Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at Epcot: Opening & Info
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is a Marvel-themed roller coaster under construction at Epcot. This first-of-its-kind attraction is the biggest addition of Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary. This covers everything you need to know about the ride: when it’ll open, concept art, details, and more. (Updated April 27, 2022.)
The saga of a Guardians of the Galaxy attraction at Walt Disney World dates back years. It started with rumors of a replacement for the iconic Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios a la Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission Breakout at Disneyland Resort. Then came rumors that the Marvel misfits would take over the nearby Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith (an overlay that actually would’ve made a ton of sense).
Walt Disney World has since officially announced Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, replacing the dinosaurs of Universe of Energy at Epcot. Here’s everything we know about that attraction–for the latest developments, construction progress, and first ride-through video of the attraction, scroll down to the “April 27, 2022 Update” heading…
Walt Disney World has repeatedly referred to Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind as the first other-world showcase pavilion at Epcot. While releasing new details about the three new neighborhoods replacing Future World, Disney shed more light on how this pavilion will fit into the park.
The former Universe of Energy Pavilion is now the Wonders of Xandar Pavilion, which will be come to Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. The Wonders of Xandar Pavilion will be located in the World Discovery neighborhood of Epcot.
This area will showcase science, technology, and intergalactic adventure. Other offerings in the World Discovery area of Epcot will include the Play Pavilion, Space 220 Restaurant, Mission Space, and Test Track.
According to Disney, “Epcot just may be the perfect place for a Guardians-inspired attraction — Peter Quill (aka Star Lord) actually visited Epcot as a kid!” Plenty of EPCOT Center purists might disagree with that sentiment–whether that’s a good explanation for the thematic fit or a ham-fisted attempt at shoehorning Marvel into Epcot is in the eye of the beholder.
Regardless, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind starts in the “Galaxarium,” a planetarium-like exhibition that explores the similarities and mysteries of the formation of Earth’s galaxy and Xandar.
The conceit is that the Nova Corps have arrived on earth (that’s a Star Blaster parked out front) and are inviting guests to learn more about the treasures Xandar has to share. The premise is likely to be that the main building houses a science museum type exhibition.
In the teaser video for the attraction in Epcot Experience, a recorded video of a Xandarian welcomes earthlings to the installation before being interrupted by Rocket Raccoon for being boring. (When the feed is restored, we hear the Xandarian say, “…and now you know the secret of the universe.”)
The expectation is that the actual attraction will play out along these lines, with the pre-show involving an edutainment component that pays homage to the original message of EPCOT Center. That will likely be interrupted when the Guardians of the Galaxy arrive, culminating in the Big Bang, and an adventure across the cosmos ensuing.
Walt Disney World is touting Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind as a “storytelling coaster,” which is to say it’s a roller coaster with show scenes. Disney has indicated that it’s a family-friendly attraction–but it’ll still probably have a height requirement.
Imagineering is calling this an OmniCoaster ride system, and it’s a collaboration between WDI and Vekoma, a Netherlands-based roller coaster manufacturer. Cosmic Rewind’s vehicles will be able to rotate 360 degrees and do a reverse launch–a first for Walt Disney World.
Walt Disney Imagineering released the above video of the the OmniCoaster ride system.
This was presumably shot on Vekoma’s test track in the Netherlands, and not on-site at Walt Disney World or even in Glendale, California.
For years, Disney stated that Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind would open “in time for the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort.” However, that has not been the case since the closure/reopening.
Walt Disney World did not offer any official statements about the opening timeline for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind for over a year after Epcot closed and reopened. Fortunately, that has changed since Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary kicked off.
With that in mind, here’s a look at the latest updates, including the official opening date…
April 27, 2022 Update
Walt Disney World has released the first official ride-through video of Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at Epcot.
So embrace your inner outlaw and check out the video above for a look inside the new Wonders of Xandar pavilion at EPCOT. You’ll also get a glimpse of what happens when you’re called into action alongside the Guardians of the Galaxy to save humanity from Eson the Celestial!
(Honestly, we’re not sure whether this is a full ride-through video, just a clip of a few seconds of the attraction, or somewhere in between. We did not watch, as are very much “anti-spoilers,” especially for an attraction we’ll be experiencing for ourselves in a couple weeks.)
As a reminder, Walt Disney World officially announced that Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will open on May 27, 2022!
This E-Ticket is Epcot’s biggest addition in years, and will be the blockbuster attraction of the summer season. Expect to see a huge marketing blitz as Walt Disney World tries to draw even more tourists to the already-crowded parks.
Beyond that, Walt Disney World has already started Cast Member previews, and will soon welcome Annual Passholders, Disney Vacation Club Members, and other guests to enter the Galaxarium (pictured above) and experience the attraction.
Speaking of which, this planetarium-like exhibition showcases the connections between Xandar and Earth. The full Galaxarium loop will be over 30 minutes long (assuming you’re waiting in line that long–unlikely if you buy an Individual Lightning Lane), and will include Xandar, Earth, the Andromeda, Milky Way Galaxies, and Star-Lord’s iconic Awesome Mix Vol. 1!
Another development came via a story in a recent issue of Entertainment Weekly, there’s an interview with Imagineer Wyatt Winter.
He revealed that Cosmic Rewind will feature a “stand-alone” Guardians of the Galaxy story, inside the largest show building on Walt Disney World property. The attraction will feature digital media and the James Gunn-directed series’ signature soundtrack of pop-rock hits, all in the name of amping up the same “energy and excitement” from the films.
Winter also didn’t reveal the ride’s launch speed–or whether it features a return launch–but he did say that the overall thrill factor of Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is somewhere between that of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.
He also indicated that this Guardians of the Galaxy story is on a unique timeline, and has some surprises in store. Given its time-traveling theme, the attraction will combine bits of Marvel and Walt Disney World history. “Fans of both the films and Disney parks are going to find Easter eggs,” Winter promises.
During Destination D23, Disney also shared a special announcement (above) from Academy Award-nominated actress Glenn Close reprising her role as Nova Prime, the Xandarian leader and commander of the Nova Corps.
That’s not the only good news. Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn recently revealed that Cosmic Rewind has started shooting. This shouldn’t take too long (and might already be finished!), but it was one of the other holdups for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. That should no longer be the case, either.
In addition to this main entrance and exit, there is a large gravity building located backstage near Epcot’s parking lot. The set-up here is similar to that of Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which also launches into a hidden gravity or show building.
The main difference here is that this towering show building for the main roller coaster segments of the attraction is visible throughout Epcot. Despite being painted shades of “blend-in blue” and “go-away green,” it competes with Spaceship Earth for attention.
As for the gravity building, I had a chance to see inside during the World’s Most Magical Celebration media event. My main impression is that it’s huge. Hardly a bombshell revelation, as the colossal building is visible from across World Showcase Lagoon and has been one point of contention about the attraction.
Beyond the size of the space, there’s a lot of OmniCoaster track weaving through that colossal area. For me, the amount of track was the most reassuring aspect of the visit—it’s difficult to judge from the ground, but it looks like the ride duration should be fairly satisfying.
There are also several tunnels, screens along the perimeter of the upper level of the track, a jump point, and even a large moon or planet that the OmniCoaster vehicles circle.
It’s going to be a very obscure comparison, but the whole thing reminded me of a very amped-up version of Space Fantasy — The Ride (that’s very high praise). Photos weren’t allowed inside, so you’ll just have to take my word for all of that.
When Will Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind Open?
UPDATE: As indicated above, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will open on May 27, 2022.
There’s no point in reading what follows now that Walt Disney World has officially announced the debut date. We’re leaving it here for the sake of posterity.
Finally, there’s the question of when Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will open. As noted above, Walt Disney World has revealed the nebulous “Summer 2022” timeframe. Technically, that means any time from June 21 through September 22, 2022.
Typically, that’s not how Walt Disney World’s seasons work. Rather than following the Farmer’s Almanac (or wherever those dates are derived), Disney uses the ‘colloquial calendar’ that defines summer in the United States as Memorial Day through Labor Day.
There’s every reason to believe that Disney will open Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind when it’s strategically most advantageous. Officially, the World’s Most Magical Celebration will last 18 months, through March 2023.
The 18-month anniversary celebration gives Walt Disney World the chance to do something of a soft reset about halfway through, “amping up” the festivities with new attractions and entertainment. This will incentivize visitors who already experienced the first half of the celebration to come back, and will also lure new guests. That halfway reset will likely be headlined by Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.
Halfway through the 50th Anniversary Celebration would be roughly May 2022. Memorial Day weekend would make sense, as would early June 2022.
This would also align with test rides already having started for Walt Disney World leaders, and the fact that Cast Members are being recruited for the opening team.
It’s also consistent with past precedent. Of the recent additions with summer openings at Walt Disney World, Pandora – World of Avatar debuted on May 27 and Toy Story Land opened on June 30.
It’s also worth noting that Pandora had extensive registration-only previews for APs and DVC prior to that in May. The same was true for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure last fall. The latter was a savvy move by Disney, as it got locals and diehard fans to Epcot at a time that was otherwise uncrowded. The lead-up to Memorial Day is similarly an attendance lull, so lengthy previews might likewise be strategically advantageous.
In our view, an official opening around Memorial Day or the weekend thereafter makes much more sense than debuting in July through September, which is almost entirely unprecedented. Usually, July bookings are strong regardless, with things dropping off in mid-August through September as schools go back into session.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind has a ton of marketing potential. It could convince Marvel enthusiasts (and there are a lot of them) to not just visit Epcot, but to book Walt Disney World trips. As such, we’d expect a June 2022 opening at the latest to take full advantage of this marketing potential.
Of course, a lot could happen and change between now and then. It’s thus impossible to make any sort of credible predictions about when Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will open beyond “Summer 2022.”
Whenever it does open, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will instantly blast into the #1 attraction spot at Epcot. Regardless of how we might feel about how it fits into Epcot (both thematically and physically), this is undeniably a blockbuster attraction with a colossal budget and a ride system that’s likely to give it wide appeal to guests of all ages.
In short, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is likely to be a crowd-pleasing attraction that wows guests with both its thrills and technology, plus its layer of Imagineered detail and storytelling, plus popular music and the irreverence of these Marvel misfits. It’ll likely rival Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Tron Lightcycle Run, and Avatar Flight of Passage for the longest wait times and most coveted Lightning Lane selections in all of Walt Disney World.
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Are you excited for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind? If you’re also an EPCOT Center purist, are you apprehensive that this will fit the park, or do you think the storyline and pre-show will sufficiently weave things together? When do you predict that Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will open? Do you agree or disagree with any of our thoughts? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!
nothing is going to compete for attention more than spaceship gaping taco in the middle of the lagoon…
What’s really sad, is I love Marvel and Star Wars, etc. But will Disney ever think about people like me, and I’m sure there are plenty more, that can’t go on roller coasters or spinning rides. It’s getting more and more like a Great Adventure theme Park. I implore them to think of the people who want but cannot go on fast moving rides to add attractions that we can enjoy. It’s getting less and less.. : (
What are you talking about, most rides are accessible for all. They need to have some thrill rides for those that love thrill rides.
@Michael M all of the new rides involve screens and motion-a big no no for those of us who get motion sick. So the writer was referring to the disappointment of not being able to ride yet another new ride (think about the newer ones…FOP, Smugglers Run, ROTR, Ratatouille, eventually Tron, and now Guardians-all out!). The next new best ride should be consider that otherwise Disney is just becoming universal where we motion sensitive ppl mostly walk around and hold everyone else’s bags
In my opinion what they don’t need is another roller-coaster with a weak back story. Disney is fast becoming Universal Studios West.
Avenger’s Campus at California Adventure only really has one thrill ride, Mission Breakout (the re-themed Tower of Terror) and it’s actually ridiculously fun. I saw young kids having a blast on it. They turned ToT into a party with Rocket. There are also shows going on in the area almost constantly. WEB Slingers is a Toy Story arcade style ride and is pretty gentle. I imagine once Disney can put other Marvel properties at WDW they’ll offer a wider variety of experiences with those IP’s.
The Star ship could be hung from a cloud that attaches to the building… the truth is Disney is more interested in money then ideas of magic! I want someone to tell me different! It’s gross!
This company is part of what destroyed America and that is “ greedy owners with failed friends of friends business model” !
I recently applied for a job and they offered $15.hr. It was so called seasonal but it was for 6 months! Same pay as full time and no benefits like full time! As if they couldn’t cut back anymore, they may have raised some wages but it looks like they’re trying to recapture that cost with new employees and wiping out all benefits! This company has nice salaries as we all know but if you ain’t in the clan then you ain’t in the clan!!! So sad coming from a company that grosses over $70billion on a slow year!
It looks great! Our family love the Guardians of the Galaxy. Disney does a wonderful job with the theme, and scenes surrounding their rides. But, I sure hope it is a better roller coaster than their last effort, 7 Dwarf mine ride. We were so excited for that one and the theme and scenes were all great but the actual ride was disappointing. We found Goofy’s roller coaster more exciting .
I wonder if the intention for the starship was something a lot closer to the concept drawing (minimal/mostly hidden support) and then a month or two ago someone came in and pointed out that wasn’t gonna cut it. Yes, that would be a huge oversight on Imagineering’s part, but an errant decimal point gave us Disco Yeti so it wouldn’t be unprecedented.
I think there’s an over 51% chance of that being the case. Of course, the thing was never going to actually float, but it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if whoever designed and approved the plans wasn’t aware of RCID’s rather rigid standards (those are what also has brought us walkways at resorts wide enough for ambulances and other emergency vehicles).
“making this essentially a 51-foot ninja star in the event of a hurricane if not properly secured.”
Had me rolling…some of your quips are truly hilarious.
Thanks. You know what they say: even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while. 😉
Curious how the opening will impact the walls and construction. I haven’t been back to Epcot since the walls went up, but from what I can see on vlogs they could really be an obstacle to safely shepherding guests to and from the attraction. Even though this will surely be a paid only lightning lane attraction, large numbers of guests won’t know it or will try to ignore it and flock at rope drop in hopes of a stand-by ride. If key areas of the walls aren’t down by opening, could this be a crush danger for rushing guests? If so, wonder how the interplay between the opening of the attraction and construction progress – ie tearing down those walls – will shake down for the summer. Perhaps more moving parts than first meet the eye.
Disney announced that they have started hiring cast members on January 12th for Cosmic Rewind. My question is with that in mind, how long does it actually take typically to train a crew of cast members? Summer 2022 could mean anything.
It’s worth noting that entertainment weekly has removed the mention of animatronics from the article. It’s pretty disappointing that a lot disneys new rides in the u.s (spider man, ratatouille, guardians, Tron) are, or will be, lacking in animatronics or physical sets.
I so hope this is open by end of June early July
Have a 2 week trip planned out 26 of June to July 10, fingers crossed.
We are visiting last week of April 2022 (our April 2020 trip was cancelled obviously due to Disney closure for COVID). It sounds like we will likely miss the opening of the Guardians ride. Does Disney have a history of soft launches that might happen while we’re there?
I’m thinking fall of 2022 bc they definitely don’t want the headaches of starting a new ride with all the hiccups it can bring during a very busy time. They are going to want it to ride smoothly by the time Christmas crowds arrive or it could cause trouble. There is also another reason Disney started it’s new annual pass program early Sept this would give people another reason to renew their passes and to make it even more enticing they could make soft openings for late September for annual pass holders much the way they did with rattatouie
…or, per my comment above, maybe instead of “(Updated October 25, 2021)” at the end of the intro paragraph you could add “(Updated October 25, 2021 with new photos/dates/ride details/etc.)”
What was the update to this article on October 25? Tom, it would be great to flag the “new” content somehow (maybe bold/italic text, or asterisks ***) so someone who’s read the last version can quickly scroll through and see the updates.
I like the old EPCOT center from the1980’s it was about learning and not about movies like seabase alpha to Nemo and maelstrom to Frozen etc… bring back the dreamfinder instead of the scientific ride…
Looking forward to Sarah’s take on the motion sickness factor of this ride when it opens! Spinning cars and screens?! Might be out for me.
Also, what does IP stand for?
Do you thing Epcot hours will be extended with the addition of ratatouille and guardians? I already have trouble seeing all of the countries and attractions as is with the current 11 hour schedule.
I’m definitely excited for this ride! Me and My family are extreme marvel fans, but when we heard that they were building Avengers campus in California, we were a little upset since California is so far away and it’s something that we really want to experience (maybe one day) but Florida is a lot closer so to know that we could definitely experience a marvel ride is amazing.
Great article. It’s hard to see EPCOT change, especially since I have been going since the day they opened. But, most things are now simply great memories I once shared w my family who are long gone and I am making new memories w my children. In 40 years, I am sure my kids will be upset when Frozen and Guardians of the Galaxy are removed and replaced. Disney does a fine job with balancing old and new BUT I still haven’t gotten over Mr. Toad being removed from DW…that one still hurts. Lol.
I’m excited that this roller coaster is going to be more like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, complete with dark ride scenes. Despite the height constraints, it’s seen more as a family attraction, in between the bigger mountains and smaller coasters like the Barnstormer.
(I’d be satisfied for a more accurate “Rocket and Groot Explore the Universe of Energy” vibe in either the ride or a supplement. That’s a comic book I’d like to see in Epcot!)