Walt Disney World has announced the first-ever Mary Poppins attraction, slated to come to Epcot’s United Kingdom pavilion as part of a Cherry Tree Lane expansion. In this post, we’ll share details, concept and poster art of the area, and offer some commentary about what this means for World Showcase. (Updated July 16, 2020.)
This news follows on the heels of the news that Epcot’s Future World Will Be Replaced by 3 New Neighborhoods, and will be the next big addition to World Showcase after Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. While a Mary Poppins attraction has been a dark horse rumor for World Showcase, it’s surprising that this announcement came instead of a Brazil pavilion, which was thought to be a done deal.
This was arguably the announcement with the most fanfare at the D23 Expo Parks & Resorts panel, with a musical number introducing the expansion and Dick Van Dyke coming on stage (as spunky and chipper as ever) to introduce Bob Chapek’s announcement…
July 16, 2020 Update: After nearly a year devoid of detail about the Mary Poppins attraction and Cherry Tree Lane expansion, Walt Disney World quietly removed the expansion’s scene from the Epcot Experience when the park reopened after its four month closure.
This lead to speculation that the Mary Poppins project had been quietly cancelled. In turn, Disney released the following statement: “As with most businesses during this period, we are further evaluating long-term project plans. The decision was made to postpone development of the Mary Poppins-inspired attraction and Spaceship Earth at this time.”
While the Walt Disney World spokesperson uses the term “postpone” in the statement, we believe this project is cancelled or shelved indefinitely. Even earlier this year (pre-closure), there were rumors that the other expansions for Epcot might instead be prioritized. The closure of Walt Disney World and subsequent economic fallout was almost certainly the final nail in the attraction’s coffin.
This shouldn’t be a huge surprise. Even the original announcement was almost entirely devoid of details beyond the fact that guests will be able to step in time down Cherry Tree Lane past Admiral Boom’s house, then enter Number 17, home of the Banks family, where their adventure will begin.
What, precisely, this ‘adventure’ would be was never described. Fans made their own assumptions and rumors flew of a flat ride with projections, but Disney never offered further details. It’s never a good sign when something is announced with no information, no timeframe, and only a single piece of concept art. (There are other upcoming Walt Disney World projects that fit the same bill, and are on equally unstable ground.)
We’re keeping the rest of this Cherry Tree Lane and Mary Poppins attraction info post for the sake of posterity, but we have absolutely no reason to believe this will ever come to fruition…
If those rumors remain accurate, the planned Mary Poppins attraction is a spinner. At the time, we believed this meant something a la Dumbo, but we’re now inclined to believe it’s more likely (again, assuming that rumor is still accurate–and it’s very possibly not) to be a carousel or small Ferris Wheel.
Any of these attractions would could explain why specifics weren’t announced. There was a lot of fanfare and excitement for this Mary Poppins expansion, and that same level of excitement probably would not have remained if Disney announced that the ride ‘anchoring’ Cherry Tree Lane is simply an off-the-shelf amusement park ride.
There’s also the possibility that the plans remain fluid, which is why more specifics were not provided. If more intellectual property is going to be injected into World Showcase, I’d like to believe it’s at least a charming and whimsical dark ride that is concealed from the rest of the pavilions and offers a rich experience.
Otherwise, I don’t really know what to say about Cherry Tree Lane. From the concept art flashed on screen at the D23 Expo (but not released online) it looks like take over the under-utilized courtyard behind the United Kingdom pavilion, and will mostly resemble the real-world London, albeit with some familiar landmarks from the films.
I used to be a hard-liner on characters in World Showcase, but more or less gave up on that once Frozen Ever After debuted and I realized that more intellectual property was an inevitability. Now, I simply hope for no fictional countries, tenuous connections, and other nonsense like that.
As far as IP integrations go, Ratatouille in France, Mary Poppins in the United Kingdom, and (if it ever happens) Coco in the Mexico pavilion are the most appropriate options. I’m mostly just thankful there was no announcement of a Wakanda pavilion in World Showcase. As much as I enjoy Black Panther, I probably would’ve lost it with that news.
As noted above, the biggest surprise of this World Showcase announcement is that it’s not a Brazil pavilion. We really thought the World Showcase poster to be revealed above Germany in the EPCOT booth on the show floor would be Brazil–not Mary Poppins.
After this addition was not announced at the D23 Expo two years ago, I remained steadfast that it was still coming to Walt Disney World. Now, after it once again hasn’t been announced, I will (once again) maintain my position/belief that Brazil is coming to World Showcase.
This is hardly some closely-guarded insider information or anything–the Brazil pavilion is pretty much an open secret at this point. Maybe the announcement will come on October 1? Maybe Disney is working out arrangements with Brazil for a big unveil? I’m not really sure what’s going on.
Overall, some interesting and surprising announcements…and ‘non-announcements’ for World Showcase. It’s tough to get excited about the Mary Poppins attraction or Cherry Tree Lane…or really have much of any reaction…without more details. If anything, my main response to the World Showcase news is one of bewilderment that the Brazil pavilion wasn’t announced. I guess we shall see what happens on that front in the near future!
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What do you think of the Mary Poppins expansion in Epcot’s World Showcase? Excited for this, disappointed, or in ‘wait and see’ mode? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment here? 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!