacing.

    If Disney took an extra year to convert Maelstrom into Frozen Ever After, they could have made the queue much more educational. Instead, there’s just the stave church exhibit outside of the ride that nobody walks through. Hopefully when they find creative ways to incorporate energy technology into the storyline of the Guardians of the Galaxy ride. And when Disney decides to incorporate sequel elements into the Frozen ride, they’ll update it for creative cultural education.

    The one silver lining of gutting Innoventions is it’s always been an eyesore in Future World. It destroyed the flow of the land by blocking the view to other pavilions and made Epcot look like an abandoned ’80s strip mall instead of a timeless monument to futurism.

    What’s even better is that the blue sky images show Innoventions replaced with green spaces, water features, kiosks, and parks. This implies that Imagineers intend to use this area as a showcase for future urban development. So ironically, tearing out these exhibits on “future technology” will move Epcot more in the direction that Walt originally intended it – the Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow.

    We should celebrate this, not bemoan Innoventions’ overdue demise! Why try to revive a dead attraction concept? This new space is going to be an IP-free, inexpensive, timeless, but futuristic space that will open up the rest of the land and appeal to all ages. Stripping out Innoventions and the Legacy Tiles is a huge win and needed refresh for the 40th anniversary of Epcot.

    Instead of wasting time and money on a retread of Innoventions, Disney needs to spend those resources to make “IPcot” the “Infotainment” Prototype Community of Tomorrow.

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