Disney World Rumors: Brazil in Epcot, Tomorrowland Overhaul, Artist Point with Characters
Brazil pavilion in World Showcase at Epcot? Artist Point at Wilderness Lodge becoming a character meal? A reinvention of Tomorrowland at Magic Kingdom? V.I.Passholder Nights at Walt Disney World…for free?! We’re back covering these news and rumors from Walt Disney World in this update.
We’ll start with Artist Point, the underrated Signature Restaurant at Wilderness Lodge. If we had to, we’d bet that Artist Point is the least popular Signature Restaurant at Walt Disney World. You really don’t hear a ton about it, and this is despite our opinion that it’s a strong option in terms of cuisine. Unfortunately, unlike its counterparts like California Grill or Flying Fish, it doesn’t have an iconic feature or convenient location that gives it a high profile and draws guests.
It has been known for a couple of months now that something is up with Artist Point. When the ADR window opened for November 2018, Artist Point surprisingly had no availability. If you try to book something now for the restaurant beyond October 28, 2018, you won’t find anything. To say this is ‘uncommon’ with Artist Point so far in advance would be an understatement. Something is up…
At this point, what exactly happens with Artist Point is anyone’s guess. Our suspicion is that there is backstage (kitchen) work slated to happen, along with a re-imagining of the dining room. This would be consistent with both the California Grill and Flying Fish refurbishments of the last few years, and would take around 6 months to complete.
We’d say at least that much is pretty close to a sure thing. With Wilderness Lodge now having more Disney Vacation Club units, it stands to reason that increasing the appeal and popularity of Artist Point makes sense. There’s also a persistent rumor, originating on the Disboards, that Artist Point will convert to character dining.
That’s definitely a possibility. It’s also possible that character dining will be added for breakfast, with the other meals remaining character-free. Even though it might seem odd to have a character meal at a Signature Restaurant, there’s no reason the two couldn’t co-exist. Artist Point used to have a “Pocahontas and Friends Breakfast” in the mid-1990s, so this isn’t exactly unprecedented.
It’s also possible that Artist Point will lose its Signature status, while adding character dining for breakfast and retaining “normal” table service dining for lunch and dinner. As a Deluxe Resort, it seems unlikely that Wilderness Lodge wouldn’t have a “normal” (character and gimmick-free) table service restaurant.
Next, the upcoming overhaul of Tomorrowland. This is a rumor (or rather, slew of rumors) that has been making the rounds since even before TRON Lightcycle Power Run was announced. It’s a foregone conclusion that something is going to happen between now and Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary, it’s really just a matter of what.
As we shared in our recent Summer 2018 Magic Kingdom Tomorrowland Update, there have been new rumors of adding show scenes and a permanent Incredibles narration to the PeopleMover. Other rumors have been floating around for a while: a Wreck-It Ralph VR racer replacing Stitch’s Great Escape (which seems less likely for the moment), a new scene for Carousel of Progress, and an aesthetic refresh to Tomorrowland Speedway and the land at-large.
Late last month, Orlando Weekly published a round-up of these rumors. From what we’ve heard, most of what’s reported there is highly unlikely–but not all of it. The PeopleMover is overdue for an extended refurbishment, but that’s to fix persistent issues with the ride system and its reliability.
Given the attraction’s ridership numbers–and future increases that are sure to come with more foot traffic in Tomorrowland–adding show scenes would be a savvy investment. At a minimum, a few more vignettes or Audio Animatronics (there are a few sitting around in Stitch’s Great Escape!) to avoid complaints from families that it’s a boring transportation “ride to nowhere” might be a good move.
Aside from that article, we’ve heard absolutely nothing about moving the load/unload and queue areas for the PeopleMover, and that seems highly unlikely to us. Stranger things have happened, but that would be a huge project that would consume other valuable real estate in Tomorrowland. We’d be shocked if that occurs.
Brazil in Epcot is another rumor we’ve reported on numerous times, and we ranked it the #2 rumor for Epcot ahead of last year’s D23 Expo (behind only Ratatouille: Kitchen Kalamity, which already had permits filed at that point). Even after it was not announced, we received indication that it would still be happening, and that a lot that would be coming to Epcot was not revealed at the event.
Since last summer, we’ve continued to hear a flurry of Epcot rumors, some of which contradict one another. As we noted in our Epcot Summer 2018 Update, we’ve heard that those plans for Epcot that were not announced–or not greenlit–are in flux. Throughout all of that, the one constant has been the Brazil pavilion. Despite an official announcement, we have yet to hear anything suggesting that it’s not happening.
The latest reliable rumor comes from WDWMagic, where it’s being reported that the Brazil pavilion will have a $450 million budget, with the country’s government picking up $250 million of that cost. The information comes from a financial breakdown of upcoming additions and changes to Epcot.
Per this poster, the breakdown also includes Journey into Imagination 4.0. While we haven’t seen this financial breakdown ourselves, we have spoken with someone else who mentioned a line-item cost breakdown for Epcot’s re-imagining that listed some staggering amounts…the basis for this rumor would seem consistent with that line-item breakdown.
(As for Journey into Imagination, we haven’t heard anything reliable about it since Frozen Ever After stole its overhaul budget a few years ago. We’re more than ready for Journey into Imagination to receive an overhaul, but it’s highly unlikely that’ll occur by Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary.)
Back to Brazil. If you want a look at what was pitched to Brazil for the pavilion, there’s some Brazil concept art here. There have been some rumblings that a competing concept (or two) exists or existed for the pavilion, but we have not heard anything firsthand about what these other proposals might entail.
The Brazil pavilion would be located behind the miniature train set at the Germany pavilion. The first sign of the pavilion’s existence would be backstage land clearing, and there are several structures that would need to be relocated before construction of the Brazil pavilion could begin.
Even without a sponsor, a Brazil pavilion seems like a foregone conclusion. Funding from Brazil’s government likely only ensures an attraction for the pavilion, and greater opportunities to promote tourism to Brazil. We’re frankly a bit shocked that an attraction-less pavilion has not already been built solely at Disney’s expense.
As we’ve said before, a Brazil pavilion makes perfect sense and could be quite lucrative for Walt Disney World. Brazilian visitors are a significant demographic for Disney, with the country being the #3 foreign market in terms of visitors to Orlando–both #1 and #2 are already represented in World Showcase.
A Brazil pavilion would have popular dining offerings, as Brazilian guests would seek out familiar cuisine–just as American guests do. Walt Disney World already sells Brazil merchandise even without having the pavilion, but having dedicated retail space for Brazil-themed items would also be beneficial.
Finally, V.I.Passholder Nights are coming to Walt Disney World this fall for Gold, Platinum, Platinum Plus, and Premier Annual Passholders. On select evenings in August, September, and October, Magic Kingdom and Epcot will be open for two extra hours, with certain attractions, restaurants, and shops open.
While these events are free to valid Annual Passholders, attendance will require advance registration…via email link.(DUN DUN DUN!) For those of us APs who don’t receive Walt Disney World emails (for unbeknownst reasons…perhaps we simply are not the chosen ones via the Email Claw), that could pose a problem.
We’re expecting these events to be a somewhere between evening Extra Magic Hours and Disney Vacation Club Moonlight Magic events in terms of quality and “specialness.” Expect there to be special photo ops and perhaps a few rare characters, but probably not free food, exclusive fireworks, or ultra-low crowds. A nice perk for those already in town, but nothing around which we’d plan a trip to Florida.
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What do you think about this Walt Disney World news? Any of these rumors you hope do or don’t come to fruition? Any questions? Hearing your feedback is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!
“there have been new rumors of adding show scenes and a permanent Incredibles narration to the PeopleMover”
I enjoyed the two Incredibles movies, but I like PeopleMover the way it is. I like how relaxing it is, and how old school Disney World it is. Adding screaming characters from The Incredibles would change that (I assume the Incredibles characters narrating the PeopleMover would have loud and urgent voices). Disney, please add an awesome new Incredibles dark ride to Magic Kingdom instead of taking away the current narration of the PeopleMover and replacing it with something radically different.
I assume any changes they make to PeopleMover will be cosmetic only, and not to make it accessible to wheelchair users. Such a disappointment that they’re not considering it worth updating it so everyone can go on it.
Have you heard anything about Akershus being renovated in January? The last 2 days that have opened up for ADRs haven’t had Akershus as an option for any mealtimes after January 23
I forgot to add that I’ve often wondered why WDW deluxe resorts didn’t have character dining at each one as minimum standard. Imho, Deluxe resorts should have at a minimum 1) character dining 2) signature dining 3) a minimum of 2 different types of transportation to and from the parks WITHOUT having to stop at multiple resorts 4) a 24 hour quick service dining location for those days when your schedule is just out of whack 5) allergy friendly room options and 6) a complimentary gift of your choice that rotates with each season upon check -in (that’s not a refillable cup or a pin).
I wish they would expand fantasyland more (like with the Beauty and the Beast Be our Guest ride being built at Tokyo Disneyland.) and forget about the majority of tomorrow land, imho. I think with Epcot existing and now Star Wars being prominent in the World, that it’s a bit redundant. Anyone have an attraction wish list of your own? I would love a boat ride at animal kingdom dedicated to just the Jungle Book (think of all the wonderful music and cooling off!), an Aladdin Cave of Wonder’s ride that is high tech, much like Soarin, and an indoor ride at WDW for the Tea Party (Alice in Wonderland. That’s just my thoughts. I’m sure others may agree or disagree. No worries. 🙂
I like your thinking. I would love a beauty and the beast ride or maybe even if Belle made her appearance at the restaurant with the Beast. Jungle cruise could be really fun…like the Navi river one…and I absolutely love your idea of the cave of wonders…and of it was like soarin on top of a magic carpet Ride …we could see all that they saw in the movie…. yessss it would be beautiful. How about the movies and characters we don’t see much of like maybe a ride for Pocahontas….a river one..with wind…and the Willow tree. The arrival of John Smith on his ship….and then it would be nice to see a ride for China based on Mulan at the showcase. Also if it is true that Brazil is coming to the showcase, I think it would be amazing to see a carnival ride to show how they do that carnival party.
Tomorrowland has always been bland to me. Looking forward to something new. Kids are voting for Miles from Tomorrowland!
Given the current economic and political conjunctures, I believe it’s very unlikely that the Brazilian government would make an investment like this.
I had a waiter at Ohana, who also worked at Artist Point, on a recent WDW trip told me that both are on the books to refurbished within the next year or two.
I definitely hope they don’t change PeopleMover. A new scene to Carousel of Progress is due–the “future one” is already current, so I think that would be a nice addition without taking anything away from the current one. It’d be great if they added some racial diversity to the new scene too, to better represent all of America.
Stich’s Great Escape needs something done-it’s ridiculously useless right now!
Brazil is an exciting addition to hope is coming, though I do think it’s in Epcot’s best interest for it to be a pavilion with a ride! I would think the Amazon would fit well with a boat ride and be a bit less religious/controversial than Rio’s Christ statue. I’m sure it will depend on where Brazil wants to promote tourism too the most though.
Do NOT mess around with Peoplemover.
I couldn’t agree more! The Peoplemover is a classic, leave it alone.
I like the PeopleMover just the way it is. I like the fact that you just sit on there and the scenery moves around you and that a lot of the time it’s quiet. Or as quiet as it ever gets at Disney.
Yes. Remember what happened at Disneyland when they messed around with it? Well, we don’t have it anymore and can’t get it back ever due to OSHA regulations, so the moral of that is do not mess with the Peoplemover!
I really hope they don’t change the PeopleMover. It’s great the way it is now.
Meanwhile the pimple on the face(Stitch) and rear(Speedway) go unchanged. Those two attractions need to be addressed before they so much as repaint a peoplemover sign.