Guardians of Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind – Holiday Remix for Christmas at EPCOT
Walt Disney World has announced that Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at EPCOT is getting Christmas music! Here’s what we know so far, plus speculation about whether Walt Disney World tries to run both versions, what the overlay entails, if the virtual queue ends by then, and more.
Along with this, we have new details about the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays, which runs from November 25 until December 30. This includes the return of the Holiday Storytellers, “JOYFUL! A Celebration of the Season” performances, the new Nochebuena Cocina Holiday Kitchen, the Holiday Cookie Stroll, and more.
Most notably, Walt Disney World has revealed details about Candlelight Processional, including the full celebrity narrator lineup that’ll include newcomers Gloria Estefan, Josh Gad, Mariska Hargitay, and Raúl Esparza, to name a few. They will join many returning fan-favorite celebrity narrators, such as Neil Patrick Harris, Whoopi Goldberg, Marie Osmond, Angela Bassett, and Edward James Olmos.
During the “Suiting Up with Super Heroes at Disney Parks and Experiences” panel at New York Comic Con, a panel of Walt Disney Imagineers took to the stage to talk about Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. They also released concept art for what appears it’ll be called “Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind – Holiday Remix.”
Here’s the latest about the overlay: “This holiday season, prepare to hear the Guardians of the Galaxy like never before! Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at EPCOT is getting a festive makeover for the holidays, complete with a new song added to the attraction.”
Imagineer Wyatt Winter added the following: “This is an all-new, unique mashup song taking a lot of your favorite holiday songs we all know and love, and creating a new song with it…Imagineers were able to do some custom lyrics. This song will be the song you hear during the holiday season at EPCOT. It’s a lot of fun…we got to test it and play with it early this year.”
Previously, Walt Disney World’s press release that stated the following: “This season, the Guardians will trade in their classic hits playlist for a mash-up of seasonal jams at Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at EPCOT. Guests will blast off to the tune of an awesome holiday single, bringing joy to Xandar and Terra, too.”
These new quotes clarify some things. First, there’s the new detail that Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is getting a “festive makeover” in addition to a new song for Christmas. This is Disneyspeak for an attraction overlay, which suggests it’s not just a new song, but decorations or something different about the substance of the attraction. The concept art above shows a variety of EPCOT and Guardians ornaments, which could be a hint at what’s to come–or just fun graphic design.
How a substantive holiday overlay beyond music would work is unclear. We don’t expect colossal changes that interfere with the story of the attraction. Cosmic Rewind is viewed as a triumph of Imagineering, and even though the IP lends itself to a certain cheesiness, Disney isn’t going to undermine its blockbuster new ride with Christmas decorations that conflict with the story. It would not surprise us if the “festive makeover” is outside the attraction or only in the queue…or even nothing at all. That “festive makeover” line could just be marketing puffery.
This Cosmic Rewind overlay is expected to be a tie-in with “Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special,” on the Disney+ streaming service. That holiday special is written and directed by James Gunn, and is a big streaming title for Disney.
In that case, the Christmas overlay to the Marvel-ous roller coaster might be something more substantial–especially if footage and dialogue for the Holiday Special were recorded simultaneous with Cosmic Rewind.
Unlike Living with the Land – Merry & Bright Nights, we do not expect Cosmic Rewind – Holiday Remix to quietly debut early or at a random date.
People plan trips to EPCOT around Cosmic Rewind, and want more predictability about which version of the ride they’re getting, whereas Living with the Land is a ‘supporting player’ ride, and that overlay is all upside.
Here’s the current, non-Christmas “Awesome Mix” playlist for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, consisting of six songs in their classic versions:
- “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire
- “Disco Inferno” by The Trammps
- “Conga” by Gloria Estefan
- “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears
- “I Ran” by A Flock of Seagulls
- “One Way or Another” by Blondie
One thing that’s clear from the NYCC Imagineering panel is that “Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind – Holiday Remix” will replace the current playlist above with a single song. Imagineer repeatedly referred to this as a song (singular), which is consistent with the earlier announcement.
There was previously confusion about this because the press release says it’ll be feature “seasonal jams” (plural) but right before that says it’ll be a mash-up. After that, it indicates the tune will be an “awesome holiday single” (singular, obviously).
It would make sense for the overlay to only have one track that’s a medley of holiday music. Or, and hear me out, maybe it should be a medley of everyone’s favorite holiday jam: “Wonderful Christmastime,” but performed by different artists and in different languages. 😉
This would also be consistent with past precedent for other Guardians of the Galaxy seasonal ride overlays. That’s right, Guardians of the Galaxy: Christmas Rewind is not the first Marvel attraction to get the holiday treatment.
Over at Disney California Adventure, Mission Breakout becomes “Guardians of the Galaxy – Monsters After Dark” during the fall.
The Disney California Adventure holiday overlay runs simultaneous with Mission Breakout–there’s a switchover that occurs each evening during the Halloween season.
Starting at 5 pm, guests can experience Monsters After Dark, which is a sequel to the daytime version, Mission Breakout. It’s a lot of fun, and gives the tower same-day re-rideability (which it already had thanks to multiple different songs, just like Cosmic Rewind).
Back at Walt Disney World, we do not expect the regular ride to operate alongside “Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind – Holiday Remix.” Instead, it’s likely that the Christmas version will run all-day, replacing the regular Cosmic Rewind during the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays.
The reason that “Monsters After Dark” only runs in the evening at DCA isn’t so guests can enjoy both in the same day. It’s because the Halloween overlay is too intense for some guests. Disneyland warns of this in the park and via an Is It Too Scary? message on the site: “Guardians of the Galaxy – Monsters After Dark includes loud sounds in the dark and menacing beasts that may scare some children.”
It is safe to say that “Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind – Holiday Remix” will not be too scary for kids, and thus won’t be relegated to the evenings. That is, unless the Guardians team up to defeat Krampus in this Christmas overlay, but that’s highly doubtful.
This should also address any concerns about Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind closing for refurbishment to “install” the overlay. It absolutely will not.
Walt Disney World’s operational calendar is out through December, and there is zero downtime scheduled for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind for the changeover. This necessarily means that are no physical scenes or props to change–the bulk of this overlay can be accomplished with the flip of a switch, so to speak, via a computer. Whatever cannot be done digitally can be changed overnight.
As a result, it’s likely that the “Holiday Remix” to Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at EPCOT will be substantially the same as the regular ride, save for the Christmas mashup song. Leaving the rest of the attraction experience untouched is probably the preferred approach for the more tourist-centric Florida park.
Walt Disney World has long been averse to ride overlays of popular attractions, which is famously the justification/excuse for Magic Kingdom not transforming Haunted Mansion into the Nightmare Before Christmas inspired overlay, Haunted Mansion Holiday. (The longstanding rumor is that the overlay was even fabricated for Walt Disney World, but shipped off to Tokyo Disneyland because Florida management opted against it.)
Additionally, it now appears that the virtual queue will not end before “Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind – Holiday Remix” debuts.
We were surprised this didn’t occur in the early fall-offseason, but for whatever reason, Walt Disney World opted against ending the virtual queue. With the popular holiday season right around the corner, it’s unlikely that the Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind virtual queue will be retired before January 9, 2023. We shall see, though.
Ultimately, that’s everything we know about what the Christmas overlay to Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will entail. More than anything else, we’re happy to see Walt Disney World embrace overlays to an increasing degree. We’ve long said that WDW’s demo is evolving thanks to more DVC members and a growing Central Florida population, so past excuses to avoid these don’t really hold water anymore.
Even though it’s still brand new, we’re thrilled that Cosmic Rewind is the next ride to get the Christmas overlay treatment. We’re really curious to learn more about “Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind – Holiday Remix” and experience the seasonal edition of the attraction overselves. Here’s hoping that the mashup song for the “Holiday Remix” is an earworm, much like “Monsters After Dark” at Disneyland!
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Are you excited for Guardians of the Galaxy: Christmas Rewind? Think it’s too early for a holiday edition of the attraction given that it’s less than a year old? Do you agree or disagree with our opinion? 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!
This is honestly pretty upsetting if they don’t ply any of the original 6 songs and just play one all the time. Really alienating a lot of guests, and disappointing those of us who’ve had a trip planned during the holiday season for over a year that have been looking forward to multiple rides to get different songs. If it’s just one song all holiday season, there’s no reason to go on it twice. Thus killing the hype for the ride within days of the holiday overlay. Can’t wait to find out more concrete details before causing my wife to lost it over this decision. Lol
I kinda wish they wouldn’t overlay this one- I assume many families like myself haven’t had a chance to ride it at all yet- now our first experience will be with this overlay. 😐
Ya we’re pretty upset by this decision if they go full Xmas overlay the entire holiday season. Pretty short sighted and against every decision they’ve made in the past for the most part with rides like Haunted Mansion. The ride literally opened up months ago, many have had holiday season trips planned far longer, and all of us expected this ride to be the same version that literally just opened up, knowing full well there were 6 different songs you could get. All a completely different vibe. What an insane decision to decide to pander to locals who’ve been riding it all year when tourism is the sole focus at WDW with passholders always the after thought.
Thanks for the update Tom. I’d completely forgotten about this and am so excited to share the news with my kids, and also the forthcoming holiday special—hopefully it’s 6 year old friendly!
Are you quite certain that GOTG will stay on a virtual queue through the end of the year? That works really well in that we’ll spend less time in line and more time strolling around the festival of the holidays, but it also means a lot of early stressful mornings snagging a virtual queue spot. 🙁 Do I remember correctly that you can’t do virtual queue (either morning or afternoon) unless you start in EPCOT for the day?
“Are you quite certain that GOTG will stay on a virtual queue through the end of the year?”
If you asked me in July whether I was “quite certain” that the virtual queue would be gone by the end of September, I would’ve said yes. It made complete sense given the circumstances and past precedent with Rise of the Resistance and Ratatouille.
Having not removed it during the off-season, it doesn’t make sense to get rid of the virtual queue between now and early January. However, that doesn’t mean WDW won’t do it anyway. Not all of their decisions make perfect sense.
We were at Living with the Land last weekend for RunDisney and while they had started installing the Christmas lights, none of them were on yet. Here’s hoping everyone gets to enjoy them soon.
So you definitely expect the overlay to start with the Festival of the Holidays on November 25, not at the start of the holiday season at the other parks earlier in November?
I would not say definitely, but it’s my expectation.
The company has sorta rolled everything into the 2022 EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays when discussing Christmas at Walt Disney World, but anything at the front of the park arguably isn’t part of that. Living with the Land Merry & Bright has quietly started earlier in the past, but it’s also a lot lower profile than Cosmic Rewind.
I hope Disney clarifies and officially announces a start date for the Holiday Remix of Cosmic Rewind, because people will want to plan around it–either to avoid the overlay, see it, or both versions.
oooh, i didn’t think about the living with the land overlay starting early… I’m really hoping for that now!
It would be amazing in my opinion if they had the normal ride in the day time and switched to the holiday theme in the evening. We’re doing our once in a lifetime Disney trip in November and are hoping to experience as much as we can, so getting to see both the original and Christmas versions (if possible) would be a huge bonus
Of course it’s all speculative and no guarantees, etc. etc…. but do you have any professional guess as to when such an overlay would come back *off* the ride after the holidays? We’re planning a trip in January or February, and I’d really prefer for our first experience of the ride to be the “standard theme.”
Maybe Disney can’t get the rights, but ‘Christmas Wrapping’ by The Waitresses is a super-poppy 80’s Holiday song with a tempo that fits right in with the movement of the ride and what’s displayed on the screens.
This may be a silly question but why don’t they just run the rides with the overlay all day rather than half day through the holiday season? Like they do with Jungle Cruise?
They very well might. The commentary here is totally speculative.
I’ve never heard that rumor about the Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay! It sounds like there have been multiple things that would be very popular (the Mansion overlay, literally any kind of nighttime parade) that WDW has been offered and declined, and I just have to wonder WHY??? Why does the supposed Most Magical Place on Earth hate nice things so :'(
“Why does the supposed Most Magical Place on Earth hate nice things so”
1) Maintenance and operating costs
2) Setting precedent and future expectations
Seriously, those are the reasons you didn’t see Paint the Night rolling down Hollywood Boulevard this spring, still can’t meet Mirabel–the list goes on and on.
They can’t put some of that 40% guest spending increase towards maintenance and operating costs?!? 😉
Seriously though, the difference in philosophies between Disneyland and Disney World management are really quite baffling. I know the two aren’t quite an apples to apples comparison but when both Disneyland and Universal are way ahead of the entertainment game it just makes WDW management look cheap. I may be wrong (WDW seems to be immune to any financial backlash currently), but it sure feels like all of these short sighted decisions are due to catch up with them eventually.
I thought I heard or read that WDW doesn’t overlay rides like Disneyland because unlike Disneyland which is more of a local park and guest can always come back if a ride is down due to a month-long overlay set-up vs WDW which is more a destination or once a life-time trip and more guests will be upset if the ride will be down due to an overlay set-up. Also because of this fact, WDW will not draw these types of guests to the park for an overlay were as Disneyland will draw locals again to the park to see an overlay.
Sigh, this seems like a really bad idea. Not because I think it’ll be badly executed (quite the opposite), but because it’ll cause a large number of locals to urgently require re-rides, worsening the chances for infrequent visitors, the vast majority of which have not experienced the ride in any form.
Unless they’re choosing six cringeworthy Christmas hits nobody can admit to liking, in which case it might be a genius move to increase availability 😉
I’ll be there in September and then again in December. Before I read this, I had planned to try to get a boarding group in September but not pay to ride because we’ll be back 8 weeks later. However, i immediately thought “if I don’t get on in September but then pay to ride in December and All I Want For Christmas is You starts playing, I’m jumping tf off the ride immediately.”
So I guess now I get to pay for a ride in September if I don’t get a boarding pass. ♂️
Genie+ still stinks