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. (Updated November 11, 2022.)
Along with this, we have new details about the 2022 EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays, which runs from November 25 until December 30, 2022. 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 the 2022 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 2022, 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,” slated for Disney+ release on November 25, 2022. 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.
November 11, 2022 Update: Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind – Holiday Remix did not debut with the start of the Christmas season at Walt Disney World, which leads us to believe it’ll officially debut on November 25, 2022. While the company has been completely silent about a start-date, the two dates that made the most sense were today or November 25, 2022.
Given that the latter is the release of the Holiday Special on Disney+ and beginning of the 2022 EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays, that is now the most likely debut date for Cosmic Rewind – Holiday Remix.
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 2022 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 2022, 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.)
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!
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!