RUMOR: India Pavilion Coming to Epcot’s World Showcase with Massive Jungle Book Ride

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World Showcase pavilion rumors are always around and it seems that we’ll never actually get one confirmed. We’re still waiting to hear if the Brazil pavilion is coming, as well as an announcement of the Mary Poppins ride in the U.K., but now we’re hearing that Walt Disney Imagineering has another full-blown pavilion in development: India.

An India pavilion has actually been among the long list of rumored countries to be added to the back half of the park, with Disney holding meetings with Indian government officials way back in 1986 (according to the Orlando Sentinel at least). The India booth at the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is popular and Sanaa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is possibly the best sit-down restaurant in all of Walt Disney World. Could you imagine being able to get Sanaa-like dishes (including bread service) from table and counter service restaurants while at Epcot? Maybe this sounds like a better thematic fit for the Animal Kingdom theme park, but there are other plans for expanding there in the next few years we’ll be sharing at a later date.

If the plans for Epcot’s India pavilion come to fruition, it will be anchored by a massive E-Ticket attraction: a boat ride based on the 2016 hit live action film, The Jungle Book, directed by Jon Favreau. 

While some might prefer a ride based on the animated classic, it’s important to remember that the live action adaptation was critically and commercially successful, grossing almost $1 billion worldwide. The film will also eventually have a sequel, which would be the perfect time for Disney to have video portions of the ride shot in conjunction with the production of The Jungle Book 2.

The boat ride would utilize the revolutionary ride system from Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure at Shanghai Disneyland. This ride features boats with a motion base, allowing vehicles to rock and spin in the water along their path. This would be a massive attraction, just as the Shanghai Pirates ride is the largest in that park.

This project could be a few years away (as the sequel is not even set to resume production until after the live action The Lion King is released in 2019), but it is starting to be discussed more seriously by executives at this point. No matter what the pavilion may hold, I think most would be happy just to have a new country finally built in Epcot for the first time since 1988.

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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.
Contact Tom at [email protected]

23 Comments

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  • I love this! I’ll admit – I thought Brazil would be nice, but a little limited in offerings. India though – the food, ride potential, this makes sense!

  • Hmmmm…I mean, I like the idea behind the ride, but in all honesty I have wanted an India pavilion for the longest time — probably a good 20 years or more — and really wanted to see them do something like the Taj Mahal. Every other pavilion has recognizable famed architectural monuments as their main feature, and the Taj is the most famous building in India, it’s even featured in the new Soarin’ ride. I’d be fine if we could see kinda the best of both worlds. I just think it would be a shame to ignore that particular aspect of India.

  • I think it is more likely that they’ll retheme Kali River at Animal Kingdom with Jungle Book. It is a much cheaper, less time consuming new addition.

      • Kali needs a BIG upgrade. It needs to be significantly lengthened, have more drops added, and made more “wild”. Simply adding Jungle Book scenes to the existing ride won’t be sufficient IMHO.

        • At least it would give people something to look at and even hear. My eyes are so bored when I go on it. For the most part all there is to see is plants, trees and burning wood on the side. I see more stuff driving on the highway.

          Besides you can’t tell me Baloo and Mowgli singing “Bear Necessities” wouldn’t be an upgrade.

  • I don’t want to see India in Epcot. India is already represented in the entire land of Asia in Animal Kingdom and has several restaurants (Sanaa, Tiffins, Jiko, etc.). I’d like to see some fresh countries in Epcot: South America (Brazil, Argentina, Peru), Russia, Australia or New Zealand, Caribbean (Haiti, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Jamaica).

    • The most obvious missing countries are: Brazil or Peru (some representation from South America), Greece (we need a Greek restaurant), Australia and New Zealand, Russian (but, it will never happen), Spain, and Holland (we need a windmill). Anything else is just fluff.

  • I’m not sure if a site has been discussed, but it would almost certainly have to go between Germany and China (where Village Traders is).

    I agree with the thought that an India pavilion is sort of redundant because India is such a big part of AK (also more cost effective to re-theme Kali River). However, if they wanted to bring something like Shanghai Pirates to WDW, Jungle Book makes a ton of sense. I would love to see what they could do with that cast (Murray, Walken, Kingsley, ScarJo, Idris Elba) throughout the ride.

  • But we already have the Jungle Cruise? Why can’t Disney do something different. I’m still waiting for the “PULL THE LEVER KRONK!” ride or a Greece pavilion.

  • I think that any new country added to the World Showcase is a GREAT idea!! No complaints here. Of course, I’m sure the same people complaining about the rumored country selection and ride are the same people complaining that Disney doesn’t have enough attractions.

    • I’m alright with a country being added to Epcot. I’m just not alright with the choice being India. Like others have said it is alright being used in Asia in AK.

      I’d much rather go with a country that isn’t being in used in a DW park.

      Switzerland (Matterhorn)
      Russia (Kremlin)
      Brazil (Giant movie)
      Greece (Parthenon, Gods)

      etc, etc, etc

    • I don’t see an immediate need to have India added to World Showcase and the countries I listed that I think should be added do not include Africa. (Africa is a continent comprising many diverse countries. India is one country. So I don’t think you would have an official, full-fledged “country pavilion” for all of Africa.)

      The point is, India is already pretty-well represented at Disney World whereas the entire South American continent (as well as Australia/NZ) are missing entirely. It would seem that adding a South American country (or Australia/NZ) would be a higher priority than adding another Indian element.

      Since I think Australia ought to get its own land in Animal Kingdom, that leaves a South American country or New Zealand for Epcot. Brazil is probably my favorite pick. It is one of the largest and most populous countries in the world. It is home to the largest (volume) river in the world and the largest rainforest. It has huge metropolitan areas, world famous beaches, etc. Not to mention pink dolphins. A Shanghai Pirates-style water ride based on the Amazon River would be great. It’s signature restaurant could be a churrascaria.

  • I’d love to see an India pavilion. But what is truly needed is a real Indian restaurant. Not a restaurant with one or two Indian inspired dishes, but an actual fully Indian restaurant. The idea that WDW has Indian restaurants already is just wrong.

  • Wouldn’t it be so much better if Disney added a Jungle Book overlay to the Kali River Rapids attraction and got rid of the horrible ravished rain forest theme?

  • The Pirates Shanghai ride system does not have a motion base. They simply have the ability to rotate but remain level at all times.

  • An India pavilion should have a Bollywood musical revue. And while Indian food is featured at restaurants like Sanaa and Yak & Yeti, there is no restaurant dedicated fully to Indian cuisine, which is one of my favorites. My favorite restaurant in Orlando is Indian Hut. They don’t have as much atmosphere as most Indian restaurants, but they’re cheaper, open longer, and I enjoy watching musical videos direct from India while I dine.

  • I think India is a great idea and Jungle Book would tie in perfectly. India is basically the most populated country in the world (essentially tied with China) so it really should be part of Epcot. It also has a very distinctive culture with outstanding food.

    Brazil and Greece would be excellent choices as well. Add all 3! But, of all the countries I could think of, I think India is the best choice.

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